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Richard Lippner Had Two Beautiful Young Women Die in His Apartment Four Months Apart

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Nine hours later, a doctor pronounced Casey dead.

Again police requested an autopsy and a toxicology report. In Casey's urine, the medical examiner found alcohol, cocaine, marijuana, benzodiazepines (a tranquilizer such as Valium) and oxycodone.

"When you hear about what she had in her system, it's like she was a different person down there," her ex-boyfriend says. "She wasn't ready for Miami."


In June, Fort Lauderdale police did something rare: They went public with the investigation into the deaths of Casey and Brianna. They released the initial incident reports and the medical examiner's conclusions. Detective DeJesus posted several times to the memorial Facebook pages of both girls, asking for leads. Sgt. Frank Sousa, spokesman for the Fort Lauderdale Police Department, told WSVN-TV (Channel 7) that they were investigating the suspicious circumstances. "We are not per se saying that Richard is a suspect," Sousa said. "However, he is a person of interest in this case."

DeJesus says he hoped going public would inspire other witnesses to come forward. He says he won't rest until he has "turned over every leaf and looked into every lead."

If police find evidence that Rich slipped something into one of the girls' drinks — a possibility DeJesus says they haven't ruled out — then he could be charged with murder. If there's proof he provided the girls the drugs that killed them, police could charge him with manslaughter.

At the least, DeJesus says he could charge Rich with obstruction for telling investigators that he didn't know Casey and Brianna had taken drugs. "He straight-up lied to me, and that really bothers me," DeJesus says. "We have several eyewitnesses who can testify to his drug use."

Rich's attorney, Melody Ridgley Fortunato, is a former Hollywood cop with bleached-blond hair and tan skin. She says Rich did not give drugs to either woman. "My client is absolutely devastated," she says. "He loved those girls. He treated them very well."

Fortunato says Rich wasn't dating Brianna; he was trying to help her. "He knew she was driving around on a suspended license after two DUIs," she says. "She had a bad drug problem, and Rich isn't the type of person to turn his back on someone who needs help. So he offered her a place to stay for a night or two."

She says that her firm performed an investigation and that she believes Casey was getting her drugs from the Living Room. Fortunato provided photos of cocaine use involving Casey in the VIP lounge at the nightclub. When asked if her client took the photos, she couldn't comment.

"Was there ever cocaine use at the club? Possibly," Lowe says, "but I never saw it at all. I'm normally out in the front, greeting guests. I don't make judgments, but I personally don't do any kind of drugs at all."

Fortunato also says Casey didn't have an overdose two weeks before her death. "That was just what she said to get out of working," Fortunato says.

This is all a coincidence blown out of proportion, the attorney contends. "The entire situation is a tragedy," Fortunato says. "But the truth is, they were party girls, and they went too far. My client had nothing to do with their deaths whatsoever."

Detective DeJesus says Rich has another petite blond whom he dated in the fall, before Brianna died. He says she's now in rehab. Fortunato says her client doesn't have any ex-girlfriends in rehab.

"This guy is a predator," DeJesus says. "He's like the candyman out there preying on vulnerable, young blond girls. We're not saying these girls were angels, but Richard was the enabler, the supplier. He needs to take responsibility for his part in their deaths. And I want to get him off the streets before this happens again."

The girls' families use words like murderer and serial killer to describe Rich. For some of the girls' friends, however, there is little mystery to what took place.

"Anyone who's been in this scene long enough has seen that happen," says David Faltz. "Everyone's had that 'Oh shit, I fucked up!' moment. They've had a girl on the floor, or they've been at a party where someone ended up on the floor. The smart people don't make the same mistake twice."

Friends from the club scene say Rich spends more time at home these days. He still goes out, but he's been banned from a lot of clubs, including the Living Room. "It would just be too painful to see him here," says Lowe, the club owner.

On Rich's Facebook page — his chosen URL is "NotRichieRich" — he has a photo of himself in a tank top, sunglasses, and a bejeweled baseball cap, drinking on a boat. It appears a young woman has been cropped out.

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Michael J. Mooney