crimesider

Dave Laut's Wife, Jane Laut, Arrested in Former Olympic Champion's Murder

(CBS/AP)
OXNARD, Calif. (CBS/AP) In the 1984 Olympics, Dave Laut beat the best shot putters in the world to take home a bronze medal. Last summer the 52-year-old former NCAA star couldn't beat several bullets to the head. He died in his own backyard.

Now, a Ventura County prosecutor has arrested his widow, Jane Laut, 52, and plans to charge her with murder. She was detained during a traffic stop Saturday.

Her lawyer Ron Bamieh says on Aug. 27, 2009, she wrestled a gun from her husband and shot him in "self defense" after he became drunk and said he was going to kill their 10-year-old son, their dogs, then her.

"She was left with no choice but to defend herself and her child with that gun," Bamieh told the Ventura County Star. "It's not a question of who the shooter was, it's a question of the intent of the shooter."

But Jane Laut's current story isn't quite the same as the story she told police a year ago. Back then she told investigators she heard shots fired after her husband when to the backyard to investigate suspicious sounds. Police initially said Dave Laut may have been killed by prowlers.

A few days later, they changed their minds and said the killing was not random. The investigation has taken a year to bear fruit.

Jane Laut was being held on $3 million bail in Ventura County Jail.

After the Olympics, Dave Laut worked for 10 years as a high school track coach. Born in Ohio and raised in Southern California, Laut won two NCAA titles at UCLA, a gold medal at the 1979 Pan American Games, and a bronze in the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles.

He and Jane Laut had been married 29 years and lived in Oxnard, a coastal city 60 miles northwest of Los Angeles.

  • Neil Katz

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