At the Jesse James Hollywood trial

Natasha Vargas-Cooper, who is watching the murder trial of Jesse James Hollywood up in Santa Barbara for The Awl, grew up with killing victim Nick Markowitz in West Hills.

The trial has been so long coming that it has been three years since the movie Alpha Dog, a fictional account of the murder, was released. The numb savagery involved in the murder is the kind of stuff that any amateur sociologist could base a thesis on: the suburbs breed their own brand of wanton boys with too much money and too much time, etc. So Nick Cassavetes did just that. He cast Justin Timberlake as Jesse Rugge, the duct-taper of Hollywood’s crew. The movie was marketed to tweens as Timberlake’s gritty star-turn.

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.

Vargas-Cooper is the daughter of longtime L.A.-based journalist Marc Cooper.


More by Kevin Roderick:
Ralph Lawler of the Clippers and the age of Aquarius
Riding the Expo Line to USC 'just magical'
Last bastion of free parking? Loyola Marymount to charge students
Matt Kemp, Dodgers and Kings start big weekend the right way
LA Times writers revisit their '92 riots observations
Recent Police stories on LA Observed:
Police union's take on what we've learned from the riots
Officer saves choking infant before nabbing robbery suspect
LAPD, Trutanich add more muscle around USC
KNBC 'live-tweeting' the run-up to '92 riots
MALDEF sues sheriff over withheld Ruben Salazar files
Previous story: Tweet o' the day

Next story: Lakers go up 3-2

New at LA Observed
Follow us on Twitter

On the Media Page
Go to Media
On the Politics Page
Go to Politics

LA Biz Observed
Arts and culture

Sign up for daily email from LA Observed

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner


Advertisement
LA Observed on Twitter and Facebook