[Ryan Hoyt], one of five men charged in the Aug. 8, 2000, killing, was accused of taking the West Hills teenager into the mountains above Santa Barbara and shooting him nine times. Hoyt was the first to stand trial.
Defense attorneys portrayed Hoyt as a misfit from a troubled family who often was belittled by friends. A failure even as a drug dealer--he smoked too much marijuana to turn a profit--Hoyt said he had lied about killing Markowitz to protect his friends.
[Susan Markowitz], mother of slaying victim [Nicholas Markowitz], is embraced by her daughter, Leah Goyanes, right, after the guilty verdict was read. At left is her husband, Jeff Markowitz.; PHOTOGRAPHER: STEPHEN OSMAN / Los Angeles Times; Ryan Hoyt, in trial testimony, said he had no memory of giving a confession to detectives.; PHOTOGRAPHER: SPENCER WEINER / Los Angeles Times; Nicholas Markowitz was abducted in West Hills and slain in Santa Barbara County.; PHOTOGRAPHER: SPENCER WEINER / Los Angeles Times