Jesse James Hollywood, the now-29-year-old West Hills man depicted in the film Alpha Dog, has been found guilty, it's just been announced, of ordering members of his young drug-dealing crew to kill 15-year-old Nicholas Markowitz. After three days of deliberations, a Santa Barbara jury convicted Hollywood of murder and kidnapping -- although he was acquitted of kidnapping with the intent to commit murder.
Exactly how that verdict will shake out for Hollywood won't be clear until the jury finishes its next task -- to set sentencing for Hollywood. He could receive the death penalty.
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In a story that was part Leopold and Loeb, part River's Edge, Nicholas Markowitz had been kidnapped by Hollywood's posse on August 6, 2000, held for hours and even partied with them at a motel. The San Fernando Valley youth was eventually shot several times and his body buried in a shallow grave outside Santa Barbara. Markowitz, prosecutors had alleged, was killed to send a signal to the boy's half-brother, who owed Hollywood a debt.
Although Hollywood's followers were quickly arrested and tried, he
eluded police and fled the country. In 2005 Hollywood was apprehended in
Brazil and extradicted to California.