Fort Worth-area man, 76, charged with four California cold case murders from 1980 and 1995

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Leroy N. Soetoro

Jul 16, 2022, 10:07:33 PMJul 16

A North Texas man who’s suspected of killing three women and a teenage
girl in California in 1980 and 1995 was arrested in Fort Worth on Thursday
night. Billy Ray Richardson, 76, is charged with four counts of first-
degree murder in connection to deaths of three Los Angeles victims — 25-
year-old Beverly Cruse, 22-year-old Debra Cruse and 15-year-old Kari
Lenander — in 1980, and the killing of Trina Wilson, of Inglewood, in
1995. Richardson was identified as a suspect through DNA, the Los Angeles
Police Department said in a news release, adding that the 76-year-old is
being charged on special circumstances of multiple murders and murder in
the commission of rape. Richardson’s most recent address is a nursing and
rehabilitation facility in Keller, according to court records. Public
records indicate he previously lived in Haltom City, Fort Worth, and Los
Angeles County, California. He does not appear to have a criminal record
in Tarrant County. According to the LA Times, the Cruse sisters were found
dead on March 6, 1980, by their brother James, in Beverly’s apartment.
Their brother had grown concerned after not hearing from his sisters for
several days and found their decomposing bodies when he went to the
apartment to check on them.

Beverly was a University of Southern California employee and part-time
student, and Debra was a receptionist at radio station KFI-AM 640, the
Times reported. Lenander, who was raped and strangled, was found in a
gutter on July 26, 1980, according to the Times. Lenander, who lived in
Brentwood and was a student at Palisades Charter High School, had been at
her best friend’s house when they decided to hitchhike to Hollywood to go
dancing, according to a Los Angeles Times Magazine story published in

A man who said his name was Ken and that he was visiting from Canada
picked up the two girls, but took them back home when Lenander’s friend
realized she’d had too much to drink, the article reported. When they
arrived at her friend’s home, Lenander said she wanted to stay with the
man and “keep partying,” the Times reported. “Just five hours later,
Kari’s body was found under a brightly shining moon, a world away from
Brentwood,” the magazine article stated. Further information about
Wilson’s death was not immediately available. Detectives from Los Angeles
traveled to Fort Worth on Thursday to help arrest Richardson alongside
local law enforcement. Richardson is being held in Tarrant County before
his extradition to California. Fort Worth police said their Operations and
Surveillance Team, also known as the GHOST Unit, helped with the arrest.
The team was named using the initials of the late Officer Garrett Hull,
who was assigned to the unit, prior to his on-duty murder in 2018.

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