A prison parolee abducted and murdered a man because he needed money and a car to go see his girlfriend, prosecutors said Wednesday.
In a courtroom packed with the victim's family and friends, a Van Nuys Superior Court jury heard opening statements Wednesday in the murder trial of Scott Forrest Collins, 21, who was released from prison one month before Fred D. Rose of Valencia was gunned down on Jan. 23, 1992.
Collins, who could receive the death penalty, is linked to the crime by a videotape which shows him using Rose's ATM card. He was in the victim's car when he was arrested in Bakersfield, Deputy Dist. Atty. Lea Purwin D'Agostino said.
"In the glove compartment of this car . . . was Mr. Rose's wallet with his credit cards," D'Agostino said.
Rose, a 41-year-old construction manager and father of two, was killed near the railroad tracks at Clybourn Avenue and Chandler Boulevard in North Hollywood. He was last seen alive near his place of work in Lancaster, blocks from where Collins had been seen the morning of the killing, according to prosecutors.
There were five juvenile gang members in the car when Collins was arrested. The youths are expected to testify that Collins had a handgun, which he reported "had a murder rap on it and he had killed a man in L.A.," the prosecutor said.
Defense attorney Bruce Hill admitted that Collins committed several crimes, but said that his client was not responsible for Rose's execution-style killing.
In his opening statement, Hill avoided many of the details of his case. "The evidence will show that my client, Scott Collins, did take the automobile belonging to Fred Rose," but was somewhere else when witnesses heard gunshots, Hill said.
The Bakersfield juveniles who will testify against Collins have their own agenda, the defense maintains.