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Judge Refuses to Seal Killer’s Medical Records in Markowitz Case

Co-defendant Jesse James Hollywood is accused of ordering the 2000 shooting of the 15-year-old.

Judge Brian Hill on Thursday refused to seal the medical papers of Ryan Hoyt, Jesse James Hollywood’s co-defendant and the confessed triggerman who shot 15-year-old Nicholas Markowitz in 2000.

Markowitz was shot in a feud over drug money, and his body was found in the hills outside of Santa Barbara. Hoyt is on death row.

According to Hoyt’s attorney, the papers should be sealed because his confession could have been made under duress, and because Senior Deputy District Attorney Ron Zonen, who was on the case at the time, “gave the material to the world” by giving the information to screenwriter Michael Mehas, who co-authored Alpha Dog, the 2006 film that is based on the Markowitz murder.
Hill, however, granted a protective order on the records, meaning in this case that the attorneys for the prosecution and the defense — including Hollywood attorney James Blatt, who may have gotten access to the records — could use them but not divulge any information to third parties or the media. Hill also allowed that experts hired for Hollywood’s upcoming trial could view the records.

Hollywood is the alleged mastermind behind a drug ring that started in the San Fernando Valley. When Markowitz’s older half brother, one of Hollywood’s associates, didn’t pay money he owed Hollywood, a group including Hoyt, Jesse Rugge, William Skidmore and Graham Pressley came to Santa Barbara and kidnapped and shot Markowitz. Hollywood was not present at the crime scene but was said to have ordered the murder.

Hollywood’s trial is tentatively set for Feb. 19.

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