VAN NUYS — Characterizing the killing of a Valencia man as an execution designed to ensure there would be no witnesses to a robbery, the prosecution wrapped up its first-degree murder case against Palmdale resident Scott Forrest Collins on Thursday.
Deputy Dist. Atty. Lea D'Agostino told the jury in her closing argument in Van Nuys Superior Court that Collins had also plotted to kill several acquaintances who were planning to testify against him in the murder trial.
Collins is accused of killing Fred D. Rose, a construction supervisor, in January, 1992. If convicted, he could receive the death penalty.
D'Agostino said that the brutality and callousness of the slaying can be seen in the trajectory of the single bullet that entered the back of Rose's head. The bullet's path, she said, indicates Rose had either fallen as he was frantically running away from his assailant or was "on his knees pleading for his life."
The elements of the crime are simple, D'Agostino told the jury. An unemployed and broke Collins used a gun to force Rose into his own car in the parking lot of a Lancaster liquor store, the prosecutor said. The pair drove to the San Fernando Valley, D'Agostino said, where Collins used Rose's ATM card to withdraw $200. He then killed him, she said, near some railroad tracks in North Hollywood.
Collins was videotaped using Rose's ATM card, he was in Rose's car when he was arrested one day after the slaying and he told several Bakersfield gang members that the car and a .38-caliber revolver he had in his possession "had a murder rap," according to the evidence.
Collins, who was convicted in 1989 of armed robbery and sentenced to five years in prison, was paroled one month before Rose's murder.