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Hollywood convicted of murder, kidnap

July 8, 2009 12:00:00 AM PDT
A jury has convicted Jesse James Hollywood of the August 2000 kidnapping and murder of 15-year-old Nicholas Markowitz.Hollywood was found not guilty of kidnapping with the intent to kill. The nine women and three men jury deliberated for more than three days.

Prosecutors say Hollywood orchestrated the kidnapping and eventual killing of Markowitz because the teen's half-brother owed a $2,500 drug debt. Hollywood had also suspected the brother, Ben, of vandalizing and busting out the windows of his valley home.

Nicholas was taken to Santa Barbara and held for several days before he was shot and buried in a shallow grave.

Hollywood had testified that he and two friends were driving in a van when they saw Nicholas on a street in the San Fernando Valley near his home. Hollywood admitted to confronting Markowitz and pinning against a tree, but claimed it was a friend who punched Markowitz and put him in their van.

Hollywood said Markowitz was then taken in the van to a friend's house somewhere in the valley. From there Markowitz was driven to Santa Barbara. Hollywood had said the teen partied with friends and was free to go at any time.

Markowitz's was later shot to death in the hills of Santa Barbara.

Ryan Hoyt was convicted and sentenced to death for shooting the teen, and three others were also convicted for their part in the shooting.

Hollywood had claimed he did not order anyone to kill Markowitz, and that he was not present at the time of the murder. He said he believed Hoyt was going to pick up the teen and bring him home.

Hollywood fled Southern California after the slaying and was captured in Brazil about four-and-a-half years later.

After the verdict was read, Markowitz's mother said she is just relied all of it is over.

Hollywood faces the death penalty. The jury will move on to the sentencing phase of this trial next week.

The 2007 movie "Alpha Dog" was inspired by the case.

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