LOS ANGELES — A jury found a woman not guilty Tuesday of murder in the strangling of an aspiring model from Tucson.
The verdict in favor of defendant Kelly Soo Park prompted friends of victim Juliana Redding to scream and call Park a murderer in a Los Angeles courtroom.
Park had to be escorted out a back way.
Prosecutors, who had depicted Park as a "female James Bond" and hired killer, refused to comment after the acquittal. Her family and attorneys left the courthouse without comment.
The jury returned verdicts twice. The first time the panel found Park not guilty of first-degree murder. After hearing more arguments from lawyers, the panel deliberated further and came back with an acquittal on the lesser included offense of second-degree murder.
Redding, 21, was strangled in Santa Monica in 2008. Prosecutors alleged that Park strangled her with her bare hands and left overwhelming DNA evidence on the body and around the apartment.
They say a doctor who had dated Redding gave Park a six-figure payment to kill her after a business deal soured with Redding's father.
Defense attorneys say Park lacked the brutal, evil intent the crime required, and she wasn't there when Redding was killed
Redding was a 2005 Salpointe Catholic High School graduate who moved from Tucson to California to pursue an acting career. She was a four-year member of the school's golf team, she ran track and participated in numerous other sports and programs.
She was found dead in her apartment after her mother, who lives in Tucson, contacted authorities when she couldn't reach her daughter by phone.