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  • John 8:19 pm on September 12, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: allan macdonell, , , murder, ,   

    “In Too Deep” By Allan MacDonell (2003 L.A. Weekly News) 

    Back in 2006, I was winding down and it was late at night. “Wonderland” was airing on the International Film Channel. Now I had heard of the Wonderland murders, but I really did not know much. I quickly hit the magic handle on the recliner and stretched out. Life would never be the same.

    Shortly after that lazy episode, I discovered a sweet article by Allan MacDonell of the LA Weekly News. It is controversial. Dawn even relates her teenage mindset to that of Elizabeth Smart, the girl who was kidnapped that time. The message is what… girls are malleable? I don’t get it here. I don’t understand the comparison. There’s more to the story than that though…

    The article is an elongated movie review on steroids and includes numerous quotes. In Too Deep also preceded the official release date of the movie by one day (the anniversary of the film is a few weeks away!). I have linked to this article before but I am now posting it in order to preserve it on the blog. This gem speaks for itself and contains lots of quotes. Thus, it’s an important part of the Wonderland debate.

    IN TOO DEEP is a 5,000 word article. Enjoy!

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    “IN TOO DEEP”

    Allan MacDonell | L.A. Weekly News | Thursday, Oct. 2, 2003

    In the summer of 1981, porn legend John Holmes stepped into an abyss of drugs, mayhem, and murder. Meet the wife and the girlfriend he almost took with him.

    Almost everything publicly known about porn king John Curtis Holmes is apocryphal, anecdotal, secondhand or informed by conjecture. Except for the cock. Thirteen inches long, as thick around as a man’s wrist, hard on demand, coming on cue: the appendage of the pathological braggart’s most outlandish boast — and it turns out to be true. At once raw footage and special effect, the fabled tool appeared in hundreds of XXX epics, creating the first — and possibly last — superhero of the blue screen, polyester-bad private detectiveJohnny Wadd.

    Before Johnny Wadd, though, there was the gangly hillbilly kid from Ohio, born in 1944, product of an impoverished childhood, a puking drunk of a father, followed by a violent drunk of a stepfather. A stint in the Army, hitched up to nurse Sharon Gebenini, a budding career as a forklift operator. Holmes’ special quality, so to speak, was discovered, in the late 1960s, by a skin photographer in a Gardena poker club men’s room. By the time the ’70s had shifted into high, Holmes’ monster of a penis had become the most recognizable and marketable prop in the history of porn.

    Later, as the ’80s dragged in, the Holmes hydraulics became unreliable and the bookings dropped off. The cult fell away. The film Wonderland focuses on a fateful two weeks during that period, at the end of which the actor left a palm print above a blood-soaked deathbed at the Wonderland Avenue scene of the notorious “Four on the Floor” murders of July 1, 1981. Four people bludgeoned to death, another left for dead. The film, directed by James Cox and starring Val Kilmer as Holmes, approaches the slayings from multiple viewpoints and attempts to clarify exactly what happened during that orgy of lead pipes and skull fragments.

    The gruesome murders were retribution for a home-invasion robbery, two days earlier, of underworld kingpin Eddie Nash. On the morning of June 29, four strung-out ex-convicts had sneaked through an unlatched sliding door into Nash’s ranch-style house in the hills above Studio City. The door had been left unlatched for the robbers by Holmes, whom Nash had often spoken of as a “brother.” Nash and his 300-pound bodyguard, Gregory DeWitt Diles, were rousted out of bed at gunpoint. A pistol went off, and Diles suffered a grazing flesh wound. Nash, the story goes, fell to his knees at the sound of the shot and begged for time to pray. The robbers absconded with cocaine, heroin, Quaaludes, money, weapons and jewelry, a haul that was valued by the U.S. Department of Justice at something like a million dollars. They left Nash and Diles humiliated and stewing inside the house.

    Eddie Nash. Real name Adel Gharib Nasrallah, an immigrant of Lebanese — or is it Palestinian? — parentage. In 1960, Nash set up a hot-dog stand on Hollywood Boulevard. By the late 1970s, if you were young, happening and in L.A., you could hardly spend a night on the town without putting money into Eddie Nash’s pocket. One count has Nash holding 36 liquor licenses, mostly in the Hollywood area. Gays dancing at the Paradise Ballroom. Straights doing the hustle at the Seven Seas. Pogo-happy punk rockers at the Starwood. Interracial funk fans at Soul’d Out. Horny loners at the Kit Kat strip clubs. The cover charges and bar receipts all led to Eddie. If you were a doper, chances are Nash was making some change off you there as well.

    Nash had evolved into a notorious, well-rounded crime lord and entrepreneur. The Wonderland Gang, in comparison, consisted of clumsy dope pushers who relied on crude rip-and-run robberies of lesser dealers to maintain their habits and inventory. Their hideout was a much-frequented stucco party house on Wonderland Avenue, leased to Joy Audrey Miller, a 46-year-old heroin addict and ex-wife of a Beverly Hills lawyer. Her live-in boyfriend was Billy DeVerell, 42, also addicted to junk. Ronald Launius — who, like DeVerell, honed his charisma in a prison yard — was the 37-year-old alpha dog of the pack. Along with overnight guest Barbara Richardson, 22, they all died as a direct result of knowing John Holmes and fucking with Eddie Nash.

    Veteran LAPD detectives, just 12 years after Helter Skelter, claimed they had never seen so much blood at one crime scene.

    Much of the movie focuses on determining the exact nature of Holmes’ complicity in the Laurel Canyon butchery. He was indebted both to Nash and to the Wonderland pushers. He was also the sole connection between the two camps. Beyond dispute is that Holmes effected the entry of the Wonderland Gang into Nash’s house, and that he later provided access to the Wonderland house for Nash’s agents. He is assumed to have been inside the residence to witness the murders, and to have somehow gotten himself “wet” doing so.

    There are two points of contention: Was the idea for the Nash robbery that of the Wonderland Gang, or did Holmes first suggest it? While inside the murder site, did Holmes, presumably under duress, actually swing one of the lead pipes used to smash the victims into nearly unrecognizable pulp? In Wonderland, the murder is approached from one viewpoint after another, time after time, relentlessly, predictably, with each rendering more explicit. There is virtually no suspense, no dramatic tension.

    And no cock. Relying on aviator shades as his signature prop, Val Kilmer’s John Holmes could be anybody — any old hustler, any old pimp, any old wannabe rock star who can’t remember where he pawned his guitar last night.

    The real John Holmes claimed to have had sex with 14,000 women during his career as a professional wad. Sharon Holmes and Dawn Schiller are among the tiny minority who were drawn into Holmes’ orbit despite the cock. Dawn met Holmes when she was 15. He was her first love. Sharon, married to John at the time, took Dawn in after she’d become his mistress and allowed her to live in the couple’s home. The two women formed a kind of mother-daughter relationship that has endured to this day. On a recent Sunday afternoon, they sit at an outdoor table at a Beverly Hills hotel doing publicity for Wonderland. Dawn is credited as an associate producer on the film. Sharon is listed as an adviser.

    Sharon is slight and sinewy, a tough bird with a soft center and a smoker’s drawl. She wears a black cap to cover a skull that is fuzzy like a freshly hatched chick’s: She has just finished chemotherapy after a modified radical mastectomy for cancer.

    “I am just a cast-iron maiden,” she says with a throaty laugh. “I’m going to get through it, no matter what it is. I do not roll over and play dead for anybody.”

    Dawn, at 15, was a strikingly attractive woman-child, her huge green eyes brimming over with fragile anticipation. You look at her picture, and you want to protect her. You hope no one will latch on to her and crush her spirit. Today, in her early 40s, Dawn wears a wide, sly smile under those huge green eyes, still brimming with anticipation and intelligent wonder. She has the calm assurance of someone who has been through hell, fought her way out, and has no plans to go back. She is finishing a book on her experiences, The Road Through Wonderland.

    “I have a daughter,” Dawn says when asked about the perils of putting her ordeal into print. “Do I want my daughter to hear the story in my own words? Or do I want her to hear somebody else’s version, whether I like it or not?”

    Sharon Gebenini met her husband-to-be in December of 1964, while she was a graduate nurse working at County USC Hospital. Holmes was barely 20. Less than a year later, they were married. He found work driving a forklift at a meatpacking plant. The couple had lived a conventional married life in Glendale for about three years when Sharon came home early from work one afternoon and walked in on John in the bathroom. He had an erection, and he was measuring it. He’d already done a few 8mm film loops and photo shoots for magazines.

    “He told me that this was going to be his life’s work, that this was going to make him famous,” remembers Sharon. “I looked at him like, What planet do you come from?

    John would never drive a forklift again. Sharon allowed her husband to remain in the home, to eat meals with her, to mingle their dirty laundry — together, they were on-site managers of a courtyard apartment complex in Glendale. But Sharon would never touch John intimately again.

    Soon after being caught out at home, Holmes met Hawaiian porn director Bob Chinn. Chinn initially dismissed Holmes as some “scruffy-looking guy who had this big Afro-looking hair.” Then John dropped his pants. That evening, Chinn wrote a script outline on the back of an envelope, and a few days later, he had shot, edited and shipped Johnny Wadd. Despite (or perhaps because of ) Holmes’ Alfalfa physique and goofy hangdog face, the big-dicked undercover crime fighter captured the imagination of the porn-going public.

    The detective persona also appealed to John’s own imagination. In the early 1970s, when the production of pornographic materials was still a felony in Los Angeles, Holmes was busted on a porn set and held on charges of pimping and pandering.

    “He called me from Ventura, wanting to be bailed out,” says Sharon. “I didn’t have that kind of money.”

    A few hours later, Holmes was driven up to the house in the car of an LAPD vice squad officer named Tom Blake. While pursuing his crown as the King of Porn, Holmes would carry on a highly productive parallel career of informing on the porn industry for the LAPD vice squad.

    “John enjoyed playing Dick Tracy,” recounts Blake in the excellent 1999 documentaryWadd: The Life and Times of John C. Holmes. “He loved that role of investigating and passing information along. John was absolute dynamite.”

    Sharon became very familiar with Blake’s voice on the phone. “John was giving him regular information, particularly on anybody that had done him dirty.”

    Enter Dawn.

    It’s 1976, and 15-year-old Dawn Schiller’s parents are divorcing. Rather than stick it out with Mom in Florida, Dawn elects to head west with her 14-year-old sister and her father, a Vietnam-vet hippie with hair down past his shoulders. The family stops for a hitchhiker at the Grand Canyon, thinking he might have a joint to share. He tells them that he sometimes stays with a girl who lives in an apartment in Glendale. He guesses it would be cool with her if the whole bunch of them crash on her floor.

    When the family arrives at the Glendale courtyard apartment, the girlfriend calls the complex’s manager to ask permission. The manager’s husband comes over to screen the guests, and Dawn Schiller comes under the scrutiny of John Holmes.

    At this time, John is 32, at the height of his XXX prowess. He has all the work he can handle, he picks his co-stars, he is paid top dollar. He has woven a legend around himself, wrapped so tightly in exaggerations and half-truths that he himself cannot see through the web of overlapping reality and fantasy. He claims to have lost his virginity at age 8 to the Swiss maid of a rich aunt who raised him in Paris and Florida. He awards himself various advanced degrees from UCLA and boasts authorship of several books. The hundreds of extremely rich women who pay for his services, to hear him tell it, form a vast, worldwide network of privilege and power. Twelve such women, he says, all married and with the approval of their husbands, are mothers of children he has sired, each for a large fee.

    John gives Dawn and her younger sister odd jobs around the apartments, “showing me different ways to be creative in the garage and redoing furniture,” says Dawn, “that kind of stuff.”

    Dawn doesn’t know about Holmes’ movie career. “We related on a really childlike level,” she says. “I didn’t know what business he was in. He’d do silly, cute, charming things around me. He liked my innocence, the fact that I had nothing to do with the porn industry” — an industry which, he would later tell her, he despised. Dawn likes John for John, but even here the penis intrudes. “He was very shy about it,” says Dawn in the Beverly Hills sun. “He gradually showed me who he was, that aspect of him. He was scared that I was going to be scared of it.”

    John often took Dawn and her sister on outings around town. Occasionally they would pass a Pussycat Theater. “I would see his name on the marquee and get paralyzed,” says Dawn. “I wouldn’t want to look at him. One day, he pulled up to a Pussycat and said, ‘C’mon.’”

    The girls followed him out of the car, he signed an autograph at the box office, and they were in. Dawn, still 15, and her sister, still 14, sat on either side of their chaperon. “We’re slumped down in our seats, and I’m covering my face, and my sister’s covering her face. People are walking by, trying to get John’s autograph, whispering, ‘Oh, my God. He’s here!’ My sister and I are hugely embarrassed.”

    The movie starts. Dawn looks. John walks into the frame dressed in a monk’s habit. “He opened his mouth and said something, and I immediately cracked up. He got a little upset and jabbed me in the ribs, but I couldn’t stop laughing. Then he started laughing, and we had to leave.”

    Soon after the Pussycat excursion, John takes Dawn on an outing, leaving the sister behind. Although they have not yet had sex, John has become increasingly possessive and controlling. “If I didn’t come from school on time because I was hanging out with some friends, John would be really angry,” she says. “He wouldn’t say anything, but he’d snub you. You knew he was pissed.”

    They drive to Zuma Beach, where John sits on the rocks, watching Dawn swim. They both sit silently as the sun melts into the liquid horizon. The 32-year-old man takes the 15-year-old girl’s hand and leads her to the back of his van.

    Many, many years later, the girl, all grown up, still seems in awe of the experience. “At the time, he was very sincere,” Dawn says. “I was very much in love with this guy, swept off my feet at 15 years old. Look at Elizabeth Smart. She was 15. That’s a 15-year-old’s brain space.”

    When Dawn’s father abruptly left Los Angeles to return to Florida, the vulnerable girl became more dependent on Holmes. For a while, Dawn moved in with John’s half-brother, David, and his wife in an apartment they shared in the court. But tensions ran high under that arrangement. Eventually, Sharon Holmes brought the girl into the home she shared with her husband. Sharon knew, by this time, of the relationship between John and Dawn.

    “It baffles everybody,” says Sharon of her bond with Dawn. “I hate to see injured people or dogs, and I just adopted her. I couldn’t see her staying outside with just a shift on. She became a daughter to me. I needed to tell her she had a brain. She didn’t need to accept what was going on.”

    A big part of what was going on was John’s increasing infatuation with drugs. A teetotaler before embarking on his porn adventure, Holmes had turned to Scotch whisky at first, packing a quart of J&B in his trademark briefcase. Next came pot. Then cocaine — as the 1970s peaked, great piles of the white powder seemed to be everywhere you went, especially if where you went was a porn set.

    John started bringing drugs home. Just before Christmas 1979, Holmes introduced lines of cocaine. He was always in control of the supply, and he parceled it out very specifically to Dawn. “He wanted to be sure I didn’t have too much, but enough for me to be with him still. Nobody else wanted to be with him after a while.

    “He brought freebase in once and had this huge premonition of how horrible it could get. He ritualistically took me out to the street, where we broke the pipe and swore never to bring it in.”

    Despite their pledge, base pipes and a torch were soon added to the cargo in John’s briefcase. Holmes’ base exploits eventually eclipsed his legend for cocksmanship, as his penis became less and less functional, on and off the set. His co-workers joked that the only way to ensure his arrival in front of the cameras was to leave a trail of cocaine rocks.

    By 1980, Holmes had taken to stealing — from parked cars, from airport luggage belts, from the homes of his friends — to support his habit. He began serving as a delivery boy for the only people who still tolerated his presence, his drug dealers. (Holmes’ daily paycheck came in the form of marbles of rock cocaine valued at around $1,000.) He mooched gas money. His only possessions were the clothes he wore, his wife’s Chevy Malibu and Dawn.

    Dawn started to accompany John on drug runs. She’d stay in the car while he did his deals and based himself into stupefaction. She’d sit sometimes for two days out in front of a dealer’s house, her only companion a Chihuahua named Thor. She became familiar with the outside of Eddie Nash’s house and that of the home on Wonderland Avenue. John wouldn’t take Dawn inside either house. Not that she wanted to come inside.

    “John told me that people had a way of disappearing from Eddie’s, and that you were lucky if you found their bones in the desert,” she says. “That was John’s way of telling me he was afraid of Eddie.”

    To pass the time, she would sleep. There were always blankets in the car, in case she had to hide. Sometimes John would leave a little bit of drugs. “It’s not a proud year of my life,” says Dawn, “but it’s what happened.”

    On the crash from coke, desperate for cash and more dope, John began beating Dawn and forcing her to turn tricks. After she brought back the money, he’d tell her she was dirty, then subject her to scalding baths, scrubbing her until she was again clean enough for him.

    On December 25, 1980, despite her apprehensions, Dawn found herself inside Eddie Nash’s house. John’s Christmas present to Dawn and his present to Eddie, it turned out, were one and the same. When Dawn returned to Holmes after fucking Nash for money, he smacked her in the face hard enough to pop her tooth through her lip. Nash had given them less coke than Holmes had anticipated. Four days later, on Dawn’s 20th birthday, he sent her back to Eddie.

    In January, John went psycho on the drugs. He put Dawn in the trunk of his car and delivered her to a woman named Michelle, who ran a brothel out of an apartment complex in the Valley. That period is among Dawn’s worst memories: “The two of them watched over me. I was basically trapped in this house for a couple of weeks.”

