Parents of 2 Murdered Girls Sue for Damages : Father and Mother of Convicted Youth, Condominium Security Firm Named

Times Staff Writer

The parents of two Palos Verdes Peninsula girls who were murdered last May have filed a lawsuit for unspecified damages against the parents of the 17-year-old youth convicted of the killings and a security firm hired to protect the condominium complex where the slayings took place.

The suit, filed March 13 by Allen and Karen MacKnight and Shahla O'Sullivan in Torrance Superior Court, claims that Robert and Shirley Hindmarsh knew of the "dangerous and anti-social propensities" of their son, Kevin Earl Hindmarsh, "and did nothing to prevent (him) from carrying out his heinous activity."

Under state law, parents could be liable for up to $10,000 in damages resulting from the "willful misconduct" of their minor children. The Hindmarshes could not be reached for comment.

The suit also alleges that Graham Security Protective Services in Torrance and guard James Elson Harding were negligent in allowing the attack to take place.

Near Scene

Harding testified during the trial that he saw Hindmarsh near the O'Sullivan home three times on the day of the slayings. He said he threatened to call police if Hindmarsh did not leave, but he never made the call.

John Graham, manager of the security firm, said he had not yet been served with the suit. However, he said it was "ridiculous" to say that Harding was negligent for not calling police.

"The boy (Hindmarsh) lived in a complex next door," Graham said. "All the kids up there go to school together, and go back and forth between the complexes. If we had every kid up there arrested who didn't live there, we'd have squads of sheriffs up there constantly.

"It's fortunate that the guard did see him, or he (Hindmarsh) might have gotten away with it. They shouldn't be suing us."

Meanwhile, Hindmarsh last week was sent to the California Youth Authority for further psychiatric testing. Torrance Superior Court Judge Cecil J. Mills will impose sentence June 14.

Age Consideration

Hindmarsh faces 72 years to life in state prison. Because of his age, Hindmarsh can not be sentenced to death or life imprisonment without the possibility of parole, according to prosecutor Roger Kelly.

Mills said he will also decide June 14 on a motion by Hindmarsh's attorney, Josh Fredricks, for a new trial.

A seven-woman, five-man jury deliberated for three days before finding Hindmarsh guilty on two counts each of murder and sodomy with a foreign object. Hindmarsh did not take the stand during the five-day trial.

Neda O'Sullivan and Kristin Joy MacKnight, both 11, were found beaten and sexually assaulted the afternoon of May 10, 1984, in a condominium in the gated Rancho Palos Verdes Ridgegate complex, where Neda O'Sullivan lived with her mother and a 15-year-old sister.

Neda was already dead when found and Kristin died the next day at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center. The coroner's report said both girls died from multiple skull fractures caused by repeated blows. Investigators believe a bloodied hammer found at the scene was the murder weapon.

Visiting Friend

Kristin, who lived in nearby Rolling Hills Estates, had been visiting Neda, a close friend and classmate at the Dapplegray Intermediate School.

Hindmarsh, who lived in a nearby condominium complex, was a student at Miraleste High School. He had apparently tried to date Neda's sister, Audrey, who was a classmate, Kelly said.

Hindmarsh claimed that he had been at the swimming pool of another nearby condominium complex the day of the slayings, and did not even know where the O'Sullivans lived. However, several witnesses testified that they saw Hindmarsh at the scene, and investigators found Hindmarsh's fingerprints on a drinking glass inside the O'Sullivan home.

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