Film Noir Friday: Down Three Dark Streets [1954]

DownThreeDarkStreets-1

 Welcome! The lobby of the Deranged L.A. Crimes theater is open. Grab a bucket of popcorn, some Milk Duds and a Coke and find a seat.

Tonight’s feature is DOWN 3 DARK STREETS starring Broderick Crawford and Ruth Roman. Enjoy the movie!

TCM says:

When a gas station attendant on the Nevada-California highway is killed after recognizing hoodlum Joe Walpo, who is wanted by the FBI, all FBI offices are alerted. In Los Angeles, the case is assigned to agent Zack Stewart, who already is working on a case involving interstate car thefts. He then takes on a case involving a woman named Kate Martel, the victim of an extortionist who is threatening to kill her young daughter unless she hands over insurance money left to her by her husband.

Halloween 1925

HALLOWEEN 1925Halloween 1925 was a wild night of pranks with the usual broken windows, stolen doormats, smashed street lights and vandalized automobiles accounting for the majority of complaints. There were over 800 extra police officers on duty to make sure that things didn’t get too out-of-hand. Their vigilance paid off, only six pranksters were arrested–although many more revelers were busted for public intoxication.

Among those busted were William Hawke, a fifteen-year-old who was picked up by Officer Seryer of Sawtelle Division for throwing stones through the windows of the home of Angus L. Cavinaugh, principal of Harding High School. Two of Hawke’s friends ran off into the night and leaving him to take the heat.

Special Officer Lary came upon a group of boys soaping the street car tracks at 101st Street and Vermont Avenue. Lary managed to grab thirteen-year-old Henry Schreiber and seventeen-year-old Edwin Kennedy before they could cause any further mayhem.

There was one prank that had serious consequences. Someone stretched a rope across Riverside Dirve. The rope was pulled tight between a telephone pole and a heavy stake driven into the ground. Presumably the tricksters concealed themselves in the darkness and waited. Robert Heffron was speeding down the roadway when he hit the taut rope at full speed. As soon as he hit the rope the stake flew out and struck Heffron breaking his arm. He was lucky, it could have been worse.

Happy Halloween, everyone.   Keep your pranks to a minimum and stay safe.

The .25 Caliber Taxi-Dancer, Conclusion

Finding Lola was easy, two hours after the shooting she telephoned LAPD’s Hollywood Station from a drugstore at Sunset and Laurel Canyon and asked cops to come and get her. They obliged. Lola was booked at Hollywood Jail on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon with intent to commit murder.

00030174_lola mugWith Lola safely ensconced in the slammer, investigators poked around into her  background. They found out that her recent trip to Hollywood hadn’t been her first. She had lived briefly at 1259 Gower Avenue about 18 months prior to shooting Hansen. There was a photo of Lola, then a brunette, in the police files–she’d submitted the picture to obtain a taxi dancer’s license.

Lola had lucked out, Hansen survived the surgery that closed a gaping hole in his chest and appeared to be on the mend, but she was still going to be held to answer.

On July 18, 1949, the morning of her arraignment for attempted murder, Lola was being held in the woman’s seventh floor detention center in the Hall of Justice.  When Detective Sergeant C.C. Forbes unlocked the detention room to inform Miss Titus that her arraignment was imminent he found her completely naked, stretched out on her coat on the floor. Forbes took one look, beat feet, and shouted through the closed door for Lola to get dressed.

Seeking evidence in Mark Hansen's bathroom. [Photo courtesy of LAPL]

Seeking evidence in Mark Hansen’s bathroom. [Photo courtesy of LAPL]

Moments later Lola emerged from the room fully clothed in a pale blue satin dress–she posed for news photographers and was returned to the detention room until it was time for her arraignment. Detective Sergeant Forbes once again opened the door to find Lola nude. When asked why she had disrobed Lola said: “it’s hot in there.”

In a photo that was undoubtedly staged by the newspapers, Lola, in her blue satin dress, was snapped standing at the hospital bedside of her victim. You don’t see photos like that anymore!LOLA HANSEN HOSPITAL

In a move that surprised no one, Lola was ordered to stand trial in Superior Court for the shooting of Mark Hansen. Hansen, described as a 45-year-old night club and theater owner was actually at least a decade older. But hey, it’s Hollywood.

