Jury Recommends Life in Prison for Men Convicted in ‘Cotton Club’ Slaying
LOS ANGELES (AP) _ Two men convicted in the 1983 ″Cotton Club″ murder of New York producer Roy Radin escaped the death penalty Friday when a jury recommended life in prison without parole.
The panel’s recommendation ended the month-long penalty phase of the Superior Court trial of Alex Marti, 30, and William Mentzer, 42, both former bodyguards for Hustler publisher Larry Flynt.
Marti and Mentzer were convicted in July of first-degree murder with special circumstances of kidnapping and killing for financial gain. Prosecutors had sought the gas chamber for the two.
″We thought the death penalty was warranted under the circumstances,″ Deputy District Attorney David Cohn said.
Marti, who acted as his own lawyer, told jurors he preferred death to spending his life in prison.
Marti and Mentzer were convicted of slaying Radin during negotiations for the movie, ″The Cotton Club.″
Evidence produced at the eight-month trial showed the two men were paid for the killing by Karen ″Laynie″ Greenberger. She introduced Radin, a theatrical producer, to Robert Evans, who eventually produced ″The Cotton Club″ after Radin’s death.
Radin was trying to organize financing for the film. Prosecutors claimed Mrs. Greenberger was fearful Radin wasn’t going to split the potential profits from the movie with her. She denied involvement in Radin’s death.
Radin vanished May 13, 1983, after getting into a limousine with Mrs. Greenberger. His bullet-riddled body was found nearly a month later in a dry creek bed 60 miles northwest of Los Angeles.
Mrs. Greenberger and a fourth defendant, Robert Lowe, were convicted in July of second-degree murder and kidnapping. Prosecutors said Lowe drove the limousine.
The movie, directed by Francis Ford Coppola and starring Richard Gere, fared badly at the box office following its release in 1984.
All four defendants are to be formally sentenced next month.