Domestic Violence is the violence of silence, lets break the silence...
The chronological Abuse of Jane Laubacher Laut
Married to David Laut in 1980/ Hueneme High School Science Teacher / Former Olympic Athlete Jane and Dave were married for 29 years.
● One of the first abuses was in Goleta about 1980. Jane was working at a local bank, Dave was training and getting ready to leave for Europe for a track meet. Jane “forgot” to buy one of the items he needed to pack. He went ballistic. Beat her until black and blue, broken bones in her face. Dave’s parents saw her in this condition. This started the stalker/prowler story and excuses she told throughout the years to cover for his behavior. She was coached by Dave and his family to say it was a black man who stalked her, followed her, beat her, robbed her. Police were called. She stuck to that story even as she drove around with a SB policeman to look for this “person”.
● The” same” black man found her again in Goleta, beat her, raped her...somehow disappeared again. She did share this story later with someone she worked with at Bank of A Levy in Oxnard, but did not admit who the real abuser was.
● Jane's family came by their Goleta home to pick her up for her sister Karen’s baby shower. She pretended she wasn’t home, they knocked but they didn’t answer the door because she was so black and blue.
● The Laut family persuaded Dave to move back to Oxnard so they could help them buy a house and help “control” his temper.
● Oxnard Police were also called to their home on Raft lane, Jane answered the door with Dave beside her and told them everything was ok. Jane learned to suffer in silence, Dave learned to not hit her above the neck where injuries were harder to disguise. If she screamed, the abuse would be worse, he would hit her harder.
● Oxnard Police were called by neighbors behind their house as Dave was throwing lemons in their backyard, angry about something, barely missing hitting their children.
● Jane made another 911 call late at night , she wasn’t able to speak but pushed the button on the phone as Dave was forcing her to play Russian Roulette. Oxnard PD considered this to be a misdial and did not send officers.
● Jane worked for Bank of a Levy for about 10 years. During this time many employees testified to seeing bruises, bald spots on her head, even her taking a week off from work when she supposedly had surgery on her knee. The injury was from her abuser.
● Jane also coached volleyball at Santa Clara HS for about 9 years. She was very popular with the girls and some of them also testified to seeing bruises, cowering behavior in front of Dave. They saw aggressive behavior and heard his comments. She was dragged out of a game by her arm by Dave for not playing the girls Dave wanted.
● Neighbors testified that Dave ordered Jane around, “supervising” her as she did the yard work. She moved bricks that were not needed at their house across the street, Dave insisted to the neighbor "JANE WILL DO IT."
● Neighbors also testified that Dave called his son ethnic slurs "gook" and names like "pussy" and made fun of him trying to ride a bicycle. Jane also worked at Laubacher Farms various years off and on. Taking time off when their adopted son Michael first arrived. It was very obvious she was distracted at work. Her work would have to be double checked as many mistakes were made. Dave would call her constantly while she was at the office asking when she was coming home. Called her at work to ask her how to spell a word. He would pressure her to get her paycheck or rent check ASAP and hand it over to him.
He would come home unannounced in the middle of the day, park down the street just to check on her. He hoarded all the mail, police found 4 large trash bags of mail in his closet, next to the sawed off shot gun he kept in closet. Jane was NOT allowed to open any mail, only pay for tuition and groceries, and everything else was heavily scrutinized. Where DID all there money go? Jane was not an extravagant women, simple clothes, no jewelry, never was allowed to wear make up.
Jane never broke her silence or admitted to family or friends that Dave was her abuser, But things were becoming increasingly difficult in 2009. He was becoming more violent which included threatening her with guns, knives, sexual abuse and humiliation.
In the spring of 2009 she took Michael and a friend of his to visit her sister Karen up north about 4 hours away. This was the beginning of her truth as she told her sister and how unhappy their marriage was, how angry Dave would get, how he cleared the table of dinner and dishes with one swoop, something splashed into Michael’s eye and Jane tried to comfort him. Dave went ballistic, balled up their little kitten and threw it against the wall.
