I watched Alpha Dog last night. (twice actually) Its a great movie. I’ve been waiting for this to come out for awhile. I dont like how they changed the names and locations for it.
Its a true story. Its crazy though - even though i knew it was a true story and knew exactly how it was going to end - I kept hoping they’d let him go.
I lived in Santa Barbara at the same time this happened. I’ve driven by the Lemon Tree Inn many times.
I recommend that you see this movie. Alpha dog. Good good good movie - incredibly sad true story.
Here’s a list of the real criminals (and Victim) next to their character in the movie. Below
that is a short description of the crime if you’ve never seen the movie.
Jesse James Hollywood
Ryan Hoyt - the ass who pulled the trigger
Nick Markowitz was abducted on August 6, 2000 at age 15. Ironically, just minutes before his abduction, Nick had turned down a ride from his cousin and uncle.
Nick’s brother Ben owed a drug dealer named Jessie James Hollywood 1,200 dollars and had also ratted Hollywood out to the police for an insurance scam Hollywood was running. Hollywood was out looking for Ben that morning but found Nick instead.
The night before his abduction his parents had suspected he had paraphernalia in his pocket and when questioned about it - he ran out the door. His parents had caught him in the past with drugs. He came home in the middle of the night but when the parents went to talk to him about it the next morning he was not in his room.
Hollywood and his three friends spotted Nick walking near his home and jumped out of the white van they were driving and proceeded to beat the poor kid up for awhile before throwing him into the van and driving away. A woman witnessed the even and called 911 but apparently the police did not take the event seriously and did not make an effort to track the van until a month later.
The four men drove Nick up the Ventura highway to Santa Barbara. There they went to a party where Nick was taken into a bedroom and blindfolded. Several people witnessed this but no one called the police. They were scared of Hollywood and his crew.
Shortly afterwards Hollywood called his family lawyer and asked how much trouble one would get in for kidnapping. The Lawyer advised that carried a life sentence. This scared Hollywood and everyone agreed they would not be returning Nick to his home.
The whole time Nick was with Jesse Rugge he was given Valium frequently and was also doing other drugs. He appeared to be doing them willingly - probably thinking he was part of the group and around friends since he was allowed to walk freely around the house.
Aspects of the crime they did keep in the movie were the term “stolen boy” as he was given that nickname during the ordeal, and that Hollywood had offered Jesse money to kill Nick, but Jesse did not accept.
The last day before Nick was murdered he was taken to the Lemon Tree Inn in Santa Barbara. There he swam in the pool with girls and was truly enjoying himself. He did make the statement that he would tell his grandkids about this one day.
One of the girls suggested he leave the hotel since it was right downtown or tell the front desk or employees to call his parents. He said “I don’t see a reason to. I’m gong home. Why would I complicate it?”
(Actual photo of pool at the Lemon Tree Inn Santa Barbara.)
Later that night after everyone had gone home Ryan Hoyt arrived at the hotel. Ryan was paid 1,000 (the amount Ryan owed Hollywood for drugs) to take care of Hollywood’s problem.
They had given Nick extra Valium and pot that night and Nick was having a hard time sitting up straight. They drove up Hwy 154 towards Santa Ynez and turned into Los Padres National Forest, an area called Red Rock by the locals.
They took him to a spot called “Lizard’s Mouth” where Hoyt had been earlier to dig a grave…we all know what happened from there.
Rugge threw up afterwards but Hoyt was unscaved. He made the statement: “That’s the first time I ever did anybody. I didn’t know he would go that quick..”
Hollywood immediately went on the run and was even featured on America’s most wanted. He was arrested in Brazil where he was living under the alias Michael Costa Giroux with a girlfriend who was 7 months pregnant at the time of his arrest. His father had wired him 1,200 a month for four years while he was hiding down there.
At this time everyone who participated in this crime is locked up.
- Jesse Rugge was sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole in five years.
- William Skidmore (helped abduct Nick) was sentenced to nine years.
- Graham Pressley (a minor at the time) was sentenced to the California Youth Authority in Ventura until he turns 25. (He should be out by now come to think of it)
- Ryan Hoyt was given the Death Penalty. He was sentenced to death by lethal injection and is currently on death row at the San Quentin prison in southern California.
- Hollywood’s trial has yet to happen. I do know I will be following it closely when it does. Edit: Please go to http://www.nicholasmarkowitz.com/ to view updates on the trial.
**UPDATE** There was a hearing on April 1st, 2008 to try and get the Santa Barbara DA’s office off the case. It will take up to 90 days for the results. Video from a Santa Barbara Local News Station...
These are just some of the videos I’ve found. Be sure to check back for more…. The first one is a tribute I put together to honor Nick’s memory.
Edit: There is a page started by family I do beleive with updates on the trail and more information on Nicholas Markowitz. Check it out. It has trail updates on the douchb - er I mean Jesse James Hollywood. http://www.nicholasmarkowitz.com/
Also - if you curse in the comments I am not “not” posting them on purpose. sometimes I forget to check the spam filter. Sorry. I have it done that way because a lot of young people visit my website for other reasons and I dont want them to see bad words (its allowed on this post of course but I will have to save it from spam)