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Kent Native Pleads Not Guilty in Cold-Case Murder

Roosevelt grad Leila Mulla charged in murder of a Baton Rouge businessman

Leila Mulla, a 1983 Theodore Roosevelt High School graduate, has pleaded not guilty in the murder of a Baton Rouge, LA, businessman.

Mulla, 47, of Astoria, N.Y., recently entered the plea in a Baton Rouge courtroom. She has been charged in the November 1984 murder of Gary Kergan, who was 29.

She was arrested in December and extradited to Louisiana on the murder charge.

Mulla was initially arrested in 1984 in the case but prosecutors did not prosecute due to a lack of evidence. Investigators reopened the case recently after retesting blood found in 1984 in an apartment shared by Mulla and her boyfriend, Ronald Dunnagan, 64, of Bossier City, LA, who also is facing charges in Kergan's death.

Kergan’s brother, Ted, issued the following statement in reaction to Leila Mulla’s plea of not guilty in 19th Judicial District Court.

“It’s taken nearly 30 years, but thanks to the dedicated work of law enforcement, the Kergan family is relieved that Leila Mulla will stand trial for the brutal murder of my brother, Gary Kergan, in 1984," he said. "Gary's loss devastated our entire family. He was my big brother, and I loved him. Even in death, he has inspired us to never give up on him and the justice he deserves."

Mulla was indicted April 3 in the case by an East Baton Rouge Parish grand jury, The Advocate reported.

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.

Mulla's trial is expected to last several months.

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