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Private Detective Traps Murder Suspect with Romance

February 26, 1985 GMT

HOUSTON (AP) _ Police say a dark-haired, blue-eyed beauty working her first case as a private detective romanced a man into confessing that he had a role in the hired murder of a wealthy attorney and his wife.

Police were listening through hidden microphones last week as the 23-year- old detective, Kim Paris, tripped her love-baited trap. Now the man and a daughter of the murdered couple have been charged with capital murder.

For David Duval West, 28, it was almost love at first sight two months ago when Ms. Paris walked into his life. He proposed marriage after just two dates.

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For Ms. Paris, the romance was a dangerous stalk of a suspected killer, and she’s glad it’s over.

Police charged that West was hired to kill wealthy Houston attorney James H. Campbell, 55, and his wife Virginia, 50. One of the Campbells’ four daughters, Cynthia Ray, 28, has been charged with capital murder of her mother. Authorities are seeking indictments. A gag order has been imposed on most people connected with the case.

The Campbells were shot to death in June 1982 as they slept, each one shot twice in the head and once in the chest with a .45-caliber pistol.

The killer had to step over two of Ms. Ray’s children, sleeping on the floor of their grandparents’ bedroom.

Police were unable to make an arrest, and three months ago three of the Campbells’ daughters hired Houston private detective Clyde Wilson to investigate. He gave the case to Ms. Paris as her first undercover assignment.

Ms. Paris said she went to West’s apartment, knocked on the door and told his roommate she was looking for someone named Charlie. The roommate let her in to use the phone and then invited her to a bar for drinks.

At the bar she met West, introducing herself as ″Teresa.″

″I was friendly and we made conversation,″ she said. ″There was never any promise of sexual favors. I wanted to build a friendship and gain his confidence.″

Though they never were intimate, she said, they dated two or three times a week and talked frequently by telephone.

″The more I got involved in it, the more committed I became because I was convinced he was directly involved,″ said Ms. Paris.

She said West kept a loaded 12-gauge shotgun handy, had military paraphernalia in his apartment and often talked about firearms.

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″He sat down with a handbook with me and he would go page after page and point the advantages of this gun and the disadvantages of that one and the unique qualities of each gun,″ said Ms. Paris.

Ms. Paris told West she was interested only in ″macho men,″ and he began to allude to ″terrible things″ he had done.

She said she wired herself with body microphones and a transmitter last Wednesday and Thursday, and gave West ″an opportunity to get something terrible off his chest.″ Discussing the killings was ″a final act of faith″ in her, she said.

While police listened, West and Ms. Paris talked for hours. He then drove her to a store, and when she stepped out of the car police arrested him.

When told of Ms. Paris’ identity, West told police: ″You must be mistaken.″

Ms. Paris said she was never frightened because a team from the Wilson agency followed her every move.

She said she never carried a weapon, ″but I wore my tennies (tennis shoes) so I could run fast if I had to.″

Ms. Paris was a Navy flight controller and moved to Houston last year thinking of getting a job in civilian flight control. But she took the job with Wilson, instead.

She plans to make private investigating a career. But would she take on another case like the West assignment?

″Most certainly,″ she said.

Investigators claimed the murders were arranged because of the Campbells’ estate, estimated to be worth $1.2 million to $2 million.

An uncle and the sisters of Ms. Ray filed a document in probate court Monday laying claim to an apartment complex which had been awarded to Ms. Ray as part of the estate settlement. An attorney said the family also sought to recover some of the cash awarded Ms. Ray from the estate.