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Woman on trial in slaying of aspiring model does not testify

May 22, 2013|By Jack Leonard
  • Kelly Soo Park listens to opening statements last week in her murder trial.
Kelly Soo Park listens to opening statements last week in her murder trial. (Bob Chamberlin / Los Angeles…)

Defense attorneys for a woman charged in the 2008 killing of an aspiring model and actress found strangled in a Santa Monica apartment rested their case Wednesday without calling their client to testify.

Closing arguments were expected to begin Wednesday afternoon in the week-long murder trial of Kelly Soo Park, who is accused of murdering 21-year-old Juliana Redding.

Prosecutors allege that DNA and fingerprint evidence link Park, 47, to the Oct. 15, 2008, slaying. 

Defense attorney George Buehler told the downtown Los Angeles jury last week that forensic evidence does not conclusively prove Park was responsible and that the prosecution has no evidence to show that she had any reason to want Redding dead.

Park worked for a Marina del Rey physician, Dr. Munir Uwaydah, who briefly dated Redding about a year before her killing. During that time, the physician offered to go into business with Redding's father, an Arizona-based pharmacist, to produce a pain cream, Los Angeles County Deputy Dist. Atty. Stacy Okun-Wiese told jurors last week.

Redding was killed five days after her father broke off negotiations with the doctor, Okun-Wiese said during opening statements in the trial.

Prosecutors have said that Uwaydah made six-figure payments to Park and her family before the killing and before Park's arrest. 

Uwaydah has not been charged in Redding's death and has denied any involvement. Authorities have said they suspect Uwaydah fled to Lebanon when Park was arrested in 2010.

Redding failed to appear for a modeling engagement on March 16, 2008, prompting her worried mother to call authorities. 

Police and firefighters found her dead inside her small Centinela Avenue apartment. Her gas stove had been left on and a candle was burning, the prosecutor told the jury.

Okun-Wiese told jurors that detectives were able to determine that DNA found on Redding's neck, her cellphone, a stove knob and blood from a fingerprint in the home all belonged to a female suspect.

Investigators eliminated 42 women as suspects before matching the genetic profile found at the apartment to Park, the prosecutor said. 


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