Prosecutor Removed From Murder Case

From Times Staff and Wire Reports

An appeals court Thursday ordered the removal of a deputy district attorney from a death penalty case against Jesse James Hollywood, saying the prosecutor overstepped his authority when he served as a consultant for an upcoming movie based on the murder plot.

The 2nd District Court of Appeal in Ventura said that Santa Barbara County Senior Deputy Dist. Atty. Ron Zonen shouldn’t have shared confidential files with the producers of “Alpha Dog,” a film based on the notorious kidnapping and slaying of 15-year-old Nicholas Markowitz.

Zonen’s “actions allowed ‘show business’ to cast an unseemly shadow over this case,” wrote Presiding Judge Arthur Gilbert. “The prosecution of criminal cases and entertainment enterprises are best kept separate.” The panel, however, said the Santa Barbara County district attorney’s office can remain on the case.