The Testimony of Tracy McCourt
Again, as with David Lind… this testimony is from the preliminary trial of John Holmes in February, 1982, not the murder trial. Thanks to Bonnie for sending it to me.
I am not sure if this photo is from Holmes murder trial or the Nash/Diles Trial which was eight years later. If I had to guess, I would say the latter.
Get out the Kleenex – I started to feel sorry for Tracy here. He is just a kid and he is honest and doesn’t make himself out to be a big shot. There is no self aggrandizement. After the robbery, he even pays two friends $50 to drive him to Wonderland and back to North Hollywood. He says that wanted to look like a big spender. Maybe it was to impress the girl in the car? Who knows, but he’s a decent guy. RIP man. I did crack up when he asked what “en route” means, though.
He also says Wonderland was not a big drug house and there were no hard drugs being sold out of there, only some weed. He also mentions the two dogs at Wonderland, and that they barked a lot. He also seemed to care less for Lind than he did for Holmes.
MR. COEN: At this time the people call Tracy McCourt.
TRACY McCOURT Called as a witness by the People, was sworn and testified as follows:
BY MR. COEN:
Q: Mr. McCourt, directing your attention to Monday the 29th of June 1981: Did you participate in a robbery at Ed Bash’s residence at 3315 DonnaLola Place in Los Angeles?
A: Yes, sir. I did.
Q: And prior to that date you were involved in plans to rob Ed Nash?
A: Yes. I was.
Q: And where did these plans take place?
A: At Billy and Joy’s house on Wonderland Drive.
Q: 8763 Wonderland Avenue?
A: I believe that is the address.
Q: And when were you first apprized, when were you first told, of these plans in relation to June 29?
A: In relation to June 1st – I mean – what is it? July 1st?
Q: June 29, the date of the robbery.
A: Yes. We planned the robbery three, about two to three days before that, solid planning, day and night.
THE COURT: Mr. Coen, may I have you and Mr. Hanson and the reporter at the bench?
(Discussion at the bench as follows:)
THE COURT: What is the status of the proceedings with respect to the robbery?
MR. COEN: There has never been a police report made on it.
THE COURT: Well, aren’t these people incriminating themselves?
MR. COEN: What I have done in relation to the Ed Nash robbery on June 29, I have given Tracy McCourt and David Lind informal use immunity. To make myself even more clear, I told them that whatever they would say in court proceedings would not be used against them in any other action.
Realistically, since the robbery was never reported there is never going to be a case. For obvious reasons, Ed Nash did not report it.
THE COURT: Well, usually it is my policy to insist on having the immunity papers. But based upon your representation that no victim ever reported the criminal act against himself or his property, I presume the same is true with Mr. Diles?
MR. COEN: The same is true with Mr. Diles.
THE COURT: I will simply have to accept the so-called use immunity which the prosecution has granted.
MR. COEN: Thank you, Your Honor.
(In open court:)
THE COURT: Mr. McCourt, when was the initial discussions regarding the planning of this particular robbery?
THE WITNESS: I would guess it would be approximately about the 27th of June, I believe it is.
THE COURT: Proceed.
MR. COEN: Thank you.
BY MR. COEN:
Q: And whose idea was this robbery?
A: Well, when I walked in the house, you know, after I had been there a little while, John was rattling off about “long time money and lots of cocaine,” you know.
Q: Now, first of all, when you say “John” –
A: John Holmes.
Q: The defendant?
A: John Holmes. Yes.
Q: And when you say “rattling off” you mean he was talking about this?
A: Yeah. He was talking about it but it didn’t sound like it was, you know, like lots of people talk that way, you know, say there is a lot of money when there isn’t that much money. I just thought it was one of those conversations.
Q: Didn’t John Holmes mention Eddie Nash’s house or Eddie Nash by name by that time?
A: I don’t think I – I remember him saying the word Nash.
Q: What else occurred relating to the planning of the robbery at the place a couple of days later?
A: What else occurred that related to the robbery?
Q: Planning of the robbery, yes.
A: Well, we planned it. We made a couple of dry runs. We had to call it off a couple of times. One time everybody was going to forget it and me and Billy were going to do it and John kept going in the house and doing so much cocaine he wouldn’t come out for 45 minutes, three or four hours later, sometimes.
Q: Let me stop you, Mr. McCourt. When you say John kept going into the house, which house are you referring to?
A: Nash’s house on the end of DonnaLola Place or whatever it was, after the alcove.
