On August 31, 1985, after returning from his vacation, Deputy Andy Ramirez was assigned to the morning shift. Andy and the other patrol deputies at the East Los Angeles Sheriff’s Station received a briefing on the Night Stalker suspect’s name and physical description. It did not surprise Andy when a few of his colleagues ribbed him about sharing the wanted killer’s surname. Later, just to be sure, he checked his family tree and found no link to the infamous killer.
Before he began his day at 8 a.m., Andy stopped for a cup of coffee at a convenience store a few blocks outside of his patrol area. As he sat in his car sipping his coffee, he heard a call go out for Unit 22 to respond to a disturbance. The unit did not answer. That was not unusual. In 1985, deputies did not have hand-held radios and could only hear a call if he was in or near his patrol car.
As Unit 22 was unreachable, the dispatcher assigned the call to Andy’s car, Unit 24. They updated the call from a disturbance to persons fighting in the 3700 block of Hubbard Street. Andy rolled. He was about midway down the block before he spied a small group of people standing on the south side of the street. They hovered over a seated man who was leaning against a chain-link fence. A man holding a metal bar stood over the cowering, black-clad figure.
As he got out of his patrol car, by-standers came up to Andy and said, “Deputy, Deputy, he’s the guy! It’s Richard Ramirez. He tried to steal a car. We chased him and hit him and he’s down.”
Andy asked the man wielding the metal bar to relinquish it, which he did. The man was the husband of a woman who stood in a yard screaming. He gestured to the man on the curb and said, “This guy tried to steal my wife’s car.”
Clad in black from head to toe, not the best choice for a 93-degree August day, the suspect dripped sweat. Andy noticed blood running down the back and side of his face. As he approached the suspect, Andy directed him to stand, and then he cuffed him. He patted the man down but found no weapons or identification, so he asked him for his name. The man said “Ricardo” in a soft voice, and then he went silent. Andy put him in the back of his patrol car.
Andy left the suspect seated on the curb and returned to his car to summon paramedics. While he waited for medical aid to arrive, he talked to the residents. They were excited. One of them waved a copy of La Opinion, the local Spanish language newspaper, which had a photo of the Night Stalker on the front page. A few minutes later, the crowd swelled from a handful of bystanders to over fifty people. People from outside the block poured in on foot, on bicycles and in cars. It didn’t take long before at least one hundred people milled around the site of the arrest. At first, the attitude of the crowd was one of jubilation—even without official identification, they knew they had captured the Night Stalker. But then the atmosphere changed. Andy sensed a rapid shift from happiness to hostility. People wanted a piece of the man who had terrified them for months and then had the audacity to bring his evil to their neighborhood.
The crowd tried to open the doors to Andy’s patrol car. He needed backup to prevent the situation from getting out of hand.
Other deputies rolled up to the scene before the crowd became a mob. Andy gave the new arrivals a thumbnail briefing, and then they pushed the crowd back. Moments later, a couple of LAPD patrol cars arrived. They told Andy they had pursued the suspect all morning from downtown. They watched in amazement as he sprinted across the freeway, avoiding vehicles as they whizzed by. The cops said they tracked him following the trail of unsuccessful car-jackings he attempted as he fled.
Following a brief conversation, Andy and the LAPD officers concluded the only way to ensure the safety of the suspect was to get him out of harm’s way. Andy requested the officers transport the tall, skinny man in the sopping wet Jack Daniels t-shirt to the East Los Angeles Sheriff’s station. He watched as the LAPD car drove away with the suspect. He did not notice they had turned left out of Hubbard instead of right.
Andy called the Sheriff’s station to tell them that the Night Stalker was being transported by LAPD and would arrive soon. Later Andy discovered they took the suspect to LAPD’s Hollenbeck Station instead. Did the LAPD officers deliberately transport Richard Ramirez to Hollenbeck, or did they make the left turn out of habit? It is impossible to know for sure. The two agencies have a relationship that is like the cross-town rivalry between UCLA and USC. Each aims to protect the public, but their territories are a patchwork of adjacent jurisdictions which can complicate the pursuit of a fleeing felon.
In the end, it didn’t matter that Richard Ramirez went to LAPD’s Hollenbeck Station. Much later the day of the arrest, Andy stopped by Hollenbeck to retrieve his handcuffs. At first, the LAPD officers claimed not to know what he was talking about. Then he told them he could identify the handcuffs as his because he had scratched his name into the metal. No doubt about it. Andy arrested the Night Stalker.
The moment Andy realized the handcuffs were a significant artifact in one of L.A.’s most notorious criminal cases, he retired them. He held on to the cuffs for almost three decades until he donated them to the Sheriff’s Museum.
On March 17, 1985, Los Angeles County Sheriff’s homicide detectives Gil Carillo and Jim Mercer were called to the scene of a murder and an attempted murder in Rosemead. The dead woman was Dayle Okazaki. Her injured roommate, Maria Hernandez, reported the crime. Maria was lucky to be alive. The same guy who killed Dayle shot her. She gave detectives a heart-stopping account of the evening’s events and provided them with a description of the killer.
Detective Carrillo had a feeling about the Okazaki murder. The killer took nothing from the condo. What was the motive for the attacks? Maria’s statement bothered him. She said when she and her attacker were in the garage; he had deliberately smacked the hood of Dayle’s car. Carrillo knew such behavior was odd. Criminals usually rely on stealth. The killer obviously got a thrill from terrifying Maria before he shot her and left her for dead.
About forty-five minutes after Okazaki’s slaying, Carrillo, and Mercer heard a call about another random assault. Someone shot a young Asian woman named Tsai-Lin Veronica Yu and left her to die in the middle of a street in Monterey Park. A .22 caliber gun killed her. The same caliber weapon used to murder Dayle.
Criminalists at the Sheriff’s crime lab analyzed the shell casings from the two scenes. Although their findings were inconclusive, the scientists surmised the casings were a likely match.
About ten days after the murders of Okazaki and Yu, detectives picked up a double homicide in Whittier. Vincent Zazzara and his wife Maxine were murdered in their ranch style home. An intruder entered the house by upending a plastic pail and using it as a stepping stool to climb through an open window. He shot Vincent and bound and raped Maxine.
