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Fugitive in Woman’s Killing Is Apprehended in Texas

SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

A fugitive wanted for the murder of a teen-ager in his Valley Village apartment was being transported by police to Los Angeles last night after being arrested Nov. 24 by federal officials in Texas, authorities said.

Douglas Oliver Kelly, who has been charged in the September murder of Sara Weir, was apprehended the day before Thanksgiving by U.S. Customs agents as he attempted to cross the border into Mexico from Laredo, Tex., according to Tom Mitchell, supervisor of the booking division of the Webb County Sheriff’s Department.

In a potential death penalty case, Kelly--a 35-year-old man with a history of violence against women--faces charges of murdering Weir, 19. Weir was a Warner Bros. production assistant who had hired Kelly to be her personal trainer at the now-closed Family Workout fitness center in Burbank.

The victim, who was reared in Thousand Oaks, was reported missing Sept. 7. Her naked body was found on Sept. 15 by Kelly’s former girlfriend in the suspect’s apartment in the 4900 block of Laurel Canyon Boulevard.

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Weir’s decomposing body was riddled with stab wounds that a court document indicates were caused by a pair of scissors. Authorities also have said that Weir was strangled.

The criminal complaint filed by Deputy Dist. Atty. Kathleen M. Cady charges that Weir was murdered during the course of a rape, a special circumstance that could lead to the death penalty. But the prosecutor acknowledged Thursday that so far there is little physical evidence to support the assault contention and said she still is waiting for results of a medical examination that may prove Weir was sexually assaulted.

The woman who made the grisly discovery had lived in the apartment until she had Kelly arrested Aug. 31 for beating her. Kelly pleaded guilty the next day and was sentenced to probation and community service.

Kelly was released from county jail Sept. 1, even though officials in Miami Beach, Fla., had issued a warrant for his arrest on charges that he raped a woman there in 1991. Los Angeles police officials said they did not make the connection to the earlier warrant because Kelly gave a different birth date when he was arrested for beating his live-in girlfriend.

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Court records indicate Weir also had been convicted in Florida in 1988 on charges of sexual assault with physical force.

LAPD Lt. Ron LaRue confirmed Thursday that Kelly was in custody, but he said he could not provide many details on how the fugitive was arrested.

“I don’t have the exact circumstances of his arrest,” LaRue said, promising that more details would become available today when the investigating officers returned to their post at the North Hollywood station.

Detectives Mike Coffey and Steve Hooks were dispatched to Texas on Tuesday to interview and transport Kelly, who apparently waived extradition, LaRue said. Kelly was turned over to Coffey and Hooks at Laredo Airport at 10 a.m. Thursday, Mitchell said.

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Times staff writer Timothy Williams contributed to this story.


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