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Man Convicted of Murder in '92 Death of Millionaire : Trial: Defendant admitted kidnaping girlfriend's 90-year-old father and putting him in car trunk, where he died. He faces life in prison.


After deliberations that lasted less than three hours, a Van Nuys Superior Court jury convicted a 34-year-old man Wednesday of first-degree murder in the 1992 torture-slaying of a Pasadena millionaire.

Anthony West was found guilty of murder and the special circumstances of kidnaping and killing a witness, 90-year-old Louie Molduf.

During the weeklong trial, West took the stand and admitted that he stuffed Molduf, his girlfriend's father, in the trunk of a car after an argument. Though West said he had only planned to scare Molduf, the elderly man, without food and water, died in the trunk. His body was found in the parking lot of a North Hollywood elementary school.

Prosecutors decided not to seek the death penalty, so West will most likely be sent to prison for life without the possibility of parole. He is to be sentenced Sept. 19.

Deputy Public Defender Michael Gottlieb, West's lawyer, said he plans to ask Judge Sandy Kriegler for mercy. It would be "cruel and unusual," Gottlieb said, to sentence West to prison for life.

On the stand, Gottlieb said, West "was quite adamant that he never intended to hurt [Molduf]." West "just lost control and panicked."

According to authorities, West and Molduf argued on Sept. 14, 1992, after Molduf threatened to tell police that West had forged $25,000 worth of checks written on Molduf's account.

West--who had been dating Molduf's daughter, Diane--forced Molduf into the trunk of a brown 1979 Oldsmobile Cutlass and drove around, with the two of them yelling at each other while West drove, Walmark said.

The last time Molduf was known to be alive, Walmark said, was on the morning of Sept. 15, when he told West that he needed to get out of the trunk to use a bathroom.

West did not let him out. An autopsy found that Molduf died of asphyxia.

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