Star Witness in Murder Case Balks

The star prosecution witness in the case of two brothers charged with masterminding the murders of their elderly parents refused to testify Monday.

Michael Dominguez, 30, of Las Vegas, who pleaded guilty in 1986 to two counts of first-degree murder in the case, had agreed to testify against the other defendants.

Although Dominguez testified at two preliminary hearings, when called Monday to testify at the trial of one of the brothers, Stewart Woodman, he repeatedly refused.

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Cooper found Dominguez in contempt of court for refusing to testify and fined him $2,000.

Dominguez said he refused to testify because prosecutors might want to use his testimony to bolster unspecified charges they were preparing against him, an allegation denied by Deputy Dist. Atty. Pat Dixon.

Cooper ordered Dominguez to remain in custody in Los Angeles County until the trial is over or he agrees to testify.

Woodman, 39, and his brother, Neil Woodman, 45, are charged with hiring several reputed hit men to gun down their elderly parents in the garage of their luxury Brentwood condominium in 1985 after a bitter dispute involving the family's San Fernando Valley plastics firm.

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