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Lily Burk encountered suspect near law school, sources tell The Times

A 50-year-old man arrested in connection with the slaying of 17-year-old Lily Burk encountered the girl near the Southwestern University School of Law on Wilshire Boulevard, law enforcement sources told The Times.


Burk had gone to the campus at the old Bullock's Wilshire building Friday to collect some papers for her mother, an attorney who worked there. The sources, who spoke on the condition that they not be named because the investigation was ongoing, told The Times that detectives believe the motive was robbery and that Burk appears to have been abducted from that area. 

Burk's body was found about 6 a.m. Saturday in the passenger seat of her black Volvo on the fringe of downtown Los Angeles, near Alameda and 5th streets. It was not immediately clear how the vehicle got to that location, which is several miles east of the law school. The car was parked in a lot surrounded by warehouses and lofts. Investigators said it appeared she had died from blunt force trauma and that there were signs of a struggle inside the car.

-- Richard Winton, Ari B. Bloomekatz and Andrew Blankstein

More on the Lily Burk case:

Lily Burk encountered suspect near law school, sources tell The Times

Suspect in Lily Burk's slaying has history of violent crimes, drug problems

Friends and family mourn Lily Burk

Girl, 17, found dead in downtown L.A.

Comments () | Archives (61)

If it is proven in a court of law that this is the man who killied Lily Burke then I hope he gets the death penalty. What a terrible crime and a tragic loss. My condolences to her family.

What a beautiful and radiant spirit. May she rest in peace. I pray for her family. This must be so difficult for them.

A 50 year old? Oh my. That's beyond the pale. I was thinking teenager. Excuse me, all teenagers.

I am truely appalled at the many murders that have been taking place in the last few months! Innocent people are dieing because of self-centered and evil so-called-humans. I simply cannot fathom taking someone's life no matter what. Then, these people claim "insanity" and/or "not guilty". The laws should be changed to where the culprits are immediately punished and the trials bypassed, especially when the identity of the killer is KNOWN! ! "Innocent until proven guilty" has become a big farce....the law KNOWS who the killer is, yet, the families of the victims must be "punished" by court appearances and further heartache with plea deals! Not to mention the great expense to the taxpayers!!

may peace and comfort come to the victim's family. god bless this young lady on her journey.

I'd love to hear someone defend how this horrible crime does not deserve death penalty consideration.

Very tragic indeed. However, Mom's gotta take some responsibility in choosing to let her 17-year-old girl run errands for her in an expensive car in downtown LA. I don't care how mature she was, a 17-year old girl is too naive and out of her league alone in the big city. The wild animal was probably following her and she didn't even realize it.

The sad thing is that if this guy hasn't did this before, then the only justice we'll get is him spending the rest of his life in prison even though we would love to see the death penalty in this case - My condolence to her parents

Matthew, the death penalty does not deter criminals. The majority of counties have now abolished the death penalty. The death penalty is a violation of fundamental rights - the right to life and the right not to be subjected to cruel, inhuman, and degrading punishment. An eye for an eye? We're not in the Dark Ages anymore. Why should we as a society do to the criminal what we consider horrific in the first place? What this man did was disgusting; to put him to death is simply mirroring what he did and condoning the violence.

Marc, I think your totally wrong. Expensive car? It was a old volvo...She might have been very mature, and going to run some errands is NOT a big deal. This guy should not be on the street, he actually should be DEAD. Who would think a girl would get abducted in daylight on Wilshire. Come on man, don't blame the mom...blame the freakin guy.

So some one says the mother must take some of the blame? Believe me my friend, she is already doing so and will blame herself for the rest of her life.

What an awful tragedy, but wow, these comments are awful.

How is innocent until proven guilty a farce? And death penalty? Come on that does not bring the girl back. What is wrong with a civilized society logically investigating the crime, finding the suspected perpetrator, presenting evidence that persuades a jury of the accused that the suspect committed the crime and then removing that person from society by placing the person in incarceration for the rest of his/her life?

The difference between a crazed killer and a just society, is that the society must act deliberately, with prudence, fairly, and accurately. Furthermore, a civilized society is above a crazed criminal in that it does not indiscriminately punish people.

If we abort a deliberate justice system and/or kill a killer, society is no better than the killer it punished.

Let's not tarnish the law or this girl's memory by bringing or society down to the level of the killer.

