48 Hours producer Greg Fisher is covering the Kelly Soo Park case and filed this report.
(CBS) In a key pre-trial hearing days before Kelly Soo Park stands trial for the 2008 murder of 21-year-old aspiring model Juliana Redding, the prosecution and defense effectively switched roles as Park's attorneys sought to point to what they say is another possible murder suspect -- Redding's boyfriend.
The defense team is attempting to establish that former Santa Monica resident and surfer John Gilmore could very well have been the killer, instead of Park. Meanwhile, prosecutor Stacy Okun-Wiese voiced her intention to demonstrate Gilmore's "innocence," insisting Park is indeed the killer.
Park is accused of beating and strangling Redding, whose body was found in March 2008 in Redding's Santa Monica, Calif. condo. Redding had moved to Santa Monica from Arizona in order to pursue a career in modeling and acting. She had been featured in Maxim magazine, where she won a "Hometown Hotties" contest.
Redding had also had a minor role in a 2005 film.
Prosecutors allege Park confronted Redding about a stalled business deal between Redding's father and a doctor for whom Park worked.
The defense is focusing on Gilmore's history of domestic violence and threats they claim he made to another victim, his fiancée Melissa Ayala. The defense claims Ayala told a defense investigator that Gilmore choked her, saying, "that he was going to make her feel what Juliana felt.'"
In Friday's hearing, Ayala refused to answer questions, asserting her Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination. Ayala is facing an assault with a deadly weapon charge against Gilmore. This alleged crime occurred recently - after Redding's murder, and after the domestic violence case in which Gilmore pleaded guilty to assaulting Ayala.
In a pre-trial motion, Kelly Soo Park's attorney George Bueller identified John Gilmore as well as a second potential murder suspect other than Park. Bueller promised to present "an abundance of circumstantial and even direct evidence, including John Gilmore's confessions on three separate occasions that he was the one who killed his ex-girlfriend," Juliana Redding.
Friday's hearing sets up an interesting dynamic where the defense team, in order to cast doubt on Parkas the primary suspect, is effectively trying to demonstrate to the court that a reasonable case against Gilmore exists.
Conversely, the prosecutor is in the position of establishing that Gilmore is not a reasonable suspect, effectively coming to his defense.
Gilmore was the individual who called Santa Monica Police to Julianna Redding's residence March 15, 2008, when it was learned that she lay dead inside the apartment.
The prosecution argued that evidence established Gilmore could not have committed the crime because Santa Monica Police investigated him and cleared him as a suspect.
In a separate motion filed by the defense, a transcript of the lead investigator, Det. Karen Thompson, details the evidence that allegedly cleared Gilmore.
"We can track him on video in a Jack-In-The-Box. We have him on video in an Albertsons. We have him on video at the ZJ Boardinghouse. We have him on video almost the entire night. And then we have a whole bunch of witnesses who were at a party with him on Ocean Park Boulevard and he didn't leave. So we know he didn't do it."
Judge Kathleen Kennedy ruled that unless Ayala testifies to confirm defense allegations, then she did not see sufficient cause to allow the defense to present evidence suggesting Gilmore as an alternate suspect.
The defense promised to file another motion Monday morning to re-visit the issue.