Police Sketch of Suspect in Clerk’s Slaying Is Released

Times Staff Writer

Police released a composite sketch Thursday of a man suspected of killing a gas station clerk in Sherman Oaks.

The victim, Richard Nesel, 44, of Van Nuys, died after fighting with a customer on March 9, said Los Angeles Police Det. Al Aldaz.

The suspect is white, 35 to 40 years old with a thick mustache and black hair, graying at the temples. He is 5 feet, 9 inches to 6 feet tall and muscular, Aldaz said.

He left the station in a dark green or black midsize sport utility vehicle, witnesses said.


At a news conference Thursday at the police station in Van Nuys, Aldaz was flanked by Nesel’s mother, Dorris Nesel; a sister, Janet Nesel; two of the victim’s three sons; and their mother, Sonia Escalante.

Janet Nesel appealed to the public for information: Even if you don’t have anything that you think is significant, could you please call the police so we can have some closure.

Nesel was working in the convenience store at a Mobil gas station in the 4500 block of North Sepulveda Boulevard when police got a call about 4:30 p.m. reporting a fight there, Aldaz said.

Officers found Nesel unconscious and not breathing. He had been bludgeoned, police said, but no weapon was found.


Witnesses described a customer they had seen leaving in the SUV.

Nesel died at a hospital. A specific cause of death has not been determined, Aldaz said.

Anyone with information is asked to call Van Nuys homicide detectives at (818) 756-8370 during business hours or (877) 529-3855 during nights or weekends.