Trouble at the Rosenkrantz Ranch

(excerpted from original article)

Look north on Las Virgenes Canyon Road from the spot where, 23 years ago, Rob Rosenkrantz shot high school classmate Steve Redman to death with an Uzi and you’ll see a foothill with its face torn off. There, bulldozers peeled away a hill’s ancient skin of sagebrush and chaparral to make room for “Mont Calabasas,” a development of Mediterranean-themed McMansions. In place of what was a scrabbly natural geography, home to rabbits and coyotes, is a landscape of dirt terraces, stuccoed walls and thin-trunked trees in grids like cheap hair transplants.

“Calabasas” is Spanish for “pumpkin.” “Mont” is French for “mountain.” Never mind the mismatch of languages. Nor improper grammar.

“Only Chateaux at Mont Calabasas,” developers wrote in advertisements for the homes, “offers the serene beauty and magical ambience of a castle amidst the hillside.”

Never mind that Calabasas, at the western rim of Los Angeles’ San Fernando Valley, has a colorful, rough-and-tumble Old West heritage, but few ties to France. Chumash tribes left rock drawings in the canyon caves of Calabasas, and a few miles down the road from the murder site is the old Paramount Ranch where Planet of the Apes, Swiss Family Robinson and M*A*S*H were filmed. The hills have allowed many fictions to be projected upon their sedimentary layers.

Yet, not everything real stays completely buried. I can’t drive absentmindedly over the stretch of Las Virgenes Canyon Road where a bullet-ridden 17-year-old once lay because I knew the killer in high school.

We weren’t best friends. We were both on the debate team. My brother once borrowed 20 dollars from him at debate camp, which my brother needed because he had squandered all the money our parents had given him playing Ms. Pac-Man.

Once in a while I used to tell friends about a dramatic murder that happened in my high school. But after I left Calabasas, I wasn’t much interested in going back there or thinking about what had happened. I was glad to get out and move to places where quirky characters like me were appreciated and not regularly called “freaks.”

But then my mother remarried, and in 2000 moved almost next door to the Rosenkrantz family. I started wondering what had become of Robert.

In 2000, he was still in jail. In 2006 he was released. In 2008, I spoke to him again.

What do you think?

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4 Responses

  1. Sakin_Is_a_Liar

    Salkin is a liar, never knew Rosenkrantz, made this all up for a quick buck. The entire store is, at various points, fabricated, told third-person, or just simply hogwash. Pretty pathetic.

  2. didaskalos

    Back in the 80’s, I had rather a crush on RR. (I had a thing for hot Jewish guys, a thing for anger. Still do.) Went and visited him in prison. Came home and sobbed. It’s all about the anger: If RR can control it, he’ll be a great man. if not, he’ll be Achilles, mowing down everyone in his path to vindicate HIS PERSONAL SENSE OF HONOR. It’ll be interesting to see which way he goes. I’ll keep praying for him.


  3. Puck

    I fear the ‘great man’ ship has already sailed, great men don’t mow down schoolkids with an Uzi.
    He’s a killer, pure and simple…worthy of pity and a sympathetic contempt perhaps for his obvious mental health issues, but hardly worthy of adulation.

  4. iconic

    I’m not hearing ” adulation ” from didaskalos.
    I think its more like faith and hope…


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