City News Service

Man Pleads No Contest in Bludgeoning Death After Roommate's Body Found in Wall

A 47-year-old man pleaded no contest Thursday to the bludgeoning death of his roommate, whose remains were found behind a wall in a Lomita housing project apartment more than six years after she disappeared.

Randolph Garbutt, is facing 11 years in state prison as a result of his no contest plea to voluntary manslaughter in Raven Campbell's slaying, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office.

The 37-year-old victim -- whom family members said was mentally challenged and had a son -- was reported missing from her residence in the 26800 block of Western Avenue in June 2009.

Campbell's remains were found July 2, 2015, in a void behind a closet wall in her apartment in the Harbor Hills Housing Project, after authorities received a tip. Cadaver dogs, which are trained to find bodies, alerted deputies to the human remains.

Garbutt had lived in the apartment with Campbell and two other people during at least part of the time between December 2008, when Campbell moved in, and when she was reported missing, Los Angeles County Sheriff's Homicide Lt. Steve Jauch said shortly after Garbutt's February 2016 arrest for an outstanding traffic warrant.

Garbutt was arrested and booked in connection with Campbell's killing after a court appearance on the traffic matter.

Garbutt told investigators that he was afraid he would be blamed after she slipped and fell in the apartment and that he then put a plastic bag over her head and choked her to death, the Daily Breeze reported in 2016.

But at a hearing in which a judge found sufficient evidence to allow the case to proceed to trial, a friend testified that Garbutt told her that he hit Campbell with a hammer and that he said "God wanted her,'' according to the newspaper.

Garbutt's sentencing is scheduled Oct. 8 in an Inglewood courtroom.

Copyright CNS - City News Service
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