Q: That is DonnaLola Place?
Q: Now did, were any written plans drawn of the house on DonnaLola Place?
A: Yes. There were some plans drawn.
Q: Do you know who drew those plans?
A: Well, they were made out by John and Ronnie was drawing on them to get, you know, find out where the bodyguard slept, where the guns were, what we, how many windows were in the back of the house and, you know the whole thing.
Q: By “John” again, you are referring to the defendant Holmes?
Q: Now, on the morning hours of June 29 did you go in a car with some other people to 3315 DonnaLola Place?
A: Yes –
Q: And –
A: — me and one – three other people, yeah.
Q: And to your knowledge where was the defendant Holmes?
A: Well, at the time – we received a call from John and he said it was cool so we left the house and on the way, leaving the house, we saw John. We stopped and he told us to get him. He went like this: “Get him!” So we went to the house and did, you know.
Q: Now, when you say “We received a call from Defendant Holmes and he said it was cool,” was that some sort of pre-arranged signal?
A: Yes, that he was going to call or something. I don’t know. I don’t think he was supposed to call. I think he was supposed to come back to the house. There were so many of us involved in the planning of the thing, I don’t know who actually took the call even, you know. Some of us were asleep, some of us were sleeping, some of us were awake and some weren’t awake.
Q: Mr. McCourt, when you went to the residence you said you passed the defendant Holmes on the way to the residence?
Q: And –
A: He was coming down the hill and we were going up the hill.
Q: What did he say to you?
A: He said it was time. “Get him.”
Q: And did you participate as one of the actual robbers or were you the getaway driver?
A: I was the driver.
Q: And at that time did the other three people in your car go inside?
Q: Eddie Nash’s residence?
Q: And sometime later did they come out carrying items?
Q: What items did you see that they were carrying?
A: Well, they were carrying a shower curtain with something in it and a briefcase and everybody was tucking guns in their pants ad what have you.
Q: Did you drive them back to the 87 –
Q: — 63 Wonderland Avenue in Los Angeles?
A: Yes, I did.
Q: And at that time was the loot divided?
A: Yes it was.
Q: How as it divided?
A: Me and John got half of a split and everybody else got full splits, so that is how it was divided. Plus, by way of a scale.
Q: When the loot was divided where was the defendant Holmes, if you know?
A: In the house, with us.
Q: Did he take a portion of the divided loot?
Q: Did you and he split a full share?
MR. COEN: I have nothing further.
THE COURT: Cross examination?
MR. HANSON: Thank you, Your Honor.
BY MR. HANSON
Q: Mr. McCourt, prior to the time that this robbery took place in the home of Mr. Nash had you been living, sir, at the Wonderland address?
A: Not on a regular basis. No. I just had been staying there about five days and when that happened, no, I wasn’t living there.
Q: But you had been staying there? Is that correct?
A: Yes. But not living there. No. I had no clothes there. I had no personal items there. No, I was not living there.
Q: I understand that but what I am asking you is: Were you spending your nights there?
A: Well, I spent three nights there. If that is spending my nights there, yes, I spent three nights there in the house.
Q: By that –
A: No, I wasn’t living there.
Q: I understand that.
Q: But you had gone there and you had spent at least three nights there? Is that correct?
Q: Were you sleeping on the couch or the bed?
A: On the couch. Yes. On the bed.
Q: Were other people, to your knowledge, spending the nights there?
Q: Who did you know at that house on Wonderland?
A: Bill, Joy, Ronnie – I didn’t – I hardly barely knew his ex-wife and I didn’t know –well – I met Barbara.
Q: Were all those people, Mr. McCourt, that you just mentioned, to your knowledge, living there during the period that you spent the three nights there?
A: The only people living there, to my knowledge, were Ronnie, Joy, and Billy, that is all. And the dogs.
Q: The dogs?
A: Two dogs.
Q: All right. The first you heard about the robbery was some discussion either two or three days prior to the time the robbery took place? Is that correct?
Q: Now, could you be more specific if it was two days or three days?
A: I believe it was two days and I – I – I had a bit of a hassle trying to forget some of this so I have to, you know, search in my head to remember it.
Q: I understand.
A: It was a shock.
Q: With regard to those two days and nights, I think you said, of constant planning, who was present during that planning?
A: John, me, Ronnie, Billy and Joy and the girls, but they didn’t get involved, really. They were just there. It was just us fellows but then, all of a sudden, David Lind pops up from nowhere. I don’t know where he came from.
