Updates from November, 2013 Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • John 9:53 am on November 7, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , club odyssey,   

    Nostalgic Disco Site Has Rare "Club Odyssey" Photos 

    For more info, photos and entertaining stories from club goers and employees go to the site.

    FYI – There is a Chris Cox sighting below.  He’s a semi-famous nightclub guy who knew Eddie Nash back in those days. Chris is also quoted in a few of the classic articles over the years regarding Wonderland, Thorson, Holmes and Ed Nash. It’s been said that Cox introduced Holmes to Nash. I hope to interview Chris soon.

    The Back-story For Today’s Image Gallery:

    These photos were taken at a 1979 gay pride parade. Club Odyssey had their own float.

    Ron Howard filmed a scene for his early 80’s movie, Night Shift, at Club Odyssey. It starred Henry Winkler (below) and Michael Keaton. A cult classic.

    Go to the DiscoMusic Odyssey page for more pics, great stories and remembrances of club-goers and insiders.

  • John 1:20 pm on November 5, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , john gilmore,   

    Author John Gilmore Talks “Nash” With VICE Magazine 

    So according to Gilmore, Eddie Nash was in some pornos? I read that paragraph 4 times. What. The. Hell. Actually, I just checked the book, and he is talking about Holmes there and the dead girl. Read more quotes from Gilmore’s web site at the bottom of this post.

    From the original article:

    VICE: Your most recent true-crime book, LA Despair, centers on five separate, equally tantalizing stories. The first is about John Holmes, the donkey-dicked 70s porn star involved in the Wonderland Avenue “Four-on-the-Floor” murders. But you focus on the guy who most likely pulled the strings, an oily creep named Eddie Nash. Was Nash a born psycho, or was it just the 24/7 freebasing?

    John Gilmore: That certainly helped. Eddie was a guy who just wanted to make as much money as he could and live the ultimate cool life in Hollywood. And that’s what he did. He opened a little hamburger stand on Hollywood Boulevard in 1959. I remember going there a couple of times with [actress] Susan Oliver. He got increasingly involved in the porno thing in the Valley, and it got bad. There was a producer-director guy shooting a movie for him, and the girl OD’d in the middle of screwing him. He was only concerned about the footage. “Turn her around, we can finish it with an over-the-shoulder shot. We won’t show her face.” As the years went by I accumulated bits and pieces of things that interested me. I thought, “I’m just going to write about all of these things as short pieces.” That’s how LA Despair came into existence.

    What’s weird is that Eddie Nash wasn’t busted for the Wonderland murders at first. He was busted for cocaine possession and got out early because he bribed a judge. Then later, when he was under the gun again for another aspect of the killings, he got off by bribing a juror. Did he ever do any hard time?

    He only served 30 months or something.

    Any idea what he’s doing now?

    Nobody knows what Eddie Nash is up to these days. He bought a home for his mother.

    Do you think John Holmes had a criminal mind? Or was he just in the wrong place at the wrong time?

    John wanted fame. He wanted to be admired and respected, not simply because he had a big dick. He started getting into porno and getting heavily into dope. He’d go through thousands of dollars of coke in one weekend.

    Which seems like the wrong drug to take if you’re trying to maintain an erection.

    Yeah, that bothered him a lot. And then people just took advantage of him. He got himself in way over his head. Basically he was a nice guy. The first time I met him was on Santa Monica Boulevard. It was a vacant lot and they used to have swap meets there. He was selling some kind of Indian jewelry and leather jackets. This was way back, before he was famous.