In June 2009 Jane had lunch with her brother Hank. She also told him how unhappy their marriage was, said Dave was in constant pain and very “grumpy”. Hank encouraged her to leave him, she said she wasn’t ready
to because he wasn’t capable of taking care of himself.
August 28, 2009
Jane takes Michael and 2 friends to the beach for the whole day. They had a happy day but were “late” coming home. Dave’s dinner was not on the table as expected. Jane and Michael walked in the door laughing and smiling after a great day. Dave was not. Jane made him dinner, a hamburger, it wasn’t good enough. He tossed it and told her to make it over again. He was raging most of the night. Jane had gone to bed in Michael’s room and she usually did. (They hadn’t slept in the same room for over 2 years.) About 10:00 Dave banged on the bedroom door told her to get out there. He grabbed her by the hair and pushed her against the wall. She could see he had a gun in his hand. She was terrified. He told her he was sick of her disrespect and nobody gave a shit about him. All she cared about was Michael. He continued ranting and raving and as they struggled she headed out towards the backyard. She wanted to get him further away from Michael. Dave continued yelling” so sick of you bitch, I’m going to kill Michael and the f’ n dogs and you are going to watch...then you are next.” Something changed that night. Michael was being threatened.
Jane had the gun pointed in her face and they struggled out on the back patio, Dave lost his balance and fell backwards. Jane took this chance to save Michael and herself. She got control of the gun and as they went down the gun fired. It was very dark in the yard, without aiming she fired the gun numerous times. He continued to get up after being shot, he said “what the f”??? It was a Ruger 22 caliber gun that Dave had brought out that evening. The same one he had made her play Russian Roulette with. (It would be one used to kill a small animal, squirrel etc.) All the bullets in the chamber were fired. Jane ran back in the house, dropped the gun in the grandfather clock because she thought Dave was still going to come back in and hurt Michael. She went to the bathroom threw up and then called 911.
When the police arrived, she continued her cover up story of a prowler/intruder to protect the image of this Olympic athlete as she had been trained to do for over 29 years.
About midnight Oxnard Police Dept. were there very soon with numerous officers beginning the investigation. At first they thought it could possibly be a suicide, but their questions centered on Jane. Feeling completely traumatized, not thinking rationally she stuck to her story of a prowler. She was very concerned about Michael. She called her brother Hank and he came over that night. The police had begun to point their investigation on Jane.
A female officer was supposed to do a GSR test, gun residue on Jane’s hands. She didn’t follow proper procedure by bagging Jane’s hands. They tried to put blame on Jane for using the bathroom. The officer was cited for this mistake.
The police were not concerned with all the weapons at the Laut house. These all belonged to Dave. He had over 11 knives he kept in his night stand. And a gun safe. Dave kept the Ruger 22 in a sock under his bed. He also had a sawed off shotgun up in a closet they never found. But they did find the Ruger revolver in the grandfather clock. There are also pictures of a kitchen cabinet containing all the prescription and nonprescription drugs, things he ordered online from Mexico (at least 25) Dave was taking. Police declined to take them or catalog them. Jane was “asked” to come down to the Oxnard Police station that night. She was questioned for over 4 hours. A detective Erik Mora continuously told her that the prowler story didn’t add up. What really happened? Her real state of mind was never considered. She denied her domestic abuse at this time. Turns out this detective was arrested 2 years later in September 2011 for evidence of domestic violence, they saw a woman with visible injuries. He had a stand off with the Ventura Police in his yard after a night of heavy drinking, but the DA prosecutor Anthony Wold declined to press charges. Det. Munoz who investigated that case said “any individual is innocent until proven guilty”. Erik Mora was subsequently fired from the Oxnard Police Dept.
The police released Jane about 5:00 AM in the morning. Hank Sr. had her son Michael and they all returned to Jane's Mother's house. It was now time to retain an attorney. Ron Bamieh was suggested. At this time it was thought an attorney was needed for the media onslaught about the death of an Olympic Hero. On the way to Ron’s office Jane confessed to her brother Hank that she shot Dave that night and told the truth of that night. She also told her story to Ron that afternoon 8/29/09.
