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Updates on three 2007 homicides

Readers contacting the Homicide Report have asked for updates on several homicides that took place in 2007.

While there have been significant developments in some cases, including arrests and a murder conviction, others remain unsolved and investigators are still in need of the public's help to find the assailants.

On April 22, 2007, Michael Rodriguez, an 18-year-old Latino, was found shot to death near the L.A. River just south of the Colorado Street overpass on the I-5 Freeway in Atwater Village, according to Los Angeles County coroner's records.

Rodriguez's body, which suffered multiple gunshot wounds, was discovered by two joggers early Sunday morning, investigators said. Authorities were called and Rodriguez was pronounced dead at the scene, according to coroner's records.

The previous evening, people in the area had heard gunshots, but no one called the police, investigators later learned.

Two years after the incident, during the Toonerville gang raid in Atwater Village, police arrested Randy Harp, a 29-year-old Latino, and Luis Subia, a 30-year-old Latino, in connection with Rodriguez’s death.

According to the felony complaint provided by the district attorney's office, both men were charged with a single count of murder. Harp and Subia are currently on trial at the Los Angeles Superior Court.

Pending the legal proceedings, LAPD Northeast Det. Larry Burcher, who handled the investigation, declined to provide more information about the case, including what led up to assailants shooting Rodriguez and connecting them to his death.

Harp remains at the North County Correctional Facility in Castaic, while Subia is in custody at the Twin Towers Jail in downtown.

Their next preliminary hearing is scheduled for May 12.

Daniel Koch, a 33-year-old white man, was found stabbed to death Sunday, August 26, 2007, in Limekiln Canyon Park in Porter Ranch, according to coroner's records.

A hiker discovered Koch's body about 12:15 p.m. and alerted the police, said Det. Mike Fesperman, who led the investigation. Authorities arrived and Koch was pronounced dead at the scene, Fesperman said.

Investigators followed up on leads and several days after the homicide arrested Quinn Marez, a 21-year-old white man, and Justin Thalheimer, a 20-year-old white man. Both were charged with Koch's murder.

Fesperman said the three men were having an argument about one of the assailant's girlfriends when Marez and Thalheimer stabbed Koch several times, slashed his throat, then left his body in a creek.

Marez and Thalheimer went to trial and were convicted of murder by a jury on Feb. 11, according to a spokesperson from the Los Angeles district attorney's office. Both men are scheduled to appear at the North Valley Superior Court on May 12 to address prior convictions, the spokesperson said.

Antwain Burton, a 16-year-old black youth, was shot and killed Friday, Oct. 12, in the 1300 block of South Pearl Avenue in Compton, according to Los Angeles County coroner's records.

Burton was outside of a residence with a group of people about 9 p.m. when two people walked up and shot at them, said sheriff's homicide Det. Robert Kenney, who is handling the investigation.

Three people were hit by the gunfire, including Burton who was taken to St. Francis Medical Center where he died, according to coroner's records.

The two other victims were taken to a local hospital and later released, Kenney said.

Although there were many witnesses to the shooting, Kenney said no one has come forward with a description of the shooters.

Anyone with information about the incident is asked to contact the Sheriff's Homicide Bureau at (323) 890-5500.

Those who would like an update on additional homicide cases should e-mail homicidereport@latimes.com.

-- Sarah Ardalani

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