Wife of Former Olympian David Laut Arrested for His Murder

| by Mark Berman Opposing Views

The wife of an Olympic shot put medalist, who was gunned down in his Southern California backyard last summer, was arrested Saturday for the murder.

David Laut, who won a bronze medal in the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles, was shot several times in the head on the night of August 28, 2009, in his yard in Oxnard. He was declared dead at the scene.

Meanwhile, Jane Laut was detained during a traffic stop Saturday morning on a warrant issued earlier in the week, Oxnard police said in a written statement. Her attorney called it a "self-defense case," apparently contradicting police reports of her statements at the time of the killing.

Jane Laut told investigators immediately after the shooting that her husband went to the backyard to check out suspicious sounds, and she heard shots fired. Police initially said Laut may have been killed by prowlers, but a few days later said the killing was not random.

But now that story has changed. Jane Laut's attorney, Ron Bamieh, told the Ventura County Star that she wrestled the gun from an abusive husband after he became intoxicated and said he was going to kill her after he killed their 10-year-old son and their dogs.

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

David Laut was favored to win gold at the 1984 Olympics after throwing 70 feet, 10 inches at the U.S. Olympic Trials. He won the bronze instead with a mark of 68 feet, 9 3/4 inches on his final attempt.

He was 52-years-old when he was gunned down. He and Jane Laut, also 52, had been married for 29 years.

She is being held on $3 million bail.