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Reseda Man Held in Teacher's Stabbing Death

Crime: Police arrest him after finding his ex-girlfriend's body. The suspect is injured when he jumps from an apartment balcony.

June 25, 2002|ANDREW BLANKSTEIN and SUFIYA ABDUR-RAHMAN | TIMES STAFF WRITERS

A Cal State Northridge employee who jumped from a third-story apartment balcony Monday as Los Angeles SWAT officers closed in was arrested on suspicion of fatally stabbing his ex-girlfriend.

Marlon Smiley, 30, was in serious but stable condition at Northridge Hospital Medical Center after he fell onto a wooden partition near a parking lot at his complex in Reseda, Police Det. Mike Oppelt said.

Smiley was expected to be transferred to the jail ward at County-USC Medical Center.

He is suspected of stabbing to death Stacey Baker, 26, a teacher at Beachy Avenue Elementary School in Pacoima.

Responding to a call from a friend, officers found Baker's body about 1:30 p.m. Sunday in the shower at her Granada Hills condominium in the 10600 block of Woodley Avenue, Oppelt said.

The apparent motive for the killing was the couple's breakup after dating three years, he said.

Smiley has worked in plant management at CSUN since 2000, dispatching maintenance workers to the campus' 53 major buildings, said Carmen Ramos Chandler, a university spokeswoman.

Neighbors at the apartment complex where Smiley has lived since 1999 described him as quiet and friendly.

But friends of the victim named Smiley as a possible suspect soon after the killing was discovered, Oppelt said.

When Smiley failed to respond to phone calls, SWAT officers went to his apartment in the 8100 block of Reseda Boulevard.

Smiley apparently tried to escape by jumping from the balcony, hitting the partition before falling to the pavement, authorities said.

Baker's death was acutely felt at Beachy Avenue Elementary School, where she had taught four years.

"The kids really knew that she cared, and they worked to please her," Principal Adrianne Kirman said. Students greeted Baker with hugs and invited her to their Saturday soccer games, Kirman added. "She was very committed to the kids."

Baker taught a class of about 20 students who needed help working up to their grade level. Her organized, businesslike approach to teaching made her perfect for the job, Kirman said. "It's going to be real hard to replace her."

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