Q: As far as the initial planning is concerned for the two days –
A: I named the people; right.
Q: Apparently this planning went on for a long period of time? Is that correct?
Q: Was this kind of around-the-clock planning?
A: Well, yeah. We were right on it. Yes.
Q: During this planning, Mr. Lind – if I understand you – was not present. Is that correct?
A: Most of the time he was not present.
Q: Did he more or less show up at the last –
A: Yes. He did.
Q: And he kind of somehow invited himself into the group?
A: Yes. Right. Exactly.
Q: Did he show up with a person named Barbara?
A: Yes he did.
Q: I take it, then, that Lind actually showed up just at the last moment, as far as you are concerned?
A: That is correct.
Q: Was anybody, so to speak, more or less in charge of this operation?
A: Well, Ronnie was always taking over everything so I guess he probably was, but we all pretty much had our own say in the thing. At one point me and Billy were going to do it ourselves because everybody didn’t want to do it, you know.
Q: When Lind showed up at the end was he given some specific assignment?
A: Well, yeah. All of a sudden the gun I had lent to me was taken back, which I don’t think it was, but it was a bunch of things going on. You know, all of a sudden, David was going in the house with a gun, you know. So, I don’t know.
Q: Your recollection, then, that during these initial stages when Mr. Holmes participated in some of the planning Lind was not even present? Is that correct?
A: That is correct.
Q: Now, on the date that the robbery took place how many of you went to the Nash residence?
A: Four of us.
Q: That would be you, Mr. Deverell, Launius and David Lind? Is that correct?
Q: Is there any particular reason you were designated as the driver?
A: Well, I was originally supposed to – before this other party took his gun back – I was supposed to go in the house. It just turned out, you know. I was going to go in there with a gun.
Q: Who took the gun away from you?
A: Well, at first somebody came and picked it up while I was, I fell asleep on the front couch, which I don’t think they did – but that is what was told to me anyhow.
Q: Suddenly you ended up without a gun?
Q: And in your mind, is that why or one of the reasons you were designated as the driver?
A: Yes. Uh-huh.
Q: Didn’t you have a weapon to go inside the house?
Q: Did everybody else have a weapon?
Q: Now, just before you left the Wonderland address to go over to Nash’s house was there any discussion, Mr. McCourt, concerning any efforts you might take to conceal your identity from any of the people in the Nash residence?
A: No, there wasn’t any steps taken.
Q: Well, did you, for instance, decide to wear gloves or anything?
Q: Was anything done?
A: We didn’t – we knew that there wouldn’t be any report made.
Q: I see. Was anything done, for instance, with regard to putting some substance on the fingertips?
A: Yes there was.
Q: When was that done?
A: Ron put some crap on my hands. I don’t know what it was.
Q: When was that done?
A: About a few hours before we went to the house.
Q: All right.
A: It was some silicone stuff. I don’t know what it was.
Q: Where was that done? Do you recall what portion of the house?
A: I think it was done in the car.
Q: In any event, Mr. Holmes was not present during that?
A: I don’t think he was.
Q: He had already left the home?
A: I think so.
Q: As a matter if fact, you saw Mr. Holmes en route to the Nash residence? Isn’t that correct?
A: I saw him en route? What do you mean?
Q: Well, were you going towards the Nash residence?
If McCourt had liquid bandage applied to his fingers “a few hours before the robbery” it
would not have occurred in the car.
A: No. He was coming back from the Nash residence while we were going towards him.
Q: I understand. You passed?
Q: Going in different directions? Is that correct?
A: Right, right.
Q: You never went into the Nash residence?
A: I just made it to the back door one time. The front door another time. But I never had been in it, no.
Q: On the day of the robbery?
A: No, I didn’t.
Q: You stayed in the car?
Q: The other three went in?
Q: At some point did you hear a shot?
A: Yes, I did. I was reading the newspaper.
Q: As a result of that shot did you do anything?
A: Yeah. I got nervous but I didn’t do anything else because I stayed right there.
Q: When the group came back to the car was there any discussion about that shot?
A: Yes, there was.
Q: Did Mr. Lind tell you what happened?
A: No. Ron, he didn’t have to. Ronnie was on his ass about it.
Q: What was said about the shot?
A: Well, that he accidentally fired some shot and he just missed the bodyguard’s leg or something like that. I know in the house anything could have happened. He could have shot him in the head, for all I know.
Q: After you all got back in the car you went back to the Wonderland address?
