FATHER SHOT MOTHER, GIRL TESTIFIES ON TAPE.
More than a year ago at the Los Angeles County civil courthouse, 6-year-old Lisa Zelig's piercing screams signaled that something was horribly wrong.
Her father had shot her mother.
On Tuesday, the little girl's voice filled another court, this time as a witness for the prosecution as her father, a Woodland Hills doctor, stands trial for the Sept. 1, 1995, murder of Eileen Zelig.
The Los Angeles Superior Court jury listened intently to a tape recorded phone interview that prosecutors conducted with the Chatsworth girl, who now lives on the East Coast with her siblings and maternal grandparents.
``Do you remember what happened?'' asked Los Angeles County Deputy District Attorney Steven Slavitt.
``Mom and dad were talking,'' the girl said quickly. ``We were going up the escalator and the gunfire went off, and then the police came and they took my mom to the hospital.''
``Did you see who made the shot?'' Slavitt asked.
``Yeah,'' Lisa answered. ``My dad.''
Lisa testified that she was with her mother that day because she had asked to tag along, curious to see the courthouse.
The girl's parents had been in and out of court for months as they battled over alimony and child support payments.
Zelig's attorney contends that the killing was not premeditated, but the lesser crime of second-degree murder or manslaughter. Attorney Ed Rucker contends Zelig snapped after his ex-wife quietly taunted and insulted him as they walked through the courthouse.
But Lisa testified that her parents were talking in a normal tone that day, and her father was some 10 feet away when he pulled a gun from his suit.
On Tuesday, as his little girl's voice filled the courtroom, Harry Zelig sat stoicly at the defense table. He pulled off his glasses and began to slowly rub his eyes as Lisa explained the distance between her mother and father during the shooting.
Lisa initially recited the event in a rush of words and a trembling voice but she spoke clearly and calmly, as if reciting an incident on a school playground.
She said she didn't recall what her parents had talked about, or exactly what happened moments after her father ran up the escalators after opening fire.
What Lisa did recall was her mother's screams and her own.
|Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback|
|Publication:||Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)|
|Date:||Feb 19, 1997|
|Previous Article:||VAN NUYS MAN SHOT IN LEG.|
|Next Article:||MAN TESTIFIES IN BANK ROBBERY TRIAL.|