• BREAKING NEWS ABC shows live and on-demand -- Download the WATCH ABC app!

Model beaten, strangled by Kelly Soo Park - prosecutor

May 15, 2013 12:00:00 AM PDT
Five years after an aspiring young model was strangled and beaten in her Santa Monica home, the woman accused of killing her is finally going to trial.

A stunning young woman was the victim of an ugly murder.

Opening statements began Wednesday in downtown Los Angeles. Prosecutor Stacey Okun-Weise told the jury that 21-year-old Juliana Redding was murdered by a woman she did not know.

"A woman who beat and strangled her until she had her last breath of air," Okun-Weise said.

But the defense says Kelly Soo Park had no motive.

"They have no evidence, and you'll see that there's no evidence, that shows that Kelly Park would have any reason to commit a brutal crime like this," attorney George Buehler said.

Park, 47, allegedly acted as a type of enforcer, according to court documents, using threats, intimidation and bullying on behalf of Dr. Munir Uwaydah. Uwaydah briefly dated Redding, a cover girl for Maxim magazine who also got a part in the indie movie "Kathy T."

Uwaydah had also recruited Redding's father, a pharmacist, for a business venture. But when Redding's father backed out of the business deal in March 2008, Juliana Redding was found dead five days later.

The prosecutor says it took two years to find a suspect. Investigators first tested the DNA of 40 women Redding knew, but found nothing. Then detectives turned to Uwaydah's associates, and Park was linked to the murder through DNA evidence.

But Park's attorney questions the evidence.

"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," Buehler said.

The doctor was never charged in the case. He has since moved to Lebanon.

Load Comments