A former Los Angeles police officer on death row for the murder-for-hire killings of a Brentwood couple in a case that became known as the Yom Kippur murders died Wednesday of natural causes.
Steven Homick was imprisoned in San Quentin, but died at a hospital at age 74, according to the state Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.
Homick was convicted of two counts of first-degree murder and a single count of conspiracy to commit murder for the Sept. 25, 1985, killings of Vera and Gerald Woodman, aged 63 and 67, respectively. The couple were fatally shot in their Mercedes-Benz in the gated underground parking area of their Brentwood condominium building. They were coming home after attending a Yom Kippur break-the-fast dinner.
Prosecutors said the couple’s two sons, Neil and Stewart Woodman, hired Homick and his brother Robert to kill their parents. The Homicks, in turn, hired two men to assist in the murder.
Steven Homick was the only defendant sentenced to death in the case. His brother was convicted of two counts of murder and sentenced to life without the possibility of parole.
Stewart Woodman testified against the others in exchange for avoiding the death penalty, and a mistrial was declared in his brother’s case.
The Woodmans owned a family business and their two older sons filed multiple lawsuits in bitter disputes with their parents and youngest brother Gerald. They eventually took control of the business, firing their father and sibling. Their hatred of their parents was well documented by employees and business associates.
Neil and Stewart Woodman met Steven Homick in Las Vegas around 1980 through a gambling buddy. According to court documents, Homick told the men that it would cost them about $40,000 to $50,000 to have their parents murdered.
The killings were dubbed the ninja murders by some media outlets, since a witness described seeing a person fleeing the scene dressed in a black ninja costume.