    One day Michelle was out, and John was visiting. He ordered Dawn to draw him a bath and fetch him a cup of coffee. While getting the coffee, she noticed that a sliding door, normally locked so as to prevent her escape, was ajar. She left her dog behind and ran.

    A stranger at a Denny’s gave Dawn enough money to call her mother in Oregon. Mom sent her a bus ticket. “It became this big ordeal, because John’s calling every bus station in town, telling them I’m his daughter, a runaway.”

    Following Dawn’s escape, John started calling her mother’s house, day after day. For the first few months, Dawn wouldn’t take the phone. She had been unable to tell her family the depth of her degradation. John begged Dawn’s mother to tell her that he loved her. He sent pictures of himself and of Thor to Dawn’s sister. He sent the sister five dollars and asked her to send back a picture of Dawn.

    Finally, Dawn broke down and talked to John on the phone. He apologized. He cried. He put the dog on the line. He promised that there would be no more prostitution and no more hitting. Dawn’s resolve crumbled. John was sounding like the old John, the goofy, childlike, paternal and protective John she had fallen in love with five years before, the John she had missed and had been hoping would return.

    John told her about how he had one more deal, a big one. Once he turned that, it would give them enough money to leave L.A. behind, to start somewhere new, to be like they used to be in the beginning, a family. Dawn felt herself sliding back in:

    “He sounded like that original person again on the phone. He was tapping into that strong connection that we shared originally, that was powerful enough to carry me into the bad times, hoping through those times that the good times would come back.”

    Dawn agreed to return to L.A. John’s one last big deal was the impending robbery of money, drugs and jewels from Eddie Nash.

    She flew in to Burbank Airport, and John picked her up. He also lifted luggage that didn’t belong to him off the conveyor belt. He was obviously high. Dawn protested, but John grabbed her arm and walked her to the car. He took her to a cheap motel and broke out the pipe. They did some drugs and spent a few days together. The vibe was painfully familiar to Dawn: “He kisses me and says, ‘Okay, baby, I’m off. This is it. I’m going to get the big one.’ And he doesn’t come back.”

    This is where the movie Wonderland begins.

     In the pre-dawn hours after the murders, John arrives at the home of Sharon Holmes, covered in blood and claiming to have been in an automobile accident. He wants a bath. “John has a habit,” says Sharon, “where if he has something unpalatable to pass off, he gets into the bathtub.”

    She allows him to come in and runs the water. He is scraped, but this can’t account for the profusion of blood. His clothing is soaked with it. The bath water turns red. That ain’t yourblood, thinks Sharon.

    As John sinks down, soaking in blood, he eventually reveals that he has just seen people killed. He tells her a little about when, where and who. i

    “These were people you knew,” said Sharon. “These were friends.”

    “They were scum. They deserved everything they got.”

    • * *

    John returns to Dawn just after sunrise. He immediately chokes down a handful of Valiumand goes to sleep. Dawn recognizes the Wonderland house on the news. John is having nightmares, moaning about blood. On the TV, Dawn watches as corpses are pulled out of the house in body bags. When John wakes up, she confronts him. John blows her off. She asks about the bloody nightmares. He’s out of money, out of drugs.

    “We watched the news a lot,” remembers Dawn. “I knew it was bad. I stayed really quiet. I didn’t know if he was going to flare.”

    Before John can formulate a plan, the LAPD kicks the door in and hauls them away. Dawn denies recognizing photos of Eddie Nash’s house, the Wonderland house or Eddie Nash. Dawn is released with nowhere to go but to Sharon, whom she has not seen in more than two years.

    The police install John in a luxury suite at the Bonaventure Hotel in downtown L.A., and later at the Biltmore. The homicide cops on the case get nowhere with him. Tom Blake, John’s longtime handler from Vice, is brought in. John attempts to cut a deal, angling to be moved into a witness-protection program while giving up no real incriminating information on Nash. Dawn and Sharon are brought to the hotel as well, for their own safety. Dawn is scared. “We were told that Eddie’s was only one of the contracts out on John. There were all these mysterious other people John was about to rat on. People were afraid he was going to inform.”

    But Holmes was either unwilling or incapable of telling the truth. The police, frustrated by John’s lack of concrete information, cut him loose. John and Dawn hit the highway, running for their lives.

    This is where the movie ends.

     “I’d dyed his hair black,” says Dawn. “We’d spray-painted the car.” The fugitives headed east until they could drive no farther. They ended up at the Fountainhead Inn, a transient hotel on Collins Avenue in North Miami Beach. There was an X-rated motel across the street. Holmes took work at a construction site. One night he snapped and raised his hand to hit Dawn. She ran. She made it down to the pool in front of the snack shop. The hotel’s manager and a group of regulars were sitting at the snack shop eating dinner.

    Dawn: “They watched him catch up to me and throw me to the ground and pummel me, then drag me back upstairs.”

    That night, John put Dawn out to work on a prostitution track by the beach. In the morning, when Holmes had left for work, the residents of the hotel packed Dawn up and whisked her away. She took John’s handgun and the Chihuahua Thor, and moved in with the daughter of one of the hotel’s residents. John made phone contact soon after and begged for Dawn to return.

    “I wanted to say yes so bad,” she says. “He was throwing that ‘I just want to hold you and love you and be with you again, and I’m sorry.’ But I told him, ‘You promised me. You said that was the last time.’ I couldn’t forget that anymore. And I had a safe place. I had other people there. It wasn’t like I felt trapped to say yes anymore. A lot of times I had felt trapped to say yes when I really wanted to leave.”

    Dawn contacted her family to let them know she was safe. At the urging of her brother, she told the police where to find John. He was watching a Gilligan’s Island rerun when the detectives knocked. He asked if they wanted some coffee . . .

    Back in L.A., Holmes stood trial and, in late June of 1982, was acquitted in the Wonderland murders. A grand jury had been convened to investigate the killings, but Holmes refused to answer their questions. He was found in contempt and jailed for 111 days — until Eddie Nash had been found guilty on a separate drug charge and sentenced to prison. With Nash gone, Holmes told the grand jury enough to get away. The judge ordered his release.

    Nash served only a fraction of his sentence. Nearly 20 years later, in 2001, he pled guilty to a laundry list of racketeering counts, including the Wonderland murders, and was sentenced to just over three years, of which he served approximately one year.

    In 1982, Holmes came out of jail a free man, in a sense — off dope, for the first time in years. But the cock remained his only resource, and it took him back to porn. A former business partner, Bill Amerson, of whose two children Holmes was a godparent, set up a production company and brought Holmes in as an executive. For a while, he was relatively drug free, halfway reliable, but the old patterns soon resurfaced. Holmes, Amerson contends, embezzled something like a quarter-million dollars from him.

    (Sharon Holmes is not surprised: “The moral [of Wonderland] for me is your choices and what you do with them. You dig down deep and find something. And John didn’t have anything to dig down and find anymore. That’s why he went back to the porn business. That’s why he went back to stealing.”)

    After Florida, Dawn reunited with her father in Thailand, where he ran a hotel. She spent seven years in Southeast Asia, far beyond the reach of Holmes, where she earned high-school and college degrees. She came back to the United States in 1988. “I remember coming back in the late part of February, intent on finding John to tell him, ‘Look. I turned out better than you.’” Instead, she read in a newspaper that Holmes, age 44, lay dying of AIDS in Room 101A of the Veteran’s Administration Hospital on Sepulveda. “I felt bad he was sick,” she says. “I was going to go to the hospital. I was all ready to. But I didn’t have the nerve.”

    After a press screening of Wonderland, a CNN journalist crept out of the projection room saying, “I feel like I need a shower.” And indeed, watching the movie is like being dunked in someone’s dirty bath water — John Holmes’, say, on the night of the murders — over and over again, for an hour and a half. You walk out of the theater thinking, What was the point of all this? Did anyone learn anything? Was anyone changed for the better? Not Holmes, anyway. Despite his complicity in so much death, and even after testing positive for HIV, he continued working in the XXX industry, knowingly exposing at least three blue-screen actresses to the virus.

    When Dawn Schiller, sitting over coffee at a Beverly Hills hotel, tells of Holmes’ nasty depths, of the repeated pimping and beatings, she also manages to communicate something of the flawed, destructive humanity of the guy. “My memories are that I loved him,” she says. “I want to say that. I loved him. I don’t want to say that that wasn’t real, or that that wasn’t okay. I want to say that it was real, and that it was good. The times that I despised him and feared him are the last times that I remember with him, but they aren’t the only times. Right now, today, I remember the whole. He lost the battle. He saw it coming with the breaking of the pipe, all the way back then. He tried to stop the freight train.”

    Sharon nods. “It was like putting a piece of chewing gum on the tracks,” she says.

     
    • localarts 11:40 am on September 13, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      “Despite his complicity in so much death, and even after testing positive for HIV, he continued working in the XXX industry, knowingly exposing at least three blue-screen actresses to the virus.”

      And to think he still has adoring fans..

      • criticextraordinaire 5:21 pm on September 13, 2013 Permalink | Reply

        Of course. Who are we to judge The King. Yeah he did a couple of bad things in his day, but I like many prefer to focus on his good works and inimitable stage presence.

        • localarts 8:57 pm on September 13, 2013 Permalink

          Wow! I can only hope none of the victims family members stumble across this stie and read that shit. I don’t know if you’re joking or not, because thats really,really,really fucked up.

        • criticextraordinaire 8:53 am on September 15, 2013 Permalink

          F-ed up? John was found innocent in the Wonderland Murders ; it was not even a close call. The prosecutor’s case was weak, with no evidence whatsoever, just the speculative testimony of David Lind, a convicted criminal who was nowhere near the murder scene and who was spending that night scoring drugs at a local hotel. Everybody in the investigation was so fixated on John that they forgot to find the real perps, who to this day walk as free men.

        • The Odyssey 10:43 pm on September 20, 2013 Permalink

          A couple of bad things? You’re sick. He was scum.

    • localarts 9:35 am on September 16, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      So was Greg Diles, and he was there too. The LAPD were fixated on Ed Nash. The prosecution of John Holmes was a result of Holmes refusal to cooperate. Why do you think the investigation drug on for the better part of 20 years? When Holmes died in 88, he took with him everything that will ever be known about the slayings. The time line, how he was able to gain entrance that night, his co conspirators, the sequence in which the victims were beaten to death.

      If the other killers are indeed walking the streets as free men today, they can thank John Holmes for that.
      As I have said before Sharon Holmes told James Cox in 2002 she believed her husband committed at least one of the murders himself. Why did she make that statement? Because she knew him better than anybody. Weather Holmes murdered anyone that night is really a mood point now.

      One has to wonder just how many more of his co workers would he have exposed to the HIV virus given the chance? More importantly, what kind of human being would do such at thing in the first place?

      • criticextraordinaire 7:20 pm on September 18, 2013 Permalink | Reply

        John kept his mouth shut in order to PROTECT his family. They were threatened if he said anything, so he wisely kept his mouth shut. “Snitches wear stiches” and that sort of thing. Besides, Sharon was not exactly the most credible of sources. That whole BS story about some dead intruder at her house that the LAPD cop conveniently made disappear for her. Yeah right. And a locker adorned in 24-carat gold leaf.

        If John were the cad that some people make him out to be, he woulda sang like a canary to get out of jail after he was found innocent.

    • Jill C. Nelson 6:51 am on September 19, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      “That whole BS story about some dead intruder at her house that the LAPD cop conveniently made disappear for her.”

      That is definitely one of the silliest stories I’d ever heard. Stranger still that, according to Dawn, Sharon swore her to secrecy about it and then the story appeared in TRTW. Bizarre all ’round.

      • John 10:32 am on September 24, 2013 Permalink | Reply

        Yes, when I first started reading stuff about Wonderland that was one of the first things I came across. I thought that I needed to read more and maybe start a blog because that was very sensational. I doubted that a middle aged woman could kill a hit man career criminal any way.

        • Tori 1:27 am on September 28, 2013 Permalink

          So was that story false?!

    • Beth 9:54 am on September 24, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      Awesome website! You should totally write a book, I am currently reading the Dawn Schiller book but was really surprised there aren’t many other books out there about this???? Hard to find some info on some stuff as well, like for instance, is Dawn’s father still alive??? I can’t find any info on him. Also zero info on Susan Lainius or really any of the others (aside from Holmes) about their childhoods, past, etc. I find the whole both fascinating and sad, to see how drugs totally destroyed these people, Joy’s story especially is sad, what happened there???? Can’t wait to see what u post next! (and seriously, write that book dude!!!) :)

    • Jill C. Nelson 6:38 am on September 28, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      “Yes, when I first started reading stuff about Wonderland that was one of the first things I came across. I thought that I needed to read more and maybe start a blog because that was very sensational. I doubted that a middle aged woman could kill a hit man career criminal any way.”

      That story raised a bright red flag. I think that’s one of the situations that arises when other parties speak on behalf of certain people in these kinds of personal accounts — knowing full well that a given story can’t be refuted or corraborated.

      You’re doing an amazing job, John. And I certainly believe that you have gathered enough information to do the entirety of the Wonderland story justice if you should ever decide to develop a book.

    • Jill C. Nelson 7:46 am on September 28, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      *corroborated*

  • John 9:56 am on September 6, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , murder,   

    Take A Tour Of Big Mac’s Estate 

    Horace “Big Mac” McKenna is a legendary L.A. character. Once a highway cop and always a fitness freak, he later got in the nightclub business. Horace was gunned down at the gate to his estate while sitting in his limo in 1989. He had apparently dozed off, as it was late at night and his driver was opening the gate to pull in the car. The case went cold, but a decade later, cops had enough evidence to bring his business partner and the hit men to trial. They were all found guilty and given lengthy prison terms.

    Horace was also said to have ties to Ron Launius of the Wonderland Gang. It is unknown what exactly the two were involved in together, if anything of substance, but this notoriety and relationship probably polished Ron’s bad ass image as a cold-blooded killer.

    You can read more about Horace in the article that I posted in April, 2013.

    Oh, and they made a half-ass Tarantino wannabe B-movie about Big Mac.

    Check out Horace’s Find-A-Grave page. I guess a lover or family member makes those tribute photos and stuff. I have not seen anything like that before on Find-A-Grave. Strange.

    You may now tour his estate at this real estate web site. It’s pretty sweet and remote. When Big Mac got wasted in 1989, news articles referred to the property as “Tara”. I guess he gave it that name.

    Check this out. Even the caretaker and maid get their own house:

    35+ Acres Overlooking the entire Valley. 4 parcels make up this private retreat. This property is all about the location, the value in not having neighbors & being King of YOUR Mountain. There are Walking/Horsetrails throughout the entire property. The 5 bedroom 3 1/2 bath home with Pool & Spa has a breathtaking 360 degree view. 3 Fireplaces, 1 in Master that also has an office or sitting room attached. Large Kitchen w/ center island & Sub Zero Fridge. 4 car garage with another 1/4/ bath with pool access. 5 year old roof, rain gutter & Fire Sprinkler System. Central Vac. This rolling property has several flat areas to build a barn with a full size arena if so desired. A 2bed/2bth Caretakers Ranch House ( not factored into the square footage) is located where horse facilities once were. Beautiful Views where many weddings have been held. Family Fruit Trees. Rifle and Archery site against the hills. Room for a personal Helicopter Landing Pad. View Disneyland Fireworks! Has been a Private site for World Renowned Freestyle Motorcross Riders to master their stunts. High Ranking Brea Schools Close to town. Endless Possibilities. Your own Private Oasis.

    Have a great weekend!

    My goodness, I hope that's not Liz Taylor.

    I hope that is Chesperito from Sabado Gigante, not Liz Taylor.

     
    • localarts 10:22 am on September 6, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      McKenna was co owner of several strip clubs. He was also involved in narcotics trafficking and money laundering. McKinna was more than likely one of Ronnie’s wholesale suppliers at one time or another. You don’t live in a mansion like Horace did on a motorcycle cop salary!

    • Brandy 10:30 am on September 6, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      Wow, interesting. I remember they did a story on Horace Mckenna on A&E a long time ago.

    • dreamweaverjenn 1:23 pm on September 6, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      Wow! I’ll have to check this out. Didn’t realize all that about McKenna.

  • John 3:49 pm on November 20, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: bob kuban, jim williams, murder, the cheater, walter notheis scott   

    The Cheater – The Murder of Walter Scott 

    I do not usually post about creepy modern murders, for there are too many and sadly this is not solely a true crime blog.

    Today though, I found some photos that lend a bit more to the telling of Walter Notheis, Jr’s murder…aka Walter Scott…aka “The Cheater Murders”.

    The Cheater was a hit song by Bob Kuban and the In-Men in 1966. They had sort of a “blue-eyed soul” sound and had even performed on American Bandstand. They are also listed in the RnR Hall of Fame in the One-Hit Wonder section. Walter Scott was their singer:

    Walter signing an autograph after their performance on American Bandstand hosted by Dick Clark

    Walter Scott during the 1960s.

    Walter was murdered on December 27, 1983. He was found wearing a jogging suit, socks and was likely ambushed by Jim Williams as he was found shot in the back. Several theories abound, but most likely he was killed while walking in his house, reading the paper or watching TV during the late evening. Walter’s wife was having an affair with her electrician, Big Jim.

    This jealous lover, one Big Jim Williams, also killed his own wife in order to solidify their union. Jim and JoAnn would not live happily ever after. It would take four years to find Walter’s body and another 4 or 5 to bring the case to trial. There were a lot of legal issues and mistakes made by the prosecution and police. Big Jim was an oaf of a man, a rather successful local businessman and had a lot of community support from his friends. In smaller circles, he referred to the handsome Walter as a “Jack Off”. He also told several friends and relatives things like “Walter won’t be coming back”.

