SANTA MONICA—Juliana Redding, 21, was an aspiring actress and model from Tuscan, Arizona who was brutally strangled and beaten to death in her Santa Monica apartment in March 2008. The alleged murderer in the case is now on trial.
Nearly two years after Redding’s murder, Kelly Soo Park was named the prime suspect and was arrested on charges of voluntary manslaughter in 2010.
Redding (left) was allegedly murdered by Park (right): Photos courtesy of Santa Monica Police Department
With the trial officially beginning, Park is making new allegations that Redding’s boyfriend, John Gilmore, may have been behind the murder. The defense is using evidence of Gilmore’s past abuse with former girlfriends, including a history of domestic violence and threats he had allegedly made to his fiancÃ©e, Melissa Ayala.
Ayala reportedly told officials that Gilmore had choked her at one point in their relationship. During Friday’s hearing, Ayala pleaded the fifth and made no comments on the incident.
The prosecution is claiming that there is a lack of evidence against Gilmore and that Santa Monica Police investigated Gilmore at the time and cleared him of any involvement in the murder. Unless Ayala speaks to the abuse charges, there will be no evidence to allow further questioning into Gilmore.
On Monday, May 13, jury selection began for the murder trial. It has been five years since Redding’s murder and three years since Park was arrested.
Redding was found dead in her Santa Monica apartment on Saturday, March 15, 2008 and it is unclear how long she had been dead before police arrived. According to sources, friends and family tried calling Redding and when she didn’t answer, they called the police.
According to officials, Redding attempted to contact the police, but someone in her home grabbed the phone and hung up. Park allegedly entered Redding’s home where she assaulted her, resulting in her death.
No motive has been made clear regarding Park’s involvement. There are allegations that there was a business deal gone wrong between Redding’s father and a doctor whom Park worked for. Park reportedly confronted the aspiring actress regarding the stalled business deal and this led to a confrontation and ultimately, Redding’s death.
Park pleaded not guilty to the murder and is the lone suspect on trial. Jury selection is currently underway.