LAPD’s Chief of Detectives Thad Brown, brother of Finis Brown one of the principal investigators in the Black Dahlia case, questioned Lola about her reasons for going to Hansen’s bungalow. She said she had gone there to “have it out with him.”  As far as the cops were concerned, Lola was a disgruntled Hollywood hopeful who had failed to get a job as a strip-tease dancer. Hansen told the police that he had never discussed the Black Dahlia murder case with Lola and had told her only that “he couldn’t use her act in his night club.”LOLA IN CUSTODY

A jury of nine women and three men was chosen to determine Lola’s fate in Superior Judge William Byrne’s courtroom.  The first witness was a friend of Hansen’s, Dr. Louis Benson, who testified that he’d had to break into the house to render first aid.

Hansen’s testimony was oddly vague–he claimed that even though Lola was the only other person in the bungalow with him he hadn’t seen who shot him. He also testified that his acquaintance with Lola was entirely professional. When it was her turn Lola would tell a different story.

LAPD officer inspects gun used in shooting of Mark Hansen. [Photo courtesy of LAPL]

LAPD officer inspects gun used in shooting of Mark Hansen. [Photo courtesy of LAPL]

The Deputy District Attorney, John Hopkins, had hoped to use a wire recording of the dancer’s purported confession, but Judge Byrne ruled that because some of the jurors couldn’t hear it easily it couldn’t be used to present the State’s case. In lieu of the recording Detective C.C. Forbes, who had taken Lola’s statement, testified to what she had told him.

The taxi-dancer/stripper had spent a year, off and on, “knocking around Hollywood” trying to get a break. she’d met Mark Hansen during Thanksgiving in 1948 and, according to her, had moved into his home for about a week. Hansen’s testimony had implied that they were merely business acquaintances, but Lola told the judge that they had been intimate on numerous occasions: “I could recall every one of them if you had the time.”  At that point Judge Byrne’s gavel came down and he ordered the jury out of the courtroom so he could admonish Lola to answer only the questions that were asked.

On September 22nd the jury found Lola guilty of assault with a deadly weapon, not assault with intent to commit murder. Even with the lesser charge Lola could face one to fourteen years behind bars.

To say that Lola took the news of her conviction badly would be an understatement—she went completely bat shit crazy. She launched herself at Mrs. Dorothy Ellis, a female probation officer. Lola wasn’t pleased that Ellis had requested a court ordered psychiatric examination. Deputy Sheriff Josephine Uttke attempted to intercede, but she took a couple of nasty blows to her face before she was joined by two male deputies–the three of them were able to subdue the kicking and screaming dancer.

lola screamNever a dull moment on Planet Lola. It appeared that she had calmed down, so she was returned to her cell at the Hall of Justice to await sentencing. She called out to Deputy Sheriff Margaret Decker and demanded to be given a pencil and paper because she was going to write her will. “I’m going to commit suicide”, Lola told the deputy. Decker invested some time in trying to talk Lola out of her plan. Once again Lola seemed to be calm so Deputy Decker resumed her rounds. On her next  trip  past Lola’s 13th floor cell, Decker looked in on her charge. She saw Lola sagging from a noose she’d fashioned out of a cotton stocking and tied to a ventilator. Decker called for assistance and several male deputies from the 10th floor arrived to help cut Lola free. She was taken to a padded cell.

Rather than sentence her to one to fourteen years in prison, Judge Byrne committed Lola to the State Hospital at Patton after the court ordered shrinks pronounced her legally insane. Lola didn’t take the news of her commitment to a mental hospital any better than she’d taken her guilty sentence. She immediately began screaming expletives at Judge Byrne and her attorney, Mark Rothman. Sheriff’s deputies R.N. Anderson and Gladys Culler dragged Lola from the courtroom.

