Accomplice in Deaths of 2 Students Gets 53 Years to Life
Saying that Damon L. Redmond was as responsible as the actual gunman for the 1985 execution-style murders of two college sweethearts who were abducted near UCLA, a judge Wednesday sentenced the South-Central Los Angeles man to 53 years to life in state prison for his role in the crimes.
Santa Monica Superior Court Judge Leslie W. Light imposed the sentence on Redmond, 24, who was convicted Dec. 1 of two counts each of murder, kidnaping, auto theft and arson in the deaths of UCLA freshman Michelle Anne Boyd, 19, and Cal State Northridge sophomore Brian Edward Harris, 20.
Authorities said Redmond was one of four men who on Sept. 30, 1985, commandeered Harris’ Honda near Boyd’s apartment in Westwood, forced Harris into the trunk of the auto and drove the couple to a secluded field off Mulholland Drive in the Santa Monica Mountains. There, the two were shot in the back of the head.
Deputy Dist. Atty. Harvey Giss, who prosecuted the case, said the men wanted to use the Honda for a liquor store robbery in Barstow that they eventually decided against.
‘Series of Choices, Consequences’
In a heavily guarded courtroom, the judge told Redmond that life is a “series of choices and consequences.”
“You made a choice to go with Mr. (alleged triggerman Stanley) Davis” into the secluded field, Light said. “You didn’t have to.
“Why didn’t you at that point bail out, hail a cab and go home?”
Redmond, dressed in a blue jail jumpsuit, did not answer.
“It’s not my responsibility to bring those two kids back to their families,” the judge added. “Society has told me that my job . . . is to punish Mr. Redmond.”
With that, Light sentenced Redmond to two 25-year-to-life sentences for the murder convictions, to be served consecutively, and two years for arson. The judge also added one year to one murder sentence because a gun was involved.
Redmond admitted during the trial that he torched the Honda to cover up the abduction but denied that he was in the field when the two were shot.
Prosecutors said they did not seek the death penalty because Redmond was not the gunman. Giss said he would seek the death penalty for Davis, 23, when his trial begins Feb. 27.
Redmond was convicted after one of the four involved in the slayings, DeAndre Brown, 24, was given immunity from prosecution and testified that Redmond was instrumental in commandeering Harris’ auto and then walking the couple into that vacant field near the Sepulveda Pass.
The fourth man, Donald Bennett, 23, pleaded guilty early this year to second-degree murder and was sentenced to 18 years to life in state prison.
Wednesday’s sentencing followed dramatic appeals by the mothers of the slain couple for maximum sentences.
‘We Answer Yes and No’
“Friends and acquaintances ask us if Mr. Redmond’s conviction helps us feel better,” said Christine Boyd of Westlake Village, the mother of Michelle Boyd. “We answer yes and no.
“No, because nothing can ever be done to eliminate the undercurrent of sadness that entwines our lives. And yes . . . because Mr. Redmond will be in prison, unable to cause the incompleteness in another family.”
Brian Harris’ mother, Mary C. Harris of Thousand Oaks, spoke directly to Redmond at one point.
“You hold the secret to the last minutes of their lives and we resent the fear and terror you subjected these two such gentle and loving people to,” she said. “It is inconceivable that you walked out there with Mr. Davis and words were not spoken between the two of you, that you did not know what was going to happen, that you simply turned and walked away.
“In doing so, you turned your back on Brian and Michelle.”