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Man Gets 9 Years in Markowitz Kidnapping

September 07, 2002|JEAN GUCCIONE | TIMES STAFF WRITER

A Simi Valley man has been sentenced to nine years in state prison after pleading guilty to kidnapping and robbing a 15-year-old West Hills boy in August 2000.

William Skidmore, 22, was the first of five defendants sentenced in the abduction and fatal shooting of Nicholas Markowitz.

Santa Barbara County Superior Court Judge William L. Gordon imposed the sentence Thursday.

Skidmore was present when Markowitz was kidnapped on Aug. 6, 2000, near his home, but did not participate in the killing two days later in a secluded area of Santa Barbara County, said Senior Deputy Dist. Atty. Ron Zonen.

In November, a Santa Barbara jury said Ryan Hoyt, 23, of West Hills should be sentenced to death for shooting Markowitz nine times near a remote camping area called Lizard's Mouth.

Hoyt is awaiting sentencing, as is Jesse Rugge, 22, of Santa Barbara, who was convicted in May of kidnapping for ransom, but not murder. He faces life in prison.

A separate jury in July acquitted Graham Pressley, 19, of Goleta of kidnapping, but deadlocked on whether he participated in the fatal shooting. He is set to be retried on a murder charge this month.

Meanwhile, the alleged ringleader, Jesse James Hollywood, 22, of West Hills, has been charged with kidnapping and murder, but has so far eluded arrest.

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