Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Teen Murder the Missy Avila Case

 Notes from the Missy Avila Case
by Traciy Curry-Reyes



Before the murder 1985
Laura Doyle worked in a supermarket bakery at the time of the murder.
About 3 weeks before the murder Karen Severson, Victor Amaya, and Missy Avila were hanging out at Victor's home outside. Laura Doyle passes by the home, and Victor and Missy begin to kiss and hug. This angers Laura, and it sets in motion the events of October 1, 1985. Remember in the movie when Laura and Karen pretended to fight? It showed Missy getting out of the car in an attempt to break up the fight. In reality it did not happen this way. A witness said that Missy was sitting in the car observing the fight terrified by what she was seeing. Also, Victor Amaya could not really remember, but he thinks this occurred in front of his parent’s house.

October 1, 1985
Missy leaves the house with Laura, and the two go to meet Karen and Eva Chirumbolo at Stonehurst Park in Sun Valley. In two separate cars, they all drive to Wicky Up better known as Colby Canyon in Angeles National Forrest, which is 45 minutes from Arleta.

Missy is murdered.

The day of the murder Irene Avila remembers how especially pretty Missy looked that day. She was all excited to go. She even turned to her mom and said, "I love you," which is something that she did not ordinarily do. Irene's mother says that scene haunts her until this day.

About 3 hours after Missy's murder, Irene receives a phone call from Barbara Doyle, Laura's mother, asking if Missy was home yet.

At 8pm Missy has not returned home as she stated that she would, and Irene is now worried. She stays up all night.

October 4, 1985
3 days after the murder some hikers found Missy's body. At first they thought that it was a small animal because the body was so small and the log was so big and heavy. Missy was wearing a gold anklet. One earring was found in her hair, and a denim purse was nearby. The contents of her purse included: red lip balm, purple compact, perfume, a comb, orange wallet, and her school identification. Missy lay flat on her tummy and one foot was placed over the other, her arm was bent back behind her arm, and bent at the elbow, which indicated that two people were carrying her. A school of minnows were swimming across her back feeding upon her. Flies also swarmed over her body. Rigor Mortis was complete. Her eyes were partially opened, and her body was turned over, the hikers stated that she had a fearful frozen look of horror on her face. When the coroner did the autopsy he found no drugs or alcohol in her body. Only the breakfast she had eaten that morning, and Missy was having her monthly cycle at the time, a tampon gently placed into her vagina indicated this.

Karen moves in with Irene Avila. Victor Amaya also stayed with Irene during this time, but he left either the next day or the same night that he almost killed Randi Fernandez. In the movie Irene Avila, played by Patty Duke, was a little uncomfortable at first at the thought of Karen moving in, however in reality this was not the case. Irene Avila welcomed Karen with open arms. She wanted to talk about Missy constantly, and Karen helped her do that. She could not see that Karen was morbidly obsessed with Missy. In the movie Irene was against Karen sleeping in Missy's room, but in reality, Karen slept in Missy's bed and wore Missy's clothing. That is until Karen claimed an apparition of Missy visited her there one night, I think this is when Karen moved out. Irene Avila did not ask her to move out as depicted in the movie

Once Karen moved out she enrolled in beauty school and scared the devil out of a friend she made there. The friend noticed Karen's obsession with Missy and was really scared to death of her. She also later found out that Karen had been calling her house and telling her 'I know you killed Missy.' Now, here is another problem...In the movie they depicted Eva Chirumbolo as a sweet innocent person, and she may have been, but no one is sure how much she actually knew about what would happen to Karen. Remember she was living with Karen at the time, so it is doubtful that she had no idea what was going to happen.

November 1988
Karen Severson to be tried as an adult
Karen pleads innocent the next day

January 1990
Defense says that the witness Eva lied on the witness stand according toKymi Reel another friend of the girls.

March 9, 1990
Karen Severson and Laura Doyle are sentenced 15 years to life in prison

May 1990
Michele Avila's mom starts victims group

December 1991
Karen Kingsbury's, the lady who covered the murder and trial, releases her book.

