Pending cold case trial of convicted killer stirs emotion, memories

Stephanie Sommers, murdered in Silver Lake in 1980.

Lawyers who appeared in court Friday for a readiness hearing in the case of a convicted killer now charged with killing former Newhall resident Stephanie Sommers are ready to go to trial.

“There is a motions hearing on Oct. 17 and then the jury trial is slated for Oct. 21,” Greg Risling, spokesman for the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office, said Friday.

Harold Anthony Parkinson, 60, who was arrested five years ago on suspicion of the Sommers killing, appeared Friday in Los Angeles Superior Court.

Stephanie Sommers, murdered in 1980.

News of the pending trial was well-received not only by family and friends of the murdered woman but also by the family of the man Parkinson shot and killed in 1981.

Parkinson began serving a sentence of 15 years to life on March 5, 1982, at Chuckawalla Valley State Prison for the 1981 murder of Derek Eugene Perry.

“This man is a really dangerous person and shouldn’t be allowed (back) on the streets,” Perry’s surviving sister, Dolly, said Friday.

Dolly (Perry) Booker said she became speechless when she learned Parkinson was charged in the Sommers killing.

For her, the memory of her brother remains fresh in her mind.

“I remember the last meal I had with him. It was at a Sizzler (restaurant). He gave me a hug and told me he loved he,” Dolly said, describing her big brother as an excellent surfer and BMX rider, and a “brilliant big brother.” 

“We were always ‘Derek and Dolly.’ I didn’t have an identity,” Dolly said.

Perry was shot and killed by Parkinson on April 8, 1981 in Los Angeles, about eight months after Sommers was killed.

“After nearly 40 years, the family and our investigator, Shannon Tulloss, are excited about any movement forward in the courts regarding this case,” Sommers family friend Kelly Roberts said Friday. “We know that the justice system will not let us down.”

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 on the 3500 block of Marathon Street.

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. Detectives arrested Parkinson on June 19, 2014.

Law enforcement officials say forensic evidence taken from the crime scene 34 years ago and processed just four years ago was linked to Parkinson.

The day after he was arrested on suspicion of 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.

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