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Former Boyfriend Kills Tarzana Woman, Self in Her Home, Police Say

February 15, 2001|NEDRA RHONE and MICHAEL KRIKORIAN | TIMES STAFF WRITERS

As a 42-year-old woman pleaded for mercy, a former boyfriend shot her to death Wednesday and then killed himself at her home in a hilly, fashionable Tarzana neighborhood, police said.

Kathleen Anne Hirsch-Jolly was shot several times in the kitchen of her two-story house in the 19600 block of Rosita Street. The body of her recently estranged boyfriend was found in the closet of a upstairs bedroom with a single bullet wound in the head, police said. Police withheld the identity of the man pending notification of family members.

It was the second double-killing in 10 days in the West Valley.

Around 9 a.m., a handyman who was doing renovation work at the home rang the doorbell and was let in by Hirsch-Jolly, said Det. Rick Swanston of the Los Angeles Police Department. The handyman followed her into the house where a man carrying at least three guns ordered the worker to sit on the couch as he led the woman into another room.

Moments later, the handyman heard several shots, dashed outside and called police, Swanston said. Two semiautomatic pistols and a shotgun were recovered, authorities said.

Neighbor Joan Webb-Ewen said Hirsch-Jolly was an artist who appeared to live alone and was believed to have an 18-year-old daughter. Webb-Ewen, who lives across the street, said the woman was kind, generous and independent.

On Feb. 5, the bodies of William and Bertha Lasky were discovered by firefighters responding to a blaze set at the elderly couple's West Hills home.

No arrests have been made in that case which, like Wednesday's double death, stunned a normally peaceful neighborhood.

Wednesday's shooting took place in a neighborhood where homes are secluded behind large trees and gates and most neighbors don't know each other.

"Just because they lived right across the street, what makes you think I knew them?" asked neighbor Eleanor Philips. "This street could be full of murdering people killing their wives or husbands up and down the block and I'd never know it. Not unless the police told me."

In the first six weeks of this year, there have been at least three homicides in the LAPD's West Valley Division, compared with four all of last year, department officials said. The West Valley Division, covering nearly 52 square miles with a population of roughly 300,000, was the safest of the LAPD's 18 divisions last year.

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