Before an Orange County Superior Court Commissioner found sufficient evidence Tuesday to continue with the trial against Larry Shin, more details became public as to why sheriff's homicide investigators honed in on the 36-year-old so quickly as a murder suspect.
But the hearing also shed light on the unusual double life of Aubreyanna Sade Parks, a 17-year-old who also went by Keisha Clark before her bloody body was found face down on a curb in an upscale Yorba Linda street on Feb. 4. She had been repeatedly stabbed.
Keisha Clark was the name of an ex-girlfriend who'd done Shin wrong. He's charged with first-degree murder with the special circumstance of lying in wait for Parks' slaying.
It's unclear whether Shin's Keisha Clark and Parks were the same person, but it is clear Shin sought revenge on a woman named Keisha Clark, says Deputy District Attorney Troy Pino in Kelly Puente's report on the hearing for the Orange County Register.
Parks' family members described her as a former cheerleader, a good student and an aspiring attorney. They were surprised when she ran away from their Gardena home in mid January and really surprised to later learn she had been arrested in a prostitution sting by Santa Ana police on Jan. 24.
Busted along with her was her 27-year-old pimp, Marsalis Joseph Smith, and further investigation revealed Smith lured Parks into prostitution after meeting her with a group of friends in Gardena. He went on to promise her money, clothing and other items and threatened her with violence if she didn't do as he said.
Now considered a victim of human trafficking, Parks was turned over to Orange County's Child Protective Services and placed in a shelter in Huntington Beach, but she quickly left saying she feared Smith would kill her.
According to testimony: Keisha Clark was the name Parks used when she met R.J. Crew on the LA Ravens chatline, after she'd left the shelter. On Feb. 4, Crew dropped Parks off in the Yorba Linda neighborhood near Deodar Drive and Live Oak Lane around 3 a.m. He drove a short distance away, parked and waited for her to call. He missed her call at 3:40 a.m., headed back to the location, noticed a suspicious-looking, heavyset man in a dark sweatsuit walking quickly up the street and, after continuing down the street, found Parks' body by a greenbelt.
Later that same morning, Shin showed up in a Corona hospital with a severe cut on his left hand. Hospital workers did not believe his story about how he injured his hand, so they called police.
Shin's mother told investigators that her son claimed he accidentally hit his hand on his bedpost and became so mad he started slashing the post with a knife and accidentally sliced his hand. But his mother later found no marks on the bed post.
Pino has no eyewitnesses who put Shin at the murder scene. But the prosecutor alleges a knife with Parks' dried blood on it was found in Shin's car and that cell-phone records indicate he lured the teen to the Deodar and Live Oak neighborhood.
Shin lived with his mother in Yorba Linda but not the neighborhood where Parks' body was found. Shin owned ReadyCash ATM Services with his father. Sheriff's investigators learned that Shin's former girlfriend Keisha Clark may have stolen thousands of dollars in cash from him while he was restocking an ATM machine.
Smith originally pleaded not guilty to human trafficking by force or fear, pimping a minor and pandering with a minor in relation to the Parks case. Court records indicate that in July he pleaded guilty only to the human trafficking count, the others were dismissed and he got five years in the can.
OC Weekly Editor-in-Chief Matt Coker has been engaging, enraging and entertaining readers of newspapers, magazines and websites for decades. He spent the first 13 years of his career in journalism at daily newspapers before “graduating” to OC Weekly in 1995 as the alternative newsweekly’s first calendar editor.