On November 30, 1949, Beverly Alice Bennett, aka Lola Titus, was escorted by Sheriff’s Deputies Ann Anderman, E.H. Keegan, and M.J. Leggee to begin her indefinite stay at Patton. If Lola ever became sane enough to win her release from Patton it didn’t make the news.  Like so many other Hollywood hopefuls before her, Lola  vanished into obscurity.

The .25 Caliber Taxi-Dancer

BROWNHANSENFNL_RESIZEOn January 15, 1947 the body of twenty-two year old Elizabeth Short was discovered in a Leimert Park vacant lot.  There were scant clues in the case and LAPD homicide detectives Finis Brown and Harry Hansen were hoping for a break.

Ten days later some of Short’s belongings were found in a trash dump at 1819 E. 25th Street. Among the items found were a black patent leather purse, one black shoe, and a brown leather address book which contained more than 75 names. The “little brown book” book had the name Mark M. Hansen (no relation to Harry) stamped on the cover.

Hansen, an attorney and night club owner, was a self-made man. He was a Danish immigrant, who had arrived in the U.S. in 1910 and who, by the 1930 census, was a theater proprietor. By the late 1940s he was part-owner of the Florentine Gardens, a popular Hollywood night spot, and had business interests in several movie theaters.  Detectives grilled Hansen about his relationship with Beth Short, particularly how she came to have the leather address book. Hansen’s explanation was that Beth Short must have taken it from his desk sometime during November 1946. Beth had access to his desk because she was one of several young women who had rented rooms in Hansen’s home at 6024 Carlos Avenue (located behind the Florentine Gardens).

00007090_florentine gardens exterior

Photo courtesy of LAPL

Among the women who had lived at the Carlos Avenue address was Ann Toth, a bit player in the movies. Toth was an acquaintance of Short’s and like everyone else who had known the dead girl she had been questioned by the police. There wasn’t much Toth could tell investigators about Beth who, like so many other young women in post-war L.A., had no fixed address.

Anna Toth

Photo of Ann Toth from http://www.theblackdahliainhollywood.com/

Detectives dug deep into Hansen’s story and determined that he was telling the truth about the last time he’s seen Beth. No one, particularly a successful businessman, was looking for the kind of publicity that attends a horrific murder like Beth’s. Hansen must have breathed a sigh of relief when he was cleared of any involvement in the crime.

For the next couple of years the club owner, described by the L.A. Times as a “man-about-town”, continued to run the Florentine Gardens and bed chorus girls. He was a married man but he and his wife, Ida, had been estranged for about two decades.

For most of 1948 and into 1949, Hansen had been routinely pestered for a job by a blonde dime-a-dance cutie from Oakland, Lola Titus. Lola’s real name was Beverly Alice Bennett, and she had been working as a stripper and taxi dancer in Oakland when she got the notion to hop on a bus for L.A. to hook-up with Mark Hansen. Lola’s sudden decision to leave Northern California was precipitated by an argument she’d had with her mother. Her mom strenuously objected to her daughter’s lifestyle. Lola would later tell investigators: “I made up my mind that he (Hansen) was either going to love me, marry me or take care of me or I was going to kill him.”

Lola had another reason for traveling to L.A.–she believed that Hansen was behind rumors that she had killed the Black Dahlia. The rumors were all in Lola’s head because her name had never been mentioned in connection with the case.

Lola boarded a bus from San Francisco to Hollywood on Thursday, July 14, 1949. She’d packed the essentials: nude photos of herself and the .25 automatic she’d purchased several months before in an Oakland pawnshop. On Friday morning she turned up on Hansen’s doorstep with the gun in her pocket and her nude photos tucked under her arm. She knocked on the door of the bungalow and while she waited she debated whether to shoot him as soon as he opened the door or to wait until she got inside. She opted to wait.

