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Posts Tagged ‘Nick Markowitz’

The Trial Of Jesse James Hollywood Continues

Natasha Vargas-Cooper has published her second installation in her series about the trial of Jesse James Hollywood. Hollywood is being charged with the murder of local teen Nick Markowitz, a crime that inspired the Nick Cassavetes‘ film “Alpha Dog.” The victim was a childhood friend of Vargas-Cooper. Here she recounts the last time she saw him alive, at a party populated by unsupervised teenagers:

As the night drifted on, the crowd at this house party got older and surlier. I spotted Nick sitting across the table from a pudgy kid who was called “Crack.” They were negotiating over something. The deliberations weren’t going in Nick’s favor. Crack punched Nick right in the face. Nick stood completely frozen. His eyes began to well up. He squinted at Crack, who looked ready to strike again. Nick surveyed the crowd and ran out of the house, in tears. Ben’s friends killed Nick two months later.

Like the first piece in the series, Vargas-Cooper’s story moves between memories of her murdered friend and details of the current trial. It’s a credit to the writer that her account of both is never either detached or overwrought- an it’s likely also a credit to her upbringing. Vargas-Cooper is the daughter of local journalist and USC professor Marc Cooper. We reckon that is as close as a body can get to being raised inside a journalism school.

Previously on FBLA:
The Trial Of Jesse James Hollywood

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The Trial Of Jesse James Hollywood

Natasha Vargas-Cooper is following the murder trial of Jesse James Hollywood, whose alleged murder of San Fernando teen Nick Markowitz nine years ago was the basis for Nick Cassavetes‘ film “Alpha Dog.” Vargas-Cooper is covering the proceedings with a unique perspective:

I grew up with Nick Markowitz. We had a three-day hand-holding affair the summer of 7th grade. He was a part of my tight circle of goofy theater kid friends who were transformed into a traumatized fraternity after his murder.

In the summer of 2000, Nick’s older brother Ben owed a $1,200 drug debt to Hollywood. Ben and Jesse- who had played in Little League together- were now feuding.

In a haphazard plan to exact revenge and ransom, Hollywood and his friends kidnapped Nick, who was 15. The boys took Nick to Santa Barbara, where they partied, hung out with girls. Hollywood consulted a retired attorney about the circumstances. Instead of possibly facing a life-sentence for aggravated kidnapping, it was decided that they would kill Nick and make it look as though he disappeared. Ryan Hoyt, also in debt to Hollywood, and now on death row, volunteered to fire the gun.

This is the first article in a short series Vargas-Cooper is writing for The Awl, with the next installment coming in about 10 days time.