D.A. Drops Transient as Suspect in Murder

Times Staff Writer

Orange County prosecutors said Friday they would not seek murder charges for a third time against a transient in the death of a Los Angeles police officer’s wife.

Citing a lack of evidence and a “re-evaluation of the investigation,” Deputy Dist. Atty. Mel Jensen said Scott Michael Katzin, 19, was no longer considered a suspect.

The decision marked an abrupt turnabout in the investigation of the strangling of Marie Andrea Malmgreen on April 29, 1986.


Prosecutors filed murder and sexual assault charges against Katzin twice, but both times judges dismissed them after preliminary hearings because of lack of evidence.

Malmgreen, 38, was found dead in the back seat of her abandoned car near a Fullerton park. She had disappeared April 22 shortly after taking her teen-age daughter and son, 12, to school.

Katzin was arrested about two months later. After the charges were dismissed the first time, prosecutors immediately refiled them and kept Katzin in jail. He was released after the charges were dismissed the second time, on Aug. 13, 1986.

Jensen said the decision not to pursue the case against Katzin was made early Friday, several hours before a court hearing on reinstating the charges was scheduled.

“It was our decision not to go on. We cannot conscientiously prosecute him,” Jensen said. “We didn’t believe there was sufficient evidence to prosecute. We re-evaluated and intensely investigated this case . . . and were led to the conclusion that we should not proceed against Katzin.”

In a videotaped interview with Fullerton police investigators about a year ago, Katzin said he was present when Malmgreen was sexually assaulted at a local park but denied he had been involved.


During the interrogation, Katzin said he was at Craig Regional Park when he first saw the victim arrive with three men. The woman was attacked when they got out of the car, Katzin said.

Later, however, North Orange County Municipal Judge Daniel T. Brice said it appeared that Katzin had been “fantasizing” and that there was no other evidence to link him directly with the murder.