Two brothers, both San Fernando Valley residents, and two of the reputed hit men they allegedly hired to kill their parents were ordered Tuesday, for the second time, to stand trial on murder and conspiracy charges.
Neil Woodman, 44, of Encino; Stewart Woodman, 38, of Hidden Hills; Robert Homick, 37, a West Los Angeles lawyer; and Anthony Majoy, 49, of Reseda were ordered to stand trial at the conclusion of their second preliminary hearing, presided over by Los Angeles Municipal Judge David Doi.
Authorities believe that Homick’s brother, former Los Angeles Police Officer Steven Homick, also is an accomplice in the slayings. He was not present at the hearing because he is being held in Las Vegas, where he faces trial for three other murders. He will face a second preliminary hearing in the Woodman case at a future date.
A fourth reputed hit man charged in the case, Michael Dominguez, 29, of Las Vegas, pleaded guilty in May, 1986, to murder charges and was a key prosecution witness against the defendants.
If convicted, the defendants, who are scheduled to be arraigned Oct. 17 in Los Angeles Superior Court, could face the death penalty.
Neil and Stewart Woodman, Robert and Steven Homick and Majoy have been in custody without bail since their arrests in March, 1986.
The Woodmans’ parents, Gerald Woodman, 67, and his wife, Vera, 63, were killed in a hail of bullets in the underground garage of their Brentwood condominium on Sept. 25, 1985.
The case became known as the Ninja murders because a witness reported that at least one of the gunmen was dressed in the martial-arts garb worn by Japanese warriors. It was later discovered that the gunman apparently wore a black-hooded sweat shirt, which led to the misleading description.
Police said the brothers arranged the slayings to collect their mother’s $500,000 life insurance policy to save their failing San Fernando Valley plastics business.
The five defendants were initially ordered to stand trial in June, 1986, but a state appellate court dismissed the case in April on grounds that the defendants were denied due process at their first preliminary hearing before Municipal Judge Sandy Kriegler.
The 2nd District Court of Appeal said Kriegler erred by meeting privately with prosecutors and a key witness, convicted felon Stewart Siegel, and deciding that Siegel’s background as an informant for the FBI and the New Jersey Gaming Commission should be kept from defense attorneys.
When the state Supreme Court refused to reinstate the charges, the district attorney’s office refiled the case.