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Wife of slain Olympian to face murder charge

February 15, 2010 12:00:00 AM PST
Charges will be filed against the widow of an Olympic shot-put medalist who was gunned down behind his home in Oxnard.Dave Laut, a shot-putter who won a bronze medal in the 1984 Olympics, was killed on Aug. 28. He was a track coach and athletic director at Hueneme High School in Oxnard. Laut and his wife were married for early 30 years.

"I just want to say she's the nicest person you ever want to meet. That's all I want to say," said Oxnard resident Allice Williams, fighting back tears. "I care about her, about her and her son."

Investigators say that on the day of the killing, Jane told them that her husband had exited the home to go to the backyard to check out suspicious sounds.

She stayed inside of the house. She heard gunfire soon after and immediately dialed 911. Investigators initially believed that David Laut may have been the victim of prowling, but that story soon changed.

Jane Laut, 52, is expected to appear in court Tuesday. Her attorney, Ron Bamieh, contends that she acted in self-defense.

Bamieh claims that Jane wrestled a gun from her allegedly abusive husband after she claims he became drunk and threatened to kill her, their 10-year-old son and even their dog. Bamieh also said that his client will plead not guilty and seek lower bail.

"She did what she had to do. It was either her son or him," said Annette Arellano, an Oxnard resident.

Annette Arellano was a next door neighbor of the Lauts. She won't elaborate on what she heard or saw the night of the killing.

Not all neighbors share the same opinion of what happened the night of the shooting.

"Dave Laut was a good man. No, I don't believe he was going to kill his wife and son," said another Oxnard resident Edward Castillo.

Oxnard police arrested Laut Saturday, and she is currently being held on $3 million bail.