Redondo Beach cold case murder conviction.
On October 10, a jury at the Torrance Courthouse returned a guilty verdict on all counts against a defendant in a case that was committed over two decades ago. The case was prosecuted as a result of DNA evidence that turned up a hit after investigation from retired Redondo Beach police officers. The Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office prosecuted the case which resulted in a man being shot and killed in a Redondo Beach grocery store parking lot in 1995. DNA evidence from the initial investigation was preserved and ultimately resulted in a match to the FBI’s DNA database. Felony convictions result in DNA samples being taken from convicted defendants in California. The defendant in this case had prior felony convictions. Evidence at trial indicated that the DNA was recovered from a saliva sample found in close proximity to where the shooting took place. The suspect, Elliot Laanui, was arrested on an unrelated shooting in Gardena in 2017.
The trial testimony revealed that Laanui made several incriminating statements in his interview with Redondo Beach police detectives and that he later attempted to offer payment to fellow inmates to kill a witness in the mistaken belief that someone had tipped off authorities. The combination of the DNA evidence and Laanui’s statements comprised the bulk of the district attorney’s case. The jury convicted Laanui of all six counts in the case including murder. Sentencing is scheduled for December 11, 2018 in the Torrance Courthouse.