Defendant May Be Son of Hussein, Lawyer Says : Accused of Murdering Actress Mother in ’86

Times Staff Writer

A Valley man accused of murdering his actress mother may be the son of King Hussein of Jordan, with whom the actress was for several years romantically linked, a defense attorney said Wednesday.

The attorney for Timothy Scott Roman stated in documents filed this week that actress Susan Cabot Roman received monthly payments from the monarch that appear to have been child support.

“For as long as I can discover, Susan Roman received a regular sum of $1,500 a month from the Keeper of the King’s Purse, Amman, Jordan,” attorney Chester Leo Smith said in papers filed in Van Nuys Superior Court. “There is written indication in the handwriting of Susan Roman this money is from a trust. . . . For better or worse, it looks like child support.”


The actress, known professionally as Susan Cabot, was bludgeoned to death Dec. 10, 1986, in the bedroom of her Encino home. She was 59. Her son is charged with first-degree murder and has pleaded not guilty and not guilty by reason of insanity.

Jail Transfer Sought

Smith’s arguments were made to support a request to have Roman, 25, moved from his cell at the Los Angeles County Hall of Justice to Van Nuys Jail during his trial, scheduled to begin next week. The attorney argued that Roman would be safer in the Van Nuys Jail because he would not have to be transported to Van Nuys daily from the Hall of Justice downtown.

If Roman is the son of Hussein, he “would then be half Jewish, half Arab, a direct descendant (through the Hashemite Dynasty) of the Prophet--a lineage which could be uniquely dangerous in today’s conflictive society. . . .” Smith wrote.

The “Prophet,” Smith said, is Mohammed, from whom Hussein is descended. Religious Arabs would not look favorably upon a descendant who was half Jewish and might try to kill him, the attorney said. He said he has been told that the actress was forced to break off her relationship with King Hussein because she was Jewish.

Cabot met Hussein 30 years ago at a dinner party in the Beverly Hills home of oilman Edwin W. Pauley, according to a Los Angeles Times article dated April 9, 1959. Smith said he learned through the actress’s former mother-in-law and other friends that the two developed a relationship that lasted several years.

Hussein was 24 years old and recently divorced when he met Cabot, who gained moderate fame in the 1950s in numerous “B” movies. Representatives of Hussein could not be reached for comment Wednesday.


Deputy Dist. Atty. Bradford Stone called the defense motion entertaining but said it had no validity.

The motion “is really glamorous but it doesn’t have anything to do with his killing his mother,” Stone said. He added that the defendant would not be any safer in Van Nuys than in the Hall of Justice--a place where prisoners who need to be outside the mainstream jail population are held.

The prosecutor said that even if Roman is the illegitimate son of King Hussein, it would have no relevance to the murder charge.

Check Copies Presented

Among the documents filed by Smith were copies of checks made out to Susan Cabot and signed by the Keeper of the King’s Purse. Also included were copies of letters the actress allegedly wrote to Hussein, which discussed her son and his health. No kinship was mentioned in the letters.

“I don’t have positive proof of the relationship” between Hussein and his client, Smith said. “But it certainly is possible.”

He said he has not contacted Hussein.

Roman was born Jan. 27, 1964. Even Stone conceded that the possibility exists that Roman’s father is King Hussein. Smith said no one has come to him claiming to be the man’s father.


Smith said he also asked to have Roman moved because of medical problems stemming from his dwarfism. The attorney has said Roman is an emotional wreck as a result of an overly protective, disturbed mother and a growth deficiency that made him dependent on strong medications with dangerous side effects.

Smith will argue his motion Friday before Judge Darlene Schempp.