Couple charged with killing son of film producer

An arrray of photos of Katsutoshi "Tony" Takazato and an unidentified woman is seen amid an impromptu memorial of votive candles, cards, flowers and a large banner outside a home where Katsutoshi "Tony" Takazato was stabbed to death, seen Thursday, July 22, 2010. Takazato is the son of Japanese movie producer Fuminori Hayashida, who owned the home where Takazato died Tuesday, July 20. (AP Photo/Reed Saxon)

July 22, 2010 7:08:58 PM PDT
A couple was charged with murder Thursday in the fatal stabbing of a movie producer's son who had dated one of the suspects.

Scott Joseph Barker, 23, and Chie Alexandra Coggins Johnson, 20, were charged with murdering Katsutoshi Takazato, whose body was found Tuesday outside his father's home in a normally tranquil and exclusive neighborhood where killings are uncommon.

Takazato's father, Fuminori Hayashida, produced several movies in the 1990s, including "Lured Innocence" starring Dennis Hopper.

Takazato had until recently dated Johnson, who then started dating Barker. She told her new boyfriend that Takazato had physically abused her, prosecutors said, prompting Barker to become enraged and stab Takazato.

It was not immediately clear how Johnson might have been involved in the incident. Police would not release details of the case.

The couple faces life in prison if convicted. They remained jailed on $1 million bail each.

It was not immediately known whether they had obtained lawyers.

Police searched the area for hours after the killing but failed to find an attacker. Detectives worked through the night, scouring Takazato's Facebook profile and those of his friends to find a possible motive.

Police announced the next day that three people had been arrested. One man was released after investigators determined he had nothing to do with the killing, prosecutors said.

It was only the third murder in Beverly Hills in as many years, and neighbors were shocked by what had happened.

"It is scary," said Tanya Moftakhar, who grew up on the street and could not recall any other killings. "I would describe it as a very tranquil and secluded area."

Outside the home where Takazato's body was found, friends created a makeshift shrine. Flowers, memorial candles and handwritten tributes were placed on a retaining wall, along with photos of Takazato and an origami bird.

A white sheet was hung over the nearby fence with "Rest in Peace Katsutoshi 'Tony' Takazato" written in black marker, surrounded by more than 20 tribute notes written by friends. Several smaller candles had been arranged to spell "Tony."

No one answered an intercom at the gate outside the sprawling, white brick home. Neighbors said a party was being held the night of the stabbing.

Said Hakim, who lives across the street, said Takazato was friendly, and often smiled and greeted his neighbors.

"He was no annoyance to the neighbors, and he had a lot of friends," Hakim said. "He was a nice guy."