The stranger briefly left the room, and Maxine loosened her bindings. She reached under the bed for the shotgun she knew her husband kept there. She aimed it at the intruder and fired. The gun was not loaded. In a rage, the intruder shot and stabbed her. Then used his knife to gouge out Maxine’s eyes, which he took with him. They were never found. He also carved an unintelligible L-shaped word or symbol into her stomach. The gun used was a .22 caliber. The crime lab could not match the casings to those used in the previous crimes because of the distortion, not uncommon, with a .22. Still, the shell casings were determined to be consistent with those from the other slayings. It was possible that the same perpetrator had committed the murders.
Carrillo was the youngest homicide investigator in the bureau. He believed the same person who killed Okazaki and Yu also committed the Whittier murders. The other detectives shrugged off his theory. Carrillo took his hunch to Salerno. For years, Salerno worked in homicide and gained experience with serial killers. He cracked the Hillside Strangler case in 1979.
Carrillo explained his reasons for believing the same man had committed all the crimes while Salerno listened intently. Salerno considered the young detective’s theory to be credible. He took the information, his experience as an investigator, and his intuition to the head of homicide, Captain Bob Grimm. Convinced that Salerno and Carrillo were on to something, Grimm suggested Salerno form a small informal task force to investigate.
On May 14th, the Valley Intruder’s killing spree resumed. The intruder broke into the Monterey Park home of William and Lillian Doi. He shot William and sexually assaulted and beat his invalid wife, who had suffered a stroke. After William heard the man leave, he crawled to a telephone, dialed 911–then he died. Monterey Park police arrived at the scene. A quiet town, homicides in Monterey Park were rare. Someone called the Sheriff’s office and requested Detective Gil Carrillo come to the scene.
The Monterey Park investigator gave Carrillo a cool reception, and declined his offer of assistance. With no reason to stay, Carrillo gave the cop some friendly advice. He told him to be careful in collecting and preserving the evidence. It would be important later.
Just as the case against the Valley Intruder heated up, so did Los Angeles. Residents can take comfort knowing that no matter how hot it gets during the day, the nights are cool and pleasant. But the summer of 1985 was different. Angelenos were sweltering in triple digit heat, shattering records established one hundred years earlier. Temperatures climbed to over 100 degrees during the day, and at night back yard thermometers rarely dipped below the upper 70s. People did everything they could think of to beat the heat. They slept with their bedroom windows open wide to entice a breeze. A sadistic killer saw the open windows as an invitation.
By the middle of August 1985, the local media was obsessed with the heinous crimes committed by the Valley Intruder. The media coverage increased exponentially with each attack. They finally gave the mysterious killer in black a nickname; the Night Stalker.
Citizens were so terrified by the random and vicious murders that they altered their behavior. The sale of guns and locks skyrocketed. The animal shelters emptied of small dogs who could bark a warning, and big dogs who could bring a man down.
A San Fernando Valley nurse told newspaper reporters she kept two guns in her house, and she was prepared to use them. An Alhambra woman said when her husband left for the night shift, she would take their three-year-old daughter into the master bedroom and lock the door. A Monrovia man patrolled the perimeter of his property all night with a hockey stick. Six hundred Monterey Park residents packed a neighborhood watch meeting. In some neighborhoods, people held huge slumber parties, praying for safety in numbers
On August 14th, newspapers broke the story that Frank Salerno was heading up a multi-agency task force to investigate the Night Stalker case.
The detectives found important evidence, including a print from an Avila size 11 ½ shoe found at multiple crime scenes. At the time, the press and public were unaware of this. They also did not know the detectives had been working the case for months. They had a composite drawing of the perpetrator that they circulated to deputies, just in case they ran across someone who matched the art work.
During their investigation, detectives discovered the same Avila shoe print found at the Zazzara crime scene was also present in a child abduction and molestation case being investigated by the Los Angeles Police Department’s Northeast Division. The suspect took an eight-year-old girl from her home and assaulted her at a construction site before abandoning her. Passersby discovered her in the middle of the night. The suspect left a perfect shoe print in cement at the scene.
That they found the shoe print at the scene of a child rape and at homicides of adult victims was stunning. No one ever investigated a serial killer who was also a pedophile. The detectives knew the person who committed the murders, mutilations, and sexual assaults of children was a deviant whose penchant for evil was impossible to comprehend.
To gain a better understanding of the killer they pursued, the detectives invited the FBI to review the cases and produce a profile. Although not precise, criminal profiling is a useful tool. His rage against women and his fear of men were evident at every scene. He had not hesitated to murder any adult male who was present in the homes he entered, and the overkill of most of the female victims was blood-curdling. While the killer may have had multiple motives for his crimes: burglary, rape, child molestation, murder, and kidnapping–the most salient feature of his attacks was his rage.
With the FBI profile and evidence from more murder scenes, the detectives persisted.
Detectives hold back information in a murder case whenever they can. It is invariably something that only the killer would know. In the Night Stalker case, the detectives kept mum about the Avila shoe prints. Regrettably, the shoes became headline news.
The Night Stalker read the press on his murder spree. He caught the story about Frank Salerno’s assignment to the case. It fed his ego. Salerno was a heavy hitter, a consummate investigator, and a worthy adversary. The task force made it tougher for him to commit crimes in Los Angeles. He needed to take a break. He stole a car and headed north to San Francisco.
Barbara and Peter Pan slept soundly in the bedroom of their two-story home on a residential street near Lake Merced. The Night Stalker removed the screen from an open window and slipped inside. He murdered Peter with a gunshot to the head and then he sexually assaulted Barbara. Before he left, he drew a pentagram on the wall and signed it “Jack the Knife.”
Carrillo and Salerno recognized their suspect from the modus operandi at the Pan house. He had taken his horror show on the road. They spoke with San Francisco police, who agreed to a reciprocal trade of information.
Carrillo and Salerno’s information reached Mayor Dianne Feinstein. She held a press conference.
With their mouths hanging open in disbelief, and their hands clenched in anger, Salerno and Carrillo watched as Feinstein made public every piece of evidence they had discovered. The mayor spoke about the Avila shoe prints, the weapons, and the thumb cuffs the killer used to restrain his female victims. Investigators feared the mayor’s irresponsible statements could destroy their case.
The Night Stalker watched Mayor Feinstein’s press conference, too. He could not believe it. He owed the mayor a debt of gratitude. For months, he was unaware that he left distinctive shoe prints at the crime scenes. He ditched the shoes and anything that tied him to the crimes. Feeling cocky, he returned to Los Angeles.
Thirteen-year-old Mission Viejo resident James Romero, saw a man in an orange Toyota driving down his street. He noticed the car’s headlights were off, and he grew suspicious. He memorized a portion of the license plate number.