    Walter’s body was found at Jim Williams’ house, floating in a cistern in the backyard. The cistern had been disguised as a big flowerbed. Author Harry Spiller spins the tale:

    Caption from “Murder in the Heartland” by Harry Spiller.

    Before his murder in December of 1983, Walter and Bob Kuban had reunited and were rehearsing and playing at the Fox Theatre in their hometown of St. Louis.

    Big Jim Williams house, as it looked in 1983.

    The house as it looks today. The cistern area in the back has been cemented over with a new patio, as it appears from satellite view.

    Jim’s house “A” is five miles from Walter and JoAnn’s house “B” in suburban St. Charles, Missouri.

    Walter Scott’s house, present day. After the murder, Walter’s elderly parents would drive by and give Jim the evil eye after he married and moved in with Walter’s widow, JoAnn.

    JoAnn and Big Jim told a friend that Jim followed Walter into downtown St. Louis to this fancy high-rise apartment building:

    Mansion House Center

    However, that could have been just a story, but if not, then Jim may have followed Walter into this garage. Walter may have gone to the apartments to visit a friend. Big Jim was 6’6″ tall, maybe he overpowered Walter and tied him up to abduct and kill him later?

    Mansion House main garage entrance

    Two months before Walter was murdered, Jim Williams killed his wife Sharon and set it up as a wreck. She was driving this year, model and color of Cadillac.

    Her head was on the center floorboard with feet and legs near the passenger door. There was the smell and presence of gasoline but no rupture in the fuel tank. The back of her head showed signs of blunt force trauma.

    Site of the “crash”. The rain that night put out the arson car fire.

    Check out the HBO Autopsy episode (Warning! Creepy Alert!):

     
    • Bonnie Brae 8:04 am on November 21, 2012 Permalink | Reply

      The part about the parents driving by to give Jim the evil eye made me laugh.

      • John 11:13 am on November 21, 2012 Permalink | Reply

        ;-) There is a great documentary about this on YouTube but it’s in French. C’est La Vie!

  • John 12:22 pm on September 20, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , murder, ,   

    The Devil and John Holmes, by Mike Sager (May, 1989) 

