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Like father, like son -- homicide victims

As a child, Michael Presley visited the grave of his father. In July, he was gunned down.

August 08, 2007|Jill Leovy | Times Staff Writer

As a child, Michael Lynn Presley II knew the path to his father's grave site by heart. His mother brought him there each week. "Go find Daddy!" she would say, and the excited toddler would run into the graveyard and select his father's headstone from the others without hesitation.

Presley never knew his father in life: The elder Michael Lynn Presley was shot to death on June 23, 1987, in Los Angeles at the age of 27. Now his son has followed him. Michael Presley II, 19, was slain July 15 in the 4500 block of West Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard in Southwest Los Angeles.

Presley was standing on the sidewalk talking to a young woman, said LAPD Det. Vince Carreon. The woman's mother was sitting in a nearby parked car, leaning on the steering wheel, the family said. The suspects, two black men and a light-skinned black or Latino man, drove up in a dark compact car. Two of them got out and shot Presley "from within about 15 feet," Carreon said.

Presley's friends headed to the hospital with him, but paramedics met them and took over. Presley's mother got there in time to see her son for a moment before they took him away. He was on a gurney, barely conscious.

He died later at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center.

Presley had graduated from Daniel Murphy Catholic High School, and was a full-time Cal State Northridge student majoring in criminal justice and psychology. He also worked at the Target store in Northridge. Tall -- 6-foot-4 -- like his father, with braided hair, he was proud of the car he had recently bought with his earnings. He wanted to be an attorney.

"Like history repeating," Presley's mother said last week, after burying her son on top of his father in the same grave he visited as a child. When her husband was slain, she had her pregnancy, and then her son, to command her attention. This time, she has no toddler to take to the grave site, and it is more difficult, she said.

Presley had no ties to criminal street life, LAPD Det. Rick Gordon said.

A $50,000 reward has been approved for information on his slaying. The Los Angeles Police Department has scheduled a news conference for today to discuss Presley's case and that of Aric Lexing, 26, and Scott Grant, 40, slain nearby in a double homicide five days after Presley was killed.

Lexing had just earned a master's degree in criminal justice and Grant was an Inglewood Unified School District security employee.

The two men had returned from a club and were sitting in a car in the 4000 block of Stevely Avenue in lower Baldwin Hills about 3:30 a.m. July 20. Both were shot to death. Anyone with information on either case is asked to call the LAPD at (213) 485-2417.

This article is adapted from the Homicide Report, latimes.com/homicidereport.

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