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-- Megan Garvey and Anthony Pesce

Dispatch: 'She did not deserve to be beaten … she was a nice gal and she didn’t deserve it'

September 24, 2009 | 12:59 pm

Felicia Tang Lee gardening with her friend Shannon Donnan. Credit: Family photo

Shortly after noon on Friday, Sept. 11, Brian Lee Randone, a 45-year-old white man, called 911 to report that his girlfriend of several months was not breathing.

Authorities found Felicia Tang Lee, a 31-year old Asian woman, dead in the home in the 500 block of West Duarte Road in Monrovia that she shared with Randone.

When responding officers arrived at the scene, they determined the evidence did not support Randone’s account of what happened, said Lt. Liam Gallagher of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.

Randone was arrested within hours and was charged four days later with killing and torturing Lee. He is in jail in lieu of $2 million bail.

Lee — an actress and model — had been beaten and choked, according to authorities. Prosecutors said torture charges were filed because of the severity of her injures and evidence that she died slowly.

Coroner’s officials said they would not discuss Lee’s specific injuries because they are still waiting for test results. Her official cause of death has been deferred pending those findings.

Randone’s court-appointed attorney did not return calls for comment. He appeared in court Sept. 15, and  his arraignment was continued until Sept. 29. He has not entered a plea.

On paper, at least, the pair seemed an unlikely match.

He was educated as a minister. She had appeared nude in adult films.

According to Randone’s personal website, he traveled the world ministering through a mime performance.

But he’d also worked as an actor and model, representing Nebraska in a 2000 Fox Television show called “America’s Sexiest Bachelor.”

Those who knew the couple said they began dating after meeting in April at a swimming pool at the MGM Grand Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas. At the time of Lee’s death, they had been living together for about four months, said Deputy Dist. Atty. Philip Wojdak.

Lee, who friends said had previously been married, had pursued a career as an actress and model under her maiden name Felicia Tang. She posed nude in adult films and on calendars, appeared in programming on Playboy TV, and worked as a model at car import shows. She also appeared in "The Fast and the Furious," "Rush Hour 2," and "Cradle 2 The Grave," according to a resume posted on her personal website. More recently, friends said, she had been working toward becoming a licensed real estate agent.

Lee was born in Singapore and later attended a Catholic school in Australia, according to a statement released by her family after her death. Later, she moved to Los Angeles with her family and went to school to study marketing and business administration.

Lee’s family declined an interview, but the statement they released read: "Felicia loved life and lived it to its fullest. However, she was more than just a public figure. Felicia was above all a human being, a daughter, a sister, a friend to many who continue to love and honor her, as much in life and in her passing."

Candace Kita, who worked with Lee as a model, called Lee “a bright, bubbly, kind, beautiful woman.”
Kita, author of “The Hottie Handbook: A Girl’s Guide to Safety,” said she objected to the way some in the media have portrayed Lee’s career.

"The perception that she is this porn star makes people think this is a horrible ending to a horrible life," Kita said. "She did not deserve to be beaten.… She was a nice gal and she didn’t deserve it.”

-- Anthony Pesce

Photo: Felicia Tang Lee, left, gardening with her friend Shannon Donnan. Credit: Family photo

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The comments to this entry are closed.

Comments (18)

Felicia was a student at our school and seemed like a very nice girl...So sad to hear something like this happen to anyone but in particular someone you knew...

What I don't understand is why we don't get any news on the guy who killed her. Or what could have been the motive for it.

Another Asian woman killed by a white man. These two groups sure have a bizarre fetish for each other.

Not exactly clear to me why their ethnicities are mentioned so prominently in the story. Does that somehow make it more tragic?

What's with the racial descriptions?

"Brian Lee Randone, a 45-year-old white man, called 911 to report that his girlfriend of several months was not breathing.

Authorities found Felicia Tang Lee, a 31-year old Asian woman..."

Is there some agenda here?

Frequent readers of the Homicide Report know that from its inception the report gave the race of victims as well as those suspected and/or convicted of the homicides.

The following is from the Homicide Report's FAQ:

The Homicide Report includes information on race or ethnicity in its weekly lists of homicide victims issued by the Los Angeles County coroner, as well as the name, gender and age of each victim, and the time, place and manner of death. A number of readers have asked why race is included. Some have criticized the practice.

Racial information was once routinely included in news stories about crimes, but in recent decades, newspapers and other media outlets stopped mentioning suspects' or victims' race or ethnicity because of public criticism. Newspapers came to embrace the idea that such information is irrelevant to the reporting of crimes, and may unfairly stigmatize racial groups.

The Homicide Report departs from this rule in the interest of presenting the most complete and accurate demographic picture of who is at risk of dying from homicide in Los Angeles County.

To read more about the decision to include race visit the FAQ section:

Anthony Pesce
Los Angeles Times

What's intriguing here is how these two decided that they would make a good couple. As you say, on paper they seem incredibly mismatched. The beautiful model and the preacher. We'll probably never know what they saw in each other. Of course she was very pretty so it's not hard to see what he noticed by the MGM pool. But what did she like about him? Your article doesn't mention motive so we can only speculate. Was she going to leave modeling behind for him? Did he promise her the world? Or did he have nothing to do with her decisions? Perhaps it doesn't really matter now. RIP.

Thank you, Mr. Pesce, for clarifying the reasoning behind including the races of the people involved. I agree.

In a time where other papers give even at-large suspect descriptions so vague (medium height and wearing jeans and a sweatshirt) that we have no clue as to what the person might look like, I appreciate the Times "going against the grain" by reporting the facts completely.

may unfairly stigmatize racial groups. Theyre already stigmatized.

It really seems sometimes that proven until guilty doesn't exist anymore. No one was on this site was there. Spouse/boyfriend is always a suspect doesn't mean there couldn't be a third party involved. She was in the public eye to some extent perhaps a fan or admirer could have broken in and done something like this.

Am I missing something...she looks average to me. Not a raving beauty. Since that's what we are focusing on. Sad to me that two lives come down to who was more atractive.

Rest In Peace Felicia.

how is this murder any different from this one?

1. met in vegas (hmm, what type of people go to vegas and hang out by the pools?)
2. reality shows, trying to be rich & famous based on looks, etc.
3. young selfish vain people (come on Mr. Nebraska and a porn star?)

I would be very surprised if we didn't see this happen again before the year is out. Keep that in mind ladies hanging out at a Vegas pool. What happens in Vegas doesn't always stay in Vegas....

It was so nice of the LA Times to re-report all of the information that the Pasadena Star News report two to three weeks ago.

Way to stay on top of things Times.

When your paper goes bankrupt, and you don't know why, look at this.

You didn't even uncover any new information. You might of well have copied and pasted this.

Congratulations Times

I used to work with Felicia and she was indeed a nice young lady.

So sad. No one wants to die. Hm.... i am sorry for her family and anyone who grieves her.

She meets the guy in Vegas poolside at the MGM Grand and then all of a sudden they move in together. I don't think it is to wise to be moving in with someone you meet at the pool in Vegas after a few weeks. It is sad this happened to her.

I am truly saddened to hear about Felicia's tragic story. She was a sweet,intelligent,radiant,beautiful young lady, who was cut down in the prime of her life. I truly adored this woman and am completely heart-broken that I will never get to see her ever again. May you R.I.P Felicia.


About the Reporters
The Homicide Report is compiled using information from the Los Angeles County coroner's office, local law enforcement agencies and the Los Angeles Times. It is written by Times staff writers.

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