Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Jesse James Hollywood Found Guilty of Murder

Jesse James Hollywood Found Guilty of Murder

A Santa Barbara jury has found Jesse James Hollywood guilty of first-degree murder and kidnapping for ordering the killing of Nicholas Markowitz. The story of Jesse James Hollywod is what the movie “Alpha Dog” was based upon. Read more on Jesse James Hollywood below.The crime was the model for the 2007 movie “Alpha Dog.” Defense attorneys argued that the crime’s notoriety tainted the testimony of witnesses and prejudiced the public against their client.

Hollywood could receive the death penalty.Markowitz was beaten up, forced into a van near his home and driven to Santa Barbara by Hollywood and a couple of his friends. Prosecutors said the aim was to hold Markowitz until his older half-brother Ben made good on a $1,200 drug debt to Hollywood, an admitted marijuana dealer.

Defense attorneys said Markowitz was free to go shortly after the group arrived in Santa Barbara and that a Hollywood friend named Ryan Hoyt opted to kill the boy to win the defendant’s approval. On July 1, prosecutor Joshua Lynn repeated his description of Hoyt as a lackey who would do anything — including commit murder — for the more popular Hollywood.

“What would not elevate his status would be to do it against Hollywood’s orders,” he said. Hoyt has been sentenced to death. Graham Pressley, who dug Nicholas’ grave in the Santa Barbara foothills, was sentenced as a juvenile and has been released.

In his testimony, Pressley said another accomplice, Jesse Rugge, contended that Hollywood had offered him $2,000 to kill the boy, which he refused. Rugge was acquitted of murder but given a life sentence for aggravated kidnapping.

Nicolas Markowitz was held for a few days but Jesse James Hollywood was afraid he’d face charges of kidnapping so took the boy to a park where he shot and buried the 15 year-old. Hollywood wasn’t at the scene but had his orders carried out.

This makes the fourth trial in this case. The defendants have all been convicted. One was released after time served, another received life in prison, and the man that pulled shot the boy is on death row.Hollywood evaded capture by California police and lived as a fugitive in Brazil for four years before his 2005 apprehension.


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