Woman sentenced to 35 years to life for murder of LA film consultant, social justice advocate

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Thursday, July 11, 2024 4:54AM
Woman sentenced to 35 years to life for murder of LA film consultant
Jameelah Elena Michl admitted she forced her way into Michael Latt's home in November 2023 and held him and his fiancée at gunpoint.

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- A woman was sentenced to 35 years to life in prison Wednesday for the fatal shooting of a well-known film marketing consultant and social justice advocate.

Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Kerry L. White imposed the maximum term allowed under Jameelah Elena Michl's June 24 guilty plea to one count each of first-degree murder and first-degree residential burglary in connection with Michael Latt's killing at his home in Mid-Wilshire.

Michl admitted she forced her way into Latt's home last November and held him and his fiancée, Hannah Lovegood, at gunpoint. The 36-year-old -- who police said lived in her car -- was arrested at the scene.

The prosecutor in Wednesday's sentencing described the murder, saying when Latt's mother unexpectedly stopped by, Michl shot him twice, but the gun jammed, allowing his fiancée to escape.

Michl had been stalking and threatening director A.V. Rockwell, who had taken out several restraining orders against her. According to court documents, Michl said she targeted Latt because he was friends with Rockwell.

Latt was a consultant whose firm focused on social impact in film and entertainment. He had worked with "Selma" director Ava DuVernay and "Black Panther" director Ryan Coogler among many others.

In a letter read in court, the victim's parents wrote that their son was "completely innocent'' and that Michl forced her way into the home "all because she wanted to hurt one of Michael's friends.''

They wrote that they are "still in shock that Michael was taken from us'' and that "the pain will never go away.''

Lovegood wrote in a letter that she is haunted by what happened and called the devastation "profound.''

"Your actions shattered my future and stole the love of my life,'' she wrote, directly addressing the defendant. "I hope you understand the magnitude of your actions ...''

In a statement read in court on her client's behalf, defense attorney Kimberly Wong said, "Ms. Michl changed her plea to guilty in order to take responsibility for her actions and (to) do the right thing for all involved.''

She noted that her client had been homeless for nine months at the time and was struggling with multiple traumatic events, and said Michl was "deeply saddened'' by the pain she had caused and hoped that her change in plea would aid in the healing process.

Michl won't be eligible for parole until after she has served 35 years in prison.

City News Service, Inc. contributed to this report.