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|Former CSUN Recruiter Convicted of Murder|
|Written by Elizabeth Marcellino|
|Thursday, 11 April 2013 06:01|
LOS ANGELES (CNS) - A onetime Hollywood resident and recruiter at Cal State Northridge convicted of second-degree murder for killing his wife, who was the sister of actress Aasha Davis.
Lyle Stanford Herring's attorney argued during trial that his client's wife, Lesley, simply disappeared in 2009 and there was no evidence to suggest she had been killed or that she was even dead.
Members of Lesley Herring's family, including the actress, were in court in downtown Los Angeles on Monday, April 8, when the verdict was read, and some cried uncontrollably and hugged each other.
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge George Lomeli, sitting in for Judge Ronald Coen, who presided over the case, set sentencing for June 7.
Lesley Herring, 44, was last seen Feb. 7, 2009, at the couple's condominium complex in the 2700 block of North Cahuenga Boulevard. Aasha Davis -- who has appeared on "Grey's Anatomy" and "Friday Night Lights" -- reported her sister missing after she failed to show up at work for several days. The actress made public pleas for information to find her sister, and Lyle Herring even took part in a 2009 police news conference asking for help locating the woman.
Herring, now 59, was arrested more than a year later, on April 29, 2010.
During closing arguments, Deputy District Attorney Pak Kouch told jurors they had two questions to answer -- whether Lesley Herring was dead and whether the defendant killed her.
"He killed her and then he covers up," the prosecutor said. Left behind were the woman's car, purse, wallet, keys, cellular telephone and the bracelets she routinely wore, along with $26,000 in her savings account, according to Kouch.
Lesley was thinking of leaving her husband, something Lyle couldn't let happen, according to Kouch.
The prosecutor said Herring told his cousin that he did something he can't recover from and that he would "burn in hell" for what he did.
Kouch noted that a neighbor had seen the defendant wheeling a dolly containing a carpet large enough to hold a dead body on to an elevator at the condominium complex, and that another neighbor saw him later with an empty dolly.
A cadaver dog from the Los Angeles County Coroner's Office alerted on the defendant's two vehicles -- a Mitsubishi and a Cadillac -- suggesting that her body had been in each of the vehicles, Kouch said.
"The defense would have us believe ... she is out there," Kouch said. "Where is the corroboration that Lesley is out there somewhere?" Defense attorney Marvin Hamilton Jr., however, argued that the prosecution had "failed miserably" to show that Lesley Herring's disappearance was anything other than a missingperson case.
"She had left before, but she'd always come back," he said. Hamilton suggested that she may have gone "underground" to leave her husband.
"I would suggest to you that she's still able to return," the defense attorney said, telling jurors there was no plausible evidence she is dead.
He accused investigators of being overeager to pin the murder on his client.
"They did not investigate the one area that was most important," he said. "They were treating him (Lyle Herring) as a suspect from the very beginning ... It's the proverbial rush to judgment." He also questioned the work of the cadaver dog, named Indiana Bones.
"We don't know what Indiana Bones was smelling ... He could have been smelling a ham sandwich," he said. "It was not corroborated when they searched the cars."
Aasha Davis, whose real last name is Pforzheimer, testified that she became concerned in February 2009 after her sister's boss called and said she hadn't shown up for work.
"My heart skipped a beat," the actress testified.
She said when she phoned her sister and her brother-in-law, both of their voice mailboxes were full.
The sister's acting career helped the case get a higher profile, including being featured on Nancy Grace's show on CNN.
|Last Updated on Thursday, 11 April 2013 06:04|