Dave Laut, Jane Laut: ‘Dateline’ NBC Covers Domestic Abuse, Murder Of Olympic Gold Medalist

Dave Laut, the former Olympic Gold Medalist who was shot dead in his backyard by his wife seven years ago, will be featured on an upcoming episode of Dateline NBC. This Friday, in the episode entitled “The Hometown Hero and The Homecoming Queen,” Dateline will retrace the steps of the police investigation into Dave Laut’s death at his California home, and how a once respectable housewife and active community member ended up being charged with his death.


Dateline NBC will go back to August 2009, when the call came in to 911 with a frantic woman on the other end, stating that an intruder had entered their backyard, and that her husband had been injured. Police were immediately dispatched to a home in the 800 block of Raft Lane, where they found a white male suffering with multiple gunshot wounds to the body. The victim was identified as David Laut, aka Dave Laut, a former athlete and Olympic gold medalist from the 1980s. Laut was pronounced dead at the scene.

As detectives processed the area, Dave Laut’s wife, Jane Laut, told police that she was in the house with her son when she heard a noise and later saw a dark shadow in the backyard. She also stated that she heard yelling, and then the sound of gunshots. At first, her story seemed to make sense, until the evidence at the scene told a different story, the Dateline NBC episode will detail.

Jane Laut was eventually arrested and charged with the death of her husband. Police detectives did not believe the story that she told that fateful night. Her story later changed when she said that she killed her husband in self defense. Attorneys for Jane Laut indicated that she had a rocky and troubled marriage with Dave, a respectable man in the community who also worked as the athletic director at Hueneme High School.


However, according to Jane, his squeaky clean image in the public was far different from his real home life, which showed a man with a violent temper, who often abused his wife and verbally abused his Asian adopted son. Jane said that on the night of the shooting, she was in bed with her son, when an angry and intoxicated Dave Laut began shouting and fighting. The altercation then led to the backyard, where Jane said Dave pointed a gun at her. Fearing for her life, she was able to muscle the gun away from Dave and used it to fire one shot, then multiple shots as the dying man staggered toward her. In his opening statement at trial, Ron Bamieh, her attorney, stated the following, according to Daily Mail.

“‘He was trying to get up on his knees when she starts firing…. There was no aiming, no looking,’ the defense attorney said. ‘If he gets up, she is done and Michael is done. He kept coming and he would not stop.'”

Jane Laut’s attorneys believe that she was an abused woman who lived in fear for the 29 years that she was married to the victim. It was also brought out that the housewife had nothing to gain by killing him. Still, the community was left heartbroken over the great role model who brought so much good to the school and to the community. A 2009 article in Santa Barbara Independent describes David Laut this way.

“Dave Laut competed with fierce power against the world’s strongest men in track and field, but the athletes who trained with him in Santa Barbara remember him as a gentle and fun-loving person.”

In 2016, a jury found 52-year-old Jane Laut guilty of murder, according to the Los Angeles Times. Watch Dateline NBC‘s coverage tomorrow night at 10/9 p.m. central. After the show, let us know if you think Jane Laut was justified in killing her husband. Last week, Dateline profiled the case of Mark Twitchell, the Dexter copycat killer.

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