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Calabasas Murder Case : Victim Once Attacked Student, Trial Hears

May 16, 1986|PATRICIA KLEIN | Times Staff Writer

A 17-year-old Calabasas youth slain last summer, allegedly after he exposed a schoolmate as a homosexual, once attacked another Calabasas High School student he believed to be homosexual, according to testimony in Van Nuys Superior Court Thursday.

Joey Rosenkrantz, 17, testifying in the first-degree murder trial of his brother, Robert M. Rosenkrantz, 18, said the victim, Steven Redman of Calabasas, hit his schoolmate in the stomach with a large flashlight until he cried. Redman launched his attack after his schoolmate refused to surrender a parking space, said Joey, who termed himself Redman's best friend.

The witness quoted Redman as saying before the attack, "I'd like to kick that guy's ass because he's a fag." The attack occurred the year before Redman's death last June 28, Joey testified.

Street Shooting

The defendant, also of Calabasas, is accused of shooting Redman 10 times on a Calabasas street with an Uzi semiautomatic weapon after Redman and Joey spied on him and exposed him as a homosexual.

Under questioning by Robert's attorney, Richard S. Plotin, Joey called Redman "violent" and said he bullied people and got into fights.

Joey Rosenkrantz said his older brother "was not violent" but added, "I considered him to be violent on occasion, when we got in fights."

In testimony Wednesday, Joey said he and Redman began tape-recording his brother Robert's telephone conversations. He said at first they were "just playing around" and that he was embarrassed when he began to suspect from the taped conversations that his brother was a homosexual.

On June 21, the night of Robert Rosenkrantz's high school graduation, the two boys trailed Robert to a Hermosa Beach oceanfront home owned by the Rosenkrantz family, seeking to catch him with a male lover, Joey testified.

After an hour, he said, they saw Robert kiss a youth and head into the bedroom with him. At that point, Redman and Joey burst into the house, with Redman holding a club-like flashlight in his right hand, hitting it against his left hand.

A fight started in which Redman broke Robert's nose, and Robert shot Joey repeatedly in the face with an electronic stun gun, Joey said. Robert also asked a friend at the beach house to get a BB gun that Robert kept in his car, the witness said.

Threat Recounted

Then the friend, whom Joey identified only as Reuben, held the BB gun to Joey's face and, he said, "threatened to rape me, . . . to do different things and take pictures, and spread them around.'

Joey said he escaped from his brother and his brother's friends by falsely claiming he had cassette tape recordings in his car that proved his brother's homosexuality.

Redman later falsely told Herbert Rosenkrantz, father of the youths, that the two boys had caught Robert Rosenkrantz and another man "with their pants down," Joey testified. He said Redman also falsely claimed that Robert had threatened the two boys, saying, "You're not getting out of here alive."

Joey said he backed up Redman's claim that Robert was a homosexual at first, but said that the next day his older brother persuaded him to deny the claim "for the family's sake, because of Mom and Dad's fear of homosexuals."

Called Home

In other testimony, Joey said his brother called home at about 10 a.m. the day Redman was killed and, between sobs, told him: "I've done something terrible to Steve, and you're not going to see me again."

Throughout Joey's testimony, he and his brother seldom made eye contact.

Joey was composed during most of his testimony, until he spoke of Redman's death, when he seemed to be fighting tears.

The case is being tried before a jury in the court of Judge James A. Albracht.

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