Once Hansen had invited her in,  Lola showed him the nude photos of herself. Hansen decided to compare the photos to the real girl, and he “auditioned” the blonde dancer in the back bedroom.  Following the audition Hansen went into the bathroom and began to shave with his electric razor. Lola figured it was as good a time as any to shoot him. She went into the front room where she’d left her coat, pulled the gun out of the pocket and went to the bathroom where she shot him once. The wound was a through and through. The bullet missed Hansen’s heart by 7/10 of an inch and lodged in the bathroom wall. Lola then pulled on her clothes and left.LOLA HEADLINE

Although he was severely wounded Hansen managed to get to the telephone. He phoned a business associate who called for a doctor. As he was being rushed to the hospital in an ambulance Hansen said that before Lola pulled the trigger she had called him a “goddam cop lover”.

NEXT TIME: Lola calls the cops.

Film Noir Friday: Timetable [1956]

Time-Table-1956

Welcome! The lobby of the Deranged L.A. Crimes theater is open. Grab a bucket of popcorn, some Milk Duds and a Coke and find a seat.

Tonight’s feature is TIMETABLE starring Mark Stevens, Kikng Calder, Felicia Farr and Marianne Stewart.

TCM says:

On a westbound train, the conductor asks Dr. Paul Brucker, who is using the pseudonym Sloan, to assist a sick passenger. After his examination, Brucker tells the conductor the man may have polio, and recommends an unscheduled stop at the nearest town, Winston, Arizona. Meanwhile, the conductor grants Brucker access to the baggage car so he can get his medical kit. Unknown to the conductor, Brucker withdraws a gun from his bag and injects the security officer and baggage handlers with a substance that puts them to sleep.

 

Uh, oh.  I smell trouble.  Enjoy the film!

Film Noir Friday: Nightmare Alley [1947]

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Welcome! The lobby of the Deranged L.A. Crimes theater is open. Grab a bucket of popcorn, some Milk Duds and a Coke and find a seat.

Tonight’s feature is NIGHTMARE ALLEY starring Tyrone Power, Joan Blondell, Coleen Gray and Helen Walker.

TCM says:

An ambitious carnival worker attempts to scam his way out of the carnival in this brutal noir.

Stan Carlisle, an amoral carnival roustabout, exhibits a morbid fascination with the geek, a sideshow drunk who bites off the heads of live chickens in exchange for a daily bottle of liqour. Stan works with Zeena, a phony psychic who performs a mind reading act with her drunken husband Pete. Becoming intrigued when Molly, the naïve young assistant to Bruno the Strongman, tells him that Zeena and Pete were once vaudeville headliners who developed an elaborate word code worth its weight in gold, the handsome, highly manipulative Stan suggests that Zeena teach him the code so that they can work together. Zeena, who blames herself for her husband’s dissipation, rejects Stan’s proposal until he shrewdly suggests that their new act could fund the cost of Pete’s cure. When Zeena consults her tarot cards for direction, however, they portend Pete’s death, and alarmed, Zeena balks at making Stan her partner.

Film Noir Friday: Notorious [1946]

NOTORIOUS

Welcome! The lobby of the Deranged L.A. Crimes theater is open. Grab a bucket of popcorn, some Milk Duds and a Coke and find a seat.

Tonight’s feature is Alfred Hitchcock’s 1946 film NOTORIOUS. It may not be a film noir but it’s got spies, Nazis, and  it is a masterpiece. I absolutely love this film. It is glorious to look at and the actors: Ingrid Bergman, Cary Grant, and Claude Rains are at the top of their form. If you’ve never seen NOTORIOUS you are in for a treat. Even if, like me, you’ve seen it dozens of times it is still a great way to spend the evening.

TCM says:

After her Nazi father is convicted of treason by a Miami, Florida jury, German-born Alicia Huberman tries to forget her pain by throwing a loud party and flirting with uninvited guest T. R. Devlin. Late that evening, an intoxicated Alicia takes Devlin on a drive and is stopped for speeding by a motorcycle officer. When Devlin flashes his official credentials, however, the officer allows Alicia to go without a ticket. Alicia, who has been hounded by reporters and police, is infuriated at Devlin and denounces him as a double-crossing “cop.” Although Devlin disapproves of Alicia’s self-destructive, promiscuous life style, he is confident of her patriotic feelings toward America, having heard secretly recorded comments she has made, and offers her a job infiltrating a Nazi industrial combine in Brazil.

