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Homeless Man Held in April Slaying of Waiter

December 30, 2005|Eric Malnic | Times Staff Writer

Acting on tips from informants, police have arrested a homeless man in connection with the April stabbing death of a man near the Grove shopping center, officials said Thursday.

Kim McMurray, 43, was picked up at Pan Pacific Park on Tuesday, culminating an investigation that began more than eight months ago with the death of aspiring actor Eric Gelman in an apparent robbery attempt. Gelman, a waiter at a popular Fairfax District restaurant, was stabbed as he walked to his car after his shift.

Lt. Christine Holroyd, a supervisor in the Los Angeles Police Department's Wilshire Division, said that after fliers describing the attacker were widely distributed, officers received almost 200 phone calls and tips, but none panned out.

"Then, a week or so ago, we were approached by community members who had new information," Holroyd said. "More than one of them identified" McMurray as the suspect.

"Witnesses sometimes are afraid, and at first, they don't want to get involved," she said. "But eventually, they come forward."

Officers said McMurray has a criminal record, but not for violent crimes.

Gelman, 32, moved to Los Angeles from Florida about 2 1/2 years ago. His efforts in the entertainment industry were just beginning to bear fruit. He made a guest appearance in February as a paparazzo in "Monk," a USA Network comedy about a detective with an obsessive-compulsive disorder.

Detectives said Gelman was alone when he was stabbed in the back in the 7900 block of West 1st Street, about a block and a half from the Marmalade Cafe, where he worked.

"We believe the motive, most likely, was robbery," Holroyd said. Detectives said a 16-inch knife believed to have been used in the attack was found near Gelman's body.

In the days after his death, colleagues described Gelman as outgoing, kind and generous.

"He was popular with customers, and the employees loved him," said Selwyn Yossiowitz, owner of Marmalade Restaurants. "It was one of those wrong-time, wrong-place things."

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