The Night Stalker broke into a house in Romero’s neighborhood. He shot Bill Carns twice in the head, then raped his fiancée, Inez Erikson. Though he left them for dead, they survived. He returned to the stolen Toyota and drove back to L.A.
It was another steamy night, so the killer removed his gloves. He abandoned the car, and wiped it down, but neglected to clean the rearview mirror he had adjusted with his bare hand.
The Night Stalker task force worked hundreds of hours of overtime. The Feinstein press conference in San Francisco gave them a few bad moments, but they trusted Sheriff Sherman Block to have their backs. He held a press conference of his own, during which he lambasted Feinstein for compromising the case.
Salerno and Carillo finally caught a couple of breaks. One of them was a phone call from a woman who worked in the courts in Los Angeles. She said her father, Jose Perez, was a street person who hung out at the Greyhound Bus Depot downtown. He had befriended a guy named Ricky. Ricky shared details with Jose about a murder he had committed. Jose told his daughter he and Ricky took a gun to Tijuana and sold it.
The detectives felt certain that they were only steps behind the Night Stalker. Other detectives traveled to Tijuana and to their shock, recovered the weapon. Ricky did not sell the gun. Jose gave it to one of his girlfriends.
Perez said LAPD arrested his friend Ricky recently for car theft after Ricky crashed the car into the bus depot. He served a couple of days in county jail. Salerno and Carrillo contacted LAPD’s Central Division, but officers there could not locate the case.
While they waited for information from LAPD, the detectives got a call from San Francisco investigators. It was what they needed. A person who knew Ricky, and knew he fit the description of the Night Stalker, provided the investigators with their suspect’s full name. Richard Ramirez.
Police found the stolen Toyota. Criminalists recovered a single fingerprint from the rearview mirror. An Orange County detective took the print up to Sacramento and, visually, as they had done for decades, compared it to all the prints of anyone with the Ramirez surname. They found a match. After months of painstaking police work, they identified the killer.
On Friday, August 20, 1985, in a joint news conference, Sheriff Sherman Block, Orange County Sheriff Brad Gates and Los Angeles Police Chief Daryl Gates publicly identified Richard Leyva Muñoz Ramirez as the Night Stalker.
The next day, his photo was on the front page of every newspaper in town.
Salerno and Carrillo knew Ramirez hung out at the Greyhound Bus Depot. They set up surveillance on the chance that he would try to leave town. No one expected him to be returning to Los Angeles, but that was what happened.
Ramirez was out-of-town visiting a brother in Arizona. When he arrived at the Greyhound Bus Depot, he spotted the surveillance. He was oblivious to the fact they were searching for him, but he knew law enforcement meant trouble, and that was the last thing he needed. He walked out of the building where the bus had entered instead of staying with the group of passengers who exited through the front door.
At a nearby liquor store, he bought a carton of orange juice. Then he saw his picture on page one of a local newspaper. In a panic, he got on a bus headed to East Los Angeles, where one of his brothers lived. The other passengers began to whisper and stare at him.
He got off the bus and, in desperation, he ran across several lanes of Interstate 5. Miraculously, on the Saturday morning of the Labor Day holiday, he made it across unharmed. He attempted to carjack vehicles in LAPD’s territory, but failed.
Richard Ramirez sweated profusely. Exhausted and near collapse, he ran onto the 3700 block of Hubbard Street in Boyle Heights. He was one block into Sheriff’s territory.
He tried to carjack a classic Mustang, which was being lovingly restored by its proud owners. The car wasn’t drivable, so the fugitive attempted to hijack a car from a pregnant woman who was about to run errands. The woman screamed. Her husband heard her and came running. He was wielding a length of pipe. He took one look at the shaggy-haired stranger who had the audacity to molest his wife and bashed him over the head. The ruckus brought more people into the street. Many of them picked up baseball bats and hammers and gave chase.
The battle of Hubbard Street was on.
Someone placed a call to the East Los Angeles Sheriff’s station about a fight on Hubbard Street.
Cries went up. “It’s him!” “It’s the Night Stalker!”
About 11:30 p.m., on the night of March 17, 1985, a twenty-five-year-old unemployed drifter from Texas drove aimlessly through the streets of Los Angeles. He cruised around for hours in a stolen car. Dressed in black with a baseball cap pulled low over his eyes, the cocktail of drugs in his system fueled his hateful fantasies of blood, death, and Satanic power. He cranked up the volume on his Walkman and listened to his favorite album, AC/DC’s Highway to Hell.
He was hunting human prey.
The drifter lived in downtown Los Angeles, and during the day he walked to one of the nearby dives and joined the shabby strangers who sat side-by-side on bar stools nursing glasses of cheap booze, lost in their own realities. Sometimes he would visit a local liquor store and buy a bottle, a “short dog,” he could sip from a brown paper sack. At night, he came alive. The darkness energized him. The cars he stole gave him the freedom to go wherever he wanted, and on that March night, as he drove the freeways, he spotted a lone woman in gold Camaro. On a whim, he followed her.
Maria Hernandez’s car caught the attention of the drifter. She spent the evening with her boyfriend and was on her way home. She exited the highway for Rosemead, a quiet bedroom community in Los Angeles County Sheriff’s territory, and the stranger followed her. Maria turned right onto Village Lane, where she lived in a new condominium owned by her roommate Dayle Okazaki. She pressed the button on the automatic door opener, and stepped into the garage. Maria pressed a button on the wall to shut the garage door behind her. Her black clad stalker entered the garage. His soft-soled sneakers, and the carpet runner near Dayle’s green Toyota muffled his steps.
The man could have snuck up behind Maria, but he wanted to see her fear. He slammed his hand down hard on the hood of Dayle’s car. Maria jumped and turned toward the noise. As the garage door closed, the garage got darker, with just enough light to see into the shadows. Maria saw a tall, thin man in dark clothes and a baseball cap with a logo for the heavy metal band AD/DC on it. As he lifted the .22 he carried, his baseball cap fell to the floor. The garage door took eight seconds to shut before plunging them into darkness. Maria clutched her keys and reflexively threw her hands up in front of her face, as if they could repel the bullet she knew was coming.
Maria’s hands did not stop the bullet, but her keys deflected the round and saved her life. She dropped to the floor of the garage and played dead. The stranger entered the condo. Maria crept up, opened the garage door, and went around to the front of her building—she wanted to get inside and warn Dayle.