    John Holmes was a porn star. Eddie Nash was a drug lord. Their association ended in one of the most brutal mass murders in the history of Los Angeles.
    Deep in Laurel Canyon, the Wonderland Gang was planning its last heist. It was Sunday evening and the drugs were gone, the money was gone, the situation was desperate. They’d sold a pound of baking soda for a quarter of a million dollars: There were contracts out on their lives. Now they had another idea. They sat around a glass table in the breakfast nook. Before them were two pairs of handcuffs, a stolen police badge, several automatic pistols and a dogeared sheet of paper, a floor plan. They needed a score. This was it.
    There were seven of them meeting in the house on Wonderland Avenue, a jaundiced stucco box on a steep, winding road in the hills above Holly- wood. Joy Audrey Miller, 46, held the lease. She was thin, blond, foul-mouthed, a heroin addict with seven arrests. She had two daughters, had once been married to a Beverly Hills attorney. A year ago, she’d been busted for dealing drugs out of the Wonderland house. Six months ago she’d had a double mastectomy. Her lover was Billy DeVerell. DeVerell, 42, was also a heroin addict. He had a slight build, a pockmarked face, a record of thirteen arrests. “He looked like a guy in a dive bar in El Paso,” according to a neighbor.
    Sharing the house with Miller and DeVerell was Ronald Launius, 37. Blond and bearded, Launius had served federal time for drug smuggling. A California cop called him “one of the coldest people I ever met.”
    The house at 8763 Wonderland rented for $750 a month. There was a garage on the first floor; the second and third floors had balconies facing the street. A stairway, leading from the garage to the front door, was caged in iron. There was a telephone at the entrance, an electronic deadbolt on the gate, two pit bulls sleeping on the steps.
    Though elaborately secure, the house was paint-cracked and rust-stained, an eyesore in a trendy neighborhood. Laurel Canyon had long been a prestige address, an earthy, woodsy setting just minutes from the glitter and rush of Tinseltown. Tom Mix and Harry Houdini once lived there among the quail and scrub pine and coyotes. Later, in the Sixties, the canyon attracted writers and artists, rock stars and gurus. Number 8763 Wonderland Avenue had some history of its own: Paul Revere and the Raiders once lived there.
    By the Eighties, former California governor Jerry Brown was living on Wonderland Avenue, and Steven Spielberg was building on a lot not far away. The house at 8763 had passed from a raucous group of women—neighbors recall naked women being tossed from the first-floor balcony—to the members of the Wonderland Gang. Things at the house were always hopping, someone was always showing up with a scam. Miller, DeVerell and Launius needed drugs every day. They were always looking for an opportunity. Jewelry stores, convenience stores, private homes—they would try anything, as long as it meant money or drugs.
    “There was a lot of traffic, all day, all night,” says a neighbor. “Everything from Volkswagens to a Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow. They threw brown bags of dope off the balcony. There was shouting, laughing, rock & roll twenty- four hours a day.”
    At the moment, on this evening of June 28th, 1981, Wonderland Avenue was quiet. Five men and two women were meeting in the breakfast nook, sitting in swivel chairs, leaning against walls. The floor plan before them showed a three-bedroom, high-end tract house on a cul-de-sac in the San Fernando Valley. It had a pool and a sunken living room, a white stone facade. Inside was a painting by Rembrandt, a jade and ivory collection, sterling silver, jewelry and, most appealing of all, large quantities of money and drugs.
    The man who owned the house was named Adel Nasrallah. He was known as Eddie Nash. A naturalized American, Nash came to California from Palestine in the early Fifties. In 1960 he opened a hot-dog stand on Hollywood Boulevard. By the mid-Seventies, Nash held thirty-six liquor licenses, owned real estate and other assets worth over $30 million.
    Nash had clubs of all kinds; he catered to all predilections. The Kit Kat was a strip club. The Seven Seas was a bus-stop joint across Hollywood Boulevard from Mann’s Chinese Theaters. It had a tropical motif, a menu of special drinks, a Polynesian revue, sometimes belly dancers. His gay clubs were the first in L.A. to allow same-sex dancing. His black club was like a Hollywood Harlem, jazz and pinkie rings and wide-brimmed straw hats.The Starwood, on Santa Monica Boulevard, featured cutting-edge rock & roll. In the late Seventies, Los Angeles police averaged twenty-five drug busts a month at the Starwood. One search of the premises yielded a cardboard box containing 4000 counterfeit Quaaludes. A sign on the box, written in blue Magic Marker, said, FOR DISTRIBUTION AT BOX OFFICE.
    Nash was a drug dealer and a heavy user. His drug of choice was freebase, home-cooked crack cocaine, and he was smoking it at the rate of two to three ounces a day. He always had large quantities of coke, heroin, Quaaludes and other drugs at the house. His bodyguard, Gregory DeWitt Diles, was a karate expert and convicted felon who weighed a blubbery 300 pounds. According to one eyewitness, Diles once chased a man out of the Kit Kat and emptied his .38 revolver into the man’s car. The car was on the other side of Santa Monica Boulevard, across six lanes of traffic. The time was 2:30 in the afternoon. No one was injured.
    Nash and Diles were well known on Sunset Strip. “Eddie Nash assumed he deserved a certain amount of respect,” says one denizen. “If somebody fucked with him . . .”
    Now, in the breakfast nook, a tall, gaunt man with curly hair and a sparse beard pointed to the floor plan he had sketched.
    “Here, this back bedroom, that’s Diles’s room,” he said. “He keeps a sawed-off shotgun under the blanket. . . . Here, this is Nash’s room. There’s a floor safe in the closet, right . . . over . . . here.”
    “You sure about this, donkey dick?” asked Tracy McCourt, the gang’s wheelman.
    “Hey, it’s cool,” said John Holmes, 36, the man with the plan. “I know Eddie. Nash loves me. He thinks I’m famous.”
    John Holmes was famous, at least in some circles. What he was famous for was his penis.
    In a career that would span twenty years, Holmes made 2274 hardcore pornographic films, had sex with 14,000 women. At the height of his popularity, he earned $3000 a day on films and almost as much turning tricks, servicing wealthy men and women on both coasts and in Europe.
    Since the late Sixties, Holmes had traded on his natural endowment. His penis, when erect, according to legend, measured between eleven and fifteen inches in length. Recently, however, Holmes’s biggest commodity had been trouble. He was freebasing one hit of coke every ten or fifteen minutes, swallowing forty to fifty Valium a day to cut the edge. The drugs affected his penis; he couldn’t get it up, he couldn’t work in porn. Now he was a drug delivery boy for the Wonderland Gang. His mistress, Jeana, who’d been with him since she was fifteen, was turning tricks to support his habit. They were living out of the trunk of his estranged wife’s Chevy Malibu. Holmes was stealing luggage off conveyers at L.A. International, buying appliances with his wife’s credit cards, fencing them for cash.
    Holmes was into Nash for a small fortune. Now Holmes owed the Wonderland Gang, too. He’d messed up a delivery, had a big argument with DeVerell and Launius. They took back his key to Wonderland, and Launius punched him out, then hit Holmes with his own blackthorn walking stick. They told him to make good. He tried to think. Addled synapses played him a picture: Eddie Nash.
    “So you go in,” Launius was saying to Holmes, reviewing the plan. “You talk to Nash, whatever, you tell him you got to take a piss. Then what?”
    “I leave the sliding door unlocked—this one,” said Holmes, pointing to the floor plan, “here, in the back. The guest bedroom. Then I leave. I come back to Wonderland. Tell you it’s all clear. Then you guys take him down.”
    And so the plan was fixed. At midnight, the Wonderland people scraped together $400, and Holmes, whose pretense for entrance would be buying drugs, drove off to Nash’s house.
    It was 1.6 miles from Wonderland Avenue to Dona Lola Place, which was fortuitous, because the stolen Ford Granada driven by the Wonderland Gang was running on empty. In the car were DeVerell, Launius, McCourt and a man named David Lind, a friend of Launius’s. Lind and his girlfriend had come down three weeks earlier from Sacramento to stay at Wonderland. An ex-convict who’d served time for burglary, forgery and assault to commit rape, Lind had been invited to town, he would later tell a court, to practice his “profession,” committing crimes.
    McCourt drove up the hill on Laurel Canyon Boulevard, across Mulholland Drive, over the crest of the Santa Monica Mountains, down into the Valley. The sun was warm and diffuse. Sprinklers were ticking water across lawns. Rush hour was on. It was 8:30 Monday morning.
    Though Holmes had left Wonderland at midnight, he had stayed at Eddie Nash’s for six hours, smoking up the $400 he’d taken to spend, helping himself to a little more of Nash’s largess. Nash was extremely hospitable. He always called Holmes “my brother.” They’d known each other for three years.
    As night stretched into morning, Holmes had an attack of conscience, a glimmer of an understanding that knocking over Eddie Nash might lead to a lot of trouble. Nash knew the Wonderland people. He’d never met them, but he had, through Holmes, given them a $1000 loan. Holmes muttered something to Nash about the gang. He wasn’t specific, but it really didn’t matter anyway. Nash hadn’t slept in ten days. He hardly knew what Holmes was saying. And, as Holmes’s supply of coke dwindled, his conscience was overruled by his jones. He excused himself, left the room and unlocked the sliding door.
    Arriving back at Wonderland just after dawn, Holmes announced the coast was clear. The time was right, he told Lind.
    There was one hitch. DeVerell, Launius and McCourt, all heroin addicts, were out cold.
    Three hours later, everyone was finally awake. Holmes drove to Nash’s again to make sure the sliding door was still open. This time, the gang decided not to wait for his return.
    Now, as McCourt turned right, off Laurel Canyon Boulevard onto Dona Pegita, he saw Holmes driving back toward them. Both cars slowed, pulled even in the middle of the street. Holmes rolled down his window, McCourt rolled down his.
    “It’s time,” Holmes said, and then he smiled and raised his fist “Get ’em, boys!”
    John Curtis Holmes had the longest, most prolific career in the history of pornography. He had sex onscreen with two generations of leading ladies, from Seka and Marilyn Chambers to Traci Lords, Ginger Lynn and Italian member of Parliament Ciccolina. The first man to win the X Rated Critics Organization Best Actor Award, Holmes was an idol and an icon, the most visible male porn star of his time.
    Holmes started in the business around 1968, a time when porn was just beginning to surface from the underground of peep shows and frat houses into mainstream acceptance. The Sixties, the pill, “free love,” communes, wife swapping, the perverse creativity of mixed-media artists who were pushing the limit, trying to shock—all of these things created an atmosphere in which porn could blossom.The pivotal event in porn history was the release of Deep Throat, starring Linda Lovelace and Harry Reems, in 1972. Though the movie, when it began to appear at theaters around the country, was branded as obscene and closed down almost everywhere it played, its producers contested the charges in the courts and eventually won. In the end, Deep Throat was massively consumed by an enthusiastic public. With the release the same year of The Devil in Miss Jones and Behind the Green Door, porn became part of popular culture. Suddenly, Johnny Carson was telling Deep Throat jokes on The Tonight Show.
    One day in 1970, Holmes met Hawaiian producer Bob Chinn. Up to this time, Holmes had been doing mostly photo layouts, stag films and 8-mm bookstore loops. He showed Chinn his portfolio of stills, then stripped. That evening, Chinn wrote a three-page screenplay; a partnership was born. This would lead, in the mid-Seventies, to Holmes’s most successful role, as Johnny Wadd, the hard-boiled detective, porn’s parody of Sam Spade. Holmes’s character, said Al Goldstein in Screw magazine, was “a thin, bony, trench-coated shamus, outrageously horny, bedding down with client and quarry alike.” In Goldstein’s opinion, “it was a goofy, crudely made series,” but it was wildly successful. In a way, Holmes was everyman’s gigolo, a polyester smoothy with a sparse mustache, a flying collar and lots of buttons undone. He wasn’t threatening. He chewed gum and overacted. He took a lounge singer’s approach to sex, deliberately gentle, ostentatiously artful, a homely guy with a pinkie ring and a big dick who was convinced he was every woman’s dream.
    Holmes went on to make more than 2000 movies. Teenage Cowgirls, Liquid Lips, China Cat and Tapestry of Passion. Eruption, a porn remake of Double Indemnity. Dickman and Throbbin, a lampoon of Batman and Robin. Hard Candy, a 3-D thriller. A porn “documentary” of his life, made in 1981, was called Exhausted.
    In time, Holmes became known as the Errol Flynn of porn. And like the leading men of yesteryear, what was known of him was mostly myth.
    According to legend—largely of his own making—Holmes was born in New York and lived with a rich aunt who’d been married fifteen times. The aunt sent him to fencing school, dancing school, a school of etiquette. They lived in London, Paris, Michigan, Florida. He lost his virginity at the Florida house, when he was six, to his Swiss nursemaid, Frieda.
    In high school, Holmes said, he slept with all but three girls in his class. He graduated from UCLA with majors, variously, in physical therapy, pediatric physical therapy, medicine and political sciences. His first porn film was made while he was working his way through college. A girl from the dorm recommended him. Also while in college, he said, he danced “nude modern jazz ballet” and drove an ambulance.
    When he became established as a porn star, Holmes said, he had a half dozen agents pulling in work for him. He made films nonstop, and he took eighty to ninety telephone calls a day. He had twenty-seven fan clubs; people wrote for locks of his pubic hair. Men asked him to autograph their wives’ breasts. Women asked him to deflower their daughters. One regular trick had him barge into her bedroom while she was watching TV, then tie her up and rape her. Her husband watched from the closet. Holmes said he’d had sex in airplanes, helicopters, trains, elevators, kitchens, bathrooms, on rooftops, in caves, storm cellars, bomb shelters in Europe, under a table in a restaurant filled with people, fifty feet underwater while wearing scuba gear. He’d been with three governors, two of their wives and one senator, who was “really a freak.”
    Holmes said he owned ten different businesses, that he was a gourmet cook, that he had written twenty-nine books, including a how-to manual combining cooking and sex. His penis, he said, was “bigger than a pay phone, smaller than a Cadillac.”
    Holmes’s voice was sly and ingratiating. He sounded a lot like Eddie Haskell on Leave It to Beaver and bore some resemblance to the actor who played him. Above all, he said, he loved his work: “A happy gardener is one with dirty fingernails, and a happy cook is a fat cook. I never get tired of what I do because I’m a sex fiend. I’m very lusty.”
    John Curtis Holmes was born to Mary and Edward Holmes on August 8th, 1944, in Pickaway County, Ohio, the youngest of three boys and a girl. Edward, a carpenter, was an alcoholic. Mary was a Bible-thumping Baptist. John remembered screaming, yelling, his father puking all over the kids.
    Holmes’s parents separated when he was three, and Mary moved the family into a housing project in Columbus. They shared an apartment with another divorced woman and her two children. When Holmes was eight, his mother married Harold, a manic-depressive who worked for the telephone company. They moved to a house on five acres in wooded, rural Pataskala, Ohio. Harold drank a lot. Once, he rammed his own hand into a harvesting machine. He lost his thumb and three fingers. At the hospital, as he came out of anesthesia, he said to Mary, “I’ll never have to work again.” He didn’t. Mary went to work on an assembly line at a Western Electric plant.
    John was a shy and lonely kid who kept to himself and had perfect attendance at Sunday school. He lost his virginity at age twelve to a thirty-six-year-old woman who was a friend of his mother’s. At home, Harold picked on John. There were backhands, lectures, drunken rages. By the time John’s half brother was born, John was spending most of his time in the woods, hunting, trapping, fishing, staying away from Harold. Then one day Harold threw John down the stairs and came after him. John swung and knocked his stepfather out. On his sixteenth birthday, Holmes joined the army. He served in the signal corps, spending three years in Nuremberg, Germany. He never went home again.
    After mustering out of the army, at age nineteen, Holmes went to work as an ambulance driver, and soon thereafter he met Sharon Gebenini. Sharon was a nurse at USC County General, working on a team that was pioneering open-heart surgery. She was twenty, an army brat. They were married in August 1965 at Fort Ord, California.
    One summer day in 1968, Sharon came home a little early from work. Her new boss, a pediatrician, had shut down the office for the afternoon, and she’d gone to the market, planned a special dinner for her husband.
    Holmes, in those days, was a string bean, six feet tall, 150 pounds, hair still cut in a military buzz. When Sharon and John were first married, she says, he was very naive, looking for the perfect relationship. “He was very possessive. He wouldn’t even let me meet the people he worked with.”
    Recently, Holmes had been drifting from job to job, trying to find a niche. He quit the ambulance service and got work stirring vats of chocolate at a Coffee Nips factory in Glendale. Then he sold shoes, furniture, Fuller brushes door-to-door. He drove a forklift at a meatpacking plant in Cudahy until his lung collapsed from working in the freezer. Just recently, he had begun training to be a uniformed security guard.
    Unbeknownst to Sharon, Holmes had also recently started in porn, following an encounter with a professional photographer named Joel in the bathroom of the poker parlor in Gardina. Holmes was doing sex pictorials, dancing in clubs.
    Now, home early from her office, Sharon left her purse in the foyer, squeaked down the hall on white rubber soles to the bathroom of their one-bedroom apartment in Glendale. The door was open. Inside was her husband, John. He had a tape measure in one hand, his penis in the other.
    “What are you doing?” she asked.
    “What does it look like I’m doing?”
    “Is there something wrong? Are you afraid it’s withering and dying?” she said, laughing.
    “No, I’m just curious,” said Holmes.
    Sharon went to the bedroom, lay down, read a magazine. Twenty minutes later, Holmes walked into the room. He had a full erection.
    “It’s incredible,” said John.
    “What?” “It goes from five inches all the way to ten. Ten inches long! Four inches around!”
    “That’s great,” said Sharon, turning a page of her magazine. “You want me to call the press?”
    Her husband fixed her with a long stare. Finally he said, “I’ve got totell you I’ve been doing something else, and I think I want to make it my life’s work.”
    Holmes went on to say that he wanted to be best in the world at something, and that he thought pornography was it. Sharon had been a virgin when they’d met. She wasn’t happy.
    “You can’t be uptight about this,” John said, a refrain she would hear for the next fifteen years. “This means absolutely nothing to me. It’s like being a carpenter. These are my tools, I use them to make a living. When I come home at night, the tools stay on the job.”
    “You are having sex with other women,” said Sharon. “It’s like being married to a hooker.”
    Holmes said nothing.
    And so began the loops and the stags, and then Johnny Wadd was born. Holmes let his hair grow, started wearing three-piece suits. He and Sharon settled into a strange hybrid of domesticity. She paid for food and household expenses, did his laundry, cooked for him when he was home. John kept his porn money and spent it on himself. By 1973, John and Sharon were sharing the same house, even the same bed, but they were no longer having sex. Sharon had gone so far as to stop physical relations, but she couldn’t bring herself to kick him out. “Let’s face it,” she says. “I loved the schmuck. I just didn’t like what he was doing.”
    John bought himself an El Camino pickup and a large diamond solitaire that became his trademark in films. Then he designed a massive gold and diamond ring in the shape of a dragonfly, and a gold belt buckle, measuring eight by five inches. The buckle depicted a mother whale swimming in the ocean, her baby nursing beneath. John was into Save the Whales. He wore the buckle when he and Sharon sold bumper stickers door-to-door.
    In 1974, Sharon became the resident manager of a ten-unit apartment court in Glendale. It was owned by the pediatrician she worked for; she and Holmes lived rent-free in an adjacent house. Sometimes he worked around the apartments as the handyman and gardener. He also renovated the house, outdoing himself in the master bathroom, recreating a backwoods outhouse, complete with a quarter-moon cutout, a shingled roof over the bathtub and a rough-hewn box around the commode.
    Holmes was an inveterate collector of junk. He picked wire out of dumpsters and sold the copper. He went to garage sales and bought old furniture. He could repair anything, liked sketching and working in clay. He also collected animal skulls. Once, Sharon says, he got a human head from UCLA. He boiled it clean in a pot on Sharon’s stove. They called it Louise. At Christmas, they decorated it with colored lights.
    About this time, Sharon says, Holmes began working as a courier for the Mob. “He’d come home from one of his movie premieres, take off his boots, peel down his socks and take out a wad of large bills. He’d say, ‘Count this.’ We’re talking $56,000 in two boots.”
    Jeana Sellers (not her real name) arrived in Holmes’s life in 1976. She was a teenager, and her parents had just divorced. She’d driven out from Miami with her father and younger sister. Along the way, in Colorado, Mr. Sellers picked up a hitchhiker who was going to Glendale to see his girlfriend. Mr. Sellers had no particular plan; Glendale sounded just fine. By the time they pulled into the apartment complex managed by Sharon Holmes, it had been decided. The Sellers would stay there.
    The complex had ten free-standing cabana apartments, built around a courtyard. Holmes’s half brother and his wife lived there; this little community was the personal fiefdom of John Holmes. One day, Jeana was visiting a neighbor when Holmes came by to deliver a bag of pot. Holmes talked a while, looked Jeana up and down. “Too bad you’re so young,” he said finally, then left.
    Soon after, the courtship of Jeana began. Whenever he returned from days or weeks away, Holmes would bring gifts: stuffed animals, roses, a ring. For her sister Terry, who was fourteen and overweight, he brought what he called “Terry food,” pounds and pounds of candy. Holmes hired the sisters to do gardening around the complex. When they’d finish work, he’d make sandwiches. John had a van by then, and soon he began organizing camping trips with Jeana, Terry and Terry’s boyfriend, Jose. “I was really charmed,” says Jeana. “I was just taken off my feet. He treated me very special.” John was thirty-one, she was fifteen.
    One night Holmes told Jeana to meet him at the van. They went to the beach. “I didn’t know what was going to happen, but I knew what might,” she says. “We sat on the rocks, the moon was just right. We sat for a long time, and he was very, very quiet. He just stared. I played in the water. When I got out, he said, ‘Let’s go,’ and we drove toward home. And then, just as we got to this intersection, he slammed on the brakes. It was dark, and there wasn’t any traffic. He said, ‘Would you make love to me?’ I literally shook to death. I said yes. I loved him. We did it in the van. After that I was his.”
    In time, Jeana’s father went back to Miami and took Terry with him, and Jeana moved in with John’s half brother and his wife, David and Karen. Jeana dropped out of Glendale High School. During the day, she worked in a nursing home. At night, she baby-sat for David and Karen.
    By 1978, Holmes was freebasing cocaine all the time. He’d been turned on to the drug on a movie set in Las Vegas and had been smoking ever since. Now he never went anywhere without his brown Samsonite briefcase. Inside were his drugs, his glass pipe, baking soda and a petri dish for cooking cocaine powder into rock base, a bottle of 151 rum and cotton swabs for lighting the pipe. Jeana was doing freebase too, almost every night.
    “When he did coke,” says Jeana, “he’d do it until it was all gone, and then he’d scrape the pipe and smoke all the resin he could find, and then he’d take a bunch of Valium. He’d have me make these peanut-butter chocolate-chip brown-sugar butter cookies. All the sugar helped him come down. He’d have a big glass of milk, and we’d turn on the cartoons, and then he’d go to bed in Sharon’s room. I’d usually fall asleep on the couch.”
    By this time, Sharon had befriended Jeana. “The poor girl was emaciated,” Sharon says. Sharon’s first act was to move Jeana out of Karen and David’s and into a garage apartment in the complex. A few months later, Jeana moved into the guest room of the house. “I knew the whole picture,” says Sharon. “He was picking on a kid that didn’t know any better. I had to let her know there was another world out there, that John was not God Almighty.
    “John was terrified that I was going to confront her. But I had no reason to confront her. Why? Why would I confront her? He meant nothing to me in that way.”
    Holmes was gone now more and more, making films in Europe, San Francisco and Hawaii, doing private tricks, traveling to film openings across the country. At the same time, Holmes was acting as an informant on matters of porn and prostitution for Sergeant Tom Blake, an L.A. vice detective. He began spilling to Blake in 1973, after he was arrested on a movie set. It is debatable whether or not Holmes ever told Blake anything he could use.
    Also during this period Holmes spent much of his time with his best and only friend, Bill Amerson, in Sherman Oaks. Amerson, a menacing six feet four, 250 pounds, tells tales of his own involvement in drug dealing and organized crime. He says he played pro football and worked as a stunt man, specializing in motorcycle crashes. He was now in porn—writing, directing, producing.
    Amerson and Holmes had met on a shoot in San Francisco in 1970; they were kindred egos ever after. “John was like a little brother to me,” says Amerson.
    Amerson named John the godfather of his children and gave Holmes his own room at his house. Holmes and Amerson went hunting, deep-sea fishing, camping. Mostly, says Amerson, he and Holmes excluded women. “John didn’t particularly care for women. At times, I think, he disliked women. He would rather be out in the woods. He was really a simple kid. He liked going to Disneyland, he liked all the rides. He was really sensitive, but he didn’t want anyone to know. A puppy getting hit by a car, a dead bird, strange things made him cry. We spent hours talking about reincarnation, about life, about God, or the lack of.”
    Holmes started to become erratic around 1978. On sets, he was harder and harder to deal with. He’d lock himself in bathrooms, in closets. People who worked with him joked that you had to leave a trail of freebase from the bathroom to the bedroom to get Holmes to work. Amerson would get calls from directors. He’d go to the set, usually a rented house in the San Fer- nando Valley. He’d find Holmes “going through drawers, looking for something to steal. He’d turned into a fucking burglar.
    “John got strange,” says Amerson. “He got wild eyed. He didn’t make a lot of sense when he talked.”
    Soon the man who once claimed to be making almost $500,000 a year selling his sexual charms was working as a drug delivery boy for the gang of outlaws and junkies who lived on Wonderland Avenue. He stole luggage, broke into cars, visited old girlfriends and tricks and ripped them off, charged $30,000 worth of appliances to Sharon’s credit cards. For a while, he and his half brother David tried to make a go of a combination antique store and locksmith service. Jeana ran the store, the Just Looking Emporium. It didn’t last long.
    The night the store closed its doors for good, says Jeana, John was strung out and paranoid. “That was the first night he punched the shit out of me,” she says, and thereafter, the beatings were regular. “One time he beat me so I’d sleep with these two black guys from his answering service. I think he couldn’t pay the bill. Then he beat me ’cause I slept with them.”
    By early 1980, Holmes and Jeana had moved out of the complex for good. They stayed in motels sometimes, but mostly they lived in Sharon’s Chevy Malibu. Or at least Jeana did. “I was famous for waiting in the car,” she says. “We’d drive somewhere to do a drug deal. He’d get out. I’d wait. Sometimes it would be two days. I’d have a six-pack of Pepsi and a coffee can to pee in. And my dog, Thor. He was a little Chihuahua. John and Sharon gave him to me.”
    So it went, until they were busted in January of 1981. At that point, Holmes had Jeana, now twenty, turning tricks. She was living in an apartment in the Valley with a porn actress and high-priced hooker named Michelle. In the early hours of January 14th, Jeana and Michelle were visiting an apartment in Marina Del Ray. While John was waiting for them in the parking lot, he stole a computer out of a car. Thus far, Holmes had been pretty lucky. His connection as an informant for the L.A. police had kept him clear of being busted. But now Holmes was committing felonies almost every day. His luck had run out. The cops got them in the parking lot.
    The next day, Eddie Nash bailed them out. Jeana didn’t want to go back to Michelle’s. John insisted. She refused. He punched her in the stomach, dragged her through the door. “Get some sleep,” he told her. “You gotta work tonight.”
    John went to take a bath. Jeana heard the water shut off, heard John get into the tub. She wasn’t going back to this. Enough was enough.
    “Honey!” called John from the bathtub. “Get me a cup of coffee, will you?”
    She was halfway out the door when she heard his voice. She froze for a moment, then took a step back inside. She took a deep breath. Then she was gone.
    Jeana ran, with Thor in her arms, to a Denny’s restaurant. A little old man lent her a quarter. She called her mother in Oregon, asked for a bus ticket. Mom said okay, but it couldn’t happen until tomorrow. Jeana sat down and cried. The man bought her a bowl of chili, then sneaked her into his nursing home. Jeana slept the night on the floor by his bed. The other residents thought it was the scandal of the age. In the morning, many of them brought her toast from the cafeteria.
    Jeana said goodbye, then called the Glendale bus station. She told the ticket agent that John Holmes, the porn star, was looking for her and wanted to kill her. Please, she said, don’t tell him anything. The agent agreed to help. Then he asked how she was getting to the station. He and his son came and picked her up.
    As Jeana expected, Holmes showed up at the bus station. The ticket agent played dumb. Holmes followed the wrong bus all the way to San Francisco.
    *
    Tracy McCourt turned right onto Dona Lola Place, drove 100 yards into the cul-de-sac, parked, cut the engine. DeVerell, Lind and Launius pushed aside the chain-link gate to Nash’s driveway and filed around to the right, behind the house. The sliding glass door was still open, as Holmes had said.
    They went inside, opened the door of the guest bedroom, peered out. Lind took the lead and charged down the hall, a short-barreled .357 Magnum in one hand, a stolen San Francisco police detective’s badge in the other. Diles and Nash were in the living room. Diles was wearing sweat pants, carrying a breakfast tray. Nash was wearing blue bikini briefs.
    “Freeze!” yelled Lind. “You’re under arrest! Police officers!”
    DeVerell and Launius covered Nash. Lind made his way behind the shirtless, blubbery bodyguard. He shifted the badge to his gun hand, his left, then took out the handcuffs with his right. As he fumbled with his paraphernalia and Diles’s thick wrists, Launius came over to help, tripped, bumped into Lind’s arm. The gun discharged. Diles was burned with the muzzle flash. The right side of his back, over his kidney, began to bleed. Nash fell to his knees. He begged to say a prayer for his children.
    “Fuck your children!” said Launius. “Take us to the drugs.”
    Lind rolled Diles onto his stomach, handcuffed him, threw a Persian rug over his head. Then he joined the others in Nash’s bedroom. Everything was where Holmes had said. Lind put his .357 to Nash’s head, asked for the combination to the floor safe. Nash refused. Then Launius forced the stainless-steel barrel of his gun into Nash’s mouth.
    In the floor safe were two large Zip-lock bags full of cocaine. In a gray attaché case were cash and jewelry. In a petty-cash box were several thousand Quaaludes and more cocaine. On the dresser was a laboratory vial about three-quarters full of heroin.
    Lind taped Nash’s hands behind his back, put a sheet over his head. He found a Browning 9-mm under Nash’s bed, then went to Diles’s room, where he found more weapons. Meanwhile, Launius asked Lind for his hunting knife. He went over to Diles, pulled the rug off his head, edged the knife against his neck.
    “Where’s the rest of the fucking heroin?” he demanded. “I don’t know,” said Diles. Launius pulled the knife slowly across Diles’s neck. Blood flowed. Suddenly, outside, Tracy McCourt began honking the horn of the getaway car.
    “Forget it!” said Lind. “Let’s get out of here.”
    At 10:00 a.m., Lind, McCourt, Launius and DeVerell walked through the door of the Wonderland house.
    Holmes jumped up from the couch. “So what happened? How did it go down?”
    “Don’t tell him anything,” snapped Lind.
