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Police Hold 2 Suspected in 'Cold, Calculated' Killings

November 16, 1986|STEVE EMMONS and ROXANA KOPETMAN | Times Staff Writers

A transient suspected of killing a Huntington Beach woman led police Saturday to the shallow grave of a Redlands woman--the second victim of "premeditated, cold, calculated" crimes that may be part of a series of killings, police said.

Redlands Police Chief Robert Brickley said the transient and her boyfriend--Cynthia Lynn Coffman, 24, and James Gregory Marlow, 30--had driven through southern Orange County a week ago "scouting" for victims and were about to travel to Phoenix, Ariz., where they had already selected a victim, a pregnant woman. Brickley declined to elaborate on that information.

Brickley said his investigators have linked the couple to the "recent" murder of a man in Kentucky, but again he declined to elaborate, explaining that Kentucky authorities may not even know about the slaying.

In both Southern California cases, he said, the motive was primarily robbery and secondarily "sexual gratification."

"I don't want to speculate" about how many murders the couple may have committed, Brickley told a press conference in Redlands. "There may be more. It would behoove every law enforcement agency where they've been to check their missing persons; their 'Jane Does.' "

San Bernardino County sheriff's deputies arrested Marlow and Coffman without resistance Friday afternoon in Sugarloaf, a community near Big Bear Lake. In the nearby Twin Peaks area, deputies found the car belonging to Corinna D. Novis, 20, of Redlands, who had been missing since Nov. 7.

Authorities said Marlow is a member of the Aryan Brotherhood, a white supremacist prison gang. Redlands police said the couple had registered at a mountain lodge using a credit card belonging to Lynel Murray, 19, of Huntington Beach, whose strangled body was discovered in a Huntington Beach motel Thursday afternoon.

Police Led to Body

Early Saturday morning, Coffman led investigators to Novis' bound and gagged body, which was buried in a shallow grave in a Fontana vineyard. Brickley said Novis had apparently been strangled in the vineyard on the same day she was abducted.

Police also arrested another couple, Richard Drinkhouse, 28, and Veronica Kay Coppers, 27, Marlow's sister, as accessories in the murder of Novis.

"They knew what was going on before and after and did nothing to report it," said Redlands police Sgt. Walter S. Kadyk.

Brickley said Novis had been shopping at the Redlands Mall and was entering her car when Marlow and Coffman approached and asked for a ride. Novis consented.

"She was a very nice, caring lady, very trusting," Brickley said of the victim. "It was a random kidnaping. They selected a young woman in front of the mall. They did not know this woman. It could have been anybody."

Killed in Vineyard

Brickley said Coppers worked in one of the mall's restaurants.

Once inside the car, a gun was pulled, and they eventually drove to Novis' apartment, where they stole several items, Brickley said. Later that night, they went to the vineyard, where Novis was killed, he said.

Brickley said that it appears that both Southern California slayings were premeditated. Referring to Murray--abducted as she was closing the dry cleaning store where she worked--the chief said: "They watched that lady."

Brickley said Marlow and Coffman used their robbery money for "just their day-to-day living."

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