The Criminal History of Ronnie Lee Launius
This is the murder attributed to Ron Launius and which was brought up quite often in the Wonderland murder news clippings during 1981.
The article below is quite difficult to read due to the crummy zoom tool… but the bottom line is this guy, Carroll Evan Sherrill, killed Gary Moore in 1973 and Ron helped him dispose of the body. Carroll and Ronnie had taken some bad dope. The bad dope “made them crazy”. Gary came over and Ron accused Gary of being a “snitch”. Later, while driving around drinking in Ron’s Scout SUV, Carroll thought Gary made a move to strike at Ron, so he shot him in the back seat. After dumping the body, they later burned the back seat to get rid of any evidence. This is all according to Carroll’s confession. He was coming clean because he wanted out of the feared Folsom Prison, where an attempt had been made on his life. He wanted a transfer. He had been serving time for robbing a drug store.
The bottom line is that Ronnie would have probably done time sooner or later for this crime, had he not died at Wonderland. Carroll and Paul Ballard were involved with Ron fixing up old cars and smuggling heroin into the US in the early 70s. They were caught a year after this murder and pleaded guilty to smuggling heroin and meth (see bottom half of this post).
Ron’s brother was interviewed by a California newspaper in 2007 or 08, and said he did not see much of Ronnie after his prison stint, and that when he saw him in January, 1981, Ron appeared very ill. Was that attributed to Agent Orange, or was Ronnie just dope-sick from heroin withdrawals at the time his brother saw him? The winter of 1981 is when Ronnie was checked out at Livermore Veterans’ Hospital in California. For his occupation on the paperwork, Ronnie or a clerk wrote down: “Indigent with no funds”.
Ron’s 1973 smuggling arrest case has made some waves over the years. Ron, Sherrill and Paul Ballard all pleaded guilty, but upon appeal two years later the case was ruled to have been “double jeopardy”. However, since they had plead guilty, it was not thrown out. Ron served 4 years. 3 of his years were served at McNeil Federal Prison in Washington state, and the final year at a minimum security prison near Los Angeles. Maybe that is where he met David Lind?
So many questions…btw, Thanks to loyal reader “localarts” for some of that info.
The Launius smuggling case has been cited by other cases over the years regarding “double jeopardy”. Ron served 3 or 4 years for the smuggling crime.
I never thought I would see a legal case titled like this…that’s awesome to me.
Ronnie Lee Launius vs. USA
I’m not a lawyer, I just play one on TV.