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Suspect in '83 Slaying Enters Not Guilty Plea

May 02, 1987|MARK LANDSBAUM and STEVE EMMONS | Times Staff Writers

San Francisco accountant Richard Dale Wilson pleaded innocent Friday to the Orange County murder of the man suspected four years ago of killing Wilson's fiancee.

Although it took four years to crack the case, police, in documents unsealed Friday, told an Orange County municipal judge that they had to quickly arrest Wilson because they feared that he would kill the witnesses against him and flee the country.

Wilson, 45, is accused of the 1983 murder in Costa Mesa of Jeffrey Molloy Parker two days before Parker was to appear in court to face a murder charge in the beating death of Wilson's fiancee, flamboyant San Francisco socialite Joan McShane Mills, 33.

Initially, Costa Mesa police said the shooting death of Parker, 36, of Manhattan Beach looked like a professional assassination. The case was closed without making an arrest when the investigative leads dried up.

Anonymous Call

Then in May, 1986, an anonymous telephone caller to police blamed Wilson for the murder and rekindled the probe.

Last week, the Orange County Grand Jury returned a secret indictment against Wilson, charging him with killing Parker for revenge. The affidavit prepared by police called Wilson a "dangerous and violent individual."

The documents list "numerous instances of threats by Mr. Richard Wilson" directed at Parker and others following Mills' death.

Wilson remained in custody Friday in lieu of $250,000 bail.

Joel W. Baruch of Newport Beach, Wilson's defense attorney, said his client is innocent.

Mills at times socialized with prominent San Franciscans and was known as a successful, aggressive businesswoman. She was a partner in a fashion import business and had been part owner of a public relations firm, owner of an executive search service and co-author of a book on women executives titled, "Equal to the Task."

She met Wilson in 1977, while she was married. After her divorce, Mills moved in with Wilson.

Met at Bar

In April, 1983, Mills and a business partner traveled to Beverly Hills, and Mills took a room at the Beverly Crest Hotel, according to Beverly Hills police. She met Parker at a bar April 30 and the two then went to her room.

Police found Parker in Mills' room standing over her dead, badly bruised body. Officers quoted Parker as saying that the two had taken drugs and engaged in sex, that Mills had collapsed and that he had tried to resuscitate her. Parker said he had been the one to call for help.

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