Park cries at the reading of the not guilty verdict.
Synopsis of Kelly Soo Park Trial: Part I
I promised T&T readers a synopsis of the trial to better understand the jury’s verdict. The synopsis will be presented in four parts.
Part I: Opening Statements
Part II: Trial Testimony
Part III: Closing Arguments
Part IV: Non-admitted evidence via pretrial motions
Prosecution Opening Statement by Stacy Okun-Wiese
SOW: Juliana Redding spent the last moments of her life, literally fighting to save herself. Juliana Redding unsuccessfully tried to fight off a woman, a woman she did not know, a woman who beat and strangled her until she had her last breath of air, a woman who now sits before this 16 of you in this courtroom, and a woman who needs to be held accountable for her actions on March 15th of 2008. And that person, ladies and gentlemen, is the defendant, Kelly Soo Park.
Okun-Wiese explains the charge, violation of penal code 187, murder, and that it has two elements. That someone was killed and that it was done with malice aforethought. She talks about the court providing them with instructions on the law, and that the court just read them some of those instructions.
Okun-Wiese explains that the court will provide them with jury instructions. She also explains in small detail the type of evidence that will be presented to them: Testimony from witnesses, cell phone records, photographs, recordings. Through this, they will learn the facts of the case on March 15th. The jurors are told that through evidence and testimony, they will be convinced beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant murdered Juliana Redding
A photograph is put up on the overhead screen. It’s a photo of Juliana Redding taken on March 15th, at a restaurant, Tengu, where she had dinner with her friend Kelly Duncan. They were there for two hours. They left the restaurant around 8:15. They each headed for their own homes. At approximately 9:52 PM 911 was dialed from Juliana’s cell phone, but that call never made it through.
SOW: At 9:53 PM that evening a neighbor of Juliana’s by the name of Lynn Parish heard a commotion, yelling and things being thrown from Juliana’s apartment. And she knows that was the time that she heard the commotion because she looked on her cable box. And her husband subsequently called her, and she advised her husband about what she heard.
In the evening of March 16th, Juliana’s mother called Santa Monica Police. Her daughter had missed a photo shoot that day and she had not heard from her daughter. The police performed a welfare check on Juliana.
Santa Monica Police went to the location around 6:00 PM. All the doors and windows were locked and the responding officer couldn’t get inside. He called for assistance and they were able to enter through the rear door.
Upon gaining entry to the apartment, they smelled natural gas. The Santa Monica Fired Department was called. Firefighter Gary Marshal, when he entered the location, he also smelled gas. It was coming from the stove. The right front stove knob was turned to the “ON” position. And he turned it off and opened up the windows.
A diagram of the apartment is put up on the overhead screen. Officers entered through the kitchen to the living room. They observed that the front door knob lock and dead bolt lock were locked from the inside.
To the officers, inside the living room appeared to be evidence of a struggle. ... There was a plate hidden behind the TV stand. There was liquid spilled on the table. The table leg was twisted. They found a chain that was ripped in pieces. One of the pillow cushions, the cover had been taken off. The lamp was unplugged and in an awkward position and that the computer was unplugged from the wall, sitting on the couch. There was a lit candle on the coffee table. A firefighter will testify that the combination of the gas being on and the lit candle could have caused an explosion in that apartment.
SOW: The officers ... found Juliana lying lifeless in her bed. They observed her injuries, her bruises, her abrasions, all over her body.
Okun-Wiese tells the jury that the first officer on the scene called homicide detectives, the coroner, and crime scene investigators. These individuals collected several items of evidence. They recovered Juliana's blackberry cell phone on a table in her bedroom. They collected fingerprints; took hundreds of photographs. They took DNA swabs for comparison. One fingerprint was collected from a plate inside the kitchen sink. The items collected were submitted to the Orange County Crime Lab and numerous items were tested.
Numerous reference samples from different individuals were sent to the crime lab in hopes of determining a match. Okun-Wiese tells the jury about the forensic and DNA testimony they will here. They will learn what it is, how people leave it on items, how it is tested and how profiles are created. Six items were tested for DNA -- there was DNA extracted from these six items: From Juliana’s cell phone, from Juliana’s neck, from Juliana’s tank top, from the right front knob of the stove, from the interior door of Juliana’s apartment, and from the fingerprint that was lifted.
