Man, Teen-Ager Held in Death of Beverly Hills Shop Owner


An Inglewood man and a teen-ager were arrested Thursday in the fatal shooting of a Beverly Hills clothing store owner during an apparent robbery earlier this month, police said.

Beverly Hills police surrounded an apartment in the 300 block of West Hillcrest Boulevard in Inglewood before dawn Thursday and arrested Martin Earl Dawson, 25, and an unidentified 15-year-old boy without incident, police said. They were booked on suspicion of murder and armed robbery in the Dec. 7 slaying of Sherry Morgan.

Morgan, 45, was discovered shot to death in her Olympic Boulevard gown rental shop, Starlit Soiree, which is on the second floor of a mini-mall in Beverly Hills.


Although it did not appear that cash was taken from the small store, robbery apparently was the motive, said Beverly Hills Police Lt. Joe Lombardi. A diamond ring Morgan usually wore was believed to have been taken in the holdup, he said.

Police said physical evidence found in the shop linked Dawson to the crime, but they declined to be specific. A small handgun that matches the caliber of the murder weapon was found in the suspects’ apartment, police said.

Investigators said a person matching the description of Dawson was seen entering Morgan’s store between 6:30 and 7 p.m. the night of the slaying. The man then went into an adjacent jewelry store, apparently casing the area for possible robberies, police said.

Dawson was being held without bail in Beverly Hills Municipal Jail, and the youth has been turned over to Los Angeles County juvenile authorities, police said.