Q: The money was divided up?
Q: Were you present when the money was divided?
A: Yes, I was.
Q: Do you recall where in the house that division of loot took place?
A: In the dining room.
Q: Can you look at the map to your right? By looking at that map, can you orient yourself on that map?
Q: All right. Could you –
A: It took place in the nook area.
Q: Where it says “nook”?
Q: Was Mr. Holmes there?
Q: Was everybody sitting around the table?
A: I was around the table. Billy was around the table. Ron was around the table and John, I think.
Q: Do you recall where John was sitting or standing?
A: To my right.
Q: Well, where were you sitting or standing?
A: Probably sitting where? On that chair. (indicates)
THE COURT: The record will reflect the witness pointed to the chair which is on the east side of the dining room table in the nook and that chair is closest of the three chairs.
BY MR. HANSON:
Q: Then where would Holmes be?
A: (Witness indicates)
THE COURT: Indicating the chair closest to the word “nook.”
BY MR. HANSON:
Q: Was he sitting to your right?
Q: Okay. Thank you, Mr. McCourt. Now, had you seen Holmes in that house on other occasions?
A: Yes, I had.
Q: During some of these planning stages would you see John Holmes in various places throughout the house?
A: Well, yeah. Well, all, we were all like brothers. We all went to one room, to the next room, you know, it was no big thing. Of course, he was in all the house.
Q: Prior to leaving the Wonderland address, Mr. McCourt, to go over to the Nash residence, did anybody consume or ingest narcotics?
Q: Did you?
A: A little bit of China White, I think.
Q: How about Mr. Lind?
A: Well, we on two occasions, we, we went over there and traded a gun and some gold and stuff to, to so someone could get in the house and leave the back door open. So we traded for China White. So I believe all of us did some of it at one point or another. I don’t think, I don’t think John did because John didn’t do China White.
Q: All I’m asking you is: To the best of your recollection, Mr. McCourt, just prior to leaving the
Wonderland address to go over towards the Nash residence is it your recollection that all the four fellows involved were taking or using something?
Q: And that includes Lind?
Q: When you came back to the Wonderland address and after the loot was divided up did you stay there for some period of time before you left?
A: Not too long. As soon as the money was divided up I left, about five minutes later.
Q: While you were there back at the Wonderland address after the robbery was Launius, to your knowledge, making any telephone calls concerning the availability of narcotics for sale?
A: No, not that I know of.
Q: Was any discussion had when you got back to the Wonderland address about any kind of security arrangements?
A: After the robbery?
Q: Yes, sir.
A: Me and Billy and Ronnie promised each other we were all going to move the same, next day, and it didn’t happen.
Q: Were you all going to move?
Q: Move out of the residence?
Q: Were you going to move out?
A: We were all going to move out.
Q: Well, did you all move out?
Q: That residence was used as a location for sale of narcotics. Isn’t that correct?
A: It was also used as a place to live.
Q: I understand that. But was it a place where narcotics were being sold?
A: Not that much narcotics. Most of the narcotics was – did prior to that robbery we had to go out and get somewhere.
Q: All I’m asking you –
A: No. There wasn’t that much sales going on there. That I saw.
Q: Forgetting about the sales, would people come and go at that house all hours of the day and night?
A: Oh, yes. Yes, because we all did speed occasionally so, you know, we were up all night till
daytime, you know, speed freaks coming here all the time.
Q: Would anybody have any trouble, to your knowledge, getting into that house?
A: Sure, they would. Definitely. Ronnie, the people that did come and go were all of a certain, shall we say, niche, or whatever, you know? I mean, if you weren’t in that little clique you didn’t just walk in that house or you were not even around none of those people.
Q: Well, I’m saying that during the time that you were there –
A: No. No, I can’t believe that anybody could just walk in that house, especially after what just went on, especially with five or six guns in the house. Those dogs bark and that was one of the reasons they was there, it was a lock – Ron told me several times, “Man,” he said, “You
know, I bet nobody could get in the house without somebody hearing it,” you know. I remember him telling me that.
Q: Was there any discussion after the robbery when you got back to the Wonderland address about not selling any more narcotics from the location?
A: Not really.
Q: As a matter of fact, didn’t you go back there the next day and score some narcotics?
A: Yes, I did.
Q: And did you go back with a guy named Shelly?
A: Shelly is a girl.
Q: Oh, Shelly is a girl?
A: (Witness laughs)
Q: Did Shelly go with you?
