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L.A. lawyer's shooting death in Rolling Hills Estates declared a homicide

Investigators are looking at Jeffrey Tidus' casework for a possible motive and have not ruled out anything from a targeted killing to an unplanned confrontation.

December 11, 2009|By Richard Winton

Authorities declared the death of a prominent L.A. attorney shot in the head outside his Rolling Hills Estates home a homicide and said they were now scrutinizing his casework for potential clues.

Detectives have already interviewed Jeffrey Tidus' family and business partners at Baute & Tidus, a downtown Los Angeles law firm specializing in civil litigation, to help them identify any cases or incidents that could have spurred conflict.

Los Angeles County sheriff's Lt. Dave Dolson said that the motive for the Monday evening shooting remained unclear and that his investigators had not ruled out anything from a targeted killing to an unplanned confrontation.

"At this point we are certain it is a murder," Dolson said.

Tidus, 53, represented many high-profile corporate clients, including New Century Financial, a subprime lender that saw three former officers charged this week with securities fraud. Tidus and his wife also own several toy stores.

Neighbors said Tidus' wife told them that about 8:30 p.m. Monday he went outside to get a laptop computer from his car and didn't return. They said they saw the laptop on the lawn, with blood visible on the driveway.

He died at a nearby hospital Tuesday morning.

Initially, detectives said they thought the death could have been a suicide, but no gun was found at the scene. Deputies spent two days looking through the Palos Verdes Peninsula neighborhood for clues.

richard.winton@latimes.com

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