Much more high-profile—for entirely understandable reasons—was the fatal confrontation that took place 10 months later at the Montage Resort & Spa when Kevin and Joni Park booked a $2,200-per-night bungalow at the hotel under assumed names. Neighbors and family friends would later say that they had been acting strangely in recent weeks. The couple had recently met with Orange County Sheriff's Department deputies and had filed a civil lawsuit concerning their family-run real-estate business. The Parks brought with them to the hotel a box of documents, a semi-automatic handgun and a hefty supply of ammunition.

Early in the morning of April 22, 2007, Montage security informed police about a domestic-violence call from the Parks' bungalow. Guests told police they'd seen a naked woman running around with a gun. Four officers surrounded the bungalow and pleaded with them to drop the weapon. They refused, and a gun battle ensued. Both the Parks perished. The Orange County district attorney cleared the officers of wrongdoing; the Laguna Beach Police Department's review of their actions is still pending.

After being found guilty of resisting arrest and shoving two police officers, Zilliott was sentenced to minor court fees, 80 hours of community service and three years of informal probation. Zilliott could have faced up to a year in jail, but prosecutors didn't ask for that. "In a misdemeanor case, it's not uncommon for there to be no jail time," said DA spokesperson Susan Kang Schroeder. "It didn't amount to a felony."

Robert Zilliott
Jack Gould
Robert Zilliott

*     *     *

Zilliott's life hasn't exactly improved since his arrest. He moved out of his mom's house in Laguna a month after the incident and wound up in a Laguna Beach homeless shelter. He spent a few months on the streets. He's living in a Huntington Beach sober-living facility. As a result of his criminal conviction, his attorney dumped the lawsuit and Zilliott is currently looking for another lawyer.

"The last time I drank was in the beginning of November," Zilliott says. "I was homeless. I got a bottle, and the next thing I knew, I was on the telephone, calling South Coast Hospital. I've been sober since then, and finally—hopefully—I have surrendered to the fact that I'm not in control. I have surrendered my life and my life's will over to God and believe he or she or whatever you want to call it is the only way out of my alcoholism."

As of press time, Zilliott had been sober for 100 days.


nschou@ocweekly.com

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