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VAN NUYS : Witness Says He Saw Car and Heard Shots

August 27, 1993|THOM MROZEK

Witnesses heard the gunshots which apparently killed a 41-year-old man in North Hollywood and then saw the victim's stolen car speed away, according to testimony Thursday in the murder trial of Scott Forrest Collins.

Collins, 21, was arrested in the stolen car two days after the murder, a key point in the prosecution's case in the trial in Van Nuys Superior Court.

If convicted of first-degree murder in the execution-style slaying of Fred D. Rose of Valencia, a construction supervisor, on Jan. 23, 1992, Collins could face the death penalty.

John Kirby, who lived near the site of the slaying at Clybourn Avenue and Chandler Boulevard, testified that after hearing two gunshots he went outside to investigate.

When Deputy Dist. Atty. Lea Purwin D'Agostino showed Kirby a picture of the back of Rose's 1984 Oldsmobile Cutlass, Kirby said it was the car that he saw speeding away from the scene where Rose's body was found by a jogger several hours later.

Under cross-examination by defense attorney Bruce Hill, Kirby admitted that he initially told police the car he saw was a Buick Riviera.

Collins has admitted that he did take Rose's car and used the victim's ATM card and a gasoline credit card, but he has denied the killing.

Hill has promised the jury that he will present three witnesses who will testify that Collins was not in North Hollywood when the fatal shots were heard.

Prosecutors claim that Collins can be seen on a videotape made at a Northridge automated teller machine using Rose's hard hat to disguise himself while he used Rose's ATM card to withdraw money. This videotape was made several hours after Rose was last seen alive about two hours prior to the shooting.

Rose disappeared after telling co-workers in Lancaster that he was going out to eat.

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