    Launius, DeVerell and Lind went into Launius’s bedroom. They’d decided, before leaving Nash’s, that they would short Holmes and McCourt in the division of the loot. Working quickly, Launius removed about $100,000 in cash from the briefcase and hid it in his room.
    Meanwhile, Joy Miller and Barbara Richardson, Lind’s girlfriend, left the house and drove down the hill to the Laurel Canyon Country Store for gas and cartons of cigarettes.
    When they returned, the men were at the glass table in the breakfast nook. Everyone was busy. Holmes and Lind weighed the cocaine. Launius counted the Quaaludes. DeVerell counted the money. On the table were eight pounds of cocaine, 5000 Quaaludes, a kilo of high-quality China White heroin and $10,000 in cash. The jewelry would later be fenced for $150,000. Lind, Launius and DeVerell, the three who’d carried out the robbery, were to receive twenty-five percent each. Holmes and McCourt went halves on the last share.
    As soon as the weighing was done, Holmes went to the kitchen to cook some cocaine powder into rock, then went into the bathroom to smoke. The rest of the Wonderland people took turns injecting heroin and cocaine. After a while, Holmes came back into the living room. He complained about his share of the money. It was only about $3000. He knew that Nash had a lot more than that lying around the house.
    An argument ensued. Launius punched Holmes in the stomach.
    “Get the fuck out of here!” he screamed.
    *
    For the first few months, while she was in Oregon with her mother, Jeana had refused to take Holmes’s calls. She’d gotten a job at a nursing home and was paying her mom rent, trying to rebuild her life. But Holmes kept calling. He sent flowers, presents, photos of them with the dog.
    By May, Jeana began taking his calls. By June, she was thinking, “Well, I’m not doing anything here.” On June 27th, two days before the robbery at Nash’s, she flew to Los Angeles.
    John was carrying two suitcases when he met her. “Oh, shit,” she thought, but she didn’t say anything.
    “I didn’t want to believe I’d fallen for a line again,” Jeana says. “He was sweet. He was great. There wasn’t any trouble. We went to a motel, had a nice reunion. No drugs. It was really nice. He was like the old John. Then he left.”
    On the day of the robbery Holmes still hadn’t come back. Management asked Jeana to leave. Holmes hadn’t paid for the room.
    Jeana packed her suitcase, gathered up her Chihuahua. She didn’t have any money. She didn’t know what to do. She couldn’t call Sharon. They hadn’t spoken in two years. Jeana was somewhere downtown. She didn’t know where. She walked the streets, tried to think. A pimp tried to pick her up. Then another. Then she ran into a woman preaching fire and brimstone on a corner. The woman took her to her house, put her to work painting a wall. Meanwhile, Jeana called Holmes’s answering service and left the number. Holmes finally called on the afternoon of the 29th, after the Wonderland Gang kicked him out. He showed up at the house in the early evening. “He had the biggest pile of coke I’d ever seen in my entire life,” says Jeana. “He took over the kitchen. He cooked coke all night long. He even had the Holy Roller’s sister smoking.”
    In the morning, they went out to get food. “When we came back, the door was locked,” says Jeana. “The Holy Roller was up in the balcony, waving a Christian flag, praying and hollering, singing ‘We Shall Overcome.’ She said John had cut some coke with an old tarot card and she believed it was a sign from the devil. I said, ‘Please, just let me get my clothes and my dog and we’ll leave.’ ”
    *
    Gregory DeWitt Diles, six feet four, 300 pounds, barged through the front door of the house on Dona Lola, dragging John Holmes by the scruff of his neck.
    “In here,” said Nash.
    Diles shoved, Holmes skidded across the carpet. Nash shut the bedroom door.
    Wednesday afternoon, July 1st, two days after the robbery. Jeana was tucked into another hotel in the Valley. An hour before, Holmes had run into Diles. Holmes was wearing a ring that had been stolen from the boss.
    Eddie Nash was fifty-two years old, six feet tall, gray haired, strong and wiry. His family had owned several hotels before the creation of Israel in 1948. Nash told a friend that he missed the moonlight and the olive trees of his homeland, that he’d spent time in a refugee camp, that his brother-in-law was shot by Israeli soldiers.
    The youngest son in the family, Nash arrived in America with seven dollars in his pocket. He worked for others for a time, then opened Beef’s Chuck, a hotdog stand on Hollywood Boulevard. Nash was on the job day and night, wearing a tall white chef ’s hat, waiting tables himself.
    June M. Schuyler, an elementary-school teacher from Santa Barbara, remembers meeting the “nice-looking, very-light-skinned foreign man” at Beef ’s Chuck. She was living in Hollywood while her autistic son attended the Belle Dubnoff School for Brain-Damaged Children. The school was a block away from Nash’s place. She’d often take her son there for lunch.
    From then, wrote Schuyler, in a letter to a judge many years later, “Ed Nasrallah began a courtship that was as old-fashioned as they come. For many months he took me out to dinner, introduced me to his mother and other relatives. There never was a sexual relationship between us. I said ‘No’ and I meant it.”
    Over the next year, Nasrallah brought her grape leaves, hummus, pots of Turkish coffee. Schuykir said that Ed loved her son exceedingly and that he offered to “fix it up for you to take him to a top brain surgeon. . . . No strings attached.”
    By the mid-Seventies, Ed Nasrallah had become Eddie Nash and had amassed a fortune. He was also a drug dealer and a heavy user. His drug of choice was freebase; sometimes he mixed the crack with heroin. Nash was missing part of his sinus cavity, one of his lungs had been removed, and he had a steel plate in his head.
    For the last several years, Nash had rarely left his white-stone ranch house in Studio City. At home, Nash walked around in a maroon silk robe, or sometimes in bikini briefs, his body covered with a thin sheen of sweat. His voice had a smooth Arabic lilt. “You want to play baseball?” he’d ask his ever-present guests, lighting his butane torch, offering a hit off his pipe.
    “The consumption of alcohol and drugs was an ongoing, everyday affair,” says an attorney who is a longtime acquaintance of Nash’s. “The cast of characters would go from two or three to ten or more. It was amazing, the haphazard way in which people would come and go. You’d walk into the house, there were various girls walking around in various states of undress. Some were quite attractive. Others looked like they’d been sucking on the pipe a little too long.
    “When you met with Eddie, you met at his place, on his terms. I believe that cocaine paranoia created within him the desire to stay within that closed environment that he had control over. If anything, one of the themes in Eddie’s life has always been control. He wanted to be in charge. He wanted to be the Arab man in his tent. The master, the giver of hospitality. All his lawyers—I think he had maybe six or seven working on different things— all his managers, employees, customers, everyone, would come to him. He’d have Jimmie, the cook, prepare these elaborate spreads. You could walk up, whisper something in his ear, and he’d make it available. Whatever. You just had to ask, and he’d give.”
    According to court testimony, Nash had a fancy for young girls, whips and a game with a revolver called Russian roulette. One woman who had sex with Nash remembers “a lot of temptation. There were piles of cocaine in front of you. Jewelry, wads of money. You’d be left in a room for hours, and then you’d be called in. There were two-way mirrors in the bedroom, any- thing you wanted would be made available. In a way Eddie would assess you on what you took or didn’t take.”
    In early 1981, Nash’s second wife—the mother of his two sons, aged eight and five—filed for a protection order against Nash. After she left him, according to a court affidavit, “I took the children to Oklahoma to my aunt and uncle’s farm, together with my parents. My husband hired a girl to follow us. She came to the farm to find out if a certain man was with me. After she left, my husband called on the telephone at the farm and said to come home immediately. When I refused, he said, ‘Don’t come back to California or I will have two men waiting at the airport to kill you, and I will have your parents killed.’ ”
    Nash is said to have had political, police and crime connections. According to one Los Angeles law-enforcement official, “Ed Nash was a very well-known figure in the Sixties around Hollywood with police, and it was never an antagonistic relationship.”
    One of Nash’s friends and overnight guests was, according to a law- enforcement official, an Israeli with a military background, “the so-called reputed godfather of the Israeli Mafia.” A report by the California State Department of Justice revealed that the Israeli Mafia was active in California during the late Seventies and early Eighties and was involved in drugs, arson, extortion, gun-running and a number of murders, including the death and dismemberment of two Israeli nationals at the plush Bonaventure hotel in downtown L.A.
    During his six or seven years of heavy drug use, said the attorney, “Nash lost over a million a year directly attributable to drugs. His business empire totally atrophied as a result of the coke. What really cracks me up is people believe he was a dope dealer. That’s bullshit. He was consuming it. At an alarming rate.”
    On the afternoon of Wednesday, July 1st, 1981, Eddie Nash was again consuming drugs at an alarming rate. He’d been ripped off for eight pounds of cocaine, but the Wonderland Gang hadn’t found his private stash, and now he was bubbling his glass pipe furiously. He’d sent two of his minions out to score more drugs, but they hadn’t yet returned.Two customers waited. They did hits off Eddie’s pipe, eyed the door.
    One of the customers was Scott Thorson. Thorson had driven from Lake Tahoe to score from Nash. Or perhaps he had flown from Las Vegas. In court testimony years later, he would say, in answer to this and many other questions, “I don’t recall. I really don’t recall.” Thorson was the live-in lover of the entertainer Liberace. He was also in Liberace’s Las Vegas act. Wearing jewel-bedecked livery, he would chauffeur Liberace onto the stage in a glittering mini-Rolls-Royce, open the door, take his master’s fur coat. Then Liberace would make a joke about having the only fur coat in the world that had its own limo. During one special engagement, Thorson danced with the Rockettes. Liberace called him Booper, treated him like a son, a lover, a pet.
    Thorson had been addicted to cocaine for several years. It began, according to Thorson’s book, Behind the Candelabra, when Liberace ordered him to have cosmetic surgery. First, however, Thorson had to lose thirty pounds. A doctor of dubious practice prescribed a salad of different drugs to aid the weight loss. Pharmaceutical cocaine was one of the ingredients.
    In time, the surgery was completed, and Thorson was made into a young vision of Liberace. He remained addicted to coke. At the moment that Diles barged through the door with Holmes in tow, Thorson was with Eddie in his bedroom, doing hits. Nash was very upset.
    “I’ll have them on their knees!” Nash ranted to Thorson.
    “I’ll teach them a lesson! They’ll never steal from anyone again!”
    Thorson was excused, and Nash closed the door. Diles smacked Holmes, threw him across the room, shoved him against a wall. “How could you do this thing!” Eddie Nash screamed. Diles hit him again. “I trusted you! I gave you everything!”
    Nash and Holmes had met three years earlier at the Seven Seas. Nash was a big fan of porn. He invested in movies, leased office space to several porn-related operations. Holmes was one of the greats in the business. Nash liked having him around. He introduced him to all his guests. “I’d like you to meet Mr. John Holmes,” he’d say.
    For his part, Holmes did anything he could for Nash. Frequently he brought him girls. On Christmas Day 1980, he’d even presented Jeana. Nash reciprocated with a quarter ounce of coke. Holmes thought Nash was the most evil man he’d ever met, but he couldn’t quite figure him out, so he respected him.
    Now things were not so friendly. Holmes was crumpled on the floor. Diles leveled a gun at his head. Nash was leafing through a little black book that Diles had taken from Holmes’s pocket.
    “Who’s this in Ohio?” Nash screamed. “Who’s Mary? Your mother? Who’s this in Montana? . . . Is this your brother? . . . I will kill your whole family! All of them! Go back to that house! Get my property! Bring me their eyeballs! Bring me their eyeballs in a bag, and I will forget what you have done to me! Go!”
    *
    Thursday, July 2nd, 3:30 a.m. Sharon Holmes switched on the porch light, spied through the peephole. Christ, she thought, John. She hadn’t seen him in three months. His clothes were ripped, he was bloody from head to toe. He stared straight ahead, unblinking. She opened the door, folded her arms against her chest.
    “Well?” “Accident . . . car . . . um . . .” he stammered. “Can I . . . come in?” They went to the bathroom. Sharon, a registered nurse, rummaged through a well-stocked medicine cabinet, brought out iodine and cotton swabs. She reached up and took John’s chin in her hand, turned his head side to side. Funny, she thought, no cuts, no abrasions. Just blood. “You had an accident in the Malibu?”
    John looked down at Sharon. His eyes blinked rapidly. They’d been married sixteen years. Sharon always knew when he was lying. That’s probably why he always came back. “Run me a bath, will you?” he said.
    John eased into the tub. Sharon sat on the wood-covered commode. “What now?” she thought. He dunked his head, put a steaming washcloth over his face. Then he sat up. “The murders,” he said. “I was there.”
    “What do you mean you were there?”
    “It was my fault,” John said, his eyes welling with tears.
    “I stood there and watched them kill those people.”
    “What are you talking about?”
    “I was involved in a robbery,” John began, and he told the story. The setup, the robbery, Nash’s threat to kill his whole family, Sharon included. “So I told him everything,” John said. “I told where the robbers lived and how to get there. I had to take them there.”
    “Who?”
    “Three men and myself.”
    “Okay, you took them there.”
    “I took them there. There was a security system at the house. I called up and said I had some things for the people inside and to let me up. They opened the security gate, and the four of us went up the stairs, and when the door opened, they forced their way inside. Someone held a gun to my head. I stood there against the wall. I watched them beat them to death.”
    “You stood there?”
    “There was nothing I could do.”
    “John, how could you?”
    “It was them or me. They were stupid. They made him beg for his life.”
    They deserved what they got.”
    *
    “Blood! Blood! So much blood!” Holmes was having a nightmare. Tossing and moaning, punching and kicking. “So much blood!” he groaned over and over.
    Jeana was scared to death. She didn’t know what to do. Wake him? Let him scream? It was Thursday, July 2nd, 1981. After bathing at Sharon’s, Holmes had come here, to this motel in the Valley. He walked through the door, flopped on the bed, passed out.
    Jeana sat very still on the edge of the bed, watching aTV that was mounted on the wall. After a while, the news.The top story was something about a mass murder. Four bodies. A bloody mess. A house on Wonderland Avenue. Jeana stood up, moved closer to the tube. “That house,”she thought.Things started to click. “I’ve waited outside that house. Isn’t that where John gets his drugs?”
    Hours passed, John woke. Jeana said nothing. They made a run to McDonald’s for hamburgers. They watched some more TV. Then came the late-night news.The cops were calling it the Four on the Floor Murders. Dead were Joy Miller, Billy DeVerell, Ron Launius, Barbara Richardson. The Wonderland Gang.The murder weapon was a steel pipe with threading at the ends. Thread marks found on walls, skulls, skin. House tossed by assailants. Blood and brains splattered everywhere, even on the ceilings. The bodies were dis- covered by workmen next door; they’d heard faint cries from the back of the house: “Help me. Help me.” A fifth victim was carried out alive. Susan Launius, 25, Ron Launius’s wife. She was in intensive care with a severed finger and brain damage.The murders were so brutal that police were comparing the case to the Tate-LaBianca murders by the Manson Family.
    Holmes and Jeana watched from the bed. Jeana was afraid to look at John. She cut her eyes slowly, caught his profile. He was frozen. The color drained from his face. She actually saw it. First his forehead, then his cheeks, then his neck. He went white.
    Jeana said nothing. After a while, the weather report came on. She cleared her throat “John?”
    “What?”
    “You had this dream. You know, when you were sleeping? You said something about blood.”
    Holmes’s eyes bulged. He looked very scared. She’d never seen him look scared before. “Yeah, well, uh,” he said. “Um, I lifted the trunk of the car, and I gave myself a nosebleed yesterday. Don’t worry.”
    On July 10th, police knocked down the door of their motel room and arrested Jeana and Holmes. For the next three days, Holmes, Jeana and Sharon were held in protective custody in a luxury hotel in downtown Los Angeles. Armed guards in the lobby, in the hallway. Room service. Holmes tried to make a deal with the cops. He wanted witness protection, a new name, money, a home. He wanted new names for Sharon and Jeana, too. He offered the police secrets. Names of mobsters, drug dealers, prostitutes, pimps. The police wanted to know who killed the Wonderland Gang. Holmes wouldn’t tell.
    “With Holmes, it was like he was center stage and the lights and the camera were on,” says a detective who was present. “It was like he was doing a movie. Here he is, he has two women with him. All three of them are sleeping in the same bed. He stroked us, jacked us around. He told us certain things.That we were on the right track, that this is indeed what had happened, that this was the motivation, that this was how it came down. He played it for all it was worth, then he said he wouldn’t testify. We cut him loose.”
    The three went back to Sharon’s house. Sharon cooked dinner. Holmes picked up Sharon’s two dogs and Thor from the kennel. Later, the women dyed Holmes’s hair black. Holmes and Jeana painted the Malibu gray with a red top. They used cans of spray paint. The finish was drippy and streaked, but it didn’t matter. They were going underground.
    Now it was midnight in the parking lot at the Safeway in Glendale. The Malibu was idling. Jeana sat in the front seat, Thor in her arms. Holmes leaned up against the back bumper, smoking a cigarette. Sharon stood with arms crossed. “Change your mind. Come with us, Sharon.”
    “No way, John.”
    “It can be the three of us, Sharon, like old times.”
    “You’ve got to be joking.”
    “You can’t do this to me,” he said.
    “Why? Why can’t I?”
    “Because I love you.”
    Sharon looked at him. On their first date, he’d brought a bottle of Mateus and a handful of flowers. Sharon had watched through the window as he picked them from the neighbor’s front yard. Now she shook her head slowly, walked around the car to the passenger side.
    Jeana leaned out the window, and they hugged. Over the years, they’d become like mother and daughter. “Take care of him,” Sharon said.
    *
    “Hello, Jeana.”
    “Chris? Is that you?”
    “How are you, Sis?”
    “Fine. Where are you calling from? You sound close.”
    “I’m here.”
    “In Miami?”
    “Yeah.”
    “What are you doing here?”
    “Well, I, I, ah, came . . . with a friend. Listen. Tell me where you are. I’ll pick you up.”
    Jeana hung up the phone. Her brother Chris, 16, lived in Oregon. She hadn’t heard from him in, what, six months? Not since she was home. Now it was December 4th, 1981. After leaving California, Jeana and Holmes had gone to Vegas, then Montana, then headed south, visiting the Grand Canyon, the Painted Desert. Holmes broke into cars along the way.
    The couple ended up in Miami, at a small run-down hotel on Collins Avenue. Everyone there was on some kind of slide. Big Rosie, the manager, let Jeana work the switchboard and clean rooms in exchange for rent. Holmes went to work for a construction company, painting a hotel down the strip. For extra money, Jeana solicited tricks on the beach.
    “Everybody at the hotel got to know us,” Jeana says. “We were real friendly. John was doing a lot of drawing. Drawings of the dog, of me. We’d have dinner with other people at the hotel, go to movies. We were like a normal couple. After a while, I said I didn’t want to go out on the beach anymore. We had a big fight. I ran out the door, down to the pool, and he ran after me, the fool. Everybody was down there. He beat the shit out of me, then walked back up to the room. Everybody was just shocked.”
    The next day, while Holmes was at work, a delegation of residents came to see Jeana. A mother and daughter offered to help. The daughter had a kid and a job. She was moving to a house. Would Jeana want to be the live-in baby sitter? Jeana packed her bag, gathered up Thor, put Holmes’ gun in her pocketbook.
    Now it was December 4th, and she hadn’t seen Holmes in two weeks. Her brother was in town; something weird was going on. Chris didn’t have a driver’s license. How could he rent a car?
    They picked up a six-pack, went to a park, sat by a pond.
    “Jeana, I’ve got to tell you. See that car over there? It’s the cops.”
    “You little . . .” Jeana stood, walked away. Chris caught up.
    “Listen,” he said, grabbing her elbow. “People are after John, and they think you’re with him. You’re going to get hurt. Tell the cops what they want to know, ’cause otherwise John’s going to be dead in a few days. You’re probably going to be saving him.”
    When the cops got to his hotel, Holmes was there. “I’ve been expecting you,” he said. He invited them in for coffee.
    “How you doing, John?” said the man in the gray suit, leaning over the safety rail of the bed. “John? Remember me?”
    February 1988, seven years after the murders. A sunny room in the Veterans Administration Hospital in Sepulveda, California. The man in the suit was Los Angeles Police Department detective Tom Lange. Behind him was his partner, Mac McClain. The Wonderland case was still open. They had a few questions for John Holmes.
    “We want to talk to you about Eddie Nash,” said McClain. “John? . . . Remember Eddie? . . . John? Are you awake?”
    Holmes’s eyelids fluttered. He weighed ninety pounds, his fingernails were two inches long. He was dying.
    Following his arrest in Miami, Holmes was tried for the murder of the Wonderland Gang. His defense was simple: John Holmes was the “sixth victim” of the Wonderland murders, and Eddie Nash was “evil incarnate.”
    “Ladies and gentlemen,” his lawyer told the jury at the outset, “unlike some mysteries, this is not going to be a question of ‘Who done it?’This is going to be a question of ‘Why aren’t the perpetrators here?’ ”
    In the end, the most damaging evidence the prosecution could produce was a palm print on a headboard above one of the victims. Holmes refused to testify. The jury found him innocent.
    Holmes remained in jail, however, on his outstanding burglary case. While awaiting that trial, he was ordered by a judge to tell the grand jury what he knew about the Wonderland murders. Because he’d already been tried, Holmes would not be able to invoke the Fifth Amendment. According to the law, he had to talk. He refused anyway. He’d underestimated Nash once, but he’d never do it again. Nash would kill him and his family if he talked, he was certain of it. He was held in the county jail for contempt.
    In jail, Holmes went on a hunger strike. Two weeks later, it was reported that he’d lost only seven pounds. Jailers said other inmates were giving him candy bars. Later it was reported that Holmes interrupted his fast, ate a meal, then continued his fast.
    Finally, on the afternoon of November 22nd, 1982, Holmes relented and testified. He’d been in jail eleven months in all, 110 days on the contempt charge. His attorney told reporters that he’d changed his mind because of “certain arrangements” that had been made and “certain circumstances” that had arisen. What he may have been referring to was the imprisonment, that very same morning, of Eddie Nash, on charges of dealing drugs.
    Just after the murders, Nash and Diles had found themselves in a world of shit. Nash’s house was raided three times. Each time, drugs, money and weapons were seized. Each time, Nash made bail. Then Nash was arrested with three others on federal charges of racketeering, arson and mail fraud, an insurance scam. Nash’s three coconspirators were found guilty. Nash was acquitted.
    In the end, both Diles and Nash went to jail. Diles got seven years on charges stemming from the drug raids. Nash was found guilty of possessing two pounds of cocaine for sale. At trial, his lawyer argued that the $1 million worth of coke was not for dealing, that it was strictly for personal use. During recesses in the trial, Nash would go out to his car and smoke freebase. Then he’d swallow a few Quaaludes and return. His lawyer hired a young associate to stick Nash with a pin whenever he nodded off in court.
    The judge in the case was Everett E. Ricks Jr. It was obvious from his comments that Ricks, a hard-liner, considered Eddie Nash a plague. Ricks even came in from his sickbed to sentence Nash. Coughing into the microphone, Ricks called Nash “a danger to the public” and maxed him out. Eight years in prison, a $120,350 fine.
    Two years later, Ricks reduced Nash’s sentence to time served, and Nash was released. Ricks cited Nash’s need for delicate surgery to remove a sinus tumor. “I wouldn’t want to be operated on in San Quentin Prison,” Ricks said sympathetically.
    Two years later, Ricks, himself, was ordered held against his will for psychiatric observation. The fifty-two-year-old former jurist had been arrested after he allegedly punched his eighty-two-year-old mother and threatened to kill someone if she didn’t give him keys to a car.
    After his release, Nash told a friend that jail had saved his life. He moved to a modest condo in Tarzana and set about rebuilding, taking college business courses at night. Drugs, inattention, back taxes and lawyers’ fees had depleted his fortune.
    Holmes, meanwhile, had gone back to making films.
    When he got out of jail, Holmes was jubilant. He greeted reporters, had dinner with his lawyer, then called Sharon. She told him to “get the fuck out of my life.” He couldn’t call Jeana. She was nowhere to be found.
    Holmes had nothing to do and nowhere to go. His lawyer lent him a Volkswagen Beetle and $100, and Holmes showed up at his friend Amerson’s house. While Holmes was in jail, Amerson had started a company called John Holmes Productions. He was marketing Holmes’s old films on video. Like all porn actors, John had been paid per day and had signed away the rights to his own films. His old friend was happy to pick them up. “Let’s face it,” Amerson says, “John was a product. I marketed him. That’s what it’s all about. It’s business.”
    With all the publicity from the murders, John Holmes had achieved almost mainstream celebrity. The video boom was just beginning, and Holmes became a kind of Marlon Brando of porn. No longer the leading man, he was now the featured oddity. In California Valley Girls, for instance, he had one scene. He came in, sat on a couch. A girl entered stage right. Then another girl, another. At the end, there were six working at once on his penis.
    Early in 1983, Holmes was shooting Fleshpond at a studio in San Francisco. One of the actresses in the cast was Laurie Rose. Laurie was nineteen; she came from a small town outside Vegas. In the business she was billed as Misty Dawn, the anal queen of porn.
    “That first time, we didn’t get to work together,” says Laurie, “but we were attracted. It sounds silly, but you know how you can meet someone for the first time and it’s like you know them already?”
    After the film, John and Laurie, who looked like Jeana, began dating. Usually, they smoked freebase and had sex. Then, says Laurie, “the third time I went up there, he came up to me with the mirror and said, ‘You want a hit?’ and I turned to him and said no. He looked shocked. He said, ‘Why not?’ and I said, ‘Because it makes me feel funny and I can’t talk.’ So he went in the bathroom, and he locked himself in. He stayed in there like three hours, and I’m just sitting there, you know, twiddling my thumbs. Finally he came out and said, ‘You know what? This stuff makes me feel funny too. I’m going to quit.’ ”
    In time, John and Laurie moved in together at Amerson’s. When Amerson raised their rent to $400, they got their own place in Encino. John continued to make films, but he made Laurie stop. “He thought one porn person in the family was enough,” she says. “And the AIDS thing was just starting to come out. Nobody had gotten it yet; but it was still in the back of our minds. He thought, ‘Well, if I’m going to take a chance, that’s enough.’ ”
    Apparently, Holmes had made good his promise and stopped doing drugs. John and Laurie stayed home a lot and watched videos. On weekends they went to swap meets and yard sales.
    “Nobody ever came over,” says Laurie. “Nobody knew where we lived. His words to me were ‘Friends can get you killed.’ We were very careful.Then, when Eddie Nash got out of jail, John was very, very worried. We went on twenty-four-hour watch. For like three weeks, one of us had to be awake at all times. It was like being in a movie or something.”
    By late 1984, John was working as an executive at Amerson’s VCX films. He was supposed to be doing sales and pre-production, writing and editing, in addition to acting. Amerson says Holmes spent most of his time playing cards and shooting darts. When VCX cut off Holmes’s salary, Amerson put up money to start Penguin Productions. Holmes was to run it. Laurie worked as a secretary.
    “John was tired of the whole industry,” she says. “He wanted to make a million dollars so we could just leave and be done with it.”
    Then, in the summer of 1985, John tested positive for AIDS.
    “He went fucking crazy” says Amerson. “He panicked, walked in circles around the doctor’s office, threw his briefcase down. He said, ‘I’m gonna die!’ and drove off.”
    “When he came back,” says Laurie, “he was laughing about it. We closed up the office and went to the beach. We played our favorite songs, walked, talked. John said he felt like he was chosen to get AIDS because of who he was, how he lived. He felt like he was an example.”
    John continued making films for a while. His last film was The Rise and Fall of the Roman Empress, starring Ilona “Ciccolina” Staller, a member of the Italian Parliament. By the time it was released, in 1987, Holmes’s health had already begun to slide. The word in the industry was that he had colon cancer. Holmes was telling people that doctors had removed sixteen feet of his large intestine. In truth, Holmes was operated on for hemorrhoids. Around that time, he also began developing complications related to AIDS. Amerson, meanwhile, accused his friend of embezzling $200,000 from the company. He cut Holmes off, canceled his insurance.
    “John was really sick by this point,” says Laurie. “We moved around a lot because the rent kept going up. I was working as a computer programmer. John would just stay home. He was in so much pain, you couldn’t touch him. He couldn’t walk. His legs and feet would swell up, his ears would bleed, he had infections in his lungs. His surgery wouldn’t heal up, either. He was very upset about the business. He’d made all these people millions and millions of dollars. We were really broke. He called some people, and they said, ‘We’ll help you out.’ But we’d never get the money they promised.”
    On January 24th, 1988, John and Laurie were married in the Little Chapel of the Flowers, in Las Vegas. It was a simple ceremony. The bride wore white. “It was a big ordeal for him,” says Laurie. “He knew he was dying. He knew we wouldn’t have a life together.”
    In February, Holmes was admitted to the VA hospital in Sepulveda. Soon after, Detectives Lange and McCain called the hospital. They wanted to see Holmes. After seven years, the district attorney was reopening the Wonderland case, based, in part, on testimony from Scott Thorson, Liberace’s ex-lover. Thorson, who was waiting to be sentenced on a drug-related armed robbery, had sought a deal with police. He was prepared to testify that Eddie Nash had sent Holmes and Diles to Wonderland Avenue and that Nash felt responsible for the “bloody mess” that resulted. Now the police wanted Holmes’s testimony.
    Laurie was standing at the door when Lange and McClain appeared down the corridor.
    “John, they’re coming,” Laurie said in a stage whisper.
    Holmes nodded his head, put out his cigarette, closed his eyes. “He was incoherent,” says Lange.
    John Holmes died on March 13th, 1988. “His eyes were open,” says Laurie, “and it looked like he had looked up to Death and said, ‘Here I am.’ It was the most peaceful look I ever saw in my life. I tried to shut his eyes like in the movies, but they wouldn’t stay shut.”
    Holmes didn’t want a funeral, but he did have a last wish.
    “He wanted me to view his body and make sure that all the parts were there,” says Laurie. “He didn’t want part of him ending up in a jar somewhere. I viewed his body naked, you know, and then I watched them put the lid on the box and put it in the oven. We scattered his ashes over the ocean.”
    Six months later, on September 8th, 1988, Diles and Nash were charged with the murders on Wonderland Avenue. After a preliminary hearing in January 1989, at which Thorson, among others, testified, Nash and Diles were bound over for trial this summer; they are currently being held without bail in the Los Angeles County Jail. Nash’s and Diles’s attorneys maintain their clients’ innocence and question the credibility of witnesses for the prosecution.
    “You know,” says Detective Lange, “there’s no mystery here. Every time you read something, they say it’s a big mystery. Or the local TV says it’s a big mystery. Or that show out of New York, you know, A Current Affair. Big mystery. Like aliens or something. There’s no mystery. John Holmes didn’t go to his grave with anything but a very bad case of AIDS. He told us everything initially, right after it happened.”
    “But it’s one thing to tell someone something,” says Lange. “It’s another thing to testify to it in court.”
    (1989)
     
