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Defense lawyer’s wife found slain at their home

first_imgThe wife of prominent criminal defense attorney and TV legal analyst Daniel Horowitz was found slain in the entryway of the couple’s home in a wealthy San Francisco Bay Area suburb, authorities said Sunday. Horowitz, currently leading the defense in a sensational murder trial, called 911 Saturday evening to report that he found his wife, Pamela Vitale, dead in their home, police said. Contra Costa County sheriff’s deputies said Sunday that the death was being investigated as a homicide. An autopsy was planned today to determine how she was killed. “We talked to a number of people last night, but there’s nobody in custody. We’re still trying to establish a motive,” said spokesman Jimmy Lee. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREWalnut’s Malik Khouzam voted Southern California Boys Athlete of the Week As a lawyer who defended drug dealers, Death Row inmates and other criminals, Horowitz was concerned for his safety, said attorney Ivan Golde, a longtime friend and co-counsel in his current trial. He was armed with a gun and other weapons. There was a surveillance camera on the property, but the terrain was too rugged and isolated to monitor fully. “It’s only normal to have in the back of your mind, especially when you’re dealing with true-caliber criminals,” Golde said. “A lot of these people that’s the way they are, they threaten people.” Golde, who said he spoke to Horowitz on Saturday, wouldn’t offer details about Vitale’s death, but said she was not shot. About 20 officers and investigators from the Lafayette Police Department and the county Sheriff’s Department were at the home Sunday morning. They did not release any other information. A deputy was posted at the bottom of a steep driveway leading to the home and a canopy of trees blocked views of the property, located on a sprawling hillside estate about 20 miles east of San Francisco. The couple was living in a trailer on the property while their dream home was being built, Golde said. Horowitz and Vitale had each been previously married before they wed about 10 years ago. Vitale, 52, a former high-tech marketing executive, worked at her husband’s law practice, creating and managing databases. “The two were so intertwined with each other,” Golde said. “They were perfect for each other and it was a great marriage. We’re all just in total shock.” Horowitz did not answer calls Sunday by The Associated Press. He told the San Francisco Chronicle on Saturday that he couldn’t talk. “It’s beyond words,” he said. Horowitz, 50, is a regular television legal analyst who appears frequently on CNN, MSNBC and Fox News and was a frequent commentator during the Laci Peterson murder trial. He is also a successful criminal defense attorney known for handling high-profile cases. Horowitz was the lawyer for former Ukrainian Prime Minister Pavlo Lazarenko in a multicount money-laundering and fraud trial. In May, a judge threw out half of the convictions against Lazarenko, who is under house arrest at an undisclosed location in the Bay Area. Horowitz also represented Steve Williams, the man who snagged Barry Bonds’ 700th home run ball, in a lawsuit to determine who could keep the ball. Currently, he is defending Susan Polk, accused of murder in the 2002 stabbing death of her psychologist husband in the pool house of their Orinda home, a trial that has gained national media attention. Polk’s husband, Felix, was her therapist when she was a teenager, and she claims she killed him in self-defense. Vitale sat in the front row of the courtroom last week during Horowitz’s opening statement, Golde said. “She was down to earth and she was cool and believed in what Dan was doing,” Golde said. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more