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Suspect charged in rape, slaying of pregnant Venice woman spent time at state mental facility [Updated]

December 10, 2009 | 11:11 am

Lanow.stab

A man accused of raping and fatally stabbing a Venice woman who was four months pregnant with twins spent time at a state mental facility earlier this year, according to law enforcement sources.

[Updated at 11:26 p.m.: Boneetio Kentro Washington of Culver City was charged with capital murder and will be arraigned later today.]

LAPD detectives said they are trying to determine whether he is connected to other crimes in the area.

Eun Kang, a 38-year-old owner of a Beverly Hills dry cleaning business, was sexually assaulted and stabbed to death in her apartment in the 1600 block of Electric Avenue late Tuesday night.

Police said they believe the attack was random and that Kang didn’t know Washington. Santiago Ortiz, 62, who lived in the same apartment complex as Kang, said he did not see her very often because “she worked all the time.”

He said that when she ran into him, she always said hello with a smile. Ortiz said Kang moved in several years ago and lived in the apartment by herself.

“She was quiet and friendly,” he said. “I felt very sad that something so disturbing happened to her. It’s terrible.”

Kang was the owner of P-1 Cleaners. Neighboring business owners said they brought their clothes to her store. Nancy Josephson, owner of Davida’s Gift Shop on the floor above P-1 Cleaners, said she saw Kang frequently in the business complex and that the two would exchange a few words about the remodeling in the building.

She said she hadn’t seen Kang for a few days, but didn’t think much of it.

“She was a very nice girl,” Josephson said. “We didn’t know anything had happened to her.” Josephson said Kang worked at the dry cleaners by herself.

She said Kang used to practice playing drums when she didn’t have clients and was finished with her work.

Anita Hall, an accountant at Bachrach Associates and Insurance Services, said she was supposed to pick up a piece of dry cleaning today. “That’s crazy,” she said after she learned of what happened to Kang. “I didn’t even know her first name.”

Washington had previous arrests for burglary and trespassing but nothing in his past that appeared to show a predisposition to the kind of violence he is now accused of committing, sources familiar with the case told The Times.

The sources asked not to be identified because the investigation was continuing. They stressed, however, that the case was in its preliminary stages and further information could be developed.

Court records show that Washington previously pleaded no contest to one count of residential burglary that was committed in December 2008. The case was delayed after a doctor testified that Washington was not mentally competent to stand trial. Washington was committed to Patton State Mental Hospital on July 7. On Sept. 18, Washington returned to court with a certification from the facility that he was mentally able to stand trial.

He pleaded no contest to first-degree residential burglary and was placed on formal probation before his release from custody on the basis of previous time served and credit for work and good behavior.

Neighbors on Electric Avenue -- across the way from an industrial yard and just a block off the chic Abbot Kinney neighborhood -- came by throughout the morning to see the victim's home.

Erika Martinez, 25, stood outside her office just down the street from Kang's duplex, shaken by the morning's news.

"Usually my bosses don't want me to leave after them," said Martinez, an office manager at a Venice production company. "Now it's even more so; you have to be aware of your surroundings. Its scary. "

[Updated at 3:56 p.m., Dec. 16: An earlier version of this post reported incorrectly that the victim was two months pregnant.]

-- Andrew Blankstein and My-Thuan Tran in Los Angeles, Robert Faturechi and Robert J. Lopez in Venice

Photo: A memorial with incense and fresh flowers sits outside the home of Eun Kang. Credit: Spencer Weiner / Los Angeles Times

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