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Friends Agonize for 2 Murdered Students : 'It Completely Floored Me That Someone So Alive . . . Is No More'

October 08, 1985|HERBERT A. SAMPLE and PATRICIA KLEIN | Times Staff Writers

He had a "business-oriented mind." She was "quiet."

That was how friends recalled Brian E. Harris and Michelle Ann Boyd, the two Thousand Oaks college students found murdered near Mulholland Drive on Sunday, almost a week after they disappeared from Westwood.

"They both cared about each other very, very much," said Tom De Savia, 19, who had helped organize an effort Saturday to distribute flyers with the couple's pictures in the Westwood area.

Harris "wasn't a violent person," De Savia said in a shaky, barely audible voice. "He would always do the gallant thing. He would always defend Michelle."

Met at Record Store

Eric Wilson, a manager at the Music Plus record store where the couple met while they worked there last summer, said, "She was a lot more quiet, not as easy to get to know." He said Harris played guitar, ate health foods and lifted weights.

Of Harris: "He was cautious with money and planned financially for himself and the future," Wilson said.

"The last time I saw them, they were together in the store," Wilson continued. "Both seemed very happy. . . . I've thought over in my head a hundred times what it must have been like for them" at the end, Wilson said, tears forming in his eyes.

Wilson quickly composed himself and added, "It completely floored me that someone so alive and so physical is no more."

On Sunday, police arrested three gang members from the Florence-Firestone areas of South Los Angeles. "They (the three suspects) do have a history of crimes committed, and they are involved in the same street gang," West Bureau Cmdr. Larry Binkley said at a press conference.

In custody are Damon Layte Redmon, 19; Deandre Antwine Brown, 21, and Stanley Bernard Davis, 23, who are being held without bail. A fourth suspect, whom police would not name, was still at large, and investigators said they expect to make an arrest soon.

Authorities at Wednesday's arraignment will seek charges of murder with special circumstances, kidnaping and auto theft. A special circumstances allegation, upon conviction, could result in the death penalty or life in prison without possibility of parole.

Binkley said the suspects kidnaped and executed the two victims to steal their car after their own vehicle broke down. He alleged that the four men drove to the Mojave Desert town of Barstow, 120 miles away, "to commit a robbery but changed their minds" and returned home.

In Westwood, where Boyd had taken an apartment as she started her freshman year at UCLA, a 19-year-old junior student who asked not to be identified said, "There's no way to protect yourself against something like this. But it makes me think twice about going around by myself after dark. I don't think people want to talk about it, because the more you dwell on it, it makes you paranoid."

Ironically, Boyd's parents had taken great precautions in finding a safe apartment for their daughter.

"They couldn't have done any better," Police Lt. Mike Carpenter said. "It's right on an extremely public street, the apartment is on the fourth floor of a security building, in the back. . . .

"And she is a victim anyhow."

Meanwhile, Josephine Redmon, 53, mother of one of the suspects, said, "I really don't think my son could have done nothing like that.

"I know Damon was here Sunday night and I believe Monday night," the woman said, speaking of Sept. 29 and 30. The couple were abducted late on the night of Sept. 30.

Family members of the other suspects were not available for comment.

According to authorities, suspect Stanley Davis was committed to the California Youth Authority in February, 1981, after his conviction for grand theft and assault with a deadly weapon. He later was transferred to the state prison system and was paroled from Soledad in April, 1983. His parole ended in May, 1984.

Corrections Department spokeswoman Nancy Stahl said the assault charge stemmed from an incident during which Davis and an unidentified juvenile approached a man, asked for money, then stabbed the man with a knife after he said he had no cash.

Davis was also convicted of car theft in June, 1984, authorities said.

On Monday, police said that Davis, Brown and an unidentified individual were involved in an incident that closely parallels the Harris-Boyd case.

In May, 1984, UCLA student David Kingsmill, then 21, was leaving his car in the Westwood area when three men abducted him at gunpoint, police said. They took him to a field near Mulholland Drive, robbed him, stole his car and left him there unharmed.

Later that month, sheriff's deputies arrested Davis and Brown after they were stopped in Kingsmill's car, Los Angeles city attorney's spokesman Ted Goldstein said.

Because Kingsmill could not identify either man as his abductors, Davis, who was driving the car, was prosecuted for misdemeanor counts of joy-riding and receiving stolen property, Goldstein said. He was convicted and sentenced to 60 days in jail and 1 1/2 years' probation. Brown was not prosecuted because of lack of evidence, Goldstein said.

Harris and Boyd were last seen at around 11 p.m. Sept. 30, when they left Boyd's apartment. Boyd had just completed her first day of classes at UCLA in psychology. Harris was an English student at California State University, Northridge.

The next day, Harris' brown 1981 Honda Civic was found ablaze behind an auto parts store in the Florence area. Authorities said fingerprints found in the car led them to the suspects.

Times staff writers Edward J. Boyer and Rosalva Hernandez contributed to this article.

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