Dayle Okasaki had heard the shot, and saw a man enter her kitchen. She ducked down behind the counter, hoping he did not see her. The stranger smiled. He caught the movement as Dayle dropped behind the counter. He knew that if he was patient, her curiosity would get the better of her and that eventually she would pop up to see if he had gone. Just as he knew she would, Dayle cautiously rose from behind the tiled counter. She stared down the barrel of the .22 the man had pointed at her head. He fired, and a bullet entered her forehead, knocking her to the floor.
As Maria approached the front door, she heard a gunshot. Then, to her horror, the gaunt man in black who had tried to kill her walked out onto the stoop. She couldn’t believe it. She was certain he would exit the back way. The two stood facing each other for a second that stretched into eternity.
A black-topped orange Volkswagen sat at the curb in front of the condo. Maria bolted to it, pursued by the man. The two chased each other around the car in a macabre version of a child’s game of tag. Finally, the man caught up with Maria and raised his gun. Maria spoke to him. “You’ve already shot me. Don’t shoot me again.”
Maria held the stranger’s eyes and waited for a gunshot. The man lowered his weapon and walked away. She ran back into the condo and found Dayle on the kitchen floor, a pool of blood formed around her head. Maria phoned the Sheriff’s station and waited for deputies to arrive.
The killer drove away from the scene; but he was in no rush for the evening to end.
Forty-five minutes later, he was back on the freeway when he noticed a young Asian woman taking an exit for Monterey Park. He followed her, just as he had done with Maria Hernandez. But the woman, thirty-year-old law student Tsai-Lin Veronica Yu, noticed the man behind her, and started looking for a police car. A block or two later, she pulled over to the curb and waited for the man to drive past—then she followed him. They caught a red light on North Alhambra Avenue. The man switched off his headlights, got out of the stolen Toyota, and approached the driver’s side of Veronica’s vehicle.
Veronica confronted him and demanded to know why he had followed her. At first, he denied her accusation. Then he said he thought he knew her. She called him a liar. He grabbed at her through the open window and tried to drag her out of the car. Failing to yank Veronica from the driver’s seat, he ran around to the passenger side. Before Veronica could push the lock down, he slipped into the seat and pointed a gun at her side. He fired and wounded Veronica. She opened the door to escape. He shot her again, this time the bullet struck her in the lower back. She got out of the car and took a couple of shaky steps before she collapsed on the pavement and died.
Satisfied, the drifter returned to his room in the Hotel Cecil on skid row.
NEXT TIME: Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Homicide Bureau detectives begin an investigation into the murder.
Driving east on Ventura Boulevard in North Hollywood (now Studio City), architect Julian L. Zeller saw a well-dressed man staggering out of the weeds on the south side of the street. Zeller stopped to render aid. The man said, “I was shot by bandits in the hills. The bandit stole my car and my sweetheart.” Then he said, “If I die, tell my wife I loved her.” The man bled profusely and grew weaker as Zeller rushed him to the Hollywood Receiving Hospital. Zeller assisted his injured passenger into the hospital’s emergency room. Doctors tried, but they could not save the man.
From the contents of his pockets, police tentatively identified the deceased as fifty-one-year-old Merton L. Jenks. Merton, a wealthy real estate broker and oil speculator, lived in Beverly Hills with his wife Ruby. A prominent member of the Los Angeles Athletic Club, Merton had friends in high places, like the Police Commissioner.
As detectives contemplated their first steps in investigating Merton’s death, motorcycle officer J. E. Clementine sped to answer a call at 11414 Berry Street in the hills above Ventura Boulevard. The resident, Mrs. J. B. Mield, phoned because a woman arrived at her doorstep pleading for help.
Clementine guided his bike to the curb of the Berry Street home and found a hysterical woman in the yard. The woman choked out her name, Helen Moffitt. She calmed down enough to tell Clementine that she and a companion, Merton Jenks, were the victims of a hold-up at the top of the hill.
Helen said she did not know what happened to Merton. As soon as he grappled with the armed robber, she took off in the car to get help.
Chief Detective Joe Taylor and Inspector David Davidson took Helen downtown to LAPD’s Central Station for questioning. They contacted her husband, Norval, a Glendale car salesman, and he joined them.
Detectives asked Helen how well she knew Merton, and why they parked on a lonely road in the hills. She said, “I met Mr. Jenks at my sister’s home about a year ago. He knew that myself and my husband were anxious to dispose of our house in Venice and he was interested in showing me some new places. Tuesday, he called for me at home and we went to the North Hollywood district. We drove up to the head of Berry Drive (where the shooting took place) and stopped to admire the view.”
“Mr. Jenks got out of the car and was standing talking to me when suddenly a man walked out of the bushes by the roadside. He was dressed in blue-bib overalls, a blue shirt, and a cap. He had a white handkerchief drawn over his face through which holes were cut.”
The bandit held a gun on the couple and told them to “Stick ‘em up.”
Helen thought the bandit hit Merton over the head with a gun. She said, “I saw Mr. Jenks stagger over the embankment. My first thought was to get help and, as the motor of the car was still running, I moved to the driver’s seat and drove as fast as I could to the first house, where I could get a telephone.”
The detectives listened attentively to Helen’s account of the crime; but they did not entirely buy her story.
When police and deputy coroners searched Merton’s belongings, they found photographs of Helen. One in the back of a gold watch and another in his wallet. In one photo, Helen wore a bathing suit. They also found a telegram postmarked in Santa Monica. It read: “You have been my Valentine for several years.” It was signed “H. S.” Was it from Helen?
The couple clearly had a relationship, and likely parked on the lonely hillside for more than the view. Judging from the newspaper coverage, police weren’t the only ones to doubt Helen’s story. They began reporting the story as a “petting party,” and a “love tryst.”
If you are not familiar with the term, a petting party was a gathering at which couples would hug, kiss, and perhaps fondle each other. Petting did not always stop with a kiss, but it stopped short of intercourse. Popular during the 1920s, and into the 1930s, petting parties outraged the older generation. Which, of course, was the point.
The post-WWI era saw a fundamental shift in the behavior of young adults. The previous generation had to follow strict courtship rules. Modern couples no longer had anyone looking over their shoulders. Three things contributed to the shift. World War I. Cars. Prohibition. The war made cynics and hedonists of many of its young survivors. Cars offered mobility and privacy—a bedroom on wheels. Prohibition normalized law-breaking.
