Rosenkrantz’s Attorney Asks Jurors for Manslaughter Verdict
Calling Robert Rosenkrantz a “man with ice water in his veins,” a prosecutor Wednesday accused the Calabasas suspect of fabricating testimony and asked a jury to find Rosenkrantz guilty of first-degree murder in the death of a schoolmate who exposed him as a homosexual.
In closing arguments in the monthlong trial in Van Nuys Superior Court, Deputy Dist. Atty. Larry Diamond said Rosenkrantz, 19, carefully planned and carried out the “cold, calculated execution” of Steven Redman, 17, also of Calabasas.
Rosenkrantz is accused of shooting Redman 10 times with a semiautomatic Uzi carbine June 28 on a Calabasas street.
Likened to Rape Victim
But Rosenkrantz’s attorney, Richard S. Plotin, compared his client to a rape victim and argued that Rosenkrantz had been “physically and psychologically assaulted” by the revelation of his homosexuality, which he had for years kept secret from his family. Plotin asked for a verdict of voluntary manslaughter, a killing provoked “by the heat of passion.”
“Think of something. Think of your most precious secret, something you want no one to find out,” Plotin asked the seven-man, five-woman jury, which will begin deliberations today.
In asserting that the shooting was not premeditated, he said, “If someone was going to be so calculating, would they buy an Uzi with their mother’s charge card, fill out a federal firearms form with their own name, give their own driver’s license . . . and carry out the killing in broad daylight?”
‘They Don’t Kill’
Diamond, however, argued that, “There are millions of people who have secrets exposed. Millions who quarrel. They don’t go out and kill.”
Testimony showed that Redman and his best friend, Rosenkrantz’s brother, Joey, now 17, followed Robert to his family’s Hermosa Beach oceanfront house on June 21, the night of Robert’s high school graduation, and burst in on him and a male lover.
The two youths soon told Rosenkrantz’s parents what they had discovered.
Robert Rosenkrantz testified that he brought the gun merely to destroy Redman’s car if Redman refused to retract the contention that he was homosexual. He said he shot Redman in anger, however, after Redman called him a “faggot.”
Plotin, pointing to testimony from a man who said he was driving past Redman’s home and saw the two youths on the street involved “in a very heated verbal argument,” argued that the killing was in the heat of passion.
But the prosecutor accused Rosenkrantz of lying about the events before and after the shooting and feigning memory lapses when asked questions “that might hurt him.”
“This is a man who is willing to change his story and lie whenever it suits him,” Diamond said. Noting that Rosenkrantz was carrying an Uzi when he confronted Redman before the shooting, Diamond argued, “There does not exist on this planet a single person who would have responded as he says Steven Redman responded.”
Diamond called Rosenkrantz “a man proud enough after murdering Steven Redman to have his friends photograph his gun or he photographs his gun,” referring to a photograph of the Uzi, introduced into evidence during the trial. The photograph was taken in Stockton, where Rosenkrantz fled after the shooting and lived for nearly a month before surrendering to police.