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Valley Focus | Van Nuys

Man Sentenced for Killing Ex-Girlfriend

June 13, 1998|EVELYN LARRUBIA

A Louisiana man has been sentenced to 15 years to life in prison for killing his ex-girlfriend after she refused to abort a child he fathered.

"We're happy because the case was a difficult one in terms of proof, but the defendant received the maximum sentence available," said Deputy Dist. Atty. Alan Yochelson.

Denna Moody disappeared a year ago after agreeing to meet her ex-boyfriend, Alfred E. Smith, who had taken a train from New Orleans to talk about their unborn child and visit a daughter they had together years earlier.

Her charred body was found in her car near the Amtrak train station the next morning, hours after paramedics extinguished the burning vehicle. Her remains were so badly burned, coroners could not establish the cause of death, Yochelson said.

Yochelson said Smith, 41, killed Moody at a park in Sherman Oaks after an argument, then drove the body to a business area near the train station and set the fire.

Deputy Public Defender Dror Toister, who represented Smith, argued to the jury that the circumstantial evidence was not enough for a conviction.

There was no physical evidence tying Smith to the crime and no one saw the couple together, he said. He also said that another of Moody's ex-boyfriends could have murdered her.

Smith was found guilty of second-degree murder. Yochelson said Moody's mother, brother and best friend addressed Superior Court Judge Sandy Kriegler before he imposed the sentence Thursday.

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