By 1932, when Helen and Merton parked in the hills above Ventura Boulevard, petting parties were passe. But couples of any age who wanted privacy often drove to a remote spot.
Helen’s ever-changing version of events did not help the investigation. In fact, the only part of her story that did not change with each telling was her description of their assailant.
Before he died, Merton told Zeller two people attacked him. But Helen insisted only one man held them up.
Within days of the crime, police brought three suspects, Robert Gilreath, Robert Campbell, and William Saxton, into the station for questioning. They soon released them.
Inspector David Davidson, in charge of the investigation, told reporters they believed the bandit might be one who specifically targeted couples parked in the hills. Following Merton’s refusal to comply with the robber’s demands, the bandit slugged him. When he ran, the bandit shot him in the back. Merton may have been a faithless husband, but he did not deserve to die.
Among his belongings police found Merton had a carry permit, issued by the Sheriff’s Department on September 16, 1931. At the time of issuance, Merton said he needed a gun for “travel protection.” However, having an affair with Helen, may have made him cautious. Perhaps he feared her husband coming after him. However, Norval seemed genuinely surprised that Merton kept photos of Helen, or had a relationship with her.
Was Norval feigning surprise? Detectives could not afford to take him at his word. They investigated and found he spent the afternoon of the shooting in a movie theater.
On Thursday, July 16, the coroner’s jury returned a verdict in Merton’s death, “shot by persons unknown with homicidal intent.”
Helen testified at the inquest. The attractive 30-year-old insisted there was “no lovemaking,” and she and Merton sat in his car “looking at the scenery.” Deputy Coroner Monfort challenged her.
“Now, Mrs. Moffitt, you were never in the rear seat of that car at any time, were you?”
“I never was,” she replied.
“How do you account for the forty-five minutes you spent with Mr. Jenks at this point?”
“Well, we were admiring the scenery, and there was a general discussion about real estate and other topics. I don’t remember all that was said.”
The reason for Monfort’s line of questioning is not clear, although he may have suspected Helen hired someone to kill Merton. It was troubling that Merton said two persons attacked him, and Helen said there was one.
Two weeks after the murder, police searched Helen’s home looking for a weapon. Two hundred yards from where the bandit stood, police found a .32 caliber shell fired from an automatic. Police chemist, Ray Pinker, said he could match the shell to a gun if they found one.
The case stalled. In September, twenty-three-year-old Chester Bartlett surrendered himself to police and confessed he had “done something wrong” in the hills near Mulholland. Bartlett’s confession did not survive scrutiny. He admitted he attempted suicide by swallowing gasoline. The obviously unstable man may have done wrong, but he did not commit murder.
The scant leads dried up, and nobody offered new information, so police had to shelve the Jenks case. It remains unsolved.
What happened on June 14, 1932? Hungry, homeless and without hope, many desperate people roamed the streets of Los Angeles during the Great Depression. Did one of them pick up a gun and attempt to rob Merton and Helen? Did Merton perish at the hands of a would-be robber, or was he the victim of something more sinister?
About 2:30 a.m., on February 1, 1931, after a night of nightclubbing, twenty-four-year-old Julia Tapia and several of her girlfriends stopped at Alfonso’s Café at Temple and Figueroa for a bite to eat. Julia wanted to sober up before leaving on a quick turn-around trip north.
A friend of hers, Harvey Hicks, missed his train to Tehachapi, about one hundred miles north of Los Angeles. She had nothing better to do, so she said she would drive him there. She had no desire to make the return trip by herself. She would have asked her girlfriends to accompany her, but they were “family girls,” not the type to take a trip on the spur-of-the-moment.
Julia didn’t scoff at family girls, but she knew she wasn’t one herself. She was married, but her husband left for Mexico five months earlier, and had not returned. She was recently “vagged,” which is a vagrancy charge, usually prostitution. She spent ten days in the county jail rather than pay a $50 fine.
She scanned the café for another girl, not the family type, who might take the Tehachapi jaunt with her. She spotted Adeline Ortega. Julia and Adeline weren’t close, but they’d seen each other around, and had chatted before at Alfonso’s. Adeline had recently been “vagged,” too. Julia persuaded her to come along for the ride. They would have lots to talk about on the way home.
Adeline made only one request. She wanted her friend Manuel to join them. Julia didn’t object; what the hell, the more the merrier. Four young people in a car, a pint and a half of illegal booze, and a few hours on a dark highway–it would be a miracle if trouble didn’t find them. Miracles never happened to Julia.
The trip to Tehachapi was uneventful. They took Harvey to the home of a friend of his, and spent about thirty minutes passing a bottle of whiskey around. When it came time to leave, Manuel said he was exhausted. He stretched out on the back seat of Julia’s car and nodded off. Julia drove while Adeline kept her company. A little later, Adeline got sleepy and switched places with Manuel.
Manuel was the perfect passenger until he started pestering Julia to let him drive. She refused. The two had words, and Manuel tried to throw the car out of gear and grab the steering wheel. Julia, accustomed to dealing with men who would not take no for an answer, told Manuel to cut the crap or she would put him out on the highway. Manuel got belligerent and declared he’d leave the car willingly.
After Manuel got out, Julia drove her car, a 1930 Chevrolet, in low gear down the road. She was a softer touch than she seemed. She would give Manuel another chance to behave. But minutes after he got out of her car, she saw a light-colored car, with three guys in it, pick him up. The car caught up with Julia; Adeline still slept in the backseat. When the car pulled up alongside her, Manuel shouted he left his overcoat and hat behind and wanted to retrieve them. Julia reached over to the passenger’s side and grabbed his belongings. She threw them out of the car at him.
Manuel got angry. He jumped onto the running board of her car. He was on the driver’s side, screaming abuse at her. Then, he reached over and pulled her hair and smacked her hard on the jaw. She noticed Harvey had left his .38 revolver stuck in the seat cushion. She grabbed the gun and shot Manuel right above his heart. He fell from the running board and tumbled to the pavement.
Julia braked the car to a stop and ran over to him. He was lying in a pool of blood, wheezing. He was about two heartbeats away from death. She dragged him to the side of the road. The car that Manuel had hitched a ride on sped off into the night. Seconds later, another car with three men in it pulled up to see what was going on. In the car were Dean Markham and his buddies, Joe Frigon, and Bob Tittle. The trio were rabbit hunting in Mojave, and headed back to L.A.
