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.



Called as a witness by the People,

was sworn and testified as follows:







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





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 –








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.




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.







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.