And so begins one hell of a tale. Enjoy!

 

Book Review: Death At Chinatown

deathatchinatown

In DEATH AT CHINATOWN amateur sleuth Emily Cabot is drawn into a murder mystery that pulls her into the heart of Chicago’s Chinatown–a place as foreign as a trip to the moon would have been to most Caucasians during the summer of 1896.

Invited by her husband, Dr. Stephen Chapman, Emily attends a demonstration of a Roentgen device (an early x-ray machine) where she is introduced to visiting Chinese doctors, Mary Stone and Ida Kahn.  Emily is initially unimpressed because she expected the women to be exotic creatures in native dress, but to her surprise they are Americanized, at least outwardly, from head to toe. The women had been studying medicine at the University of Michigan and were stopping off in Chicago before returning to China to open a clinic–that is until one of them is accused of the murder of a Chinese herbalist.

As Emily becomes better acquainted with Drs. Stone and Kahn she discovers the enormous personal sacrifices that they had made in order to assimilate during their time in the U.S. and to pursue their studies in medicine.

Some of the struggles that Stone and Kahn faced in pursuit of their careers were familiar to Emily. Prior to becoming a mother Emily had been a researcher and lecturer with an interest in crime—in fact she had been involved in police investigations and she enjoyed the challenges. The clock is ticking on a lecturer’s position held open for her during her pregnancies and Emily must make up her mind soon or likely forever forfeit the chance to resume her career.

Emily is also in the midst of a domestic crisis. She is worried that she is losing Stephen—he is often away overnight ostensibly conducting medical research—but is he? She wonders if there is more to his absences from home than the demands of his career.

Emily faces a thoroughly modern dilemma with which many readers will empathize. Can she be the mother she wants to be and still carve out time to pursue her passion for research?

Her investigation into the herbalist’s death is the catalyst for change in Emily’s marriage, her approach to motherhood and her feelings about her career.

Author Frances McNamara does an excellent job of guiding the reader not only through the Chicago of over one hundred years ago, but through the myriad streets, small shops and unfamiliar culture of Chinatown and its inhabitants. The mystery that that drives the narrative gives Ms. McNamara an opportunity to examine the topics of immigration, women’s rights and the ramifications of scientific discoveries—issues which are as timely now as they were then.  Also, I was not all surprised to discover that Ms. McNamara is a librarian, her research is impeccable. She populates the novel with both real and imaginary characters and events which, for me, added interest and complexity.

I was sent DEATH AT CHINATOWN to review–and as I had not read any of the previous Emily Cabot novels I wasn’t sure what to expect; however, I was pleasantly surprised. McNamara paints a vivid picture of Chicago at the end of the 19th century, and I felt as if I was walking along with Emily during her visits to Chinatown. I thoroughly enjoyed my trip back in time—in fact I plan to make the trip again by reading the first four novels in the series.

Cops Behaving Badly: The Death of Stanley Beebe, Conclusion

Because it’s been a few days since we last visited the Stanley Beebe case I think that a brief synopsis is in order.

beebe death studiedIn December of 1942 Stanley Beebe was arrested for public intoxication. He was taken to LAPD’s Central Station where he later alleged he had been badly beaten. In a death bed statement to his wife, published in the L.A. Times, Beebe reiterated his claim. He died about ten days later of injuries that the coroner had determined were the result of a savage beating.

The Beebe case was a political hot potato–corruption and abuse by the cops terrified and enraged the citizens and just a few years earlier, in 1938, Angelenos had ousted Mayor Frank Shaw in a corruption scandal. Shaw was the first U.S. mayor to be recalled and the city was still reeling from the fallout of that national embarrassment.

The investigation into Beebe’s death was deftly stonewalled by a monumental lack of cooperation from LAPD. Finding the truth was going to be an uphill battle all the way, especially since people were being threatened if they didn’t drop the inquiry.

