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Attorney Promises Plea of Not Guilty

Suspect's lawyer says his client did not kill a woman who said she was meeting a photographer.

May 30, 2003|Akilah Johnson | Times Staff Writer

Victor Lawrence Paleologus will plead not guilty to a capital murder charge in two weeks for allegedly killing an aspiring actress, then dumping her body in the Hollywood Hills, his lawyer said Thursday.

Paleologus' arraignment was set Thursday for June 11.

After a brief court appearance, his new attorney, Andrew Flier, said Paleologus is "adamant -- 100% not guilty -- about not doing injury to the young lady in question."

The 40-year-old is accused of killing Kristine Johnson, 21, of Santa Monica, during an attempted rape on Feb. 15, the day she disappeared after telling her roommate she was going to meet a photographer in Beverly Hills.

Flier said he believes that authorities targeted Paleologus because of two previous convictions for luring young women with false promises of potential acting jobs.

Deputy Dist. Atty. Eleanor Hunter said Flier's comments "might haunt him."

Santa Monica Police Chief James T. Butts Jr. has said there is evidence placing Paleologus at Century City Shopping Center, where Johnson told her roommate she was meeting a photographer who had offered her an audition.

If convicted, Paleologus could face the death penalty because Hunter included in the murder charge allegations of the special circumstances of lying in wait and murder during the commission of an attempted rape.

The decision on whether to seek the death penalty or life in prison has yet to be made, Hunter said.

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