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News Release

Monday, August 15, 2005

Media Relations

Cold Case Unit Solves 1985 Murder

Los Angeles:  On August 12, 2004, Detectives Vivian Flores and Tim Marcia of the Robbery Homicide Division Cold Case Unit secured a felony filing for murder with special circumstances against Eddie Lee Habbary for the 1985 murder of his former spouse, Johnnie Mae Richardson.

On May 22, 1985, at about 3:35 p.m., the manager of the apartment building located at 5377 W. Washington Boulevard unlocked the door of Ms. Richardson’s apartment in order to admit an employee from the telephone company to enter.  When they entered the apartment, they found Ms. Richardson’s dead body on the floor.

The responding investigative personnel discovered that Johnnie Mae Richardson had been the apparent victim of a sexually motivated homicide.  She had been bound, beaten, strangled, stabbed, and left semi-nude on the living room floor.  The original investigation revealed that Ms. Richardson had been previously married to Eddie Habbary; however, they separated after Ms. Richardson became aware that Eddie Habbary had gotten another woman pregnant.  After separating from Habbary, Richardson began dating his brother, but that relationship ended in early 1985.

At the time of the original investigation, Eddie Habbary was one of numerous witnesses who were interviewed.  Habbary denied that he was in contact with the victim at the time of her death and there was no evidence that could dispute these denials.  During the review of this case by the Cold Case Homicide Unit detectives, a request was submitted for the analysis of the sexual assault kit obtained from the victim.  A full DNA profile was obtained and this information was uploaded into the Combined Offender DNA Index System (CODIS).  As a result of this analysis, a “cold hit” was obtained on Eddie Lee Habbary.  Pursuant to this “cold hit” an extensive investigation was completed which included the reinterviewing of all available witnesses, the identification and interviewing of new witnesses that were not developed at the time of the original investigation, and the processing of additional scientific evidence.  A background check on Habbary revealed that he had prior convictions for a variety of offenses including murder, assault with a weapon with great bodily injury, burglary, kidnapping and shooting at an inhabited building.  Habbary is currently serving a 25-year to life sentence in the California Men's Colony at San Luis Obispo for a 1997 attempted murder.

Johnnie May Richardson was 42-years old at the time of her death.  Eddie lee Habbary was born on February 9, 1958.

Any questions may be directed to the LAPD Media Relations Section at 213-485-3586.