A murder convict on parole who's been off the radar since 1980 was arrested in Monrovia over the weekend, state officials announced today.

And what has Richard Bradford been up to? According to the state Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR), he's been running “a high-end drug rehabilitation center” that happens to boast of commendations from L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and other city leaders.

Bradford has been posing as a man named James Edward Heard via a “false” birth certificate from 1977 and subsequent social security number issued in that name the next year, state prison officials say.

The CDCR states:

Bradford began using the name James Heard off and on beginning in the mid 1980's, and by 1992 Richard Bradford disappeared on paper.

He was paroled in 1978 and fell off the map in 1980, allegedly failing to check in with parole officials, according to the CDCR.

Authorities say they discovered recently he was using the Heard name and that he owned several properties in the Pasadena area, including the rehab center. They said they connected that name to Bradford through fingerprints:

Subsequently, a fingerprint comparison of Bradford's prison fingerprint card and Heard's Department of Motor Vehicles fingerprints by the Whitter Police Department confirmed that James Edward Heard was in fact, PAL [parolee at-large] Richard Bradford.

Bradford, prison officials said, knew he was being sought and kept a low profile, transferring his properties to a trust and putting his credit cards and vehicles in the name of the treatment center.


State officials say they tried to get him to turn himself in by negotiating with Bradford's attorney. No dice.

So they did what any good law enforcement employees would do: They followed him to a Home Depot in Monrovia on Sunday and took him down as he exited his vehicle.

Bradford's wife was arrested on suspicion of being a felon in possession of pepper spray, state officials said.

The parolee was convicted of first-degree murder and first-degree attempted robbery in 1971.

[@dennisjromero / djromero@laweekly.com / @LAWeeklyNews]

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