Pubdate: Thu, 30 Nov 2000
Source: Los Angeles Times (CA)
Copyright: 2000 Los Angeles Times
Contact:  Times Mirror Square, Los Angeles, CA 90053
Fax: (213) 237-7679
Author: Richard Fausset, Andrew Blankstein, Times Staff Writers
Note: Times staff writers Zanto Peabody and Roberto J. Manzano contributed
to this story.


Grief: She Says She Cannot Reconcile The Apparent Lack Of Concern Among 
Those Who Reportedly Saw Him Being Held Before He Was Killed.

WEST HILLS--Still numbed by the loss of her 15-year-old son, Susan 
Markowitz said Wednesday she was stunned by reports that two dozen people 
may have seen Nicholas Markowitz while he was held captive before his 
execution-style killing Aug. 8.

"I have no idea who they are or what they were thinking, or what their 
mentality was," Markowitz said. "Maybe they didn't know.

"There are several people, I wonder if there are any ethical values in 
their heart," she added. "I honestly believe everyone knows between right 
and wrong, and you have to listen to that little voice up there."

Three men--including a Simi Valley resident--and a 17-year-old boy have 
pleaded not guilty to charges of kidnapping and murder in the West Hills 
teen's death. The alleged mastermind, Jesse James Hollywood, is a fugitive.

Investigators allege that Hollywood orchestrated the kidnapping in 
retribution for unpaid drug debts of the boy's half-brother, Benjamin 
Markowitz. Hollywood, however, was not present when the boy was gunned down 
in the mountains near Santa Barbara, authorities say.

During his two days in captivity, at least two dozen people became aware 
that Nicholas was being held at various locations but did not call police, 
the Santa Barbara News-Press reported Wednesday, citing sealed grand jury 
transcripts. Prosecutors had earlier confirmed that one of those people was 
Hollywood's lawyer, Stephen Hogg.

The transcripts also said that a woman returning from church in West Hills 
saw Nicholas being beaten and thrown into a van, and called the Los Angeles 
Police Department with a vehicle license number, the News-Press said.

The LAPD did not connect the report to the Markowitz case until a month 
later, when Santa Barbara police brought it to their attention, LAPD Cmdr. 
Sharon Papa said.

Papa declined to say whether police tried to find the van or its owner, who 
turned out to be a friend of Hollywood's. But she confirmed that an 
internal investigation had been launched into the department's handling of 
the matter.

"At this point, we don't know that it involves any misconduct on the part 
of officers, but appropriate action will be taken if warranted once the 
investigation is completed," Papa said.

Papa said the department wasn't aware of the connection to the Markowitz 
case "until Sept. 5, when the Santa Barbara detectives contacted our West 
Valley Division."

"Once we received that information, we immediately began an internal 
investigation to find out what happened," she said.

Susan Markowitz, a 41-year-old West Hills resident, said she's having a 
hard time moving on, describing herself as "a stay-at-home mom whose job 
has been taken away."

She and her 46-year-old husband, Jeffrey, have grown estranged from 
Nicholas' half-brother, Benjamin, whose $36,000 drug debt allegedly 
prompted the abduction, she said. And though they are alone in the house, 
she still anticipates Nicholas' presence when she walks into his room.

She is so despondent over her loss, she said, she has twice tried to commit 

Despite her grief, she has managed to find some purpose by producing 
"wanted" posters for Hollywood and is tacking them up anywhere she can.

"When they killed him, they killed me," she said. "He was a bigger part of 
me than anyone will understand, and when I speak of him, I feel like I'm 
still alive." 
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