We’ll pick up the tale from there…

 *******************************************

Deputy City Attorney Everett Leighton’s wife received a telephone call threatening her husband with death if he didn’t back-off the Stanley Beebe case. But it wasn’t just high profile city government types who were being threatened. Raymond Henry, 42, of 915 S. Mott Street was in jail when Stanley Beebe was allegedly beaten. If the D.A.’s investigators were looking for more info on Stanley’s case it wasn’t going to come from Raymond Henry. However, Henry did have a story to tell.  He said that there had been another case of police brutality in the jail at approximately the same time.

death threatThere was an alley leading into the booking office and Raymond said he had seen a man dressed in khaki work clothes lying there and he appeared to have been beaten. Henry received a mysterious telephone call from a man claiming to be a cop; but unlike the call Everett Leighton’s wife had received Henry’s unknown caller made him an offer.  The mystery man said he’d like to meet with Henry and offered to “pay all his expenses for a couple of days”.   It was clear that someone wanted Raymond out of the way so he couldn’t testify about what he had seen.

In mid-February 1943 Chief Horrall ordered several LAPD officers jailed for their parts in the death of Stanley Beebe: Compton Dixon, James F. Martin, John M. Yates, E.P. Mooradian, McKinley W. Witt and Leo L. Johnson. The case became even uglier when it appeared that the police report had been falsified. A copy of the report showed Beebe’s occupation as machinist, he was an accountant; and his address was “transient” — yet the telephone call he’d been allowed to make had been to his wife at their apartment.

Every politician from Los Angeles to Sacramento sought to make political hay out of the issue of police brutality. Newspapers continued to report on new and increasingly alarming allegations of abuse of authority. One former prisoner said that he had been beaten while handcuffed and that large quantities of water and brandy had been forced down his throat.

It was LAPD officer Compton Dixon who was finally accused of manslaughter in Beebe’s death. Compton didn’t fit Stanley’s description of his attacker, but there were several points on which Stanley had been understandably vague in his death bed statement to his wife. It was very possible he had incorrectly described his assailant.dixon rummel

Compton was indicted for Stanley’s murder on March 4, 1943, but he was immediately released on $10,000 bail when his Defense attorney Samuel Rummel and prosecutors stipulated that even if it was proved that Compton had beaten Beebe to death, it could possibly amount only to second-degree murder.

Because second degree murder carried a penalty of five years to life they decided he could be released on a bond.

Rummel’s reputation as a mouthpiece for crooked cops and local gangsters was well known, and deserved. Sam was friendly with gangster Mickey Cohen among other bad guys, but rubbing elbows with crooks isn’t a smart move. Rummel lived the high life hanging out with Cohen and various corrupt policemen, he was even part owner of a couple of Las Vegas casinos, but it all came to an end when he was shot gunned to death in the driveway of his Laurel Canyon home during the early morning hours of December 11, 1950. His slaying remains unsolved.

Sam Rummel dead in his driveway. Photo courtesy of LAPL.

Sam Rummel dead in his driveway. Photo courtesy of UCLA Digital Archive.

Two rookie officers had testified at the Grand Jury hearing that they’d witnessed Stanley’s beating. They were quite clear in their statements; but when it came time for them to testify in open court they were both suspiciously vague. In fact each of them said they had seen Stanley and they’d seen a foot on his stomach, but they just couldn’t be sure whose foot it was!

rookies describe beatingOne by one, police officers who had previously admitted that they’d seen Compton Dixon beat Stanley Beebe retracted their statements. One of them, Leo Johnson, said that the statement he’d made at the LAPD training center on February 14th was made under duress:

“That statement is false.  It was not prepared by me and not written by me.  Words were put in my mouth and the statements are untrue.  I don’t ever remember seeing Dixon place his foot on anybody’s stomach.”

mrs beebeOfficers with amnesia and revised statements should have been expected in Dixon’s trial, but there was one courtroom shocker that knocked the wind out of some of the observers.

Deputy District Attorney Robert G. Wheeler, who handled the original investigation into the fatal beating, testified that after completing his inquiry he was of the opinion that Mrs. Maxine Beebe, widow of the dead man, could have murdered her husband!

When asked by Rummel on what facts he had based his conclusions, Wheeler responded:

“Only that Beebe was under her control from December 20 to December 27, and her evasiveness during the inquiry”.

