In a ruling released Friday, a state appeals court panel upheld the conviction of a man convicted of sexually assaulting and murdering a woman in a Gardena hotel room after wrapping her in plastic from head to toe and also raping three other women.
Kevon Takashi Ross of Gardena — who is serving a state prison sentence of 286 years to life — was convicted in 2018 of 25 felony counts, including one count each of first-degree murder and sodomy of an unconscious victim, eight counts of rape of an unconscious person, seven counts of forcible rape, six counts of sexual penetration by a foreign object and two counts of injuring a girlfriend.
The murder charge stemmed from the death of Kellie Marie Nolan, 27, of Torrance, who was sexually assaulted and asphyxiated in a Gardena hotel room on Dec. 12, 2015.
The appellate court justices noted in their 30-page ruling that investigators recovered electronic devices that contained video recordings of some of Ross’ encounters with women, including the murder victim, and that the videos were played for the jury.
“In the videos, Kellie could be seen wrapped in plastic wrap from head to toe, with only her breasts and nose exposed,” the panel noted. “Appellant then entered the screen and placed tape over her nostrils. Kellie could be seen struggling against the bindings and a muffled scream could be heard. Though her breathing was labored and obstructed, Kellie could still be heard breathing.”
The appellate court panel noted that Ross then went to another room, retrieved various instruments, began hitting the victim with them, started masturbating and removed the tape from her nose. He subsequently applied tape to her nose and pressed down hard, then had sexual intercourse with her as she appeared to be unconscious, according to the ruling.
The other charges stemmed from the October 2007 rape of a woman whom Ross was dating and the rapes of two other women in June 2015 and November 2015 — one of them in Riverside County.
The appellate court panel noted that Ross testified in his own defense and claimed that he believed all of the victims were conscious when he had sex with them and that they had consented to all sex acts.
The justices rejected the defense’s contention that police conducted an unconstitutional warrantless search by viewing the content of his digital camera in the hotel room and that evidence later derived from his computer and cell phones should have been excluded. The panel also turned down Ross’ claim that police wrongly questioned him before advising him of his Miranda rights.
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