The Testimony of Susan Launius at John Holmes’ Trial


This testimony was obtained via the Freedom of Information Act from the Federal Office of Mind Your Own Business.

 

SUSAN LAUNIUS

Called as a witness by the People,

was sworn and testified as follows:

 

DIRECT EXAMINATION

 

 

BY MR. COEN:

 

Q: Miss Launius, were you the wife of Ronald Launius?

 

A: Yes.

 

Q: And directing your attention to sometime around June 30 of 1981, did you go to the residence at 8763 Wonderland Avenue in Los Angeles?

 

A: Yes.

 

Q: Was this your husband’s house?

 

A: Yes.

 

Q: At the time you were not living with him?

 

A: No, I wasn’t.

 

Q: And do you recall if you spent the night there?

 

A: Yes. I believe I did.

 

Q: And do you recall laying down on a bed?

 

A: Yes.

 

 

 

Q: And were you laying down alone or was there someone with you?

 

A: Ron was with me.

 

Q: Miss Launius, what is the next thing you remember?

 

A: I was laying down on the bed and I believe I was watching TV and it seemed like there was a bunch of people coming in and out. Then, at one point it seemed like some people were moving faster.

 

Q: By “fast” you mean like running or something else?

 

A: Just kind of walking fast, the movements.

 

Q: Walking into your room or the room you were laying down in?

 

A: Yes.

 

Q: What is the next thing you remember after that?

 

A: Nothing.

 

Q: Do you remember being in a hospital?

 

A: Yes.

 

Q: How long were you in the hospital?

 

 

 

A: About two and a half months.

 

Q: Do you recall if you had any injuries?

 

A: Yes.

 

Q: What was that, Ma’am?

 

A: Massive head injuries and my left leg partly paralyzed because of my head injuries.

 

Q: Did you lose a finger?

 

A: And a finger.

 

Q: Have you had any operations in the hospital?

 

A: Yes. They operated on my head.

 

Q: Did they remove a large portion of your skull?

 

A: Yes.

 

Q: Do you know the defendant seated at the end of the table? Do you know that man?

 

A: No, I don’t.

 

MR. COEN: I have nothing further.

 

THE COURT: Cross-examination.

 

 

 

 

 

                          CROSS EXAMINATION

 

BY MR. HANSON:

 

 

Q: Mrs. Launius, I’m just going to ask you a few questions and I will tell you in advance that based upon your apparent delicate condition of health, if at any time you feel that the questions require you to take a break or something, you let me know. Is that fair?

 

A: Okay.

 

Q: Can you tell us what time you arrived at the location in the map to your left?

 

A: What time?

 

Q: Yes, Ma’am.

 

A: It was early morning.

 

Q: What does that mean?

 

A: Early morning hours, about – I can’t quite remember – but it was early.

 

Q: 8:00 o’clock would be –

 

A: Around 7:00.

 

Q: 7:00 or 8:00 in the morning?

 

A: Yes.

 

 

 

Q: How did you arrive there?

 

A: With my husband.

 

Q: You arrived at that location with Ron?

 

A: Yes.

 

Q: In his car?

 

A: I believe it was his car. I don’t know.

 

Q: Can you tell us how you were dressed?

 

A: I had a pair of blue jeans on and a shirt and a pair of brown heels.

 

Q: Had you ever been there (8763 Wonderland) before?

 

A: No, I hadn’t.

 

Q: From the time you arrived did you continually remain there?

 

A: Yes.

 

Q: You didn’t leave for any purpose that you can recall at this moment?

 

A: No.

 

 

 

 

Q: You do recall at some point prior to the time that you were hurt being in bed watching television? Is that correct?

 

A: I don’t know if I was watching TV or not but I remember laying in bed beside Ron.

 

Q: Can you give us any reference point to approximately what time that would be?

 

A: I don’t remember.

 

Q: When you arrived at 8:00 o’clock in the morning obviously the sun was out?

 

A: Yes.

 

Q: Do you recall at anytime during your stay at that residence that the sun set?

 

A: No.

 

Q: You don’t?

 

A: I don’t recall.

 

Q: You don’t?

 

A: I don’t recall.

 

Q: You don’t recall, then, the approach of dark?

 

 

 

A: I can’t remember.

 

Q: Do you recall anything that you might have seen on TV with regard to the type of program?[1]

 

A: I don’t remember.

 

Q: During the time that you were there did you see other people come and go in the house?

 

A: Yes.

 

Q: Were you introduced to some of the people?

 

A: No. They were like shadows, sort of.

 

Q: When you arrived there did you see anybody?

 

A: Yes.

 

Q: Those people didn’t appear to be shadows then, did they?

 

A: No.

 

Q: Did you meet any of those people?

 

A: Yes.

 

 

 

Q: Were you given names?

 

A: Only one I remember is Joy.

 

Q: Someone by the name of Joy?

 

A: Uh-huh.

 

Q: Now, when you were in bed with Ron were you still dressed?

 

A: Yes.

 

Q: Well, let me finish my question. Were you still dressed in the same attire that you wore when you first went there?

 

A: Yes.

 

Q: You don’t recall, then, if you had put on pajamas or something else?

 

A: No, I don’t.

 

Q: You were later taken to a hospital?

 

A: Yes.

 

Q: Had you seen pictures of yourself at the time that your body was found?

