Advertisement

Man Admits Plan to Set Up Brother in Murders : Trial: Prosecutors say the pair hired hit men to kill their parents in 1985. One has been convicted and is testifying to escape the death penalty.

Share via
TIMES STAFF WRITER

A man convicted in the 1985 murder of his parents testified Wednesday that he had tried to set up his older brother six years ago to take the blame for the slayings.

Under cross-examination in the murder trial of his brother and two alleged hit men, Stewart Woodman, 42, testified that he had extracted from his brother Neil, 48, a series of notes designed to incriminate him.

He also testified that just two days before the slayings, he had called a family friend to confirm where his parents would be on the evening of Yom Kippur and gave the information to one of the alleged killers.

Advertisement

Stewart Woodman was convicted in March, 1990, of the murders of Gerald and Vera Woodman. Prosecutors had planned to seek the death penalty against him but agreed to life in prison without the possibility of parole in exchange for his testimony against his brother, Neil, and Steven and Robert Homick--two men the brothers allegedly hired to kill the Brentwood couple as they were coming home from a Yom Kippur dinner on Sept. 25, 1985.

Woodman testified that in July, 1986, he prompted Neil to write notes suggesting that he wanted to kill their parents. The notes were written while the brothers were in custody at the Men’s Central Jail, he said.

Woodman testified that he had asked Neil to repeat in the notes what he had told Stewart’s wife, Melody, in a 1983 conversation.

Woodman testified that although he pretended to flush the notes down the toilet, he turned them over to his attorney later that day in an effort to pin the blame on the older brother.

“You tried to set up your brother, didn’t you?” attorney Gerald Chaleff, who represents Neil Woodman, asked during the cross-examination.

“Yes,” Woodman replied.

Prosecutors have argued that Neil and Stewart Woodman killed their parents to collect a $500,000 insurance policy, but Stewart Woodman testified Wednesday that he and Neil hired the killers out of “sheer hatred.”

Advertisement

Defense attorneys argued that Stewart Woodman--who maintained his innocence during his trial two years ago--changed his story only because prosecutors have agreed not to recommend the death penalty.

Prosecutors say that if they obtain convictions, they will seek death penalties against Neil Woodman and Steven Homick, who allegedly fired the gun at the Woodman couple. Deputy Dist. Atty. Patrick Dixon added that prosecutors will seek a sentence of life without the possibility of parole for Robert Homick.

Advertisement