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Dispatch: Defense invokes 'Crash' to explain killing of John Osnes, 55

April 26, 2009 |  9:18 pm

A fuller picture of a brutal attack that took place in Hollywood shortly after midnight Nov. 24, 2008 -- killing John Osnes, a 55-year old white man -- has emerged in the last few weeks. The Times Harriet Ryan has more on the case:

In a city besotted with automobiles, John Osnes prided himself on doing without one. At 55, he had never owned a car and he never planned to. He loved the subway, the bus and,  most of all, walking.Johnosnes

But being a pedestrian in Los Angeles can be dangerous. Close calls with discourteous drivers grated on Osnes, and he sometimes shouted at motorists who failed to yield to those on foot.

The rights of pedestrians were apparently on Osnes' mind late one November night when an SUV pulled too close to him in a Hollywood crosswalk. What occurred next has been described by the driver's lawyer as a real-life version of the Oscar-winning movie "Crash": A random roadway encounter between strangers leads to tragedy.

Minutes after he stepped off the curb, Osnes lay dying, police were searching for the SUV's driver and 10 horrified witnesses were trying to understand how a minor confrontation -- a shout and a smack on a car hood -- had prompted an attack of breathtaking brutality.

"I was just screaming and trying to get out of the car," a passenger in another vehicle, Rebecca Rinn, recalled on the witness stand last month. "I had never seen anyone hit like that before."

 DavidjassyA fuller picture of the encounter emerged in the last few weeks at a preliminary hearing in which a Superior Court judge ordered the driver of the SUV, Swedish musician David Jassy, held for trial on murder charges. The 35-year-old faces a possible life sentence in an attack that friends and acquaintances say they cannot reconcile with the man they knew. He did not testify at the hearing, but witness accounts disclosed by the prosecution suggest that Jassy may have arrived at the intersection already riled by an argument with his girlfriend and then become enraged when Osnes struck the side and front of his rented vehicle.

Read the rest of Ryan's story on David Jassy's hearing

--Megan Garvey

Top Photo: John Osnes, brutally beaten and run over in a Hollywood cross walk. Credit: Handout from memorial website

Bottom photo: Swedish rapper David Moses Jassy, listens during a preliminary hearing Monday, March 30, 2009, in Los Angles Superior Court. Credit: AP Photo / Damian Dovarganes