January 1994
Laura and Karen ask the courts to reverse the convictions

June 1997
Severson denied parole

April 2002
Laura Doyle denied parole

October 2003
Karen Severson denied parole


July 2011: Karen Severson has been recommended for parole. She will most likely be released at the end of this year.

Where they are now

Victor Amaya still lives in Arleta-Pacoima area of California. He stopped doing drugs, and he has worked as a dispatcher for the same company for the past 10 years. He has 2 children and a 2 year old granddaughter. He is divorced, but has a girlfriend.

The Avila's moved away from Arleta. Irene has moved around alot since the trial. She stated that she has had a hard time settling down. According to Victor Amaya, Irene and her sons have had some severe emotional and behavioral problems since Missy's death.

Karen Severson's parents still live in Arleta, California on the same street a few houses down from the Avila's old home. Paula Severson sat on a jury trial for Robert Blake's civil court trial that found him liable in his wife's death. She failed to disclose the fact that she had been in a high profile murder case, and that her daughter was convicted of murder. This came to light when a postman who also sat on the jury recognized the address, and told Paula that she remembered that the murder of Missy Avila happened there. She said that Paula turned stone faced. Anyway, Robert Blake motioned for a new trial in 2006 based on this. Karen had a sister too. She has her own business in California.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Missy Avila Trial Testimony

Trial Notes in the Missy Avila Case
by Traciy Curry-Reyes


Brief summary of Eva Chirumbola's testimony at trial.  


Weeks before the girls had all been into with Missy because they heard that she slept with each of their boyfriends. So they devised a plan only to scare Missy. On October 1, 1985, the day that Missy was murdered, Eva met up with Laura and Missy at Stonehurst Park. Then they drove to another park in separate cars. Laura and herself in one car and Karen and Missy in another car. Karen and Missy were following them. The other park was about 45 minutes away. Once they arrived at the location they pulled off on a dirt road, and that is when Karen and Laura began yelling at Missy. Missy was still sitting in the passenger seat of the car at the time. Eva stated that Karen then pulled Missy by the arm, and said "Let's take a walk." Eva who was following them down the small hill to the creek area witnessed Laura and Karen pushing Missy back and forth to one another while in the water. Eva then realized that they were not just trying to scare her, but that something much worse was about to occur. So she ran back to the car, and stayed there for a few minutes. She said that several minutes later, Laura came rushing back to the car, and they drove away. While they were in the car Laura told her that they had killed Missy. Eva then asked her if she was sure, and Laura responded that yes she was sure that she was dead. She also added that she deserved it because she slept with her boyfriend. Laura's boyfriend at the time was Victor Amaya. Eva did not come forward before because she felt that her life was in danger.


Brief Summary of Victor Amaya's Testimony at Trial

When Victor Amaya testified, he was actually an inmate in custody at the California Youth Authority for an assault that he committed against a man who was believed to be the killer. He testified that he had broken off with Laura about 4 months before because Laura was too jealous, and that she got upset every time he looked at or even spoke to another girl. He said on one occasion Missy was visiting him, and Laura drove by. She wanted to know why the hell Missy was at the house. Victor Amaya told her to leave. After the break up, Laura became even more bitter and enraged.





The prosecuting attorney went into detail about how the drowning occurred and how a log was eventually placed on top of Missy Avila. They asked that Laura and Karen be found guilty of first degree murder because the evidenced indicated such, but there were actually some jurors who had a problem with the premeditation angle. So they were both convicted of second degree murder. When the verdict was read Karen showed very little emotion. She did tear up at one point, and she was observed wiping her face with a tissue. Laura stood there with no emotion at all. Missy's family all hugged one another. They were not very happy with the light sentenced. But, they were happy that the trial was over.


There was a movie based on the case. The name of it is A Killer Among Friends. To go to the movie page Visit the Movies Based on True Stories Database.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Karen Severson Recommended for Parole

Karen Severson has been recommended for parole. She will most likely be released around December of this year.