SANTA MONICA (CBSLA.com) — Jurors Tuesday found Kelly Soo Park not guilty of both first- and second-degree murder in the death of an aspiring actress and model.
Park, 47, had been charged in the 2008 murder of then 21-year-old Juliana Redding.READ MORE: Activists Protesting LA County Sheriff's Department Briefly Stopped Traffic, No Arrests Were Made
Flowers were left by supporters at the Santa Monica apartment where Redding, a one-time Maxim Magazine model, was found dead March 16, 2008.
Jurors first found Park not guilty of first-degree murder when a verdict was read at 9:30 a.m.
Attorneys in the trial then made additional arguments to them before deliberations on the lesser charge resumed after 10 a.m. Park was acquitted of second-degree murder around 11 a.m.
Video from the courtroom showed an emotional outburst from family and friends of the victim.
According to a witness, Juliana Redding’s mother continued to shout at the defense attorney, George Buehler, in the hallway of the courtroom.
Attorney Buehler told KCAL9’s Dave Lopez that the defense team was confident in their case and his client was “very happy” at the verdict.
Park was led by deputies out a back way into a basement area, and driven out a back route from the courthouse.
Neither her family nor the family of the victim spoke to reporters.READ MORE: Santa Monica Protestors Fighting Planned Demolition Of Several Historic High School Campus Buildings
Prosecutors issued a statement that read in part: “we believe in our case and the strength of our evidence.”
Jurors declined interview requests from both the prosecution and the defense to speak about the verdict.
Prosecutors said Park was paid $1 million to kill Redding by a wealthy doctor involved in a business deal gone bad with Redding’s father.
The doctor was never charged in the crime, and has since left the country.
Evidence was presented during trial that said Park’s DNA was found on the victim’s cell phone, T-shirt and neck.
Defense attorneys for Park argued that the case was largely circumstantial, and that the presence of DNA evidence did not explain how or when it got there.
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