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OJAI : Man Faces Trial in Woman’s Death

A Los Angeles man was ordered Monday to stand trial in Ventura County Superior Court for the slaying of a woman whose body was dumped north of Ojai in December.

After presiding at a two-day preliminary hearing, Ventura County Municipal Court Judge Kenneth W. Riley decided there was enough evidence to try Louis H. Gary, 42, in the death of Najat Chehade, 26. The case has been assigned to Superior Court Judge Lawrence Storch.

Chehade’s body was found Dec. 17 along California 33. She had been strangled about 16 hours earlier, investigators said.

Police witnesses testified that a key found in the victim’s pocket opened Gary’s post office box in Rancho Palos Verdes.

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That led investigators to Gary’s downtown Los Angeles apartment, where a doorman identified Chehade as a frequent visitor.

Witnesses testified that Chehade was a drug addict and prostitute who had been staying with Gary and using his apartment to entertain customers.

Deputy Dist. Atty. Carol J. Nelson also presented testimony that Gary sent his business partner a facsimile message shortly after the slaying, saying he was in trouble.

Gary disappeared after the slaying and was arrested last month in Boise, Ida.

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He is being held in the Ventura County Jail on $1-million bail.


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