A Kent native was recently arrested and charged with the murder of a Baton Rouge businessman nearly three decades ago – just one year after her 1983 graduation from Theodore Roosevelt High School.
Leila Mulla, 47, was extradited Dec. 21 from her Astoria, NY, home to Louisiana and booked into the East Baton Rouge Parish Prison, where she remains today.
The registered nurse – daughter of a now-deceased prominent Kent obstetrician – is facing charges of first-degree murder, criminal conspiracy and simple robbery in connection with the November 1984 murder of Gary Kergan, who was 29.
Facing identical charges for the crime is Mulla’s former boyfriend, Ronald Dunnagan, 64, of Bossier City, LA. He is being held in the same Baton Rouge prison as Mulla.
According to a press release issued by the Queens County, NY, District Attorney’s Office, Kergan was last seen leaving a Baton Rouge nightclub with Mulla, a teenage exotic dancer, on Nov. 28, 1984.
Kergan’s Cadillac was later found abandoned in Metairie, LA, with what appeared to be blood in the trunk, said Baton Rouge Police Cpl. Tommy Stubbs.
When detectives searched an apartment shared by Mulla and Dunnagan they allegedly found evidence of a violent struggle, including blood that someone had attempted to clean up.
Both Mulla and Dunnagan were arrested in December 1984 and charged with Kergan’s death. They were released, though, after the Baton Rouge district attorney declined to prosecute due to lack of evidence, Stubbs said.
“A significant amount of blood was located in the trunk of the car, but it could not be determined at the time whether it was Kergan’s,” Stubbs said. “As part of our agency’s cold case review, blood from the trunk was recently re-tested at the Louisiana State Police Crime Lab and DNA analysis showed that it did, in fact, belong to the victim.”
Kergan’s body has never been found; in 1986 he was declared legally dead by a Louisiana court.
Baton Rouge Police allege that Mulla and Dunnagan were conspiring to rob Kergan, co-owner of several Sonic fast-food restaurants in Louisiana.
Baton Rouge Police Lt. Don Kelly told ABC News that Kergan was seen wearing flashy jewelry and carrying a significant amount of cash when he left the nightclub with Mulla, who he met at a strip club.
Kelly also told ABC News that police in 1984 had found Mulla’s diary which referenced a plan to rob Kergan.
An online search shows that Mulla has spent the past several years promoting herself on several blog sites – always in the third person – as “a full-fledged optimist” who shares advice on the benefits of maintaining “positivity” in life.
The “About” section of her Facebook page states, “Leila Mulla is known for her optimistic outlook in life, which is evident in her beliefs. For one, she believes that all people are indebted to God not only for the physical gifts that they receive, but most importantly for the greatest gift of all – life.”
And the “Summary” section of her Linkedin profile page reads, “Leila Mulla is known for her really positive outlook in life. She advises people to work and strive hard to find something positive in each and every person because she believes that all people, no matter how bad some may seem, are really wonderful beings created by the Lord.”