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Jury: Life in prison for Hollywood

July 15, 2009 12:00:00 AM PDT
A Santa Barbara jury has recommended life in prison for Jesse James Hollywood, the man convicted in the kidnapping and murder of a 15-year-old boy from the San Fernando Valley. Jurors had the option of recommending the death penalty.

Jurors returned their verdict Wednesday afternoon after deliberating Hollywood's punishment for about two days.

The 29-year-old former marijuana dealer was convicted last week of ordering the kidnapping and murder of 15-year-old Nicholas Markowitz in 2000.

Prosecutors argued Hollywood ordered the killing to settle a drug debt owed by the victim's half-brother.

Four others have been convicted in connection with the case, which inspired the 2007 movie "Alpha Dog."

Markowitz family said they were satisfied with the jury's decision.

"As a mother, I am not thrilled about another son dying, and I respect the jurors' decision. I feel for them. It has to be extremely emotional, and I believe that justice has been served," said Susan Markowitz, mother of the victim.

Hollywood defense attorney James Blatt said his fight for Hollywood's freedom is not over. He said he will file a motion for a new trial on October 21.

"We're gratified that the jury came back with life instead of death," Blatt said.

Blatt said among other issues he has with what transpired, he believes there was jury misconduct.

Hollywood will be back in court on October 21 for the official sentencing by the judge. In capital cases, the jury's recommendation usually stands.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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