I told you Sam Rummel was a mouthpiece for crooks.

Compton Dixon was questioned by Rummel about the alleged crime, quoted here verbatim from the L.A. Times:

“Did you strike Beebe?” Rummel asked.

“I did not,” Dixon replied with a firm voice.

“Did you kick him?”

“Never.”

“Did you jump on him?”

I did not.” Dixon said.

The case went to the jury and they deliberated for seven days before becoming deadlocked: 8 to 4  in favor of acquittal.

It was a disgusting miscarriage of justice. District Attorney Howser issued a statement in which he said the failure of the Los Angeles Police Department to solve the murder of the prisoner was due to:

“…concealed evidence and a misdirected investigation by members of the same department who were afraid disclosure of the truth would involve a member of members of the department.”

Dixon still had to face a police trial board–he had been suspended from duty since February.  The LAPD board of rights concluded its investigation in July 1943 and they found Compton Dixon not guilty of conduct unbecoming an officer for refusing to testify before the grand jury.  The board said that Dixon had been charged with manslaughter and the natural right of self-preservation, as well as his constitutional rights, superseded the general duty of an officer to testify before inquisitorial bodies.

get out of jail free cardDixon was returned to duty and his back pay was restored. He retired in 1946 and because he had spent 20 years or more at a jail duty station he was presented with silver keys (that wouldn’t actually turn the locks) to the main doors of City Jail. It didn’t matter that the keys were phonies–Dixon didn’t need the real thing, he’d been given a “Get Out of Jail Free” card in 1943.

None of the officers implicated in the various brutality cases being investigated at the time were punished, and no one was ever held accountable for Stanley Beebe’s death.

The Devil in Orange County-Update and call to action

One of the things I never expected to happen when I began this blog in December 2012 was that I would hear from so many victims, and perpetrators, and their families. I have corresponded with people whose family tree was forever altered by a crime from as long ago as the 1920s.

I’ve found that most of the family members who contact me are seeking an open ear–someone who will listen and not judge. Often I am asked to provide information about a decades old incident and I gladly share my research notes.

The internet has made it nearly impossible for families to keep secrets–someone doing a quick search of a popular genealogy site may discover a long forgotten crime involving a relative and seek answers.

steve hurd

Stephen Hurd

In “The Devil in Orange County” I wrote about my peripheral involvement in one of the most infamous crimes in the county’s history. I suggest that you read the posts for an in-depth examination of the crimes, but briefly the circumstances are as follows:

On June 2, 1970, Stephen Hurd, 20, and Arthur “Moose” Hulse, 16, and several of their companions, were involved in two back-to-back violent homicides. The first was the brutal hatchet slaying, by Hulse, of 20-year-old Jerry Wayne Carlin, a gas station attendant working the grave yard shift. Carlin left behind a young widow. He never had the chance to learn that his wife was pregnant.

florence brown

The next day 29-year-old Florence Nancy Brown, stepmother to four children, was car jacked at a freeway off-ramp by Hurd, Hulse and a few of their co-horts. She was taken to a field and stabbed over 20 times. Her body was buried in a shallow grave near Ortega Highway. Hurd later revealed that he had returned to the make-shift burial site and mutilated Brown’s corpse by removing her heart which he then used in a Satanic ritual. Stephen Hurd died of a brain hemorrhage in prison nine years ago.

Arthur Hulse is currently incarcerated at Vacaville, but apparently not for much longer unless Governor Brown vetoes his release. At a hearing on September 26, 2014, Hulse was granted parole and is scheduled to be cut loose in approximately 120 days. He was not supposed to have been eligible for parole until 2015. What the hell happened?

craig hulse photo

There are individuals who deserve parole–they earn it by taking responsibility for their previous actions and by taking steps to become a productive member of society. Nothing that I have read about Arthur’s years in prison has suggested that he has done anything to make himself suitable for parole.