Ron made it clear to the Oxnard Police Dept. he would accompany Jane to the station for a statement any time they wanted. They declined that offer and never spoke to her again until arresting her on the side of the road in Oxnard. February 2010. It was a Friday starting a long holiday weekend, coinciding with the start of the Vancouver Winter Olympics. She spent 4 days in jail. That began the prejudicial media coverage, Olympic Hero murdered by wife, Jane Laut.
Jane was arrested and taken into custody with a $3 million dollar bail.(?!) This a local woman with no criminal record living right in town, no threat to anyone, volunteering daily at her son’s school. Trying to keep up with daily life after being completely traumatized. Her life basically ruined by this man.
October of 2009an unmarked police car pulled over Jane, her mother and her son Michael. Officials questioned them and one of them being from Child protective services said Michael must go with them. They took 10 year old Michael at that moment and took him to the police station for questioning and then to Casa Pacifica in Camarillo. He was and is completely traumatized by that event. He was there for almost 3 days. Once again having his familiar security taken from him. Hank and Margaret Laubacher were chosen as his legal guardians as Jane Laut parental rights were taken away as she is now the prime suspect. A juvenile court decided that Michael should not be in Jane’s custody or presence. That she could possibly be a “threat” to him. So Michael came to live with Hank & Margaret for 3 months. During this time it was very obvious how traumatized he was and he began weekly therapy sessions with Nancy Lopez whom he has grown to trust and find comfort. He is still in weekly therapy, at 17 years of age.
The Laubacher family had to come up with the funds to cover 8% of a bond to release Jane from custody. Ron Bamieh was able to get the court to reduce the bail to $1 million dollars for Jane's release. During the 6 and 1⁄2 years before trial the first unscrupulous bail bonds man insisted on an annual fee of 8% instead of the usual commitment of a bond in place until a trial actually begins. We had to hire a civil attorney to fight this injustice and have all the liens that were placed on our families’ properties released. We then had to retain another bail bondsman, an honest man given a onetime fee.
After another court hearing in juvenile court, Michael’s court appointed attorney, Mandy Sanderson petitioned for Michael to see his Mother “under supervision”. It was granted. So Michael and Jane could see each other again but for at least 5 years they were never to be “alone”. Always in the company of someone over 18. The logistics of this were difficult, for school and other activities. Oxnard PD even followed Jane and tried surprise spot checks to see if they were alone. It never happened! Michael was so traumatized by being taken away to Casa Pacifica, they never would take a chance. Oxnard PD notified CPS that they rode in a car alone. Ron appeared in court with documentation of who was with them. Finally in about 2015 Michael’s attorney petitioned the juvenile court again to allow Jane to drive her son to school and related activities without another adult in the car with them. This was one small victory.
Jane has been in Oxnard trying to live her life as best she could. She never missed a single court appearance. She has been gearing up to finally speak her truth at her trial. She resisted taking the 4 pleas, one of which was 6 years, that were offered her. If she did no one would ever know her real story. After she rejected those pleas, the DA. Rameen Minoui wanted to delay the trial, the current judge said no, Minoui dropped all the charges and 30 seconds later rearrested her, refiled the charges and put her back in custody. Once again she was released after 4 days in jail. Trial dates were scheduled.
Jane’s trial lasted almost 6 weeks. Jane took the stand and testified on her own behalf. She bravely spoke of her most intimate and painful experiences of abuse that she endured. She was so brave but also exhausted, physically and emotionally. Jane is innocent of murder. She believes she defended herself and her son that night. She doesn’t have any regrets about not taking a plea that would have said she committed a crime. Now a jury of 12 has denied her truth. They set aside her state of mind at that moment with a gun pointed at her face after years of abuse. They believed it to be a simple and uncontested decision, that she should have stopped shooting after the 3rd shot. They unanimously voted for premeditated first degree murder. With two mandatory sentences of 25 years to life , 50 years, putting her in jail until she is 103! 6 years ago the District attorney acknowledged her abuse with an offer of 6 years. This is a cruel and over zealous punishment.
This is a great injustice!