The Devil in Orange County–2016 Update

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, 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 brownThe 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 in 2005.

Arthur Hulse is currently incarcerated at Vacaville, but apparently not for much longer unless Governor Brown vetoes his release.

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.

craig hulse photoLast year we conducted a successful letter writing campaign to Governor  Brown to reverse the parole board’s decision that Arthur be released.  This month at a parole hearing Arthur was once again granted release. He is due to be cut loose in August unless Governor Brown overrides the board’s decision like he did last year.

During the last several months I have heard from members of Florence Brown’s family and they have expressed their desire to see Hulse remain in prison. I have heard from one of her former grade school students who has never forgotten the events of 1970.

Last year I received email from Jerry Wayne Carlin’s widow which, with her permission,  I am reprinting below. I have withheld her current surname at her request.

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

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.

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

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 is my letter to Governor Brown. Feel free to cut and paste it into your email to him.

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 brutal slaying of 29-year-old wife and mother Florence Nancy Brown. Mrs. Brown was stabbed at least 20 times and her body was mutilated postmortem.

Earlier this month Hulse was granted parole and is scheduled for release in August, unless you override the parole board’s decision like you did last year.

I thank you for your consideration of this request.

Respectfully,

Joan Renner

Film Noir Friday: Race Street [1948]

race-street

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 RACE STREET.  It stars George Raft, William Bendix, and Marilyn Maxwell. Enjoy the movie!

TCM says:

When San Francisco bookmaker Hal Towers confides in his boss, racketeer Dan Gannin, that a syndicate is trying to force him to pay protection money, Dan reminds him about their recent pledge to get out of the gambling racket. Although Dan offers his best friend a chance to invest in his new, legitimate nightclub, Hal insists on fighting the syndicate. Dan cautions Hal, who is lame, to be careful, but before the night is over, Dan and another childhood friend, police detective Barney Runson, find the bookie lying dead at the bottom of his apartment stairs. Concerned for his friend’s safety, Barney warns Dan not to seek vengeance on Hal’s killers, but allow the law to pursue justice. Dan’s associates, however, expect him to retaliate for Hal’s murder, and Dan obeys the rules of gangster protocol by not revealing anything about the case to Barney. When Dan goes home that night, he is greeted by two well-dressed men who present themselves as “insurance salesmen.”

Film Noir Friday: The Spanish Cape Mystery [1935]

spanish_cape_mystery

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 THE SPANISH CAPE MYSTERY, based on an Ellery Queen novel of the same name. It stars Helen Twelvetrees and Donald Cook. Match wits with an arch fiend, and enjoy the movie!

TCM says:

After Ellery Queen helps his father Inspector Queen with a case involving the robbery of a $50,000 pearl necklace, he leaves for a well-deserved vacation in Spanish Cape, California. In Spanish Cape, Walter Godfrey’s relatives, who have gathered in his seaside mansion, quarrel with one another. During an evening stroll, Stella Godfrey is abducted and her uncle, David Kummer, disappears.

Film Noir Friday: One Way Street [1950]

 onewaystreetWelcome! 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 ONE WAY STREET starring James Mason, Marta Toren, and Dan Duryea.  Enjoy the movie!

TCM says:

After a bank robbery, Dr. Frank Matson waits with gangster John Wheeler, Wheeler’s lover Laura and his henchmen, for the rest of the gang to arrive. Wheeler sends Laura to ask Matson for medication for his headache, and after giving Wheeler some pills, Matson calmly picks up the medical bag containing the proceeds of the robbery and starts to leave. Laura asks to come along, and Matson tells Wheeler that the pills he swallowed contained poison. After promising to telephone him with the antidote, Matson and Laura drive away.

Shootout at the Selma Hotel, Conclusion

shirt clueAccording to the attorneys for Tom Bay and Ed “Red” Carmichael, the red shirt that James “Yakima Jim” Anson died in was going to clear their clients of murder.  The shirt would supposedly show that there had been a terrific battle prior to the shooting, thus clearing Tom and Red of a cold-blooded slaying. Unfortunately,  the shirt had disappeared.

On August 26, 1925 a telegram originating from Shosone, Idaho cleared up the mystery of the red shirt. It wasn’t lost and the cops hadn’t concealed it, it had accompanied Yakima’s body to Idaho where it was burned.