 

A: Yes.

 

 

 

Q: All right. Is the clothing depicted in that picture or those pictures the same clothing that you recall wearing to the location?

 

A: No.

 

Q: The clothing was different?

 

A: I didn’t have any clothing. I, all I remember is pictures of me when I was injured.

 

Q: Well, in the pictures of yourself in which you appear to be injured, are you clothed?

 

A: No.

 

Q: There is no clothing shown at all?

 

A: No.

 

Q: Now, when you refer to “shadows” are those images that you recall seeing at some point during the day or evening at the location?

 

A: Yes.

 

Q: Do you recall hearing any sounds of a disturbing nature, of furniture being moved or banging or anything of that sort?

 

A: No

 

Q: Now, when you say that you were in the bedroom with Ron, is that the upstairs bedroom or downstairs?

 

A: Downstairs.

 

Q: When you say you recall shadows, can you tell us how many shadows you recall?

 

A: I remember around three or – three shadows that I can remember.

 

Q: Do you recall talking to an officer or officers after this incident happened?

 

A: No.

 

Q: Well, at some point before testifying today you have talked to somebody about what you recall or don’t recall. Is that correct?

 

A: Yes.

 

Q: And do you recall having made a statement to the officers in the past that you recalled being in bed with Ron when three individuals came through the door?

 

A: I’m not sure of there were three or more or –

 

Q: Well, all I’m asking you at this point is this: Do you recall making a statement to an officer or officers that three individuals came into the bedroom?

 

THE COURT: The question is: Do you recall making that statement?

 

THE WITNESS: I recall making a statement that I seen shadows but –

 

 

 

 

 

BY MR. HANSON:

 

Q: You don’t recall, then, telling the officers in any statement that you might have made to them how many people came into the room. Is that correct?

 

A: Yes.

 

Q: Do you recall describing one of the people who came into the room as a man with very dark eyes?

 

A: Yes.

 

Q: Do you have a recollection of that incident? Is that correct?

 

A: Yes.

 

Q: Now by “dark eyes” would that be black or brown?

 

A: They seemed like they were brown. Just dark eyes, kind of looked right through me.

 

Q: That person injure you in any way, that you recall?

 

A: I don’t remember.

 

Q: So a person and at some point thereafter?

 

A: I, I was in the living room. I remember that. And I was standing there and that person came up to me and just kind of looked, looked straight at me.

 

Q: Did the person say anything to you?

 

A: I don’t remember.

 

Q: Do you recall the race of that person?

 

A: He looked to me like he was colored.

 

Q: A black man?

 

A: Yes.

 

Q: Do you recall his age?

 

A: He seemed very – umm – around 30 or something. He was kind of young looking and very well dressed.

 

Q: Do you recall anything about his physical description, as far as size or weight?

 

A: He was, I remember he was slender but that is all I can remember.

 

Q: That person you recall looking at you in the manner that you felt to be unusual, is that correct?

 

A: Yes.

 

Q: Would you describe it as a hostile manner?

 

A: He just stared through me. I don’t –

 

Q: Now, aside from that person we have been talking about, you also have a recollection of some other number of shadowy figures? Is that correct?

 

A: Yes.

 

Q: Do those other figures in your memory also appear to you to be of the black race?

 

A: No.

 

Q: With regard to those other individuals, can you tell me if they appeared to be younger or older than the –

 

A: I don’t remember.

 

Q: — than the one person that you do recall?

 

A: No. I don’t remember.

 

Q: Now, Mr. Coen – he is the District Attorney here – asked you if you ever saw the man to my left. Do you recall that question?

 

A: Yes.

 

Q: And what I am asking you right now is, I want you to take a very careful look at the man to my left. Can you see him clearly?

 

A: I see him.

 

Q: Can you see the color of his eyes?

 

A: Yes.

 

Q: You can see the color of his hair?

 

A: Yes.

 

Q: And I’m going to ask him to stand up for a minute. Will you stand up, Mr. Holmes?

THE COURT: The record will reflect Mr. Hanson has had the defendant, Mr. Holmes, stand.

 

BY MR. HANSON:

 

Q: Now can you see him clearly?

 

A: Yes.

 

Q: And is it your testimony that you have never seen this man in your life?

 

A: No, I don’t remember seeing him.

 

MR. HANSON: I have nothing further, Your Honor.

 

THE COURT: Redirect?

 

MR. COEN: Thank you, Your Honor.

 

 

REDIRECT EXAMIATION

 

BY MR. COEN:

 

Q: This black person that you saw –

 

A: Well, he seemed to me like he was not, he was light complected, sort of like high yellow.

 

Q: By “high yellow”, for the record, you are referring to a light complected black person?

 

A: Yes.

 

Q: Now, this was prior to going to bed? Prior to laying down in the room with Ron Launius, if you recall?

 

A: I don’t remember.

 

Q: Was this one of the visitors to the house?

 

A: I don’t remember. It seems like it happened when I first got there.

 

Q: When you first got there.

 

A: Yes.

 

Q: Do you recall which room that you saw this person?

 

A: In the living room.

 

MR. COEN: I have nothing further.

 

THE COURT: Recross?

 

MR. HANSON: No recross. Your Honor.

 

THE COURT: Thank you very much, Mrs. Launius.

 

MR. COEN: The People call Robert Sexton.

 

 

 

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