Police: After DNA ID's suspect, man pleads not guilty in 30-year-old murder case

Police: After DNA ID's suspect, man pleads not guilty in 30-year-old murder case
Leila Mulla (Source: EBRSO)
Leila Mulla (Source: EBRSO)
Gary Kergan, murdered on November 29, 1984
Gary Kergan, murdered on November 29, 1984

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Nearly 30 years has passed since Gary Kergan was murdered, yet his body has still not been found. One of the suspects in the case has pleaded not guilty, while the other pleaded guilty earlier this year.

Gary Kergan was murdered in November 1984.

Leila Mulla, who was an exotic dancer at a club on Plank Road then, admitted in May 2014 she conspired with her alleged pimp, Ronald Dunnagan, to rob and murder Gary. Investigators believe she took Kergan back to the apartment she shared with Dunnagen and served him poisoned wine. She says Dunnagan murdered him and put his body in the trunk of his own car. The car was later found in Metairie, but his body was never located. Mulla pleaded guilty to manslaughter and was sentenced to 30 years in prison.

Ronald Dalton Dunnagen, 65, pleaded not guilty Monday to a second degree murder charge. He was indicted on Sept. 4, 2014 and was booked on Sept. 5.

Thirty years ago, Gary was last seen leaving what used to be the "Night Spot Lounge" on Plank Road with an exotic dancer, Mulla.

Kergan and his car were missing. Detectives said his car was found abandoned in Metairie with puddles of blood in the trunk. An extensive search for Kergan was launched, but to this day, Kergan's body has not been found.

Police said the suspects lived in an apartment on Byron Street in North Baton Rouge, and they believe that's where Gary Kergan was killed. Inside that apartment, officers found evidence of a violent struggle and bloodstains, but that's not all. The search for the suspects led detectives to Las Vegas.

After searching the Vegas apartment, detectives found a diary that belonged to Mulla. In it, cold case detective John Dauthier said they found entries with plans to kill Kergan.

"It became quiet clear to investigators that the homicide of Gary Kergan was not just not an unfortunate random act, but was most likely a planned event," said Dauthier in a previous interview.

It's what led police in December of 1984 to arrest Mulla and her then boyfriend Dunnagan. But prosecutors dropped the case saying there wasn't enough evidence.

28 years later, using DNA technology, detectives were able to match the blood found in the trunk to Kergan's family once again linking Mulla and Dunnagan to the murder. From there, the search for the two was on. Ronald Dunnagan was found living just outside Bossier City, La. Leila Mulla was found in an apartment in Astoria, NY.

Dunnagen is being held in the East Baton Rouge Parish Prison on a $150,000 bond. A motions hearing has been set for Dec. 4, 2014.

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