Doctor a 'subject of interest' in model's slaying, prosecutor says [Updated]
The prosecutor in the case against a woman accused of killing an aspiring model in Santa Monica said on Tuesday that a physician with ties to both the defendant and the victim is a “subject of interest” in the investigation and has fled the country.
[Corrected at 7 p.m.: An earlier version of this post called the physician a "person of interest."]
Those allegations came at a hearing in which bail for the accused woman, Kelly Soo Park, was raised to from $1 million to $3.5 million after prosecutors persuaded the judge that she was a flight risk as well.
Park is accused in the 2008 beating and strangling death of Juliana Redding, a striking 21-year-old Arizona native who had come to Los Angeles to study and pursue work as an actress and model after she was featured for her good looks in a popular men's magazine.
Redding’s battered body was discovered in her apartment after she failed to return phone calls from her family. She had been strangled so fiercely that a bone in her throat was crushed.
The DNA extracted from blood and other bodily material found on Redding’s body and in the apartment was matched to Park’s genetic profile, Jackson said. He went on to accuse Park of a failed plot to destroy evidence of her involvement by blowing up the apartment, saying Park had turned on Redding’s gas stove and lighted a candle before leaving.
The lengthy investigation of the killing by Santa Monica police culminated in June with the arrest of Park and her roommate, Ronnie Wayne Case. Prosecutors decided not to charge Case but said they were continuing to investigate his possible involvement.
In seeking higher bail for Park from Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Keith L. Schwartz, Deputy Dist. Atty. Alan Jackson sought to further establish Park’s close ties to Dr. Munir Uwaydah, a Marina Del Rey physician who Jackson implied played some role in the murder. Uwaydah, according to Jackson, was the only common denominator linking Park to Redding.
Uwaydah dated Redding briefly and had employed Park, paying her $10,000 a month for several years as she worked for him in a vaguely defined capacity, Jackson said.
Park had assisted Uwaydah in running a large medical insurance fraud scam that is currently under investigation and Uwaydah, “bragged to people that he had a ‘female James Bond’ that he could rely on to take care of business,” Jackson told the judge.
Jackson also alleged that Uwaydah transferred $250,000 to Park three weeks before the killing.
[Updated at 7 p.m.: One of Park’s attorneys, Jennifer Keller, tried to poke holes in Jackson’s theory during the hearing, saying that Park worked as Uwaydah’s personal real estate broker, so she frequently received large payments from him as part of transactions.
Uwaydah’s attorney, Henry Fenton, acknowledged that Park worked for Uwaydah, but refuted the allegations against his client: “It’s all baloney, it’s all untrue. Dr. Uwaydah had nothing to do with this case.”
He refused to discuss Uwaydah’s whereabouts.]
-- Joel Rubin