Markham got out of the car, and walked over to speak with Julia. On his way over to talk to the distraught woman, he noticed a pool of dark-colored liquid, and Manuel on the pavement. He stepped wide.
Markham’s car had overheated. They left Julia and Adeline behind, and took Julia’s car to fetch help in nearby Lancaster. They arrived at a hotel and asked the clerk where to find a cop. The clerk pointed at a pool hall down the street. He suggested they would find an officer there. Sure enough, just as the clerk said, Markham and his buddies found an officer shooting pool.
Markham, et al., piled into Julia’s car, and returned to the scene. They could hear the siren wailing on the police car ahead of them as they sped down the highway.
Markham, his friends, and the officer, pulled up to the scene. Julia and Adeline stood in the road, shell-shocked. No wonder. The local undertaker beat the cop to the scene. He loaded Manuel’s body into his hearse and drove it away.
In the days following Manuel’s death, his business partner asked about $500 (equivalent to $10,500.00 in 2023 U.S. dollars) Manuel carried with him. He was supposed to have deposited it. The morgue property slip listed the dead man’s belongings. No mention of money.
They indicted Julia for Manuel’s murder on April 27, 1931. The case was called for trial in Department 27 of Superior Court; Judge Walton J. Wood presiding, Deputy District Attorney Barnes representing the People, and S .S. Hahn representing the defendant. The Deputy D.A. who prepared the case against Julia, was unavailable. Barnes requested a continuance. Judge Wood denied the motion and ordered Barnes to proceed with the trial.
At the conclusion of the state’s case, prior to being submitted to the jury, S. S. Hahn moved for an instructed verdict. The judge agreed with Hahn that all the evidence showed Julia shot Manuel in self-defense.
Julia left the court a free woman. Was she $500 richer? We’ll never know.
NOTE: This is an encore post from December 2012. This is one of the first posts I wrote for the blog. As I did then, I want to thank my crime buddy, Mike Fratantoni, curator of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Museum. He told me this story because he knows I have a weakness for tales about bad girls, and cars with running boards.
Current thinking about the teenage brain is that it’s a work in progress. Intellectually, teens can be a match for adults, but emotionally it is a different story. A teenager’s moods are the emotional equivalent of a world class chanteuse’s five octave range. Teenagers are mercurial. A potentially deadly trait when mixed with a love triangle involving nineteen-year-olds.
Downey residents Richard LaForce, Joyce Salvage, and Robert Hayden had been friends since middle school. During the war years, while they were growing up, the aircraft industry established deep roots in the town and had an enormous impact on the area. The postwar years saw the three friends enter high school and the town’s close ties to the aircraft industry likely resulted in the establishment of an aviation club at Downey High School–Joyce and Robert were both members. Surrounded by engineers and aircraft workers may have inspired Richard’s keen interest in science; with his high IQ (estimated to be 150) he hoped to pursue physics in college.
Physics wasn’t the only thing Richard hoped to pursue into adulthood. He had loved Joyce since they were sixth graders and he hoped that one day they would marry. Was Richard surprised when, on May 12, 1951, at age 17, Joyce and Robert married?
If it shocked or hurt him, he kept his feelings to himself. At least the marriage didn’t end his friendship with the couple. Richard was a frequent guest in the Hayden’s home at 8558 Firestone Boulevard and he could still spend a lot of time with Joyce.
The day after Joyce and Robert’s first wedding anniversary, and the day before they were scheduled to depart for a couple of months in Alaska visiting Robert’s older brother George and his sister-in-law, Charlotte, Richard took Joyce to a movie ostensibly at Robert’s request. Joyce and Richard were out together until 4 o’clock in the morning. Suspicious behavior for a married woman, but not so odd for a teenage girl. However, Richard complicated the evening by admitting in a note, just days before, that he loved her. He didn’t plan to act on his declaration of love. He doubted Joyce reciprocated his feelings, but during their evening out, he got the impression that Joyce loved him too. There wasn’t enough time to talk about the change in their relationship before Joyce and Robert left for Alaska.
Richard and Joyce corresponded regularly, some would say obsessively, during her absence. Robert was well aware of the exchange of letters between the friends but seemed unconcerned about them. When Joyce and Robert returned in late 1952, the three friends had quickly reestablished their former routine of spending at least two or three evenings together every week. Because the trio knew each other so well, both Joyce and Robert noticed Richard appeared to be distracted and he seemed to be depressed, but since he hadn’t confided the reasons for his melancholy in either of them, they could only stand by and wait.
A week after Christmas, 1952, Richard invited Joyce and Robert to the Caltech campus, where he was a physics major, for a visit. While there, he suggested they stop for Cokes at a nearby refreshment stand. Robert couldn’t finish his drink. He became violently ill and vomited. Recovering quickly, he resumed his ministerial studies at Whittier College.
In late January, during one of his visits, Joyce found Richard at the refrigerator. He seemed unnerved when she asked him what he was doing.
At 1:30 p.m. on April 28, 1932, Mrs. Pauline Pohl pushed her hand mower back and forth across her lawn when she heard a shot. A bullet whizzed past her head. She abandoned her yard work and immediately ran into her house. She telephoned the police.
“The woman next door is trying to kill me,” she gasped. “Send somebody, quick!”
While Pauline hunkered down inside her house praying that no further shots would be fired at her, Ella May Thompson, the woman who was trying to kill her, stood in the bathroom of her small frame bungalow, pistol in hand, glaring at Mrs. Pohl’s house. She had fired a shot through her bathroom at the neighbor.
Still gripping the pistol, Thompson whirled around to face Josie Norton the practical nurse who cared for her over the past few months. Ella had a drug addiction and was also diagnosed with an unnamed incurable disease.
“You get out of here…pack your clothes and get out and stay out.”
Norton swiftly complied.
While nurse Norton ran for her life, Radio Officers Paul Donath and Percy Gunby cruised nearby. They received the relayed distress call placed by Mrs. Pohl. They sped to the address on Marsh Street and hurried to the front door of Miss Thompson’s home. Neighbor disputes were no more uncommon in 1932 than they are now. Neighbors can get on each other’s nerves and occasionally violence is the result. Officer Donath jumped out of the patrol car and rushed up to Thompson’s door and rang the bell. Peering through the glass he saw Ella raise her pistol, but he couldn’t move out of the way in time to avoid the bullet that struck him in the chest.
Donath toppled backward from the porch as his partner ran to his side and tugged him across the lawn out of the range of fire. Shooting the policeman didn’t snap Ella to her senses. Far from it. She shouted through the shattered glass in the door.
