Testimony of Paramedic at Wonderland House
This courtroom testimony was obtained via the Freedom of Information Act from the Federal Office of Mind Your Own Business.
LINDA MARIE MITCHELL
Called as a witness by the People,
was sworn and testified as follows:
BY MR. COEN
Q: Officer Mitchell, what is your occupation and assignment?
A: I’m a paramedic with the L.A. City Fire Department.
Q: And directing your attention to July 1, 1981, just shortly before 4:00 o’clock in the afternoon: Did you respond to 8763 Wonderland Avenue in Los Angeles?
A: Yes, I did.
Q: For what purpose was that, Ma’am?
A: We had a call, our dispatcher called and said we had a possible dead body at the scene.
Q: And referring to People’s 1-A and 1-B of the chart, in the area marked S. Launius in bedroom number one did you see this person?
A: Yes I did.
Q: Was this a female, by the way?
A: Yes it was.
Q: In what condition was this person in?
A: She was lying on the floor. She had a lot of head injuries. She had an amputated finger. The patient at that time was semi-conscious. We were unable to get any information from her, Her vital signs were within stable limits. She was completely incoherent.
Q: But she was alive?
A: She was alive. Yes.
Q: You say her finger was amputated. Was it a fresh amputation? By that I mean it was not –
A: No. It was a fresh amputation.
Q: Was there a lot of blood in the area of the person, S. Launius?
A: Yes. There was blood. It was mainly on the wall right behind her head. Her head was pretty close to the wall. There was blood all over the wall behind her.
Q: And what was the condition of her head?
A: Her head had a lot of – we couldn’t determine at the time what the cause – what the damage was caused by, but it was on the top of her head, she had a lot of deep wounds.
Q: Did you notice anything, any of the other victims in the residence?
A: Yes, we examined all the other four and pronounced all of them deceased.
Q: The only person that was alive was S. Launius in the People’s Diagram 1-A?
A: That is correct.
Q: Did you cause this person to be transported to a hospital?
A: That is correct. I transported her to Cedars.
MR. COEN: I have nothing further.
BY MR. HANSON:
Q: Miss Mitchell, what time did you arrive again?
A: We arrived at approximately 1600 hours.
Q: When you say “we” who are you referring to?
A: Okay. There was myself and my partner.
Q: Just two of you?
A: That is correct.
Q: Aside from the five victims or bodies that you saw in the residence were there other people in the residence when you arrived?
A: In the home itself?
Q: Yes, Ma’am.
A: There was an engine company on the scene. They preceded us. We had four people from the engine company there, my partner and myself.
Q: Did you see any people that did not appear to be connected with the paramedics or fire department or some other official sources?
A: Not inside the home itself.
Q: Did you see people outside the home?
A: There were several people on the sidewalk, which is normal any time you have a lot of fire engines and –
Q: With regard to the four people that were pronounced dead, did you personally physically examine those four people?
A: I pronounced two of the people; my partner pronounced the other two.
Q: And those two – strike that – did those four people appear to you to have been dead for some period of time?
A: We are not the coroner. We couldn’t determine the time of death. They were, very obviously, dead, though.
Q: Did you notice any blood on them?
A: Yes, they all had blood on them.
Q: Did the blood appear to be dry?
A: Yes, sir.
Q: With regard to the one party that was still living – that was Susan Launius. Is that correct?
A: Yes, sir. From what I understand. At the time we couldn’t get the name out of her. We just had her as Jane Doe.
Q: You told us that she apparently was talking but her speech was either garbled or incoherent? Is that correct?
A: She was not really talking. She was moaning more than anything and she was mumbling a word occasionally but it didn’t make any sense to me.
Q: Were you with her from the time that you found her until she was taken to the hospital?
A: Either my partner or I were with her.
Q: And how much time transpired from the time you found her until she was taken and delivered to the hospital?
A: Till the time we loaded her up in the ambulance to get ready to leave for the hospital? Approximately 10 minutes.
Q: And how long did the ride to the hospital take?
A: 15 minutes.
Q: Were you with her when she was being treated at the hospital?
A: No, sir.
Q: During any of the time that you were with her did she make any statements to you that made any sense to you?
A: No, sir. She did not.
Q: Did you relate to the police whatever statements she did make, whether they were intelligible or unintelligible?
A: She didn’t actually make any statements to us.
Q: I see. Nothing further, Your Honor.
THE COURT: Redirect?
MR. COEN: Nothing, Your Honor.
THE COURT: Thank you very much, Miss Mitchell. You may step down and you are excused.
MR. COEN: Thank you, Your Honor. The People call Susan Launius.
 Cedars-Sinai Hospital on Beverly Boulevard in Los Angeles