Tuesday, November 13

Police charge suspects with murder


Wednesday, November 4, 1998

Police charge suspects with murder

HOMICIDE: Investigation into death of Chessmar culminates in two
arrests

By Ann Hawkey

Daily Bruin Contributor

Two suspects have been arrested in connection with the homicide
of Westwood resident Christopher Emory Chessmar, whose body was
found in an East Los Angeles park last month.

Davod Lewis and James Heard, both 22, were arrested last week on
suspicion of murder.

Both men are now being held in Los Angeles County Jail. Bail has
not been set.

Lewis was arrested on Oct. 27 in East Los Angeles, and was
arraigned in municipal court two days later, according to the Los
Angeles County District Attorney"s Office.

He pled not guilty to murder charges, and his preliminary trial
hearing will be scheduled on Nov. 17.

Heard, who was arrested on Oct. 29 in the City of Bell, is
scheduled to appear in municipal court to be arraigned on Nov. 9.
The hearing will take place in the West Los Angeles Municipal
Court.

Chessmar, a 34-year-old Loyola Marymount student, lived in the
University of California Housing Association co-op at 10940 Ophir
Dr.

His mother reported him missing to university police on Oct. 8,
and his body was found two days later by a maintenance worker in
Arroyo Seco Park, south of the 110 freeway.

Chessmar died of multiple gunshot wounds in West Los Angeles
before being taken by car to the park, detectives said.

To keep from hindering the investigation, detectives would not
release further details about the crime or the suspects.

"It is still too early in the stages of the trial and discovery
to release any more information," said Detective Rick Peterson of
the LAPD Hollenbeck Division.

The arraignment of the suspects is just the first of several
appearances they will make in court over the course of the
trial.

In an arraignment, charges against the suspects are presented to
a judge, who then determines whether the suspects will be made to
stand trial for the accusations against them.

After an arraignment, a preliminary hearing is held where the
possible evidence and testimony is discussed.

The preliminary hearing is then followed by another arraignment,
this time at the superior court level.

The superior court arraignment leads to a pre-trial hearing, as
well as the jury selection, which is then followed by the
trial.

This process could take an indefinite amount of time for each of
the suspects, said Nancy Greenstein, director of the community
services division of the university police.

"It really varies with how they interpret all the evidence," she
said.

Both Lewis and Heard will be held in the county jail until the
completion of the trial, unless they file successful petitions for
bail to be set.

The arrests came as good news to Chessmar"s former roommate in
the co-op apartment.

"It"s giving closure to the case, and that"s really what we were
looking for," said Rishad Mitha, a fourth-year sociology student at
UCLA.

Mitha said that Chessmar had never mentioned either of the men
arrested in the case.CHARLES KUO/Daily Bruin

Flowers were part of a memorial outside the steps to the UCLA
Co-op

residence where Christopher Chessmar was murdered this fall.

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