ARREST MADE IN MAN’S 1981 KILLING
Suspect charged with murder in stabbing of now-L.A. County supervisor’s brother.
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.
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MICHAEL ANTHONY LOCKLIN, 61, above, is accused of killing Michael Thomas during a robbery.