by Donna Pendergast
In 2005 Juliana Redding moved from Tucson Arizona to California to pursue her life long dream of an acting and modeling career. The aspiring actress paid her rent working as a waitress in a Tapas bar while she dabbled in modeling and acting. Big time stardom eluded her although she was featured in a photo layout in Maxim magazine where she won a "Hometown Hotties" contest. She also had a bit part in a movie with the dubious name of Kathy T Gives Good Hoover.
On March 16, 2008, 21-year-old Juliana was found dead in her upscale rented Santa Monica apartment. For over two years police have revealed few details about her death saying only that her death was the result of "an assault" and citing "obvious physical trauma" to her body. They have not released information as to whether a weapon was used in this assault, stating that such details could jeopardize the ongoing investigation. That may all be about to change.
Two weeks ago police arrested a 44-year-old female, Kelly Soo Park (pictured right), after using DNA to link her to what has been reported as a murder-for-hire plot. She was charged with Murder with Special Circumstances and and Conspiracy. Park's roommate, 34-year-old Ronnie Wayne Case, was also arrested but later released from custody pending further investigation after the District Attorney's office declined to file charges. Santa Monica police say that there may be more arrests in the case but have been tight lipped as to who may be implicated and when further arrests may occur. Park faces 25 years to life in prison if she is convicted.
So what was the motive for this murder alleged to have been perpetrated by a female hit woman?
In a bail motion obtained by the Los Angeles Times which was filed in the Los Angeles Circuit Court, it was alleged that three weeks before Redding's murder Park received $250,000 from her employer, Dr. Munir Uwaydah, a Marina Del Ray orthopedic surgeon, who is said to specialize in pediatric orthopedic surgery. Uwaydah is described as a former business partner of Redding's father. It has also been reported that Uwaydah wired an additional $113,000 to Park's relatives through a South Korean bank just days before Park's June 18th arrest. Uwaydah, who is traveling outside of the country and said to be unreachable, has claimed through his lawyer that he knows nothing of the murder. Circumstances may prove otherwise.
In 2005, Dr. Uwaydah was found liable in a civil matter of defrauding a medical supply company of nearly $1 million. He was adjudged to have committed fraud according to California Medical Board records. He is currently is being investigated for insurance fraud for possibly filing millions of dollars of fraudulent claims. It has been reported that Dr. Uwaydah was involved in a failed business deal with the victim's father, Greg Redding, which fell apart a few days before Redding's murder. Details of that failed deal have been held under tight wraps by police who are investigating the matter.
After being postponed last week, Park's arraignment has been rescheduled for today. She is being held on no bond with the Circuit Court judge indicating at a hearing last week that a separate hearing will need to be held to determine that any future bail money would come from a legitimate source of money. We will be keeping on top of this fascinating case as the details continue to emerge.
STATEMENTS MADE IN THIS POST ARE MY OWN AND DO NOT REFLECT THE VIEWS, OPINION, OR POSITION OF THE MICHIGAN ATTORNEY GENERAL OR THE MICHIGAN DEPARTMENT OF ATTORNEY GENERAL