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   The Christmas season of 1998 was shattered with the news of the brutal murder of skater Regina Lovings by her brother, Derrick. BROTHER ARRESTED IN DEATH OF WOMAN

Jim Herron Zamora, OF THE EXAMINER STAFF Examiner news services contributed to this report.

Friday, December 4, 1998


Cops say he told where to find body of sister, who went missing 2 weeks ago

OAKLAND - The mystery surrounding the disappearance of a hospital administrator two weeks ago ended with the arrest of her older brother after police say he confessed to killing her and told investigators where to find her body.

Derrick Lovings, 41, was being held without bail in Oakland City Jail on suspicion of killing his sister, Regina Lovings, after he told police Thursday he hid her body in the boarded-up cellar of their home, Oakland police Sgt. Arturo Bautista said.

"He gave us a statement that led us to place him under arrest for her death," said Bautista.

Using the information Derrick Lovings gave them, police went to the four-unit apartment building on Alcatraz Avenue and found a body, believed to be that of the missing woman.

Detectives believe Derrick Lovings killed his sister after an argument on Nov. 18, the day before she was reported missing. Bautista said neighbors told detectives there was a loud altercation that night in their apartment.

There were tensions between the two, Bautista said, declining to be more specific.

Friends of Regina Lovings said Thursday that she was angry about her brother's drinking and that Derrick Lovings wanted part ownership of the four-unit building she inherited from their mother in 1995.

Friends and relatives also described how the siblings remained very close as adults and shared a passion for roller skating. Both honed their dance moves in popular Sunday morning sessions in Golden Gate Park, according to friends.

D. Miles and Jill never suspected that Derrick Lovings (wearing the ganster hat) could have ever harmed his sister Regina
Regina Lovings, 38, was reported missing Nov. 19 when she didn't show up at her job at the Kaiser Permanente Medical Center in Oakland, where she was a popular administrator.

Investigators first considered the possibility that the same people responsible for a crime spree that included the kidnapping last month of San Francisco resident Alice Tennyson also may have abducted Regina Lovings.

On Nov. 24, two homeless people in San Francisco briefly became suspects when one of them was caught trying to use a credit card belonging to Regina Lovings shortly after police found Lovings' green 1995 Saturn parked in the 500 block of Golden Gate Avenue near Polk Street.

They were taken into custody and questioned, but were released when investigators determined they had nothing to do with the woman's disappearance.

Regina (African-American female in front) and her brother Derrick (waiving in back) were always together whenever we had a party or social gathering. Arrested on outstanding warrant,Bautista said the focus shifted to Derrick Lovings after other possible theories about Regina Lovings' disappearance were eliminated. He would not elaborate.

On Wednesday, police arrested Lovings on a drunken driving warrant. "We took that opportunity to question him" on Thursday about the disappearance of his sister, Bautista said.

Derrick Lovings allegedly confessed to the killing about 2 p.m. Thursday and told detectives they could find her body in the basement of the Alcatraz Avenue apartment building, Bautista said. He said police visited the home twice earlier but did not search the basement.

The body was found about 4 p.m., wrapped in plastic bags in an unused basement room less than 6 feet from the room's only access to outside at the rear of the building. Officers used crowbars to tear away the boards that blocked the entrance.

Alameda County coroner's investigators removed the body about 6:30 p.m. They were not immediately able to identify the body conclusively as Lovings because of its condition. But investigators believe it is her, Bautista said. Police refused to say what caused her death.

In addition to the drunken driving arrest, Derrick Lovings has a criminal record, said police, who would not release details.

Investigators said the siblings had been having personal problems but would not elaborate. Friends and neighbors said the two had quarreled over Derrick Lovings' alcohol use as well as Regina Lovings' ownership of the four-unit building.

"They had differences about the property," said Tressie Bullock, a tenant in the apartment building, at Alcatraz Avenue and Essex Street. When their mother died in 1995, she left the building to Regina Lovings, but her brother apparently felt entitled to it, Bullock said.

Bullock and others said Regina Lovings worked hard to take care of her older brother even when he got into trouble, often helping him find a job or a place to live.

Several neighbors said they occasionally heard arguing inside the apartment. But many who knew them both found Thursday's developments hard to believe.

Karen Jones, a cousin of the siblings, said she was shocked by the news of the alleged killing. "I just don't believe it," Jones said. "I don't believe that he could do that. He's very protective of her. He was always so nice and friendly. I know he drinks. I know he's got a temper. But I do not believe that he is capable of killing his sister."

Regina Lovings worked for 12 years as an administrator at Oakland's Kaiser Permanente Medical Center, where she was popular with employees.

Jackie Sanders, a co-worker of Regina Lovings, said she suspected the brother from the beginning. She said she recently visited the home and Derrick Lovings seemed very nervous. "He was sweating and it was not a warm day," she told KTVU-TV Channel 2.

Several employees said there were spontaneous sobs and tears around Kaiser's Fabiola Building, where Lovings worked, when news of Thursday's developments came over the hospital's intercom late in the afternoon.

A vigil for Regina Lovings had already been planned for later that evening. Instead, the event turned into an impromptu memorial service. Several hundred people - many in tears - gathered there. They sang gospel songs and prayed for her soul.

"I'm devastated and I'm in shock that this could happen to someone so sweet," said co-worker Verlinda Whitley.

"She'll be terribly missed," said Sheila Brown, weeping. "I've lost a friend, a sister, a co-worker, someone that I shared a lot with."

Both brother and sister were avid roller skaters and for the past 15 years were regular participants in the skating sessions on Sundays in Golden Gate Park, according to David Miles, president of the Golden Gate Skate Patrol, a volunteer group of roller skaters and in-line bladers.

"Every Sunday they came to the skate area at Sixth Avenue and Kennedy Drive and spread a blanket near the leaning tree," Miles said.