Los Angeles

Man Charged in 1981 Death of Prominent LA Politician's Brother

The killing got little attention at the time, and the recent arrest also went largely unnoticed.

After more than three decades, prosecutors have charged a man with killing the brother of Los Angeles County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas.

Michael Locklin, 61, was charged last week with stabbing Michael Thomas to death during a 1981 robbery after police matched his DNA to samples taken from the crime scene, according to a felony complaint.

District attorney's spokesman Greg Risling confirmed to the Los Angeles Times Wednesday night that Michael Thomas is the brother of Mark Ridley-Thomas, who in recent decades has been one of the most prominent politicians in the LA area.

Locklin is being held without bail and is scheduled to be arraigned later this month. It wasn't clear whether he has an attorney who could comment on the case.

The killing came 10 years before Ridley-Thomas was first elected to the Los Angeles City Council, where he served until 2002. Then came stints in the state Senate and Assembly before he was elected to the county Board of Supervisors last year.

Neither the Times nor The Associated Press could reach him or a representative for comment on Wednesday night.

The killing got little attention at the time, and Locklin's recent arrest also went largely unnoticed.

Investigators had identified Locklin as a person of interest in Thomas's killing as early as 1989 when Locklin was serving time for sexually assaulting a minor, but did not have enough evidence to file charges, LAPD Capt. Peter Whittingham said.

Whittingham's homicide unit recently doubled the number of detectives working on cold cases, and a reexamination of the evidence in the Thomas case brought DNA tests and the match with Locklin, the captain said.

He said Locklin had prior contact with Thomas before the killing, but would not elaborate further.

Locklin has a long police record mostly for sexual crimes.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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