Natasha Vargas-Cooper has published her second installation in her series about the trial of Jesse James Hollywood. Hollywood is being charged with the murder of local teen Nick Markowitz, a crime that inspired the Nick Cassavetes’ film “Alpha Dog.” The victim was a childhood friend of Vargas-Cooper. Here she recounts the last time she saw him alive, at a party populated by unsupervised teenagers:
As the night drifted on, the crowd at this house party got older and surlier. I spotted Nick sitting across the table from a pudgy kid who was called “Crack.” They were negotiating over something. The deliberations weren’t going in Nick’s favor. Crack punched Nick right in the face. Nick stood completely frozen. His eyes began to well up. He squinted at Crack, who looked ready to strike again. Nick surveyed the crowd and ran out of the house, in tears. Ben’s friends killed Nick two months later.
Like the first piece in the series, Vargas-Cooper’s story moves between memories of her murdered friend and details of the current trial. It’s a credit to the writer that her account of both is never either detached or overwrought- an it’s likely also a credit to her upbringing. Vargas-Cooper is the daughter of local journalist and USC professor Marc Cooper. We reckon that is as close as a body can get to being raised inside a journalism school.
Previously on FBLA:
The Trial Of Jesse James Hollywood