Richard Lawrence Kalfin appears in court in November 2011 for an arraignment hearing after he was arrested  for allegedly beating a man to death with a
Richard Lawrence Kalfin appears in court in November 2011 for an arraignment hearing after he was arrested for allegedly beating a man to death with a baseball bat at Lakewood Wal-Mart. (Brittany Murray / Staff Photographer)

BELLFLOWER — A Bellflower Superior Court Judge ruled Tuesday there is sufficient evidence to try a 48-year-old transient for the bludgeoning death of a Lakewood man killed inside a local Wal-Mart.

The defendant, Richard Lawrence Kalfin, was found mentally fit for trial in December and is charged with murder in the beating death of 74-year-old David Oakleaf.

Los Angeles County sheriff's investigators and prosecutors allege Kalfin used an aluminum bat from the sporting goods section of the Lakewood Wal-Mart, 2770 Carson St., to attack Oakleaf, striking him repeatedly and causing massive head trauma.

Lakewood sheriff's deputies called to the Wal-Mart arrested Kalfin, who was held by store security guards after employees and customers were evacuated.

Witnesses at the scene said Kalfin may have followed Oakleaf into the store and attacked the victim after Kalfin asked the victim for money in the parking lot and was refused. Several terrified witnesses who had been inside the business recalled seeing and hearing the violent attack.

Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department Homicide investigators said there was no evidence of any contact between the two men prior to the slaying. The beating, captured on the store's surveillance video, appeared random and unprovoked, sheriff's authorities said.

Kalfin, who is being held without bail, is charged with first-degree murder and an allegation that he has a previous felony conviction for arson in 2005. If convicted on all counts, he faces the possibility of 57 years to life in prison, according to prosecutors.


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Bellflower Superior Court Judge Richard Ghoul set Kalfin's arraignment at the Norwalk Superior Court for Feb. 13.

tracy.manzer@presstelegram.com, 562-499-1261, twitter.com/tmanzer