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Venice landlord describes attack on victim of rape-slaying

Arnold Springer, the landlord of a small apartment complex a block from Venice’s trendy Abbot Kinney Boulevard, was sitting in his bedroom Tuesday night when he began to hear noises.

First a rustling sound he thought might be a raccoon, then a high-pitched squeal. Finally, an unmistakable human scream that had him out the door with a flashlight to investigate.

What he saw horrified him.

Peering into the window of his neighbor, a 38-year-old woman who was four months pregnant with twins, he saw a man raping her as she screamed for help.

“I saw him and she was screaming, ‘Don’t do that,’ ” he recalled Thursday. “He was on top of her. . . . I didn’t see if he had anything in his hands. I only saw his upper torso. I shouted at him. I said, ‘Stop it. . . . Stop it right now. Stop it, I’m going to call the police.’ ”

Springer said he pounded his flashlight on the barred window in an attempt to stop the assault before running home to call authorities. The assailant continued his attack, not even looking up at Springer, he said.

A few minutes later, LAPD officers arrived and found Eun Kang stabbed to death, and the alleged attacker, a 22-year-old man, standing in her apartment.

Prosecutors on Thursday charged Boneetio Kentro Washington with three counts of capital murder with the special circumstances of multiple murders, murder during a rape and murder during a burglary. He also is charged with one count of rape and one count of sexual penetration.

Detectives are still trying to piece together what happened, but they believe that it was a random attack and that Kang did not know Washington. Court documents show that Washington had served time in a state mental facility earlier this year.

“ ‘Sickening’ is the term that immediately comes to mind,” said Jim McDonnell, LAPD chief of detectives. “This suspect had no value for the sanctity of human life for the victim or her unborn children.”

Kang’s death was met with shock both in her Venice neighborhood and in Beverly Hills, where she owned a dry-cleaning business.

Santiago Ortiz, 62, a welder who used to live in the complex and still does work on the duplex, said he was shocked when he heard the news.

He said Kang lived alone and would always say hello.

“She was very nice, a very nice lady. Friendly, smiled, talked very little but was very nice,” Ortiz said. “This is terrible.”

Nearby stood a makeshift memorial replete with a Buddha figurine, flowering succulents and a printed note promising “we will always remember Eun Kang.”

“Remembering her this way feels right. Her spirit is here,” Springer said. “She wouldn’t hurt a fly. She’s a wonderful person . . . honest, decent, vivacious. It’s incredibly crazy what this man did.”

Washington had previous arrests for burglary and trespassing in Santa Monica and Los Angeles and misdemeanor trespassing arrests in Rhode Island and North Carolina. But nothing in his past appeared to show a predisposition to the kind of violence that occurred in the Venice slaying, according to sources familiar with the case who asked not to be identified because the investigation was continuing.

Court records show that Washington previously pleaded no contest to one count of residential burglary that was committed in Los Angeles in December 2008. The case was delayed after a doctor testified that Washington was not mentally competent to stand trial. Washington was committed to Patton State Hospital in San Bernardino County on July 7.

On Sept. 18, Washington returned to court with a certification from the facility that he was mentally able to stand trial.

He pleaded no contest to first-degree residential burglary and was placed on formal probation before his release from custody for previous time served and credit for work and good behavior.

andrew.blankstein@latimes.com

robert.faturechi@latimes.com

Times staff writers My-Thuan Tran and Robert J. Lopez contributed to this report.


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