I mentioned that I’ve heard from victims and families of violent crime and this morning I received email from Jerry Wayne Carlin’s widow. She is rightfully horrified that Arthur Craig Hulse will be paroled unless Governor Brown takes action within the next few weeks.

carlin beating deathI hope that her letter will move you, as it has me, to contact Governor Brown and ask him to veto Hulse’s parole.

With her permission I am reprinting her email to me. I have withheld her current surname at her request.

 

My name is Patricia ______. My first husband, Jerry Wayne Carlin was murdered on June 2, 1970. As you can imagine, my life was changed forever on that horrible night.

I’m writing to let you know that Arthur Craig Hulse had a parole hearing on September 26, 2014 and was granted parole. I was notified by the District Attorney, Scott Simmons, of the impending hearing on September 22, 2014, when the DA’s office was notified. The parole hearing had been moved up one year without notice to the DA or myself. I was asked by the DA to write a letter to the parole board, which I did.

It has been 44 years since Jerry’s murder. There has not been even one June 2, that I haven’t stopped and remember what happened on that horrible night. I gave birth to Jerry’s son, Jason, in 1971. All my son has left of his father is a 5″x7″ picture. When I was told of what happened to Jerry that night, I wanted to die. I took a overdose of every pill in the medicine cabinet but, by the grace of God, the police realized what I had done and got me to the hospital. I was told that I was pregnant. I knew I needed to be strong for my baby and for Jerry Wayne. I got on with my life and Jerry’s son grew and is now a Grandpa.

Although life went on, always in the back of my mind, was the thought, that someday Steve Hurd and Arthur Hulse could be released. Hurd died in 2005.

Now Hulse has been given a parole date. The Governor of California has the authority to overturn the parole board’s decision. He will review the case within 30 days and if the decision is not overturned, my worst fears will be realized, and this animal will be released in 120 days from September 26, 2014. I will be writing to the Governor to request he overturn this ruling. I have contacted the Orange County Register, because they have been following this case for more than 40 years. Incidentally they also were unaware of Hulse’s parole hearing. I do not know if they will publish an article about this person’s parole.

I’m writing a letter to the Governor’s Office and hope that more people who learn about this will also. The address is:

Governor Edmund G Brown
State Capitol
Sacramento, CA 95814

This may be the last thing I can do for Jerry Wayne and his son. If you have any way of helping get the word out about this horrible decision, I would be so grateful.

Life in prison should be just that. Is 44 years enough for hacking a innocent person to death? I will live the rest of my life, knowing what happened. There will be no parole for me or my son. Arthur Hulse should remain in prison for the rest of his life.

Thank You for your time.

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I cannot even imagine the pain that Patricia and her son have endured over the years, and of course Jerry’s loss continues to be felt by Patricia’s grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

It’s easy for you to contact Governor Brown via EMAIL. I suggest that you select “Have Comment’ for the purpose of your communication, and for topic “Parole-Governors Review”.  Also select “Con” for your position on the pending parole.

I hope you’ll join me in writing to Governor Brown, it will take only a few moments of your time but may result in years of peace for Patricia and her family.

Below you will find the email I have sent to the Governor–feel free to cut and paste it.

Governor Brown:

I am writing to urge you to veto the parole of Arthur Craig Hulse (#B33433) due to the heinous nature of his crimes. On June 2, 1970 he murdered 20-year-old gas station attendant Jerry Wayne Carlin with a hatchet and the next day he was an accessory to the car-jacking and stabbing of 29-year-old wife and mother Florence Nancy Brown. Mrs. Brown was stabbed at least 20 times and her body was mutilated postmortem.

Hulse was denied parole in October 2012 because he was considered a danger if released and, additionally, he had never completed any drug or alcohol treatment program during his years of  incarceration. In fact he was informed at his 2012 hearing that he would not be considered for release again until 2015.

It is unclear why his parole hearing was moved up and it is a mystery how he became eligible for parole after such a short amount of time, particularly when he had done nothing to earn his release in the 44 years prior to his September 26, 2014 parole hearing.

It would be an injustice to the victim’s families if he is paroled. Hulse also poses a possible danger to any community into which he may be released.

I thank you for your consideration of this request.

Sincerely,

Joan E. Renner