Archive for Thursday, July 9, 2009

People in the news

July 9, 2009

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Drug dealer guilty of murdering 15-year-old

Santa Barbara, Calif. — Marijuana dealer Jesse James Hollywood was convicted Wednesday of kidnapping and murdering a 15-year-old boy over an escalating drug debt, a crime that inspired the 2007 movie “Alpha Dog.”

After deliberating about four days, a Santa Barbara Superior Court jury also found Hollywood, 29, guilty of the special circumstance allegation of being a principal in a murder committed in the course of a kidnapping and being involved in a crime in which an assault weapon or machine gun was used, making him eligible for the death penalty.

Hollywood stared straight ahead as the verdict was read.

“I can’t believe they found him guilty of that murder,” his father, Jack Hollywood, said outside the courtroom.

The victim’s parents said they were relieved but declined to comment further because of a gag order issued in the case. Prosecutors and defense attorneys also declined to speak.

The penalty phase of the case was scheduled to begin Monday.

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