Tom and Red’s preliminary hearing lasted for several weeks. At the end of it only Tom was held to answer for Yakima’s murder. Justice Russell released Red, apparently believing the man’s story that he’d been out of the room when the fatal shot was fired. Even though Red had left Yakima’s room for a short time he seemed to know that Tom had produced a revolver, faced Yakima, and said: “Now I’ve got you just where I want you.” He said he heard a scuffle and then a shot. He ran back into the room in time to see Tom escape out the hotel window.jury baffled

As a Hollywood cowboy Tom spent much less time on a horse than he did with a cocktail glass in his hand. His wife Pearl testified that whenever he came home drunk, which was often, he would attempt to crawl under a chiffonier that was only six inches from the floor.  On the day that Yakima was shot Tom came home and again tried to hide under the furniture. Pearl intervened, and then she listened as he told her a garbled tale of Yakima’s shooting. Pearl said: “He told me there had been a shooting and that Anson was badly hurt, but I got the impression he had shot himself. Tom didn’t say anything about having shot him and didn’t seem to know who had.”

Tom Bay c. 1931

Tom Bay c. 1931

When Tom took the stand in Judge Kectch’s court he offered his version of Yakima’s death. He readily admitted that he’d been drinking, but he claimed there were several other men in the  hotel room–which didn’t square with Red’s account. Tom said that Yakima had drawn the gun and started waving it around. It was during a struggle for possession of the weapon that it discharged. Yakima staggered back against the wall and slowly slid into a sitting position on the floor. According to Tom, Red came back into the room (he’d been in the bathroom) and told the wounded man to “snap out of it” and “the cops might come because that gun went off.” Rather than wait for the cops, or check to see if Yakima was okay,  Tom crawled through an open window and dropped to the sidewalk–leaving Red to face the music. Red picked up the revolver, realized it was his, and headed for the door. He didn’t even get out of the hotel before the cops took him into custody. Tom was picked up later.

tom freedThroughout the trial Tom maintained that he didn’t know that Yakima had been shot when he fled from the room. For me that stretches the bounds of credibility, but evidently the jury bought the story because following twenty hours of deliberation they acquitted him. Dozens of men in high-heeled boots, holding ten-gallon hats, and grinning swarmed Tom and slapped him on the back in congratulations.

There are several unanswered questions in this case. Who brought Red’s gun to the room, and why? It seems likely that Tom had somehow managed to get his hands on the weapon and, in his inebriated condition, thought he’d scare an apology out of Yakima for making rude comments about Pearl. Did the gun go off accidentally as Tom insisted or was he drunk enough to pull the trigger in anger?tragedy

We’ll never know for sure and all that matters is the jury’s decision. However if you believe, as I do, that Tom was at the least guilty of involuntary manslaughter then you’ll be interested to know how he fared following his acquittal.

In May 1931, Pearl sued Tom for divorce. She said that she had sold her piano and car to pay for his attorneys; however, he was not only ungrateful, he treated her badly. He was physically and emotionally abusive and he cheated on her over and over. Pearl had discovered love letters and overheard Tom talking to another woman on the phone in a tone of voice that went beyond friendly. To buttress her case Pearl produced a handful of letters written by a woman living in Deadwood, South Dakota. They were torrid enough to have courtroom spectators on the edge of their seats. Pearl won her divorce. Tom continued his film career. He appeared, mostly uncredited,  either as a stunt double or as a heavy in popular horse operas into the early 1930s.

Mary Frances Miller

On October 11, 1933, actress Mary Frances Miles received a telephone call from her friend Alta Lessert. Alta said she and her live-in lover, cowboy actor Tom Bay, had been fighting. Alta may have been looking for moral support or a referee–in any case Mary went to help. She arrived at Alta and Tom’s house at 602 North Lincoln Boulevard, Burbank and tried to keep the peace. She thought she had succeeded in getting the combative couple to calm down–she saw them embrace and kiss–but moments later she heard a gunshot.

Alta ran from the living room to the bedroom.  Alta was standing with a gun in her hand  Tom’s back was to her and he had his hands raised above his head. Alta fired another shot and Tom fell to the floor.

Mary ran from the house to phone the police. On her way to get help she passed the bedroom window. She looked in and saw Alta hold the muzzle of the gun against her breast and fired twice. She collapsed on the floor beside the dead cowboy. lessert_mailbox

Tom died at the scene, a bullet through his heart. Alta’s ribs deflected the bullets and she survived to stand trial for his murder. She claimed self-defense. Tom had been violent with her before and the day he died he had been drinking heavily and threatened to kill her. She had grabbed the gun before he could reach it and fired. Several character witnesses testified on Alta’s behalf–most of them were cowboy actors: Buck Bucko, Roy Bucko, Jack Castle, and Jack Padjan. The men said Tom was a known troublemaker.

The jury deadlocked 6 to 6. The D.A. wanted to re-try Alta, but Judge Fricke dismissed the murder charge saying that he didn’t believe a conviction was possible.

Just as Tom had done nine years earlier, Alta walked out of court a free woman.