“That will teach you policemen a lesson not to come to my home without a search warrant.”
Gunby had no choice but to leave his mortally wounded partner on the lawn. He ran into Mrs. Pohl’s house to use her telephone to call for an ambulance and back-up. Within minutes an ambulance arrived and transported Officer Donath to the hospital where he succumbed to his wound a short time later. Right on the heels of the ambulance were dozens of patrol cars which decanted about fifty police and detectives. Captain Rudolph and Inspector Davidson led a squad of men to the side of Thompson’s house.
For over twenty minutes Rudolph and Davidson tried to reason with Ella. They pleaded with her to throw her weapon out into the yard and surrender, but she refused. An enormous crowd gathered to witness the dramatic dénouement. Police received a supply of tear gas bombs and, failing to convince Ella to come out with her hands up, they hurled one through a side window then they pitched two more into the house.
Officers surrounded the house with their guns drawn, and as the gas made its way through the rooms of of her home Ella appeared at the rear door. Again police pleaded with her to surrender, but without warning she suddenly fired three times and made a mad dash for freedom. A bullet from her weapon passed near Officer Cliff Trainor’s head and lodged in the garage door behind him. At least twenty officers, holding pistols and sawed-off shot guns, fired at once. Astonishingly not a single round hit its mark. Officer Trainor leveled his gun at the crazed woman and pulled the trigger. Ella finally went down. Clad in pink pajamas, one slipper on and one off, she fell backwards from the porch steps, shot through the eye.
Detectives questioned Miss Norton. She said that as far as she knew Ella was the former secretary of J.V. Baldwin, a local car dealer. She believed Baldwin provided financial aid to the dead woman.
Investigators found Baldwin at his dealership and quizzed him about Thompson. He said that she’d been in his employ five years earlier and that when she married a former hospital employee, Roy Alger, Baldwin offered the couple money for a honeymoon trip.
“Since then I have been made the target of an attempt to ‘shake me down’ for money.”
Baldwin sued Alger for $125,000 in an alienation of affection suit which involved Ella. According to some of her acquaintances, Ella and Alger’s marriage was short-lived and ended with an annulment.
Ella, who took Veronal (a barbiturate used to induce sleep) for her nerves, was a ticking time bomb. Police arrested her on October 2, 1931 for carrying a concealed weapon.
Her trouble with her neighbor, Pauline Pohl, started just days after ice pick and billy club incident when she was arrested for attacking her in a backyard fight. Ella was accused of beating Pauline and fined $25 for battery.
According to Pauline, she built her house next to Ella’s a little over a year before the shooting and there was no trouble between them until, “Miss Thompson . . . accused me of throwing papers in her yard. She became hysterical and beat me and pulled my hair.”
Dr. Glen Bradford, Ella’s physician, told police he had treated Thompson for a nervous breakdown for quite some time.
“I visited her Wednesday, however, and she seemed to be getting along nicely.”
The deceased officer, 34-year-old Paul Donath, was on the job for ten years when he was gunned down. Paul’s heartbroken wife, Virginia, fainted at the news of his death.
The gun which Ella used in the shootout was the property of another LAPD officer, Palmer A. Pilcher. Pilcher was recently suspended from duty for being intoxicated. Apparently, the inebriated officer attempted to park his car on the sidewalk in front of the Rosslyn Hotel, and to make matters worse his gun was missing. There’s nothing that will get an officer in hot water faster than losing his weapon.
On the day of his suspension he called on Ella, whom he had been dating, and tried to get his gun back, but she refused to let him into the house. Nurse Norton said.
“I tried to find the gun, but she must have hidden it. She had been hard to handle for some time and my efforts to quiet her after she shot as Mrs. Pohl were useless.”
If Ella was driven to a homicidal rage by the gentle whirring of the blades of Pauline’s hand mower, can you imagine how she’d have coped with the constant din of modern leaf blowers and power mowers?
NOTE: This is a revised reprint of a post from 2014. The story is so outlandish, that I had to share it again.
On April 1, 1984, on the eve of his 45th birthday, Motown superstar and R&B legend, Marvin Gaye Jr. died of gunshot wounds inflicted by his own father.
The two men were at odds for Marvin Jr.’s entire life. Marvin Sr. was habitually unemployed—a vodka drinking fundamentalist preacher whose hobby was cross dressing. Like some artistic geniuses, Marvin Gaye Jr. had his share of flaws and demons. He put most of the millions he earned in music up his nose. He was a misogynist who beat his wives and girlfriends and was, in his own words, a “sex freak.” His hobbies were voyeurism and sexual sadism.
According to Marvin’s mother, his father showed no desire for Marvin, no love for him, and believed he was another man’s child. It’s not surprising that when the two men were together under one roof after years of living apart, the results were tragic. Marvin returned home from the “Sexual Healing” tour, drug addicted and paranoid, and even though they lived in the same house, Sr. and Jr. rarely spoke. Marvin stockpiled guns and, for some unknown reason, he gave his father an unregistered.38.
On the evening of March 31st, Sr. became increasingly angry when he couldn’t locate an insurance document. He started yelling at Marvin. Alberta briefly calmed her husband down; but he must have spent the night stewing instead of sleeping because, by the morning of April 1st, he was in a rage. He hollered at Alberta, who was in Marvin’s room. Marvin confronted his 71-year-old father, shoved him to the floor and beat and kicked him. Alberta intervened, and the two men went to neutral corners, but it wasn’t long before senior was back at the door to Marvin’s room—and he had the.38. He fired into Marvin’s chest, hitting him in the heart; he then moved toward his mortally wounded son and fired a second time.
Marvin’s brother, Frankie, who lived next door, held his brother as he died. Frankie wrote in his memoir that Marvin’s last words were, “I got what I wanted… I couldn’t do it myself, so I made him do it.” An ambulance rushed Marvin to California hospital where they pronounced him dead.
They charged the old man with murder but, because of his age and a recent brain tumor diagnosis, he could plead to voluntary manslaughter. They gave him a six-year suspended sentenced and six years of probation. After spending 49 years together, Alberta divorced him.
Reporters asked Marvin Sr. if he loved his son—he said, “Let’s say that I didn’t dislike him.”
Six weeks into the Black Dahlia investigation and detectives had little to show for their efforts. Then, suddenly, it looked like they finally caught a break.
