Wonderland Actor Dylan McDermott’s Mother Was Murdered in 1967
This McDermott case reminds me of so many other cold cases from yesteryear. I can’t imagine not getting any closure. The police in this case were idiots. See article below…
Another cold case that comes to mind is the 1977 murder of 70’s B-movie star and model, Christa Helm. The actor, Jon Gries, who played Uncle Rico in Napoleon Dynamite, was a young teen and staying in West Hollywood a few doors down from the side of the street where Christa was brutally beaten and stabbed to death. She was stabbed several times, leading police to believe that her murder was not a robbery but something very personal. Someone wanted her dead.
Jon Gries was interviewed in a recent documentary about Christa, and he said the screams that night still haunt him and at the time, scared the living hell out of him. The screams of death and murder are unmistakable, unless you live on Wonderland, because then you just turn the TV up louder. Gries said he was almost too afraid to go outside to see what had happened and if he would have gone outside a bit sooner, he thinks that he might have seen the killer.
Christa’s friend, who was also a suspect, was an actor who later played one of Tony’s mob buddies in The Sopranos. He is a really shady guy, but this is a really fascinating story with some very interesting key players. Hollywood is so damn crazy!
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Actor’s Mom’s 1967 Death Finally Ruled A Murder
June 25, 2012 | Anthony Konrad
Police recently reopened a 45-year-old case involving Dylan McDermott’s mother, finally concluding that she was murdered by her ex-boyfriend.
When McDermott was 5, his mother was shot to death in an incident that police initially ruled as an accident. The suspect in the crime is the mother’s ex-boyfriend John Sponza who had ties to organized crime syndicates. He told police that his girlfriend accidentally shot herself, after picking up a gun that he was cleaning.
Last year, Waterbury police finally reopened the case after Dylan himself called the station with unanswered questions.
The medical examiner reviewed the autopsy and saw the inconsistencies. The weapon found was not only too small to have caused her injuries, but her death was caused from a shot at the back of her head.
“What troubled me was that there was very little follow up other than the statement Sponza had given to police,” Police chief Michael Gugliotti explained.
“Sponza is telling the police that night that he very rarely, if ever, had arguments, yet everyone we spoke to, including Dylan, who was only 5 at the time, remembered very violent, vicious arguments,” he also added. “Dylan vividly recalls the amount of times, not only flashing the gun, but pointing it at the kid, saying, `Shut up and get out of here.’ He’s still probably traumatized by that.”
The reopened investigation also led to evidence that links Sponza to two other homicides. Unfortunately, the suspect cannot be tried, as he was shot to death in 1972, when his body was found in the trunk of a car in a store parking lot.
Experiencing this traumatic event at a young age, McDermott found ways to cope with the loss.
“He said in order for me to survive and to get where I am today, I needed to bury that moment in my life deep within myself,” Gugliotti recalled his conversation with McDermott. “He said it wasn’t until recently that I’ve come to the point in my life where I’m able to begin to process all of this and make it part of his life.”