Entertainment marketing consultant Michael Latt, who was fatally shot inside his Los Angeles home on Nov. 27, 2023, poses for a self-portrait at an unknown location. (Courtesy of Sundance Institute via AP)
LOS ANGELES—A woman charged with killing a high-profile marketing consultant and social justice advocate in film pleaded not guilty Monday.
Jameelah Elena Michl, 36, entered the plea in Los Angeles Superior Court to charges of murder and burglary, with additional allegations that she used a firearm to commit the felonies.
Prosecutors say she knocked on the door of the Los Angeles home of Michael Latt—then forced her way in and fatally shot him with a semi-automatic handgun on Nov. 27. He was later declared dead at a hospital.
Latt, 33, was a well-known consultant in Hollywood whose firm focused on social impact in film and entertainment. He had worked on projects with directors including Ryan Coogler and Ava DuVernay.
Prosecutors and court records say Ms. Michl had been stalking and threatening director A.V. Rockwell, and targeted Latt because he was friends with Ms. Rockwell. Ms. Michl was the subject of several restraining orders from Ms. Rockwell.
Ms. Rockwell’s latest film “ A Thousand and One,” starring Teyana Taylor, won the Grand Jury Prize at last year’s Sundance Film Festival, and earned her a Gotham Award for breakthrough director on the same night Latt was killed.
Ms. Michl could get life in prison if convicted.
Latt’s mother Michelle Satter, a founding director of the Sundance Institute, was given an honorary Oscar for her humanitarian work on Jan. 10, just weeks after the killing. At the ceremony, Ms. Satter and the two directors she mentored who presented her the award, Mr. Coogler and Chloe Zhao, paid tribute to Latt.
“Michelle, you’ve changed our lives, but I do believe Michael was your greatest gift to the world,” Mr. Coogler said.
Ms. Satter said that she wished to share the award with her late son, who “led with love.”