A: I went with Mike. Actually, Mike is Shelly’s old man. He drove me up there. I mean, I don’t even think he went in.
Q: What I’m saying –
A: Yes. He did go in.
Q: After the robbery did you have an occasion to go back to that residence?
A: Yes. One time.
Q: To your knowledge did someone named Mike go?
A: Yes, but Mike had been up there before. That is the only reason he ever was able to, and that is the only reason I even took him up there, because he had been up there before, you know.
Q: But, in any event –
A: And Ron knew him.
Q: — after the robbery, to your knowledge, did Mike go back and score some China White?
A: I did. Not Mike. I did. He took me up there because I didn’t have a car. As a matter of fact, when I left Wonderland I took a cab.
Q: And on that occasion was Shelly also along, someone by the name of Shelly?
A: I don’t think Shelly came. No, I don’t think she did.
Q: Do you recall at some point talking to some officers? Specifically, the officer to my right, Officer Tom Lange?
A: I talked to him, yes.
Q: Do you recall telling Tom Lange on the next day which was Tuesday you were staying in an apartment over on Lemp Street?
A: Yes. I was staying there.
Q: Did you see someone named Jimmy Vegas?
A: Yes, I saw Jimmy Vegas there.
Q: Do you recall telling that to Tom Lange?
A: Yes, I think I did.
Q: Didn’t you also tell him about 11:00 o’clock you, Mike, Shelly, went over to Wonderland and scored some China White?
A: They didn’t score anything. They gave me a ride. I gave them a $50 bill just, you know, to show them I was a big spender, whatever. Man, just to give me a ride up there and back.
Q: As far as you know, business continued as usual at the Wonderland address after the robbery?
MR. COEN: I’m going to object.
THE WITNESS: I said there was no heavy dope. There was a little bit of weed being sold there but there wasn’t no China White traffic. That is hard enough to find in the first place.
BY MR. HANSON:
Q: Well, you seemed to find it on occasion, didn’t you?
A: Occasionally, yes. I don’t think I have seen any since the Wonderland house, as a matter of fact. I know I haven’t.
Q: Mr. McCourt, are you in custody at the present time?
A: Well, legally, no, I’m not, actually. My 72 hours to a speedy trail has run out and the thing I was arrested for is a – so, I’m not actually in custody, sir.
Q: Have you ever been convicted of a felony?
A: Yes, I have.
Q: Can you tell me how many felonies?
A: One that – two – I have been convicted for prescriptions and second degree burglary.
MR. HANSON: I have nothing further, Your Honor.
THE COURT: Redirect?
MR. COEN: Thank you.
BY MR. COEN
Q: Mr. McCourt, when did you first go to the Wonderland house to stay prior to June 29, 1981?
A: It was a couple of days before when we started planning the robbery.
Q: And prior to that where were you staying?
A: On Lemp.
Q: Somewhere on Lemp Street15? So the first time you actually started staying at the Wonderland address was, like you said, a couple of days before the robbery, June 27 or 28 or thereabouts?
A: That is correct.
Q: Now, you stated to counsel on cross examination that prior to going out on the robbery of June 29 that you ingested, shot up, some China White? Is that correct?
A: Very little.
Q: And for the benefit of the court and myself, China White is heroin, isn’t it?
A: It is actually penthanol (sic) or something like that but, yes, it is supposed to be, it is supposed to be heroin.
Q: And you expressly remember shooting up that China White?
A: Yes, I remember it.
Q: You specifically remember Ron Launius shooting up with China White prior to going out on the robbery?
A: Yes, I remember that well. Yes.
McCourt is referring to Fentanyl, originally developed as a short-acting anesthetic. China
White is essentially synthetic heroin.
Q: Do you specifically remember William Deverell shooting up China White prior to going out on the robbery?
A: Well, I know he was given some and he went upstairs. I’m damn sure that is what he did with it. I didn’t see him, though.
Q: And you specifically remember David Lind shooting China White before going on the robbery?
Q: Did you see him do it?
A: I didn’t see him either. Now that I think about it, I didn’t see David shoot any heroin either.
Q: So you don’t know if he did or not, do you?
Q: When you mentioned you have to be a particular type of clique to enter that residence, based upon staying there and knowing the residents as you did, was John Holmes the type of person that Ron Launius would allow inside the house?
MR. COEN: I have nothing further.
THE COURT: Recross?
MR. HANSON: No recross, Your Honor.
THE COURT: You may step down.