On February 26, 1947, a motorist, Clarence F. Gutchem, discovered a young woman on Willow Street in Long Beach. Lying on an embankment, it appeared she rolled there after being tossed from a car. She was partially nude and bound with strips of her underwear. Gutchem notified police.
They transported the girl to Seaside Hospital where doctors found bruises, scratches and a cigarette burn on her left wrist, but no signs of rape. She identified herself as Jacqueline Mae Stang, a seventeen-year-old student at Polytechnic High School in Long Beach. Detective Inspector C.J. Novotny arrived to take Jacqueline’s statement.
She described her attacker as a swarthy, middle-aged man; but she couldn’t recall much else. Doctors released her into her parents’ care.
The day following the attack, juvenile officer Margie Cale paid Jacqueline a visit. Jacqueline told the same story she gave Detective Novotny, but she added more details. She stated she was walking home from school at 6 pm when she noticed a man following her. Spooked, she ran, but the man caught up with her, grabbed her arm and pulled her into an alley. The man put a chloroformed leather glove over her mouth. She struggled, but lost consciousness. She came to and realized she was almost naked. Her attacker scratched her and blew cigarette smoke into her mouth. Jacqueline said, “he laughed fiendishly.” She was frightened she would die until a stray dog appeared and started barking. Startled, the man ran to his car and sped off.
Jacqueline’s account of her attack was harrowing. However, Margie’s experience with kids taught her to read between the lines, and she knew when they were lying. The pieces didn’t fit, and she didn’t believe a word of Jacqueline’s story.
Realizing Margie saw through her, Jacqueline confessed. She said, “I tied myself, I scratched myself and I burned myself.” Margie went to her boss, juvenile superintendent Joseph M. Kennick. Together, they went to Jacqueline’s parents.
What prompted Jacqueline to make up such a horrendous story and harm herself? The attractive teenager refused to answer. Detective Captain L. Q. Martin questioned some of Jacqueline’s school friends. The friends told Detective Martin Jacqueline seemed obsessed with details of the murder. They said Jacqueline asked them, “I wonder if I’d be expelled from school if I should be attacked?”
Newspaper coverage hinted that Jacqueline’s reason for the hoax may have had something to do with a football player. Was she trying to get his attention? Jacqueline remained tight-lipped.
Jacqueline’s confession came as a tremendous disappointment to police, who hoped they finally had a link to the Black Dahlia killer. Kennick said they would take her to Juvenile Court and hold her on a charge of giving police false information.
No further reports of Jacqueline’s misadventure appeared in the newspapers, so it is likely the juvenile court felt her self-inflicted wounds were enough punishment.
In the days following the discovery of Elizabeth Short’s body, crumpled up confessions given by every sad drunk and deranged publicity seeker littered the local landscape. Most of the confessors were men. But even though none of the women who confessed were guilty, the cops thought maybe a woman had committed the murder. After all, L.A. has its share of female killers.
The Herald ran side-by-side photos of three homicidal women arrested in L.A. Louise Peete (one of only four women ever executed by the State of California) was a serial killer. Police arrested her for murder in the 1920s. Found guilty, she served eighteen years in San Quentin. A few years after her release, she committed another murder for which she paid with her life.
Winnie Ruth Judd committed two murders in Arizona. Police arrested her in L.A. when a trunk containing the dismembered remains of Hedvig Samuelson and Anne Le Roi leaked bodily fluids in the baggage claim section of a local train station.
In 1922, Clara Phillips (aka “Tiger Girl”) murdered Alberta Meadows, the woman she suspected was a rival for her husband’s affections. She struck Meadows repeatedly with a hammer, and then, in a fit of adrenalin fueled rage, she rolled a 50 lb. boulder onto the torso of the corpse.
The possibility of a woman murdering Short wasn’t far-fetched. The Herald featured a series of columns written by psychologist Alice La Vere. La Vere previously profiled Short’s killer as a young man without a criminal record, but she was open to the killer being a woman. In fact, she abruptly shifted gears from identifying a young man as the slayer to enthusiastically embracing the notion of “… a sinister Lucrezia Borgia — a butcher woman whose crime dwarfs any in the modern crime annals.”
La Vere was an expert for hire, and if the Herald editors had asked her to write a profile of the killer as a mutant Martian alien, she’d likely have done it. Still, she made a few insightful comments in her column. “Murderers leave behind them a trail of fingerprints, bits of skin and hair. The slayer of ‘The Black Dahlia’ left the most telltale clue of all–-the murder pattern of a degenerate, vicious feminine mind.”
Even more interesting was La Vere’s exhortation to police to look for an older woman. She said, “Police investigators should look for a woman older than ‘The Black Dahlia.’ This woman who either inspired the crime or actually committed the ghastly, unspeakable outrage need not be a woman of great strength. Extreme emotion or high mental tension in men and women give great, superhuman strength.”
One thing I find interesting about La Vere’s profile of a female perpetrator is that she said the woman would be older than Short. In recent years, an older woman became an integral part of a theory about the murder.
It is a theory put forward by Larry Harnisch. Harnisch, formerly of the Los Angeles Times, wrote an article for the paper on the fiftieth anniversary of Short’s death. In the years since, he has done a lot more digging into the case and has unearthed an important connection between the body dump site near 39th and Norton, and two medical doctors. One doctor, Walter Alonzo Bayley, lived in a house just one block south of the place where Betty Bersinger found Elizabeth Short’s body. At the time of the murder, Bayley was estranged from his wife; however, she still occupied the home. Bayley left his wife for his mistress, Alexandra Partyka, also a medical doctor. Partyka emigrated to the U.S. and wasn’t licensed to practice medicine, but she assisted Bayley in his practice.
Following Bayley’s death in January 1948, Partyka and Dr. Bayley’s wife, Ruth, fought over control of his estate. Mrs. Bayley claimed Partyka was blackmailing the late doctor with secrets about his medical practice. Secrets damning enough to ruin him.
There is also a link between Bayley’s family and Short’s. In 1945, Dr. Bayley’s adopted daughter, Barbara Lindgren, was a witness to the marriage of Beth’s sister Virginia Short to Adrian West at a church in Inglewood, California, near Los Angeles.
Larry discussed Dr. Bayley in James Ellroy’s “Feast of Death”. [Note: Be forewarned that there are photos of Elizabeth Short in the morgue.]
A woman could have murdered Elizabeth Short. Could the woman be Alexandra Partyka? The chances are that we’ll never know–or at least not until Larry Harnisch finishes his book on the case.