AR­REST MADE IN MAN’S 1981 KILLING

Sus­pect charged with mur­der in stab­bing of now-L.A. County su­per­vi­sor’s brother.

Los Angeles Times - - CALIFORNIA - By Ni­cole Santa Cruz and Kate Mather

Au­thor­i­ties have ar­rested and charged a man ac­cused of killing the brother of Los An­ge­les County Su­per­vi­sor Mark Ri­d­ley-Thomas 36 years ago in South L.A., the district at­tor­ney’s of­fice con­firmed Wed­nes­day.

Michael An­thony Lock­lin, 61, was charged last week with the 1981 mur­der of Michael Thomas, ac­cord­ing to a felony com­plaint filed in court. The com­plaint al­leges that Lock­lin killed Thomas dur­ing a rob­bery.

Greg Ris­ling, a spokesman for the district at­tor­ney’s of­fice, con­firmed that the vic­tim was Ri­d­leyThomas’ brother.

Lock­lin is sched­uled to be ar­raigned later this month, Ris­ling said. Jail records showed he was be­ing held with­out bail.

Thomas was killed a decade be­fore his brother was first elected to pub­lic of­fice. Ri­d­ley-Thomas — one of the area’s most prom­i­nent po­lit­i­cal fig­ures, who served stints on the Los An­ge­les City Coun­cil and in the state Assem­bly and Se­nate — could not be reached late Wed­nes­day for com­ment.

Po­lice say his brother was stabbed mul­ti­ple times. In­ves­ti­ga­tors had iden­ti­fied Lock­lin as a “per­son of in­ter­est” by 1989 but did not have enough ev­i­dence to file charges, said LAPD Capt. Peter Whit­ting­ham, who over­sees the depart­ment’s South Bureau Homi­cide Divi­sion. Lock­lin was by then serv­ing prison time for sex­u­ally as­sault­ing a mi­nor, he said.

The killing was one of many that drew fresh at­ten­tion re­cently af­ter Whit­ting­ham’s unit dou­bled the num­ber of de­tec­tives work­ing on cold cases, he said. In­ves­ti­ga­tors re­ex­am­ined blood that had been found at the crime scene, and DNA tests showed that it matched Lock­lin’s, Whit­ting­ham said.

He said Lock­lin knew Thomas from at least one or two prior con­tacts.

Thomas’ death made lit­tle news at the time. The Los An­ge­les Sen­tinel pub­lished a four-sen­tence news brief shortly af­ter the killing.

Thomas’ fam­ily found the 37-year-old’s body in his West Santa Bar­bara Av­enue apart­ment on a Sun­day af­ter­noon, ac­cord­ing to the Aug. 20, 1981, ar­ti­cle. The LAPD said then that Thomas had ap­par­ently been dead for sev­eral days.

An LAPD sergeant told the news­pa­per that Thomas might have been a vic­tim of bur­glars. The sergeant “re­fused fur­ther com­ment on the case, say­ing it would jeop­ar­dize the in­ves­ti­ga­tion into it,” the pa­per added.

Lock­lin has a prior crim­i­nal his­tory. He is de­scribed as a “high-risk” sex of­fender on the state’s Megan’s Law web­site, which listed sev­eral 1987 con­vic­tions for rape, sex­ual pen­e­tra­tion of a vic­tim with a for­eign ob­ject, and at­tempted sodomy and oral cop­u­la­tion.

San Bernardino County court records showed Lock­lin pleaded no con­test to fail­ing to reg­is­ter as a sex of­fender in 2009.

On­line records showed he had been charged in L.A. County in 1983 and 1987, though de­tails about those cases were not im­me­di­ately avail­able.

ni­cole. san­tacruz @la­times.com kate.mather@la­times.com

Cal­i­for­nia Depart­ment of Jus­tice

MICHAEL AN­THONY LOCK­LIN, 61, above, is ac­cused of killing Michael Thomas dur­ing a rob­bery.

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