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

July 27, 2009 | 10:18 am

The  man who was arrested in connection with the slaying of 17-year-old Lily Burk is a transient with a history of violent crimes and drug problems, law enforcement sources told The Times.

Thumb 10-22-28Charlie Samuel, 50,  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 believed the motive was robbery and that Burk appeared to have been abducted from that area.

Charlie Samuel was arrested at 5:30 p.m. Friday on suspicion of possessing drugs and drug paraphernalia  on 3rd Street in downtown Los Angeles -- at least 12 hours before Lily's body was discovered nearby in her black Volvo at 5th and Alameda streets.

 Los Angeles Assistant Police Chief Earl Paysinger said metro officers detained Samuel, suspecting he had been involved in other criminal activity. The officers canvassed the area, looking for evidence of a possible crime but didn’t discover anything out of the ordinary, Paysinger said.

Police said Burk left her Los Feliz home at about 2:30 p.m. Friday to run an errand for her mother. She had gone to the law school.

Sometime after 2:30 p.m., Burk made two phone calls to her parents, asking how to get money from an ATM using her credit card. Police said they believed Burk’s death resulted from a “botched robbery.”

Her body was found at about 6 a.m. Saturday in the passenger seat of her black Volvo near Alameda and 5th streets. Investigators said it appeared Burk died from blunt force trauma and said there were signs of a struggle inside the car.

Updated, 6:30 p.m.: Sources familiar with his criminal past say he has been arrested previously for assault with a deadly weapon, kidnapping and robbery. He has spent several years in state prison. However, his convictions are more limited and include robbery of an inhabited dwelling, burglary and petty theft.  

According to law enforcement records, Samuel also had been arrested April 23 on Lankershim Boulevard in North Hollywood on a parole violation.

He listed his occupation to police as a recycler. According to a law enforcement source, Samuel entered a drug treatment program after that arrest. He had been released from state prison in February, where he was serving time after an arrest for petty theft with a  prior conviction, law enforcement sources said.

He was booked on suspicion of murder and was being held without bail.

-- Richard Winton and  Ari B. Bloomekatz

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.