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Prominent lawyer’s wife found slain

Associated Press

LAFAYETTE, Calif. – The wife of prominent defense attorney and TV legal analyst Daniel Horowitz was found slain in the entryway of the couple’s San Francisco Bay Area home, authorities said Sunday.

Horowitz, currently leading the defense in a sensational murder trial, called 911 Saturday evening to report that he found his wife, Pamela Vitale, dead in their home, police said.

Contra Costa County sheriff’s deputies said Sunday that the death was being investigated as a homicide. An autopsy was planned to determine how she was killed.

“We talked to a number of people last night, but there’s nobody in custody. We’re still trying to establish a motive,” said sheriff’s spokesman Jimmy Lee.

As a lawyer who defended drug dealers, death row inmates and other serious criminals, Horowitz was concerned for his safety, said attorney Ivan Golde, a longtime friend and co-counsel in his current trial. He had a gun and a surveillance camera on the property, he said.

“It’s only normal to have in the back of your mind, especially when you’re dealing with true-caliber criminals,” Golde said. “A lot of these people, that’s the way they are, they threaten people.”

Horowitz did not answer calls Sunday by the Associated Press. He told the San Francisco Chronicle on Saturday that he couldn’t talk.

“It’s beyond words,” he said.

Vitale, 52, a former high-tech marketing executive, worked at her husband’s law practice, creating and managing databases.

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