A 44-year-old woman has pleaded not guilty to a murder charge in the death of an aspiring model-actress in Santa Monica two years ago.
Kelly Soo Park of Thousand Oaks was arraigned at the Los Angeles Superior Court Airport Courthouse July 6 in connection with the murder of 21-year-old Juliana Redding. Park, who was arrested by Santa Monica police June 17, is accused of physically assaulting and killing Redding at her Santa Monica apartment on March 15, 2008.
Redding had moved to Southern California from Tucson, AZ to pursue a modeling and acting career.
Santa Monica police arrested Park in Camarillo without incident, along with another suspect, Ronnie Case, who has since been released.
Bail for Park was initially recommended at $1 million but prosecutors have requested that Judge Keith Schwartz increase the amount to $5 million. Schwartz is expected to consider the request at the next scheduled court hearing Tuesday, July 20.
In a bail motion to the judge, the investigating officer in the case alleged that Park had received $250,000 from her employer, Dr. Munir Uwaydah, approximately three weeks before Redding’s murder. Uwaydah was allegedly involved in a business negotiation with the victim’s father that fell apart five days before the homicide, according to the bail motion.
The investigating officer additionally alleged in the bail motion that Uwaydah had paid the suspect’s father $113,400 three days before Park’s arrest.
Henry Fenton, attorney for Uwaydah, has denounced the allegations of his client’s involvement, saying “the whole thing is ridiculous and when all the details come out it will be quite apparent.”
If convicted, Park faces a maximum sentence of 25 years to life in prison, a district attorney spokeswoman said.