On October 2, 1992, a "task force" composed of L.A. County sheriff's deputies, DEA agents and U.S. Park Service officers executed a search warrant -- crossing Los Angeles County lines into Ventura County (without notifying Ventura County police) -- on California millionaire Don Scott's estate.
The search warrant was based on information from an informant that marijuana was growing on Scott's 250 acre estate, a piece of land coveted by the government. DEA agents planned to use this to seize Scott's estate, which federal officials had earlier tried to buy to incorporate into its scenic corridor in the Santa Monica Mountains. "But Scott would never negotiate with government officials, whom he distrusted," according to the Los Angeles Times.
The task force arrived at Scott's estate before 9 a.m.. They crashed through the door and pushed Scott's wife, Frances Plante, through the kitchen into the living room. She screamed "Don't shoot me! Don't kill me!", apparently awakening her husband, who came downstairs brandishing a gun over his head. According to Plante, the officers told him to lower the gun, and, as he lowered his arm, they shot him to death. They left him lying in a pool of blood on the floor as they searched the premises, finding no trace of marijuana anywhere on the estate.
When Scott's wife ran to the body, they "hustled her out of the house." Recorded phone conversations show that while the dead or dying millionaire lay in a pool of his own blood, police used the phone to make calls, and answered a call from one of Scott's neighbors, telling the neighbor Scott was "busy."
Several weeks before the raid -- according to Malibu Surfside News reporter Anne Soble, (who covered this story in extensive and probing detail) -- a game warden and a California Coastal
Commission employee paid a visit to the Scotts, bringing with them a six-pack of beer. During the visit, they asked for a tour of the Chumash Indian trails on the property, which the Scotts refused because of rattlesnakes. Scott's widow, Frances Plante, believes the visit was connected to the investigation leading to the raid - particularly since U.S. Park Service agents -- who had an obvious interest in obtaining the property -- participated in the raid.
Part of the allure of the estate is its repute as an archaeological site of the Chumash Indians -- a fact not missed by the forfeiture squads, who seized old maps and other historical documents relating to the property, during the fatal October 2 raid, according to Scott's wife, Frances Plante.
Source articles: "Millionaire Killed in Multi-Agency Assault on Historic Malibu Ranch", by Anne Soble, Malibu Surfside News, 10-8-92.
"A Violent Confrontation Ends Man's Colorful Life", Los Angeles Times 10-12-92, p. A3.
"Drug Task Force Kills Millionaire During Search", Las Vegas Review-Journal, 10-13-92.
"Los Angeles County Sheriff's Took Lead Role in Raid the Claimed Life of Malibu Rancher", by Anne Soble, Malibu Surfside News, 10- 15-92.
"Friends and Family Recall Slain Malibu Man's Zest for Living," by Anne Soble, Malibu Surfside News, 10-22-92.
"Malibu Groups Start to Raise Questions About Agency Roles in Fatal Trail's End Ranch Raid," by Anne Soble, Malibu Surfside News, 10-29-92.