Murdered in Santa Monica apartment

DOWNTOWN LOS ANGELES (KABC) — Closing arguments wrapped up Wednesday in the trial of Kelly Soo Park, who is accused of murdering an aspiring fashion model in the victim’s Santa Monica apartment in 2008. The case is now in the hands of the jury. Prosecutors said Park, 47, acted as an enforcer for Dr. Munir Uwayda, who had dated 21-year-old Julianna Redding. They allege Uwayda paid Park more than $1 million for the murder before he fled the country. The deputy district attorney Wednesday described how the Park overpowered Redding and strangled her, leaving Park’s fingerprints and blood in the home, as well as her DNA on Redding’s neck and cellphone. Uwaydah had also recruited Redding’s father, a pharmacist, for a business venture. But when Redding’s father backed out of the business deal in March 2008, Redding was found dead five days later.
Park’s defense attorney says the DNA and fingerprints are not conclusive and that Park simply isn’t strong enough to kill someone with her bare hands. Investigators first tested the DNA of 40 women Redding knew, but found nothing. Then detectives turned to Uwaydah’s associates, and Park was linked to the murder through DNA evidence. It took two years to identify Park as a suspect. Redding’s modeling career was on the rise. She appeared in a Maxim magazine spread and also landed a small role in an independent movie. Uwaydah was never charged in the case. He has since moved to Lebanon.

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