Mark from OC - That really isn't fair to blame the mother. The girl lived in Los Feliz, which is not too far from the law school. She's probably used to navigating around the city. Being from OC, you might think all of LA is crime-ridden. I work near the law school and walk around there all the time. It's not Irvine, but it's not as dangerous during day time as you may imagine. It's just an unfortunate turn of events that could happen in the safest part of the city. We moms have enough guilt to last us a life time without you adding to it.

Wow, exc. work LAPD, I wonder why murders go unsolved for years on end in minority communities, when it is obvious that investigative tactics work when they are applied. Can someone help me understand why that is?

This young lady's victimization was front and center in the papers, on line, and on the radio until the case was brought to this conclusion, a 44 year old Hispanic was hit over the head with a bottle and murdered, and had it not been for LA's Homicide report, I would have never known it.

Is there less value placed on the lives of Hispanics and Blacks in America?

The comments about laying blame on the mother are shockingly cruel and insensitive.

By all accounts, this was a smart, aware young woman. No doubt she had been to her mom's office before and her mother would have made her aware of the character of the neighborhood. People are victims of senseless crimes of violence every day and the blame must lie squarely at the door of the perpetrator.

Please don't add to this family's terrible grief by standing in judgment on their parenting skills.

Matthew, the death penalty is the easy way out for them. You punish the mind in prison with a cell by yourself with little human contact.

My heart is breaking for this young woman's family and friends. Blessed be.

Don't blame the mom. That's absurd. 17 is old enough to be driving into DT L.A. especially when one lives in Los Feliz. I'm sick of people who infantize everyone under 21. It's a joke. Do you remember how much freedom we had when we were 17 (those of us 35 years old and above)?

The death penalty is not the answer. It's a violation of fundamental rights - the right to life and the right not to be subjected to cruel, inhuman, and degrading punishment. What this man did was horrific, but we are simply lowering ourselves to react like a medieval lynching mob and kill him in return. Most countries have abolished the death penalty- go see "The Stoning of Soraya M" if you'd like to see what killing another human in revenge is like. It is indeed tragic what happened to this girl; but the death penalty is not the solution and will not unfortunately deter criminals, as has been proven. My sympathies to the family, truly, it's just so sad.

Mark in OC, I agree with you. I also grew up in Los Feliz but my mom would NEVER, EVER have let me drive over to Southwestern Law School on my own at 17. She wouldn't "let" me go down there alone now 20 years later if she has a say in it. It's not the best area for a lone female, maybe a lone person of either gender. I'm sorry this happened to Lily. She looked like a lovely girl but I hope this reminds parents and others that some areas are just not safe to be alone in.

That said, I hope that man gets the death penalty - hanging out in a bad area is no excuse for murder nor is poverty, drug addiction or anything else. I'm not advocating robbery but he could have just pushed her out of the car, she would have gotten home scared and shaken up but alive. He still got caught, thank goodness.

My sincere condolences to her family.

I do not mean to stir up anything but isn’t also tragic that similar crimes to this one; where the victims are African American or Latino do not get nearly the same media coverage.

The loss of innocent life is always tragic and sad. I too grieve for the family and the loss of their child.

Sadly these are everyday occurrences in "the big city". The differentiating point here is race and class. This story has "legs" because this pretty, rich, little white girl was killed on the seedy side of town.

You watch how fast LAPD moves on this one and how much ink it gets.

Classic story. Sad but true.

As a downtown LA resident, I am especially saddened by this. No one is to blame except the criminal, for his own actions. To the mother and father, God Bless you, I pray for your comfort. I am so very sorry.

Mark from the O.C.,

You might want to spend some time on the other side of the Orange Curtain. The law school isn't in bad part of town. It's next door to the L.A. County of Museum of Art and half a block from the Petersen Automotive Museum.

Do really think the car made that much difference? She could have been in a Honda Civic and probably still would have been attacked.

NinaK, your remarks are the foundation of justice in places like China and South Korea. Please move there if you believe so little in the legal system here. Innocent people have been convicted and imprisoned because of wrongdoing or mistakes made by police and prosecutors. Without the rule of law in this country, there is no such thing as justice.

The prosecutor can and probably will seek the death penalty. A child was murdered during the commission of other felonies.

How can a 50 year-old man have such disrespect for human life? Most crimes of this type are committed by stupid young men who are flooded with rage and hormones but a 50 year-old? By his age most people are far beyond that stage and are beginning to sense their own mortality. If the motive was robbery, why did he have to kill her? It doesn't make sense but, if he did it, he knew exactly what he was doing and should pay the ultimate price.

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