Summer trial for cold case murder of Newhall woman

Stephanie Sommers, murdered in Silver Lake in 1980.
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This summer, the family of a Newhall woman murdered almost four decades ago hopes to get some degree of closure in the case when the man charged with her murder finally goes to trial.

Harold Anthony Parkinson, 58, was arrested nearly four years ago, accused of killing former Newhall resident Stephanie Sommers.

Parkinson, whose trial is expected to begin in August, appeared Tuesday in Los Angeles Superior Court for a pre-trial hearing.

Stephanie Sommers, murdered in 1980.

Family members of the murdered woman told The Signal they plan on attending every day of the trial once it gets going.

On Tuesday, Parkinson was scheduled to appear back in court Aug. 14.

“I think it’s miraculous he was arrested.  If he is found guilty, then we would be elated,” said Jerry Roberts, who is married to murdered woman’s sister, Sherry.

On Aug. 30, 1980, shortly after she moved to the Silver Lake district of Los Angeles from Newhall, Sommers was murdered in her Silver Lake apartment in the 3500 block of Marathon Street.

Stephanie Sommers had been beaten and stabbed, prosecutors for the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office said in a news release issued at the time of Parkinson’s arrest. She was 36 years old.

The case remained unsolved for more than three decades, until detectives arrested Parkinson on June 19, 2014.

Forensic evidence taken from the crime scene 34 years ago and processed just four years ago was linked to Parkinson, who is currently serving a 15-years-to-life for an unrelated 1981 murder in Los Angeles.

The day after he was arrested for Sommers’ murder by detectives assigned to the Cold Case section of the Los Angeles Police Department, Parkinson was arraigned on one count of murder with the special circumstance allegation of rape.

Sherry Roberts, Stephanie Sommers’ sister and her husband, Jerry, attended some of Parkinson’s pretrial hearings.

“It took so long for an arrest to be made,” she told The Signal on Tuesday.

She and other members of the Sommers/Roberts family credit local private investigator Shannon Tulloss with being instrumental in keeping the murder investigation going.

“They obviously never forgot the horror that Stephanie endured, and neither did I,” Tulloss told The Signal on Tuesday. “I consider this my first case, since she was murdered when I was 12.

“It is my hope that the public will see from my actions that licensed private investigators are here to help. We partner with our clients in an effort to help spare them pain, and I know that since this case has been brought against Parkinson, the Robert’s feel finally at least heard,” Tulloss said.

To help keep the memory of Stephanie Sommers alive, Tulloss set up a Facebook page in Sommers’ name.

The site includes photos of Sommers explained as if by the murder victim herself shortly after Parkinson’s arrest in 2014.

“Today would have been my 71st birthday, but sadly, I was murdered when I was 36,” reads on reference written by Tulloss. “Harold Anthony Parkinson is being tried for my murder, of which the case will last well into 2015 until resolution is gifted to my family.”

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