Timothy Scott Roman, convicted of involuntary manslaughter in the 1986 bludgeoning death of his actress mother, Susan Cabot, was sentenced Wednesday to three years’ probation. The judge said Roman and his mother both had physical and emotional problems that may have contributed to the slaying.
Van Nuys Superior Court Judge Darlene Schempp also ordered Roman, 25, to seek psychological counseling and pay a $1,000 fine.
“The judge’s decision was fair and just,” Michael V. White, one of Roman’s two attorneys, said. “It was an unintentional killing.”
Roman, who has been free since June on $25,000 bail and living with his grandmother in Los Angeles, could have been sentenced to up to four years in prison. But Schempp, who presided over Roman’s six-day non-jury trial last month, noted that he had spent 2 1/2 years in jail while awaiting trial.
The judge also said she was convinced that Cabot’s slaying was “not the result of a criminal mind.”
Prosecutors had asked for a $10,000 fine but no additional jail time, noting that with credit for time served and good behavior, Roman would have spent only another 90 days in jail under the maximum sentence.
Cabot, known in the 1950s for roles in “B” movies, was clubbed to death in her Encino home on the night of Dec. 10, 1986.
Roman’s attorneys did not dispute that the former Pierce College art student killed his mother. They argued, however, that Roman’s actions were the result of his mother’s aggressive and irrational behavior toward him and of the strong medication he was taking--a hormone extracted from cadavers to promote growth--because he was born without a pituitary gland.
Dr. Carl Farber, Cabot’s longtime psychologist, testified during the trial that Cabot was mentally and emotionally unstable, even suicidal, in the days before her death.
Roman told the court that his mother was screaming and talking to herself on the night of the killing. When he tried to call paramedics, his mother attacked him with a barbell and scalpel, he said.
Roman testified that he grabbed the barbell from his mother, but did not remember if he hit her. He admitted lying to police, telling them a burglar in a Ninja mask had killed his mother, and said he hid the barbell and scalpel because he did not think anybody would believe him if he told the truth.