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Originally published Wednesday, March 26, 2008 at 12:00 AM

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Man charged with murder in '07 stabbing

A man in prison in California for violating parole was charged Tuesday with first-degree murder in the stabbing death of an aspiring Kent...

Seattle Times staff reporter

A man in prison in California for violating parole was charged Tuesday with first-degree murder in the stabbing death of an aspiring Kent model a year ago.

King County prosecutors have requested that upon Randall Connor's release from a Northern California prison in the coming weeks, he be transferred to the King County Jail to be held in lieu of $2 million bail.

According to friends, Merianne Lorentson, 24, said that she lived in fear of Connor, whom she was dating, because he was easily angered. She told friends that Connor, 28, had handcuffed her, assaulted her and threatened her at gunpoint, according to court charging papers.

Kent police Lt. Bob Holt said that Connor was angry with Lorentson for dating other men.

Lorentson, a full-time personal trainer who had modeling contracts, was found dead in her apartment March 9, 2007. She had been stabbed more than 30 times, according to charging papers. Her then-5-year-old daughter was not hurt.

Police said they quickly identified Connor as their lead suspect, but lacked physical evidence. Because Connor was serving time in California for a parole violation, detectives had time to ensure they had a solid case, said Kent Police Chief Steve Strachan.

Detectives awaited the return of DNA tests and interviewed Lorentson's friends, family and acquaintances during the 12 months before Connor was charged, police said. Connor's DNA matched that found on Lorentson, court papers said.

"They were intimate; she was afraid of him," Holt said, adding that Connor has so far refused to talk to police about Lorentson's death.

Connor is in prison after violating parole in a robbery case, according to the California Department of Corrections.

Jerry Lorentson, the slain woman's father, said Tuesday that the charges are "one step towards resolution." He said Merianne Lorentson's daughter, Jade, is living with her father in Seattle.

Jennifer Sullivan: 206-464-8294 or jensullivan@seattletimes.com

Copyright © 2008 The Seattle Times Company

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