The Ninja Murder Case
Two weeks after the big bust a sixth person, Anthony Marjoy, was arrested and charged as a conspirator to the murders. With so many suspects, it is usually only a matter of time before someone rolls over on the rest. That someone turned out to be Dominguez, who told detectives that he had been paid $5,000 to wait for Gerald and Vera to return home, then radio the Homicks to let them know. Dominguez said he knew the elder Woodmans were going to be killed. He then pleaded guilty to two counts of murder and testified against the others at a preliminary hearing. The remaining five suspects were ordered to stand trial by Judge Sandy Kriegler.
The case then came to a standstill as defense attorneys petitioned an appellate court to overturn Kriegler's order because Kriegler had met with the prosecutor in chambers in the absence of the defense attorney. Kriegler and the prosecutor had agreed to keep from the defense the fact that one of the prosecution's witnesses was an informant. Felon Stewart Siegel would be testifying that he heard Steven Homick say the Woodmans were paying him to commit a murder. Two years later, in 1988, the Second District Court of Appeal dismissed the case, saying the defense had a right to know about Siegel's background. Prosecutors wasted no time in refilling the case and holding another preliminary hearing.
Defense attorneys succeeded in severing the cases: the Woodman brothers would each be tried separately: Stewart with Marjoy and Neil with the Homicks. "Their strategy was as soon as their trials were severed, they started to blame each other," said Head Deputy District Attorney Patrick Dixon, who was assigned to the case just a month before trial.