Kelly Soo Park
(Photo courtesy Santa Monica Police Department)
BY ASSOCIATED PRESS & TIMES BULLETIN REPORTS
LOS ANGELES (AP) - A woman charged in the 2008 murder of an aspiring model-actress whose body was discovered in her Santa Monica apartment received hundreds of thousands of dollars from a business associate of the victim's father, according to a published report.
Kelly Soo Park, 44, was charged in June in the death of 21-year-old Juliana Redding.
Prosecutors said Park was paid $250,000 three weeks before the killing, and her family received another payment of $113,400 days before her arrest, The Los Angeles Times reported.
Prosecutors said the money came from Park's employer, Dr. Munir Uwaydah, a Marina del Rey physician who was involved in a failed business deal with the victim's father, Greg Redding. Uwaydah was convicted in 2005 of defrauding a medical supply company of nearly $1 million and currently is being investigated for possibly filing millions of dollars in fraudulent insurance claims, The Times reported.
Uwaydah was formerly a physician at Van Wert County Hospital from February of 1999 to June of 2000.
Uwaydah's attorney, Henry Fenton, said in June his client had nothing to do with the murder. Fenton said he was unaware of any of the allegations about the payment to Park or fraud. At the time according to the attorney, Uwaydah was traveling outside the country and unreachable. As of Thursday, he still had not been reached.
This week Park was brought back to court as prosecutors sough to increase her bail. They claimed that Uwaydah might pay to get her out of jail and then find a way to sneak her out of the U.S. as well. The court raised her bail from $1 million to $3.5 million.
Redding's body was discovered March 16, 2008, after her mother called authorities to say she was unable to reach her. Redding moved from Arizona to Santa Monica to pursue her acting and modeling career. She had a role in a small 2005 movie, and was featured in a photo layout in Maxim magazine, winning one of the magazine's "Hometown Hottie" contests.
Greg Redding, was "involved in a business negotiation with Dr. Uwaydah that fell apart ... five days before the murder charged in this case," Santa Monica Detective Karen Thompson wrote in a bail motion.
The Times reported Park received a monthly salary of $10,000 as Uwaydah's employee in addition to the two lump-sum payments police believe the doctor made. Police also said records from Uwaydah's office showed he made a third payment of an unknown amount to a South Korean bank account in Park's name days before she was arrested.
Information from: Los Angeles Times, http://www.latimes.com