    • JadedJules 11:00 am on September 21, 2012 Permalink | Reply

      Hey John. I was in Glendale last week with a girlfriend of mine. We both read Road Through Wonderland and were talking about it so we decided to drive past the address where John lived with Sharon and Dawn. An apartment building was in it’s place. It was tacky enough and looked like it was probably put up in the 80s. Anyway – I will post a picture here when I am on my home computer over the weekend.

      • John 11:58 am on September 21, 2012 Permalink | Reply

        Thanks, please do!!

        Have a great weekend.

      • John 6:25 pm on September 21, 2012 Permalink | Reply

        I wish that I lived there. I’d be there with you guys! And we could check out other sites. I know that it’s just another big city but I would love it! I have some time off coming, so maybe I’ll make it one day soon. It must ve great living there.

        • Bonnie Brae 9:25 am on September 22, 2012 Permalink

          OMG – if you only knew John! I have a fascination for street signs. Which is how I found your blog in the first place. I love photographing the Wonderland street sign and any other remotely interesting street sign. On Monday I am planning to photograph the Cielo Drive street sign. Let me know if you have any thoughts for anything else. PS – I loved the look of your blog so much that I copied you on my FB. I used my wonderland street sign for the ‘cover photo’. And I’m constantly sharing your stories with my bestie Gayle and my sis.

        • Bonnie Brae 10:01 am on September 22, 2012 Permalink

          http://www.facebook.com/julia.arabia this is me btw – get in touch with me if you want a few friends to drive around the freaky death zones and crime scenes with in LA. I grew up in San Diego but have been here for 15 years now and I take full advantage of living here too. I wish Spawn Ranch was closer.

        • John 12:10 pm on September 22, 2012 Permalink

          Cool, I sent a friend request.

          SoCal is so nice… But biggg!!! A lot of cool stuff to do and see. I have been to San Fran a few times but never knew anyone in SoCal.

      • Bonnie Brae 10:09 am on September 22, 2012 Permalink | Reply

        I have a few links – not sure which one if any will post the pics directly. anyway – giving it a shot.

        • John 1:05 pm on September 26, 2012 Permalink

          I think I have a “John St.” street sign posted in my folders somewhere. I took it somewhere in Houston. There’s a street near me here where I go on business called “Pansy Lane”. I don’t want to love there…right near Wimp Drive I’m sure!

      • Bonnie Brae 10:16 am on September 22, 2012 Permalink | Reply

        Not sure i which link to post. There is HTML code or Image code.
        Here is html

        • Jill C. Nelson 10:28 am on May 16, 2013 Permalink

          Excerpts from the above posted Sager piece:

          “On the afternoon of Wednesday, July 1st, 1981, Eddie Nash was again consuming drugs at an alarming rate. He’d been ripped off for eight pounds of cocaine, but the Wonderland Gang hadn’t found his private stash, and now he was bubbling his glass pipe furiously. He’d sent two of his minions out to score more drugs, but they hadn’t yet returned.Two customers waited. They did hits off Eddie’s pipe, eyed the door.
          One of the customers was Scott Thorson.”

          ‘“I’ll have them on their knees!” Nash ranted to Thorson.
          “I’ll teach them a lesson! They’ll never steal from anyone again!”’

          “Thursday, July 2nd, 3:30 a.m. Sharon Holmes switched on the porch light, spied through the peephole. Christ, she thought, John. She hadn’t seen him in three months. His clothes were ripped, he was bloody from head to toe.”

          Funny how Sager’s research is incorrect regarding the date of the murder and Holmes’ alleged subsequent visit to Sharon’s house. According to Sager’s piece, Nash is plotting and scheming on the afternoon of July 1st when we know the murders were committed in the early morning on July 1st and the bodies had already been found by the mid-late afternoon on that same day — according to homicide detecive Tom Lange who made a career of precisely documenting times and dates. Likewise, when Sager references Holmes “alleged” visit to Sharon on July 2nd wearing “bloody” clothes (supposedly immediately following the murders). Curious oversights. This is why it was so important to double check and seriously question previously reported/documented information when we researched Holmes and (particularly) the Wonderland story.

        • John 12:00 pm on May 16, 2013 Permalink

          I actually subscribed to Rolling Stone when this article was published in 1989. However, I never read that article until a few years ago. I have found Sharon quoted in two articles saying he knocked at the door, the other saying John woke her at her bedside. What really happened, Jill? I’m going to order your book asap!

      • Gayle 4:42 pm on April 2, 2014 Permalink | Reply

        So, where’s the picture? I never saw your photos from that visit.

        • Gayle 4:43 pm on April 2, 2014 Permalink

          My comment got misplaced. I was asking about the photos of the Glendale apartments.

        • John 2:47 pm on April 3, 2014 Permalink

          Jules never sent them to me

    • Jill C. Nelson 1:33 pm on May 16, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      Over the years, Sharon made many contradictory statements, as has Dawn Schiller, regarding Holmes and the Wonderland events. Neither woman was present during the robbery and murders, so as far as we were concerned, anything either one said about either event is heresay — including after the fact. For example, I have always been suspicious about the story that Holmes cried out in his sleep shortly after the murders screaming “Blood! There’s so much blood!” Both Sharon and Dawn said he did this verbatim with each of them (but not together) which I personally doubt. Their stories about this incident and other elements of the overall Holmes/Wonderland saga align a little too neatly which lead us to believe that one might have manipulated the other (for whatever reason) so that their stories would be similar. Years ago we read on Dawn’s blog (in and around 2005) that she claimed to have met the Wonderland gang. In her interview with Cass Paley and Roger Jacobs for WADD in the late 1990s, she claimed that she never met the gang. Btw, we were granted use (by HUSTLER) of the complete WADD transcripts for our book, including what was not included in the documentary — in addition to the 35 interviews we conducted ourselves.