SOW: There were two profiles, a major contributor and a minor contributor. Sometimes in these items Juliana was the major contributor; and sometimes she was the minor contributor. But what the criminalist found out was that the other contributor was a female, and that female contributor was the same for each one of these items.
Okun-Wiese explains about the latent fingerprint lifted from the plate. That examiner Kapala observed what she thought was a spot of blood under the tape, lifted with the latent print. It was sent to the Orange County Crime Lab to be tested. It was blood, and that blood came back to a single source, belonging to a female. That single source also matched the other six items presented to the jury.
SOW: So we have one person for the spot of blood and also for the six items including the cell phone, the tank top and the neck swabs from Juliana.
Okun-Wiese explains that the investigation went on for two years. Reference samples were collected from different subjects. Sometimes those samples came from a cheek swab; sometimes they came from discarded items like a cigarette or wine glass or feminine products. 42 women were eliminated.
Okun-Wiese explains how the investigation fanned out to other people besides women friends of Juliana.
SOW: And what you are going to hear is that there is an individual by the name of Munir Uwaydah. And Juliana dated him and started dating him in July of 2007.
Juliana introduced Uwaydah, a doctor, to her father, Greg Redding. Redding is an Arizona pharmacist. Uwaydah wanted to go into business with Greg Redding. The business venture was Redding would run a pharmacy where Uwaydah would create a pain cream and sell the cream through the pharmacy.
A contract was created and negotiations continued back and forth. Greg Redding, concerned about his daughter, started to investigate Uwaydah. He found out that Uwaydah was married, had children and wasn’t being truthful about his age.
SOW: Greg Redding told his daughter: He said, “I don’t think he is being truthful with you. I found out he is married. I found out he has kids. I don’t think he is being truthful about his age.”
Juliana gets into an argument with Uwaydah and breaks up with him on her 21st birthday. Time passes, and Redding starts up the business negotiations with Uwaydah. Redding asks his daughter if she had any problems with the potential partnership. Her father would be moving to Los Angeles. He would be closer to her. Juliana agrees.
Redding does more research on Uwaydah and he’s uncomfortable with the new information. He decides to back out of the contract. Uwaydah sends a letter to Redding on March 10th, stating everything is fine and wishing Redding success.
When Detective Thompson learns about Uwaydah, she begins to investigate women associated with him. She collects DNA reference samples from five women associated with Uwaydah, through cigarettes, swabs and submits them to the crime lab for testing.
SOW: All of those samples are eliminated except for one person, the defendant.
A reference sample was obtained from the defendant. It matched all the samples collected at the crime scene. The sample from Juliana’s neck. The sample from the cell phone. The sample from the tank top. The sample from the blood found in the fingerprint, that was a single source. The sample that was from the interior front door knob. Okun-Wiese tells the jury they will hear the numbers on those matching from the DNA analyst.
The defendant was arrested on June 18th, 2010 and her fingerprints taken. The prints were entered into AFIS. One of the defendants prints matched the print found in Juliana’s apartment. Two forensic specialists compared the print lifted at the apartment to the defendant and concluded they were a match.
Okun-Wiese asks the jury for their full attention in this case and at the end, she will ask them to find the defendant guilty.
Defense Opening Statement by George Buehler
Buehler explains that he’s not required to give them an opening statement at this time. That he can present one later. He states that he will take a couple of moments and he will be brief. He tells them he’s not going to tell them at this time, everything the evidence will show, but he wants to make a few basic points.
GB: I believe that you will find from the evidence that the forensic evidence, the DNA evidence, the fingerprint, are not conclusive. DNA evidence doesn’t tell you when it got there or how it got there. And that’s important.
Buehler goes onto tell the jury, and he’s emphatic about this point, that there isn’t any evidence to show a reason why Kelly Park would commit such a brutal crime.
GB: She had no connection to Juliana Redding. Those two facts are very important in this case.
Buehler asks them to keep an open mind and to listen carefully to all the evidence.
Kelly Soo Park Trial Synopsis Part II.....
KELLY SOO PARK TRIAL QUICK LINKS