A South-Central Los Angeles man was convicted Thursday of murdering two college students who were abducted three years ago in Westwood and later shot to death in a field off Mulholland Drive in the Santa Monica Mountains.
Damon Redmond, 22, displayed little emotion as the verdicts--finding him guilty of two counts of murder, kidnaping, arson and grand theft auto--were read aloud. His mother, however, sobbed in the back of the courtroom.
Prosecutor Harvey Giss said he took little solace in the verdicts. "I'd trade in all . . . guilty verdicts if I could bring those two kids back," he said.
The parents of UCLA freshman Michelle Ann Boyd, 19, and Cal State Northridge sophomore Brian Harris, 20, attended every court hearing in the three-year proceedings. They said the verdict the jury returned after deliberating three days was correct.
"Having gone through all of that, we're pleased that justice has been served," said Michael Boyd of Westlake Village, Michelle Ann's father.
Redmond was convicted of being one of four men who abducted and killed the couple Sept. 30, 1985. Prosecutors said the men wanted to use Harris' 1981 Honda for a liquor store robbery in Barstow.
During the three-week trial, one of the men, who admitted his guilt, testified against Redmond.
DeAndre Brown, 24, who was granted immunity from prosecution, said that although the robbery never took place, Redmond played a pivotal role in the events leading up to the couple's deaths.
Brown said he and three others--Redmond, Donald Bennett, 23, and Stanley Bernard Davis, 23--were planning the robbery when they discovered that the pickup truck they were driving had bad tires and could not make the trip. They then drove to Westwood to steal a car.
Brown said the students were abducted by Redmond and Davis near the UCLA campus. With Harris locked in the trunk of the commandeered Honda, the four drove to a secluded field off Mulholland Drive, near the Sepulveda Pass, where Harris and Boyd each were shot in the back of the head.
The car was later driven to South-Central Los Angeles, where Redmond torched it to cover up the homicides, police said. His fingerprints were found inside the burned auto, investigators said.
Although Redmond did not testify in his defense, his attorney, William McKinney, contended that Brown was an unreliable witness who "overexaggerated" Redmond's involvement.
McKinney said Redmond was not with Brown, Davis and Bennett on the night the two students were murdered. He contended that a physical description of the man seen with the alleged triggerman did not match Redmond.
During the trial jurors heard recordings in which Redmond and Davis, unaware that they were being taped in jail, talked about the murders.
Davis is scheduled to go on trial in February. Bennett pleaded guilty to second-degree murder charges earlier this year and was sentenced to 18 years to life in state prison.
Sentencing for Redmond, who faces a maximum of 50 years to life in state prison, is scheduled for Dec. 22.