Pair Who Posed as Car Buyers Convicted in Owner’s Killing : Courts: Separate juries return guilty verdicts in the first-degree murder cases that began with a newspaper advertisement for a used Datsun sports car in North Hollywood.
Two men were convicted Friday of fatally shooting a North Hollywood man and stealing a $2,000 car he advertised for sale.
Two separate juries who heard the case in the same San Fernando Superior Court found Kent Derek Parrish, 22, of West Los Angeles and Ronald Lewis Fort, 21, of Culver City guilty of first-degree murder and robbery.
Richard Ronald Davis, 19, was shot Sept. 17, 1989, when he tried to prevent Fort and Parrish from stealing his red 1973 Datsun 240-Z.
The men had posed as prospective car buyers and committed the crimes after taking the vehicle for a test drive.
Parrish, who fired the gun, faces a maximum sentence of 28 years to life, said his attorney, Kenneth P. Lezin.
Fort, his accomplice, faces a maximum of 26 years to life, Lezin said.
The juries took less than a day to convict the two men, who were arrested about three weeks after the crime during a routine traffic stop.
They had repainted the car and replaced its vehicle identification number, but patrol officers determined it was Davis’ after checking a secondary identification number.
Publicity about the killing generated public concern because newspaper advertisements are a common method of selling used cars.
Police advised auto sellers to have a friend or relative meet strangers, for identification purposes, before going on a test drive.
Police advised sellers to avoid being outnumbered by potential buyers, to write down the license plate number of the vehicle potential buyers arrive in, and to follow a timed route on test drives so that someone at home would know if they were late returning.