On July 14, 2022, detectives from The Los Angeles Police Department and Inglewood Police Department's Cold Case Unit traveled to Texas and with the support of the Fort Worth Police Department's Ghost Unit, arrested 76-year-old Billy Ray Richardson for the 1980 murders of Beverly Cruse, Debra Crus and Kari Lenanderin in Los Angeles and the 1995 murder of Trina Wilson in Inglewood.
Richardson is in custody in Fort Worth and is awaiting extradition to Los Angeles to stand trial.
In 2001, cold case detectives in Los Angeles reopened an investigation into the murder of Ms. Lenander, who was 15 when she was killed. Her body was found in a South Los Angeles neighborhood on July 26, 1980, according to the Los Angeles Police Department. Officials said she was murdered and that she was the victim of a sexually motivated crime.
On the night Ms. Lenander was murdered, she and her best friend, 15-year-old Toni Garfield, were alone at Ms. Garfield’s house getting ready for a party and drinking tequila, Detective Marcia told The Los Angeles Times Magazine in a 2010 profile. The girls decided to go dancing and hitchhiked on their way back.
They were picked up by a white man, who said his name was Ken and that he was visiting from Canada. Ms. Garfield was dropped off at home, but Ms. Lenander said she was going to “keep partying” with Ken, the magazine reported. The girls separated at about 10 p.m., and Ms. Lenander’s body was found about five hours later.
A few months before Ms. Lenander’s murder, the naked bodies of Beverly Cruse, 25, and Debra Cruse, 22, were found on March 5, 1980, by their brother in a West Los Angeles apartment, The Los Angeles Times reported.
The prosecutor’s office said the women had been shot in the head.
More than 15 years later, Ms. Wilson was found near an Inglewood park on Dec. 31, 1995, according to city records.
Investigative and forensic work over decades finally connected the 1980 and 1995 murders through DNA and linked them to suspect Billy Ray Richardson.
The identification and arrest of Richardson was the result of a collaboration by Robbery-Homicide Division's Cod Case Homicide Unit, Inglewood Police Department's Cold Case Unit, Los Angeles County DA's office, Fort Worth Police Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.