Monday, June 22, 2009
Jesse James Hollywood the Alpha Dog, is a former drug dealer and fugitive, currently on trial for kidnapping and ordering the murder of Nicholas Markowitz. The movie Alpha Dog chronicled the events leading up to the kidnapping and murder of 15 year old Nicholas Markowitz; Alpha Dog quickly became a hit having an all-star cast including: Emile Hirsch, Justin Timberlake, Shawn Hatosy, Ben Foster, Olivia Wilde, Amanda Seyfried, Anton Yelchin, along with Sharon Stone and Bruce Willis.
Alpha Dog hit home with Southern Californian residents and especially parents for its real life portrayal of the drug world and where it leads people. Prosecutors have finally rested their case against Jesse James Hollywood (born January 28, 1980), also known as Michael Costa Giroux and Sean Michaels, who is accused of ordering the murder of Nicholas Markowitz who he allegedly kidnapped to force payment of a drug debt. Prosecutors contend that Hollywood and others kidnapped the boy in 2000 in the San Fernando Valley to force his half brother, Ben Markowitz, to pay the $1,200 he owed Hollywood for drugs.
Hollywood disappeared after the killing and was finally arrested in 2005 on a Brazilian beach by FBI Agents. The trial was slowed down by the making of Alpha Dog, because during the filming Santa Barbara County Deputy District Attorney Ronald J. Zonen provided copies of many documents on the case and served as an unpaid consultant to the film, citing his desire to have Hollywood captured. Zonen prosecuted Hollywood’s co-defendants and was poised to prosecute Hollywood. Hollywood's defense claimed there was a conflict of interest, and the California Court of Appeals for the Second District ruled on October 5, 2006, that based on Zonen's disclosure of the files and consultant service—he should be recused from further involvement in prosecuting Hollywood.
After four years Prosecutors have rested their case against Jesse James Hollywood, the defense will begin calling witnesses today and a jury could begin deliberations on June 26 or June 29. Hollywood, now 29, has pleaded not guilty to kidnapping and murder charges. He could face the death penalty if convicted. Defense witnesses could include Alpha Dog director Nick Cassavetes, who interviewed some of the witnesses, and Ron Zonen.
I will be following this case as the defense begins their case and I will keep you posted. The story of Jesse James Hollywood and the untimely death of Nicholas Markowitz is an extreme example of how the disease of addiction can impact one's life and one's family. Remember to call Hope by the Sea if you need help with your recovery, untreated addiction is always a matter of life and death.