Jane Laut, 52, was charged with one count of first-degree murder, to which she pleaded not guilty at her arraignment this morning in Ventura County Superior Court.
Prosecutors also made a special allegation that she used a firearm during the commission of a murder. She denied the allegation.
If found guilty of all the charges, she faces a sentence of between 40 years to life in prison.
Her lawyer has said she acted in self-defense and that her husband threatened to shoot her along with their 10-year-old son and their two dogs.
“This is not a case of self-defense,” Haney said in an interview. “This is a case of murder.”
Haney emphasized his view that the Oxnard Police Department did a thorough investigation of the case, including interviewing friends and family members.
The defendant’s attorney, Ron Bamieh, requested a postponement in the arraignment this morning. The prosecution objected to the delay. In response, Bamieh said his client would go ahead and plead not guilty to the murder charge and would deny the special allegation regarding a firearm.
A preliminary hearing, when prosecutors present their evidence in the case, is set for March 2.
Laut, who was arrested Saturday, is being held in county jail with her bail set at $3 million. The county’s normal bail schedule calls for a bond of $600,000 to $700,000 for the charges she is facing.
Officials have declined to publicly explain the higher amount. Authorities spelled out their reasons in a written declaration and motion for bail, but those documents remain under seal for the time being, Haney said.
The defense filed a motion for reduced bail, and a hearing is set for Thursday.
“The bail was ridiculous,” Bamieh said in an interview. “Gang members who flee the law get $500,000 bail and a housewife from Oxnard gets $3 million. That alone tells you all you need to know about this prosecution.”
Dave Laut, 52, a former shot-putter who won the bronze medal in the 1984 Olympics, was killed by multiple gunshot wounds to the head on Aug. 27 in the backyard of the couple’s home. They had been married for 29 years.
Bamieh, who also represents The Ventura County Star, has previously acknowledged his client used deadly force but said it was in self defense and that Dave Laut had physically abused his wife for nearly their entire marriage.
Dave Laut was four times ranked as the nation’s top shot-putter and once held the U.S. record. He was a track coach at Hueneme High School in Oxnard for eight years. At the time of his death, he was the school’s athletic director.
“We believe, based on the totality of the circumstances, that self-defense is not a viable defense in this case,” Haney told a reporter. “This is not a case of lawful self defense or in the defense of others.”
Bamieh said his client won’t be convicted of murder.
“I appreciate Mr. Haney’s confidence (in his case). With all due respect, I’ve been doing this longer and more frequently than he has. I can tell you they will not be convicting her of murder.”