On Tuesday at the Jesse James Hollywood trial, the prosecution briefly introduced evidence that Hollywood fled to Brazil following the murder of Nicholas Markowitz. During his four-and-a-half year stay in Brazil, Hollywood apparently had a child with a local woman who was his girlfriend, but he was arrested and brought back to the U.S. before the birth. Outside the presence of the jury, Judge Brian Hill told the prosecution that these and other details of Hollywood’s life in Brazil are irrelevant to the case and cannot be used as evidence.
Despite that setback, the prosecution carried forth with the end of their case on Tuesday, which alleges that Hollywood gave Ryan Hoyt the order to murder the 15-year-old Markowitz on August 9, 2000. Hollywood was not present for the shooting in Santa Barbara, but numerous testimonies suggest that he and three other people kidnapped the victim on August 6, 2000. Hollywood is charged with masterminding the kidnapping and murder because of a feud with Markowitz’s older half-brother, Ben, at the time. If he’s found guilty, Hollywood faces the death penalty.
During the course of the trial, the prosecution has shown that, after the murder, Hollywood fled from his home in the Los Angeles area to Colorado. In Colorado, he showed up at the home of Chas Saulsbury, a childhood friend who testified at the beginning of the trial. Saulsbury said that he had agreed to drive Hollywood to Las Vegas and then back to the Los Angeles area, where he dropped the defendant off at a friend’s house. Four-and-a-half years later, Hollywood was back in Los Angeles, this time in the custody of police. Lt. Ronald Legault testified Tuesday that he picked Hollywood up at a Los Angeles airport in 2005, on a return flight home from Brazil following his capture.
Dr. Robert Anthony, who performed an autopsy on the victim, also took the stand on Tuesday. The victim’s mother, Susan Markowitz, quietly cried in the audience while Anthony gave an extremely detailed, technical account of the victim’s anatomy. Anthony described the effect that each of the nine bullet wounds had on Markowitz’s body. Anthony said that alcohol and marijuana were detected in Markowitz’s liver, and that his hands were duct taped behind his back during the shooting. Graham Pressley, who dug Markowitz’s grave, is the only witness to testify in Hollywood’s trial who had been convicted for crimes related to the case .
The prosecution is now finished presenting witnesses, and the defense is scheduled to bring in their own on Monday. Defense attorney James Blatt initially said that he has no obligation to provide the prosecution with his witness list, angering prosecuting attorney Joshua Lynn. “I don’t like to be sandbagged like that,” Lynn complained. “I have emailed Mr. Blatt faithfully every single day.” Hill agreed that the case would proceed in a quicker and more orderly fashion if the defense prepared a witness list ahead of time. More witness and evidence matters will be discussed tomorrow at 1:30 p.m., outside the presence of the jury. On Monday at 9 a.m., the trial commences again.