Prosecutors say Kelly Soo Park stalked murder victim Juliana Redding as part of an alleged shake-down
(CBS) LOS ANGELES - Los Angeles prosecutors have finally divulged a detailed theory of why they believe Kelly Soo Park allegedly killed aspiring model and actress Juliana Redding. They say the murder was just part of the would-be femme fatale's job: performing strong-arm-style shake-downs, along with her race car driver boyfriend Ronnie Case, at the behest of a wealthy doctor.
Park stands accused of beating and strangling 21-year-old Juliana Redding to death on March 15, 2008. She pleaded not guilty to the charge and has been awaiting trial for more than two years.
Park allegedly worked for wealthy Lebanese doctor and businessman Munir Uwaydah. Prosecutors say, "both before and after the murder of Ms. Redding, the defendant and Mr. Case worked as muscles... frequently using tactics of threats and intimidation to facilitate favorable terms for the doctor's business enterprises."
One such business deal involved the victim's father, Greg Redding, say prosecutors. When the deal began to fall apart, they allege that Juliana Redding, who had briefly dated Dr. Uwayda, became a target of the two alleged enforcers.
A recent motion filed by prosecutors claims that "[Park] has committed other distinctive acts of misconduct against similar victims under similar circumstances which exhibit common features of threats, intimidation and bullying for the purpose of assisting Dr. Uwaydah's business interests."
While those alleged acts of misconduct did not result in murder or apparently even assault, prosecutors believe that pattern reveals that Park's motive for confronting Juliana Redding was the stalled business deal between Dr. Uwaydah and Redding's father.
The prosecution argues that Dr. Munir Uwaydah was the "nexis" between Park and Redding. Juliana Redding, prosecutors say, introduced Dr. Uwaydah to her father Greg Redding, a pharmacist, and the two men began negotiating a business arrangement.
It was during this negotiation that Dr. Uwaydah, who "engaged in a series of financial enterprises including real estate, health care, banking and pharmaceutical manufacturing and sales," told Greg Redding he employed a girl who, prosecutors say, he referred to as "James Bond." This was a reference, according to prosecutors, to Kelly Soo Park.
Attorney George Buehler, who represents Park, denied that "anything like what prosecutors allege actually happened." Buehler insisted that Park did not play any such role as muscle or an "enforcer." Ronnie Case did not return messages for comment.
Prosecutors revealed that Redding's murder occurred days after Greg Redding terminated an arrangement to manage a pharmacy and assist in developing products for manufacture with Dr. Uwaydah. The facility, Golden State Pharmaceuticals, had Kelly Soo Park listed as owner, according to the motion filed by Deputy District Attorney Eric Harmon.
Greg Redding began to sour on the deal as he learned Dr. Uwaydah "was the subject of a California Board of Medical Examiners' investigation, had lost a lawsuit to General Electric" and was ordered to pay $1,000,000, prosecutors allege.
According to prosecutors, Greg Redding's intention to back out of the proposed deal triggered Dr. Uwaydah to send Park, with Case, to intimidate and threaten his daughter. Prosecutors charge that Park and Case stalked Juliana Redding. Finally, Park confronted her and the 5'10," 150-pound 42-year-old woman killed the 5'5", 110 pound 21-year-old, according to the charges against Park.
Prosecutors contend that Park's "presence at the murder scene is supported by forensic evidence" which they say was "recovered from the neck of the victim, from the victim's cell phone, and a knob on the gas stove that was turned on in an attempt to blow up the apartment" - allegedly in a failed effort to hide evidence of the crime.
Dr. Uwaydah has not been charged with a crime, but prosecutors have repeatedly named him as a possible suspect in this case. The motion made it clear that prosecutors are "not seeking to prove that [Park] murdered Ms. Redding at the direction of Dr. Uwaydah," only that he dispatched Park to intimidate and threaten Juliana Redding.
Greg Fisher, who reported this story, is a producer for 48 Hours. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @cbscrimefish
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