      When individuals (especially when connected to an infamous individual like Holmes) prove to be untruthful, it makes a biographer question everything they have said as was also (obviously) the case with Holmes which is why our book was more than four years in the making. We quickly discovered that mostly all of the participants in this story lied at one time or another. That is why our book is presented in an oral history format which allows for all parties to weigh in on a given subject.

      If you are planning to order the book (my offer stands to send you a copy gratis), I don’t want to spoil anything for you. I will share this though: One of the statements Sharon made to the press concerning the much talked about “Holmes confession” had Holmes divulging “everything” about the murders to her three weeks after the crime. That’s not the story she stuck with in more recent years. Go figure.

      • John 1:41 pm on May 16, 2013 Permalink | Reply

        Amazing. I have always felt that she was not always pimped out by John but sometimes…maybe…a willing participant in those things. She liked doing drugs too, so… hey, I’m gonna order the book tonight! I appreciate the offer! Thanks. When I’m done reading it, eventually I’ll donate it to the library here.

        • Jill C. Nelson 2:01 pm on May 16, 2013 Permalink

          We talked in depth to Julia St. Vincent for our book who was one of John’s primary girlfriends (and the director of Exhausted). She was also one of the women involved with Holmes at the same time as Schiller in 1980/’81, and knew Dawn back in the day. (She even paid for Dawn to accompany her to a wedding for a few days in Boston.) After Dawn and St. Vincent’s first meeting (the two women sabotaged Holmes who had no idea they knew one another) Dawn and her friends often visited St. Vincent in Hollywood and one of Dawn’s friends did work for St. Vincent.

          St. Vincent paints quite a different picture of Dawn than the one Dawn paints of herself today. I’m not suggesting at all that she wasn’t manipulated by Holmes at certain points, but according to St. Vincent, Schjller definitely had another, more street-smart side to her. Not surprisingly, St. Vincent is conveniently omitted from Dawn’s book which is ironic considering that St. Vincent is the one who helped Cass Paley and company track Schiller down for WADD.

          Anyway, just thought I’d share some insights.

          Thanks for reading.

          Jill

    • misael 12:44 am on December 22, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      The first reading in english that i ever had as an exchange student in 1990 in the US right of the rolling stones edition. Fascinated by the story i just read it again and after watching the 2003 movie is such a strong (in spanish “moraleja”) or “learning” of the excesses. May excite, may disgust. But back on the reading, it’s interesting the message ‘Friends can get you killed”.

      • Jim 11:33 am on March 31, 2014 Permalink | Reply

        John, appreciate all the work you’ve done on this site.
        I am going to be driving through Pataskala, OH in a couple of weeks.
        I thought I saw on this site a picture of the house in Pataskala where Holmes grew up?
        Is there such a picture or is my recollection simply wrong.
        Thanks!

        • John 3:11 pm on March 31, 2014 Permalink

          Thanks Jim. I posted a video of Pataskala and Jill Nelson shared some Pataskala pics she took while there. I am not sure if the house still exists or not. I believe there is a pic of the house in Jill’s book “Inches”

    • Jim 3:24 pm on March 31, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      John, you are correct! I knew I saw something about a house in Pataskala. I’m probably going to have lunch somewhere in the town when I drive through. I would inquire a little bit about Holmes while I’m there but based on everything I’ve read on this site those people do not like outsiders asking questions.

    • Mark C 11:10 am on April 4, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      I live est. about 150 to 200 miles or so east from Pataskala Ohio, Lot of the area people will not answer many at all questions from anybody who they may feel are outsiders or strangers for fear the stranger may try to harm or make fun of there own local community they must live in some way on a later date.
      Plus please remember them poor people just happen to be living in Licking County OH. That don’t help things at all when the locals hear the name John Holmes in a quick fast question from some passing stranger. That almost like a strange double blow curse has been put on the local area because of ex-local. That just how the locals been for many & many years. By the way Licking County was named because The County is on the South Fork of The Licking River. A very nice local river only. And not because of anything else. ( Late night talk show host sure could make a career over the many jokes over that name) So in a way I don’t blame the local people of always being kind of on there defense when ever the name John Holmes is asked locally by some passing stranger.
      But most people once you get to know them, They are hugely great, kind and wonderful people. I highly recommend getting to be good friends with some of the local people first before even asking anything about there world wide infamous ex-local citizen. You get lot more information & stories out of the few citizens that will talk about old Johnny.
      So my guess is we will not be seeing there longest city street be named The John Holmes Memorial Boulevard any time soon.
      Hope this may help explain little bit why them local people are a little cold to any stranger when it comes to the name John Holmes that may come up in any fast quick question from someone who they don’t know real good.. They done been down that road many times before of the countless jokes that been made of there local area.

    • Jim 5:54 pm on April 4, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      Mark, I appreciate your insight. I will probably just walk around the town for a little bit and pretty much keep my mouth shut. Holmes hasn’t lived in the town for over 50 years and has been dead for over 25 years so I’m sure any questions about him would probably not go over well.

    • localarts 10:38 am on April 5, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      There’s another thread on this blog that discusses the obituary for John Holmes mother. John was left out of the obituary all together. If his immediate family felt this way about him you can just imagine how the residence of this small town felt.

      I’m guessing the reason Holmes relatives omitted him was probably due to the fact they were trying shield younger members of the Holmes family for obvious reasons.

    • Jill C. Nelson 3:05 pm on April 5, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      You could be right, localarts. Obviously, there are certain family member(s) who felt it necessary to protect someone or someone’s reputation. I do know however, that the family is not united about this slight. My feeling is that failing to include John as a member of the Holmes/Bowman family shows a lack of class and respect on the part of certain family member(s). A relative can easily be obliterated from an obituary, but he or she cannot be extinguished from a family tree or from existance. Personally, I think it’s rather sad.

      • localarts 9:53 am on April 6, 2014 Permalink | Reply

        You’re right Jill. Holmes cannot be erased from the family tree but whoever was responsible for Mary Holmes obituary had their reasons for leaving John out of it. While neither one of us were there, you can just imagine the gossip, finger pointing & name calling members of his family experienced and it must have been devastating. The fact he was left out of the obituary shows the level of hurt and shame he brought to the Holmes / Bowman name.

        Clearly, we don’t know the full magnitude of what his family went through but it must have been pretty damn bad to leave a son out of his mother’s obit!

    • Jim 5:14 pm on April 5, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      Jill it’s my understanding that Holmes’ older brother still lives in Pataskala.
      Have you or anybody you know ever tried to interview any of the family still living in the town?
      Your book was very thorough but I can’t remember if it contained any interviews from people in Pataskala.

    • Jill C. Nelson 7:15 pm on April 5, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      Hi Jim. Yes, John’s eldest brother Dale still resides in Pataskala. I don’t know about others, but Jennifer and I attempted to contact and interview family members for the book. We were in communication with one of John’s nieces, and his half-brother David. It was complicated, but in the end, we weren’t able to disclose/publish any information they shared with us. Our experiences with John’s niece and with David were positive. Of all of his siblings, David and John were probably closest.

  • John 12:03 pm on September 18, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , murder, ,   

    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.

     

     

     

     
    • Darcymarie 3:43 pm on April 6, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      I do find this last part of the testimony interesting because of her usage of the term ” high yellow” imo, could have been holmes he was strung out & from pics I’ve seen he looks like has a sallow complexion, I’m sure she was high as kite , probably nodding in & out another reason to put holmes there

      • mxlena 5:08 am on April 16, 2013 Permalink | Reply

        “High Yellow” doesn’t actually mean a yellow complexion, its a slang word that means a light skinned black person or a black person of mixed racial heritage. Its considered a derogatory or racist term. Another similar term for the same thing is “Redbone”.

    • John W 3:50 pm on April 6, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      Holy crap! Holmes was there during the previous day and met Susan.. Or she had mixed memories.. Oh- this will take a new twist. Interesting…

    • Jenn 7:16 pm on April 8, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      First I have to say, I really like your site and admire all the hard work and research you have put into it. What got me into this research is that I am a psychic medium and I feel very drawn to these people. I can’t explain it. I have felt Ron’s energy very strongly. I have been trying to find Susan. Not to bother her but to give her a message I have received. I know these people were not angels but they were human beings and there was good in them too. I feel that. I know what people will say about me: “she’s a complete nut” or much worse so I won’t get into everything here but I do appreciate your site and I have found it very interesting. Just wanted to tell you that.

      • John 8:56 am on April 9, 2013 Permalink | Reply

        Thanks for visiting. I enjoy it as much as most of the readers and Wonderland “fans” if you can call us that. LOL.

    • Jim 2:00 pm on April 28, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      @Jenn youre definitely not a ‘nut’.. Im at the point i feel the need to go to the site/house,but im on the east coast =/

      • Jenn 11:26 am on April 29, 2013 Permalink | Reply

        I know what you mean Jim. I’m in FL so it would be next to impossible. I’ve always felt drawn to CA and I hope to get out that way at some point.

    • Tori 6:17 pm on May 7, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      Great blogs. Big fan of John Holmes the movie wonderland and the murders itself. Read dawns book and reading life measured in inches now. Are their any testimonials from John or nash

    • Tori 6:20 pm on May 7, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      I’m from orange county about 35 minutes from la. Takin a drive up to see wonderland ave. and Dona Lola . Will take pictures :-)

    • Edmund 9:06 am on June 3, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      Well I’m all the way from Australia… I’ve been dying to see the house since the film came out…. wonder if anyone can help me?

    • Maria 1:53 pm on July 25, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      I feel drawn to the house as well . Would love to see it. I’m in Oregon , so not too far away . I have spokeo and found the address for Eddie Nash , but nothing much for Susan. I was just curious. They didn’t deserve what they got , so brutal.

      • John 2:42 pm on July 25, 2013 Permalink | Reply

        Thanks Maria. Stop by and comment at the blog whenever you like. You’re welcome here and thanks for visiting.

    • Ben Johnson 4:25 pm on June 4, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      She has brain damage. She said she does “not remember” how many times? I can’t imagine the pressure she dealt with all the detectives pressing her for information. Detective Lang lost how many cases? OJ, Holmes, etc….

  • John 8:47 am on August 3, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: changeling, chicken coop, , murder, , wineville   

    The Wineville Chicken Coop Murders 

    The Wineville Chicken Coop Murders – were a series of kidnappings and murders of young boys occurring in Los Angeles and Riverside County, California, in 1928. The case received national attention. The 2008 film Changeling is based in part upon events related to this case.

    Walter Collins

    In 1926, Saskatchewan-born ranch owner Gordon Stewart Northcott took his 13-year-old nephew, Sanford Clark (with the permission of Sanford’s parents), from his home in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada. Once in California, Northcott beat and sexually abused his nephew.

    Sanford’s sister, Jessie Clark, visited Sanford in Wineville concerned for his welfare. Once in Wineville, Sanford told her that he feared for his own life and one night while Gordon Northcott slept, Jessie learned from Sanford about the horrors and murders that had taken place at Wineville. Jessie returned to Canada in the next week or so.

    Once in Canada, she informed the American Consul in Canada about the horrors in Wineville. The American consul then wrote a letter to the Los Angeles Police Department, detailing Jessie Clark’s sworn complaint. As initially there was some concern over an immigration issue, the Los Angeles Police Department contacted the United States Immigration Service to determine the extent of the complaint from Jessie. On August 31, 1928, the United States Immigration Service (inspectors; Judson F. Shaw and Inspector Scallorn) visited the Northcott Ranch in Wineville. The Immigration Service found 15-year-old Sanford Clark at the ranch and took him into custody. Gordon Northcott had fled through the fields when he saw the agents driving up the long road to his ranch. Gordon told Sanford to stall the agents, or he would shoot Sanford from the treeline with a rifle. In the 2 hours that Sanford stalled for Gordon, Gordon had kept running, and finally when Sanford felt that the agents could protect him, he told them that Gordon had fled into the trees that lined the edge of Gordon’s chicken-ranch property.

    Sanford Clark testified at the sentencing of Sarah Louise Northcott (his grandmother) that Gordon Northcott (his uncle) had kidnapped, molested, beaten, and killed three young boys with the help of Northcott’s mother, Sarah Louise Northcott, and Sanford himself. In addition to the three young boys murdered, Sanford stated that Northcott had also killed a Mexican youth (never identified, but referred to in the case as the “Headless Mexican”), without the involvement of his mother or Sanford. Gordon Northcott had forced Sanford to help dispose of the “head” (of the Mexican youth) by burning it in a firepit and then crushing the skull into pieces with a fence post. Gordon stated that “he had left the headless body by the side of the road near Puente (La Puente, California), because he had no other place to put it.”

    House and chicken coop on the property

    The Northcotts fled to Canada and were arrested near Vernon, British Columbia.

    Police found no complete bodies, but they discovered personal effects of the three children reported missing, a blood-stained axe, and partial body parts, including bones, hair and fingers, from the three victims buried in lime near the chicken house at the Northcott ranch near Wineville – hence the name “Wineville Chicken Coop Murders”. Wineville changed its name to Mira Loma on November 1, 1930, due in large part to the negative publicity surrounding the murders. The new City of Eastvale, California took parts of the area of Mira Loma in 2010 and the new city of Jurupa Valley took parts of Mira Loma in 2011.  Wineville Avenue, Wineville Road, Wineville Park and other geographic references provide reminders of the community’s former name. Sanford Clark returned to Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. City of Saskatoon records indicate that Sanford Wesley Clark died on June 20, 1991 and was buried in the Saskatoon Woodlawn Cemetery on August 26, 1993.

    Son (left) and Mom -or is it his Grandma?- (right) on trial. Old photos always make it even creepier! Am I right?

     

    Canadian police arrested Gordon Stewart Northcott and his mother on September 19, 1928. Due to errors in the extradition paperwork, they were not returned to Los Angeles until November 30, 1928. During the time period that Sarah and Gordon Northcott were being held in Canada, awaiting extradition back to California, Sarah Louise Northcott confessed to the murders, including that of nine-year-old Walter Collins. Prior to being extradited to California, Sarah Northcott retracted her statement, as did Gordon Northcott, who had confessed to killing more than five boys.

    Once Sarah Louise Northcott and her son, Gordon Northcott, were extradited from Canada to California, Sarah Louise Northcott, once again, pled guilty to killing Walter Collins. There was no trial. Upon her plea of guilty, Superior Court Judge Morton sentenced her to life imprisonment on December 31, 1928, sparing her the death penalty because she was a woman. Sarah Louise Northcott served her sentence at Tehachapi State Prison, and was paroled after fewer than 12 years. During her sentencing, Sarah Louise claimed her son was innocent and made a variety of bizarre claims about his parentage, including that he was an illegitimate son by an English nobleman, that she was Gordon’s grandmother, and that he was the result of incest between her husband, George Cyrus Northcott, and their daughter. She also stated that as a child, Gordon was sexually abused by the entire family. Sarah Louise Northcott died in 1944.

    Gordon Northcott was implicated and participated in the murder of Walter Collins, but because his mother had already confessed and been sentenced for the murder of Walter, the state chose not to bring any charges against Gordon in the death of Walter Collins. It was speculated that Gordon may have had as many as 20 victims, but the State of California could not produce evidence to support that speculation, and ultimately only brought an indictment against Gordon in the murder of an unidentified Mexican boy known as the “Headless Mexican” and brothers Lewis and Nelson Winslow (aged 12 and 10, respectively). The brothers had been reported missing from Pomona on May 16, 1928.

    In early 1929, Gordon Northcott’s trial was held before Judge George R. Freeman in Riverside County, California. The jury heard that he kidnapped, molested, tortured, and murdered the Winslow brothers and the “Headless Mexican” in 1928. On February 8, 1929, the 27-day trial ended with Gordon Northcott convicted of the murders.

    On February 13, 1929, Freeman sentenced Gordon Northcott to death, and he was hanged on October 2, 1930, at San Quentin State Prison.

    Gordon, looking creepy as hell. Due to claims of incest, his sister was his mother and his mother was actually his grandmother. Now that is strange and bizarre.

    Further Reading:

    Wikipedia. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wineville_Chicken_Coop_Murders.

     

     
  • John 11:52 am on August 2, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , murder   

    Alabama Burning – A list of Murders after the Civil War ended 

    The list below describes murders and other crimes against blacks in Alabama the year after the Civil War ended. It was compiled by the Freedmen’s Bureau.

    Obviously, the South was no place to be if you were black. Some of these descriptions are quite gruesome:

    List of Murders in the Dist. of Alabama 1866

    1. Freedman killed in Sumter County, January.
    2. Freedman killed in Russell County, February.
    3. Freedman killed near West Point, March.
    4. Freedman killed with an axe in Butler County. Three freedmen killed by two brothers in Shelby County, April.
    5. Freedman killed in Montgomery County, April. Freedman & freedwoman killed, thrown into a well in Jefferson Co., April.
    6. Freedman killed for refusing to sign a contract, Sumter Co., May. Freedman killed in Butler Co., clubbed, April.
    7. Freedman found hung by a grapevine in woods near Tuscaloosa, May.
    8. Freed girl beaten to death by two white men near Tuscaloosa, July.
    9. Freedman murdered between Danville & Somerville.
    10. Freedman shot dead while at his usual work, near Tuscaloosa, Sept.
    11. Freedman killed in Pike County, Sept.
    12. Negro murdered near Claiborne, Alabama, June.
    13. Freedman brought to hospital in Montgomery, shot through the head by unknown parties – died in few hours, Dec.
    14. Freedman murdered in Montgomery City, Jan. ’67.

