Not Guilty Plea in Chatsworth Double Murder

Defendant finally formally charged in the bizarre crime in Chatsworth that led to a shootout in Encino

By Yvonne Beltzer
|  Wednesday, Dec 28, 2011  |  Updated 7:46 PM PDT
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A 43-year-old man was charged Wednesday with murder more than four months after the discovery of two decomposed bodies in a Chatsworth trash bin.

A 43-year-old man was charged Wednesday with murder more than four months after the discovery of two decomposed bodies in a Chatsworth trash bin.

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A 43-year-old man was charged Wednesday with murder more than four months after the discovery of two decomposed bodies in a Chatsworth trash bin.

The bodies of Oletta Jean Williams, 28, and her fiancé, 41-year-old John David Lee were discovered Aug. 12. They had been dead for weeks, according to police.

The release of the victims names and the murder charges come months after Zubek was taken into custody. Authorities say part of the reason was to accurately identify the victims.  

"The fact that it took five months to file the case, I suspect that they felt they needed more information," said Los Angeles County defense attorney Mitchell Bruckner. "So it suggests to me that there may be problems of proof in this case."

Attention initially focused on a third person who’d been squatting at the Chatsworth house, 43-year-old Brent Zubek, who had previously served time for 1993 bank robbery. On Wednesday, he was charged with two counts of capital murder.

Zubek pleaded not guilty to the charges, which were filed with a special circumstances allegation  of multiple murders, meaning Zubek could be eligible for the death penalty.

Los Angeles police finally caught up with Zubek in Encino 11 days after finding the victims and took him into custody after a shootout in August. Zubek was shot in the hip.

He was previously charged with six counts of assault with a firearm on a police officer -- stemming from the Encino shootout. He also was charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm and one count of carrying a loaded, stolen firearm.

Since the homicides at the house on Lassen Street, Los Angeles firefighters have responded to three fires there, all believed to be the result of arson. The people who actually own the property told the Los Angeles Weekly that Zubek had illegally occupied the house and they had been unable to evict him.

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