The ex-stepdaughter and two male roommates of the 72-year-old Silver Strand resident whose burnt remains were discovered last month near Joshua Tree National Park are fighting to limit media coverage of their murder trial.
Attorneys for Haena Worthing, John Schiefer and Shavonne Webster argued against allowing television cameras in the courtroom during a Sept. 12 hearing at the Airport Courthouse in Westchester.
Investigators say Worthing, a former talent agent who lived in Marina del Rey, had been fighting victim William Webb to prevent the $2.6-million sale of his five-bedroom home at 131 Lighthouse Mall. Police believe Schiefer and Webster, who lived in the house, killed Webb with a hammer before burning his body.
Worthing remained in the prisoner’s holding area during the hearing, viewing proceedings through a glass partition while defense attorney Omar Abukurah held up a manila folder to shield her face from a TV camera that was present.
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Keith Schwartz ruled against a joint defense motion to prohibit cameras in the courtroom, unconvinced by the attorneys’ arguments that filming in court could be prejudicial against their clients.
“I’m a strong believer in the First Amendment. The public has the right to know what the court is doing,” Schwartz told the court.
No stranger to high-profile cases, he presided over Dr. Conrad Murray’s involuntary manslaughter trial for the death of Michael Jackson and the felony grand theft case against Lindsay Lohan for shoplifting a necklace from a shop on Abbot Kinney Boulevard.
The next court appearance for Worthing, Schiefer and Webster is scheduled for Sept. 23.
— Gary Walker