By Aaron Blevins, 4/26/2012
A suspected gang member was arraigned on Thursday in a 1990 cold case fatal shooting of a Los Angeles woman and the attempted murder of her companion, the District Attorney’s Office announced.
Michael James Tharrington, 41, pleaded not guilty and will return to court May 14 for preliminary hearing setting. He has been charged with one count of capital murder, one count of attempted murder and two counts of second-degree robbery. The felony complaint includes the special circumstance that he committed the murder during a robbery.
Tharrington, of Los Angeles, is charged with fatally shooting Ann Yao, 31, on Feb. 10, 1990. Yao was sitting in her car parked on Lucerne Avenue south of Wilshire Boulevard when she was shot once in the head. Tharrington also is charged with shooting the male passenger sitting in her car and stealing his car that was parked nearby.
The capital murder charge makes this a potential death penalty case. Prosecutors will decide later into the trial whether they will seek the death penalty. The defendant is being held without bail.
Detectives with the Cold Case Homicide Special Section of the Los Angeles Police Department reopened the case after reviewing past statements made by Tharrington.