    District of Alabama, 1866

    Jan. 4 – Bob Foreman cut at Union Springs.

    Jan. 2 – Alfred killed in Sumter County.

    Febry. 14 – Richard killed in Russell County near Columbus, Ga.

    March – Freedman killed near West Point.

    March – Bradley killed freedwoman with an axe. Montgy.

    March – Guard fired on & driven off when attempting to arrest the murderer, Butler Co.

    April 3 – Woman taken by three men out of her house in middle of night to swamp & badly whipped – beaten on head with pistol &c.

    April – Freedman killed near Saw Mill near Montgomery.

    April 27 – Freedman shot by Confed. Soldier wantonly near Livingston, Sumter Co.

    May 7 – Moore taken to woods & hung till nearly dead to make him tell who robbed a store, at Tuscaloosa.

    May 29 – Colored man killed by Lucian Jones for refusing to sign contract, in upper part of Sumter Co.

    May 30 – Mulatto hung by grapevine near roadside between Tuscaloosa & Greensboro.

    May 29 – Richard Dick’s wife beaten with club by her employer. Richard remonstrated – in the night was taken from his house and whipped nearly to death with a buggy trace by son of the employer & two others.

    June 16 – Mr. Alexander, colored preacher, brutally beaten & forced to leave his house at Auburn, Ala.

    July – Band armed men came to house of Eliz. Adams, threatened to kill her & her sister if they did not leave the county, abused & beat them. (illegible) Franklin & (illegible) started to report outrage, not heard from afterward.

    July 16 – Black girl beaten to death by Washington and Greene McKinney, 18 miles west of Tuscaloosa.

    July 23 – White man named Cook murdered a Negro between Danville & Somerville.

    Sept. 14 – Black man picking fodder in a field shot dead — & another who had difficulty with a white man abducted & supposed to have been murdered near Tuscaloosa.

    Sept. 3 – Murderous assault upon returned black Union soldier in Blount Co.

    Sept. 12 – Assault & firing upon a freedman in Greenville.

    Dec. 18 – R. S. Lee of Butler Co. brutally assaulted a freedwoman of Sumner.

    Dec. 18 – Same man assaulted with intent to kill Peter Golston, freedman.

    Dec. 18 – Wm. Lee, son of above shot Morris Golston on 10th December.

    Dec. 17 – Enoch Hicks & party burned school house in Greenville in Sumner – assaulted Union soldier &c. Judge Bragg & son mercilessly beat wife & daughter of James, freedman & drew pistol on James. Kell Forrest beat wife of colored man George.

    July 16 – Mrs. Prus beat Eve & her children. Henry Calloway beat freedwoman Nancy with buck, wounding her severely in the head. J. Howard & nephew beat & shot at Frank. Jno. Black attempted to kill Jim Sneethen with an axe. Jack McLeonard whipped his freedwoman mercilessly. Lee Davidson tied freedwoman up by wrists & beat her severely. Frank Pinkston cutting freedman Alfred with knife. Louisa’s husband murdered by unknown white man.

    July 26 – Jno. Dunn beat freedwoman severely – trial a farce. Jas. Pryor, 8 miles from Greenville, assaulted freedman & committed outrage on a freedwoman.

    July 18 – One Yerby set fire to colored chc. Near Tuscaloosa, threatened to kill black man who saw him do it.

    June – Negro murdered by one Humphreys residing near Claiborne, Ala. Miss. J. B. Peck, Wetumpka, reports outrages on a family of freedmen by one Jennings.

    August – Gang of ruffians in Clarke Co. set fire to house & fired on family as they ran from it – one killed, two wounded.

    February 1866 – Freedwoman beaten with club by her employer near Selma, head cut in most shocking manner.

    June 1866 – Freedman shot while at his usual work by his employer for threatening to report his abusive conduct to the authorities of the Bureau – Mobile.

    June 1866 – Freedwoman severely burned by a Policeman while in the guard house – Montgomery.

    July 1866 – Demopolis, colored boy 13 years old struck violent blow in eye with club in hand of his employer.

    Sept. 1866 – Demopolis, freedwoman wounded in arms, head by heavy club in hands of her employer.

    Sept. 1866 – Freedwoman wounded in hand by violence from her employer Wm. Robinson.

    Sept. 1866 – James Thompson, frme., severe wounds on breast & side by knife in hands Dormer Thomas.

    December 1866 – Freedman killed by parties unknown, brought to hospital in dying condition, shot through brain.

    January 25 – Freedwoman stabbed by Ballard six miles below Montgomery.

    Source:

    Records of the Assistant Commissioner for the State of Alabama
    Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen and Abandoned Lands, 1865 – 1870
    National Archives Publication M809 Roll 23
    “Miscellaneous Papers”

     
  • John 4:13 pm on August 1, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: murder, music, urban legend   

    Death on the Love Rollercoaster? 

    While the song is known within the music community for its distinctive and influential sound, within the popular imagination it remains best identified with a persistent urban legend. During an instrumental portion of the song, a high-pitched scream is heard (between 1:24 and 1:28 on the single version, or between 2:32 and 2:36 on the album version); this was Billy Beck, but according to the most common legend, it was the voice of an individual being murdered live while the tape was rolling. The “victim’s” identity varies greatly depending on the version. The supposed sources of the scream have included an individual who was killed at some prior time, her scream inexplicably recorded and looped into the track. One other version says that a girl has fallen off the rollercoaster and was screaming to her death. Another version tells of a rabbit being killed outside the studio whose scream was accidentally picked up by the band’s recording equipment – highly implausible, since professional recording studios are soundproof. The most widespread version of the myth, however, tells that Ester Cordet, who appeared nude on the Honey album cover, had been badly burned by the super-heated honey used for the photo shoot, which occurred simultaneous with the recording session, and her agonized screams were inadvertently captured on tape. A further variation had Cordet suffering permanent disfigurement due to the burns; she interrupted the band’s recording session, threatening to sue, at which point the band’s manager stabbed her to death in the control room. The latter scenario, however, is impossible as Ester Cordet is still alive.

    Casey Kasem reported the urban myth of the woman being killed in the studio recording booth on his radio show, American Top 40, when the song was on the charts in 1976.

    Jimmy “Diamond” Williams explained that the scream was nothing eerie or disturbing:

    There is a part in the song where there’s a breakdown. It’s guitars and it’s right before the second verse and Billy Beck does one of those inhaling-type screeches like Minnie Riperton did to reach her high note or Mariah Carey does to go octaves above. The DJ made this crack and it swept the country. People were asking us, ‘Did you kill this girl in the studio?’ The band took a vow of silence because you sell more records that way.
     
  • John 9:31 am on July 20, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: bindon, britain, darke, england, john, , murder, rock   

    The Amazing John Bindon (Meets Led Zeppelin) 

    John Dennis Arthur “Biffo” Bindon
    (4 October 1943 – 10 October 1993)

    John was an English actor and bodyguard who had close links with the London underworld. The son of a London cab driver, Bindon was frequently in trouble as a youth for getting into fights, and spent two periods in Borstal. He was spotted in a London pub by Ken Loach who asked him to star in his film Poor Cow. Other film and television productions followed, with Bindon sought after to play gangsters or tough police detectives. He played a violent mobster alongside Mick Jagger in Performance and a London crime boss in Get CarterPhilip Hoare described Bindon as “the archetypal actor-villain, and an all-round ‘good geezer’”.

    Late 60s with Princess Margaret (note the Enjoy Cocaine t-shirt)

    He was also known for having a large penis and many socialite girlfriends, such as Christine Keeler, the former Playboy “Bunny Girl” Serena Williams and Vicki Hodge, who had a 12-year abusive relationship with Bindon.[2][3]Through Hodge, Bindon gained access to British aristocratic circles, which culminated with him meeting Princess Margaret in the late 1960s, at her home on Mustique in the Caribbean. Bindon claimed he had sex with the princess, whilst Margaret later denied the meeting ever took place despite photographic evidence.

    Bindon lived his hard man persona on and off screen. He was believed to be running protection rackets in West London pubs and have alleged connections to the Kray twins and the Richardson Gang. In the late 1970s in addition to acting work he provided security for actors and musicians, most notoriously for Led Zeppelin on their 1977 US tour, where he was sacked for brawling backstage. In 1978 Bindon was tried for the murder of London gangster Johnny Darke. Bindon pleaded self defence and was acquitted, but the case damaged his reputation, and this coupled with being seen as difficult to work with by directors meant his acting career declined. In the 1980s Bindon became reclusive and died in 1993 from an AIDS related illness.

    Led Zeppelin Era

    In early 1977, Bindon was hired by Peter Grant on advice from tour manager Richard Cole as security co-ordinator for English rock group Led Zeppelin during their concert tour of the United States. He had previously provided security for actors Ryan and Tatum O’Neal. Bindon took his job to the extreme, developing an addiction to cocaine and heroin during the tour and much violence occurred behind the scenes directed mostly at journalists, bouncers and concert staff. The band did not realise the extent of what was happening until their concert at the Oakland Coliseum on 23 July 1977, near the end of their US tour. Upon arrival at the stadium, it is alleged that Bindon pushed a member of promoter Bill Graham‘s stage crew out of the way as the band entered via a backstage ramp. As a result, tension had been simmering between Graham’s staff and Led Zeppelin’s security team during the day, and as Grant and Bindon were walking down the ramp near the end of the concert, words were exchanged with stage crew chief Jim Downey, which resulted in Bindon knocking Downey out cold.

    Bindon in a suit

    Just minutes later a separate off-stage incident occurred. Bill Graham’s security man Jim Matzorkis was accused of slapping Peter Grant’s 11-year-old son Warren for taking a dressing room sign, and the ensuing argument escalated into an all-out brawl. Led Zeppelin’s second Oakland show took place only after Bill Graham signed a letter of indemnification, absolving Led Zeppelin from responsibility for the previous night’s incident. However, Graham refused to honour the letter and assault charges were laid against Grant, Cole, Bindon and John Bonham when the band arrived back at their hotel. The four received bail and later pleaded no contest, receiving suspended sentences. Bindon was dismissed by the band and returned to England. Grant later said that allowing Bindon to be hired was the biggest mistake he ever made as manager.

    In 1978, Bindon became involved in a fight with John Darke, a London gangster, outside the Ranelagh Yacht Club, in FulhamLondon. Darke was stabbed nine times, resulting in his death, and Bindon managed to flee to Dublin with his own knife wounds covered up. He gave himself up to police and in the subsequent trial at the Old Bailey in November 1979. The prosecution claimed that this was a £10,000 contract killing over drugs, with the fight as a cover for the death. However, the defence argued that Darke’s death was in self-defence, saying Bindon was in fear of his life as he was being blackmailed about losing drug money and cocaine worth thousands of pounds (though his defence might have been hindered amid allegations of bragging to a cellmate that he was a hitman while on remand awaiting trial). Bindon was acquitted of Darke’s murder. It was reported that the “substantial appearance” of actor Bob Hoskins as a character witness at the trial helped sway the jury’s verdict and that the judge Sir William Mars-Jones “had been sympathetic towards Bindon in his summing-up and unhappy with the ragbag of witnesses produced by the prosecution”.

    Media reports of the trial, along with the Oakland incident, seriously damaged Bindon’s reputation (there were other various allegations of a similar violent nature against Bindon) and he found it increasingly difficult to find work in the entertainment industry. This was partly attributable also to his reputation for being difficult to work with on set, as much as his alleged connections to organised crime.

    His Legend

    Bindon acting in Poor Cow

    In 2002, a Carlton Television documentary of John Bindon’s life entitled Real Crime: Starring John Bindon was screened in the UK on ITV. It featured archival footage of Bindon behind the scenes and interviews with Angela BowieVicki HodgeBilly MurrayGeorge Sewell and James Whitaker. Bindon also featured in the Carlton documentary for ITV, The Secret Life of Princess Margaret, broadcast in 2005. Bindon’s relationship with Princess Margaret was the further the subject of Channel 4‘s documentary The Princess and the Gangster which was broadcast on the 9 February 2009 and repeated on 17 August 2009 when hits to Bindon’s Wikipedia page peaked at 6,100 on that day as against a daily average of 100 viewings. The Princess and the Gangster was part of the Toffs and Crims series.

    In 2005, Wensley Clarkson published a biography of Bindon entitled Bindon: Fighter, Gangster, Actor, Lover – the True Story of John Bindon, a Modern Legend (London: John Blake. ISBN 1-84454-116-9).

    On the inside sleeve of the LP Maladjusted the singer Morrissey had printed, “John Bindon 1943–1993″.

    A book on John Bindon

    Bindon was reportedly the inspiration behind Vinnie Jones‘s character in Guy Ritchie’s film Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels.

    The 2008 film The Bank Job is based on the 1971 robbery of Lloyd’s Bank in London to steal photographs kept in a safe deposit box, and subsequently hushed up by MI5. The photographs were rumoured to be of Princess Margaret in a compromising position set on a Caribbean beach with Bindon,although Bindon was not specifically named in the film. Another theory has it that Bindon, aware of an ongoing investigation into his involvement in a serious crime, arranged for clandestine photographs to be taken during one of his London trysts with Margaret. He then had the negatives stored in a bank safe deposit box, intending to use them as a bargaining tool in the event that he was ever charged.

    A biopic of John Bindon, entitled “Mugs”, written by Christopher Brand, is currently in development by Gateway Films.[citation needed]

    In September 2010, Franklyn McCabe’s play, ‘Ten Men: The Lives of John Bindon’, with Matthew Houghton playing Bindon, was staged at the Open House,Brighton. It was later presented at the Old Market, Hove, in November 2011.

     
  • John 6:54 pm on November 1, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , murder, , picture, ,   

    The Wonderland Murders 

     
    • nessaj85 4:26 pm on January 15, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      Hey, the address u have for Barbara is right, her mom still lives there under the name Easton

      • John 1:53 pm on March 22, 2013 Permalink | Reply

        Just posted a few yearbook pics. I may take them down in a few days. Check ‘em out while you can. RIP Barbara!

    • John 9:04 am on January 16, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      Ok, thanks.

      • pixie 5:29 pm on February 17, 2013 Permalink | Reply

        I’ve always wanted to know more about Joy. I’d love to know how she went from socialite and Beverly Hills mom to this. Do you have any more information about her? She was so beautiful in those younger pictures. My heart goes out to her daughters. I wonder if they were in close contact with her at the time of her death. I’m also curious about DeVerell’s children and what type of relationship they had with their father at the time of his death.

        • John 11:22 am on February 18, 2013 Permalink

          From what I have read on other blogs… she was divorced from her Beverly Hills attorney husband in the early 70s. She went on to work as a secretary for a Hollywood type showbiz but on the drug fringe guy, who also introduced her to the local drug scene. ..and so that goes. Her daughters were still close to her, and are the only family on record talking to the media after the various trials of Nash, Holmes. I believe both daughters were at the 2001 trial of Nash. I read a quote in an old newspaper article on Google News Archive.

    • John 1:08 pm on February 18, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      I also read a post on a forum from a cousin of DeVerell’s… as could be expected, they were devastated, but not shocked by his passing, given that drugs were involved, and he had quite a long rap sheet. I can imagine with his criminal record and lengthy times of incarceration that he and his kids were probably not that close. Sorry, wish I knew more to share.

      • pixie 1:54 pm on February 18, 2013 Permalink | Reply

        Thank you so much for your quick replies! I’d love to see what DeVerell’s cousin wrote. Do you happen to have a link to that forum? I’m curious about how he met Joy Miller. I read somewhere on your blog that the connection between Ron and Joy was through Joy’s neighbor, William Vlick. Do you happen to know what ever became of Vlick? I tried to search for info on him, but all I could find was that he was supposed to stand trial with Joy later that year. I assumed that they all met each other through the drug scene, but Joy and the Wonderland guys seem like they came from two totally different worlds. Was DeVerell from the Sacramento area like Launius and Lind?

        I’ve been fascinated by this case ever since I saw the E True Hollywood Story. I know that the Wonderland gang were far from being angels; however, the way that one of the detectives spoke about Joy during an interview that was shown in that story always bothered me. They were human beings who had families and loved ones.

        I lived in West Hollywood for many years, but sadly didn’t discover this case until I moved away. I am very well-acquainted with the Laurel Canyon area. Nash’s house and the Wonderland house are only about 5 minutes from each other (I’ve read that it was reported to be a 10 minute drive, but it should be less than 10 minutes).

        • John 11:04 am on March 5, 2013 Permalink

          Sorry for the delay in responding. I don’t know what happened to Vlick, as I have searched high and low for info. No luck. I believe DeVerell was from Arizona. Yes, Joy seemed very cosmopolitan if you will, she at least kept a stylish interior to the home, and it was far from being a drug den or crack house. It was quite tidy.

    • pixie 12:28 pm on March 5, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      I think that’s one of the things that fascinates me so much about Joy. From all accounts of her fiancé and friends’ activity, you would think that she was a rough biker chick. Her life actually seemed like it was the complete opposite. It’s interesting that there doesn’t seem to be any info about Vlick out there. It sounds like he was a somewhat high profile drug dealer at the time. You would think that there would be at least one or two court documents out there. I’m assuming his case went to trial. I wonder if he turned state’s evidence on another case or ended up going into witness protection for some reason or other.

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