    Q&A from John Gilmore’s web site:

    Let’s talk about the John Holmes piece. What do Holmes and Eddie Nash mean or symbolise to you?
    John Holmes is like an LA Frankenstein monster. He comes here. He prospers. And then through drugs and sex and the whole scene, he becomes a Frankenstein. To me, that section, Bad Eddie, represents the core, the basis of what LA is all about. It’s a whole other world. The whole Laurel Canyon scene. The hip Hollywood world of the cheesy nightclubs and dope. Nash owned this club called Starwood, and all the kids went there because all the major rock groups went there. It was a major disco place, and they’d give kids dope as they walked inside. They’d actually dish out coke. It was their policy. Nash was a major crime figure. You could not touch Eddie Nash. He was too fucking smart. There were murders and everything going on all the time, but they could never pin anything on Eddie.
    Holmes comes to LA almost innocent, and is then corrupted, but Nash comes to LA on the make, and thrives…

    Well, if you’re evil, you can come to LA and you can do your thing. From day one, Eddie Nash was like a hungry wolf. I don’t think Eddie Nash ever did anything for anyone where he could not exploit it or benefit from it. His whole raison d’être was to get what he could out of everything and be on top. He always felt like he was on the run. So he had to keep running, and grab things as he went, like nightclubs. He bought judges, jurors, people downtown [in city government]. Have murders going on. Pay people off. LA is the place where you can do your thing. The city doesn’t care what you do. You couldn’t pull off what Eddie Nash did in New York, it’d be of a whole different structure. But out here it’s the West. And there’s still kind of a shoot-’em-up mentality.

    John Holmes, though, mutated from that innocent thing you mention. He liked to work with his hands. He loved thrift shops and buying old furniture and fixing it up. Even in the porn scene, he was kind of an outsider. But drugs took him to the other extreme. He was a lost cause with drugs. It destroyed him. And drugs were available. It was part of everything out here. It’s interesting that the juries trying the Wonderland murder cases [where four members of a drug den were bludgeoned to death] hated everyone who got killed. They felt it was good all these people got killed because they were rotten people anyway.

    I’m not interested in making a historical document. I recreate these things. My presentation is a very clear portrait of the city. The only part that drifts from the city, although it starts there, is the Billy Cook case. This is a book about the way things are, not the way Hollywood wants to see them.

    Considering your view of LA, why do you live there?

    Put it this way, you come here and you write your own ticket. Eddie Nash wrote his own ticket. John Holmes wrote his ticket, though it might not have been the one that was most favourable to him. Certainly the ticket Barbara Graham wrote was not in her best interests, but if that’s the ticket you want to write, it’s your ride, baby. Why am I here? Well, I’m writing my ticket, and LA says, “Cool, man, go for it.”

    • dmgk1 2:29 am on November 6, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      Reblogged this on dmgk1's Blog.

    • aitchcs 7:14 pm on December 8, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      This is an interesting and prob accurate insight. I do think Gilmore is wrong about Black Dahlia Killer. Gilmore Claims he knew James Dean well and that he was gay (or bi at best) and wrote some stuff about his relationship with Janis Joplin that doesn’t ring true. He had a big feud with old pal Dennis Hopper regarding veracity of his tales about LA characters

  • John 2:45 pm on October 31, 2013 Permalink | Reply  

    Starwood Contact Talks About Dom’s Demise At Nash’s 

    I was going to wait until Monday before dropping a new post, since the interview with Nils Grevillius was so top notch, but this is too juicy. I asked Lee from the Starwood to give me some more of the scoop and boy did he deliver. Thanks Lee!  He is also writing a book about his life in Rock. Everyone is writing a damn book, even Julia Negron. I better get off my ass!

    This Dominic kid was the young man whom Nils and I talked about in the interview, and whose death sparked the second raid on Nash’s house in November of 1981. I had speculated that this kid was mafia connected, only because he and his family were all born in Italy and were still Italian citizens upon his death, according to public records.

    The old Starwood manager, Gary Fontenot, is dead too.

    Here’s what Lee had to say:

    Ok then. Dominic was the soundman at the Starwood. Not a bad job at ALL! Hobnobbin with the Rock-stars and all the ‘Perks’ that come along with that sort of access. Now the Wonderland thing was the dark ugly thing that I really had nothing to do with. I was more involved with the Starwood and the Rock n Roll side. I certainly knew all it seems were involved with that terrible thing, and heard it all out of the mouths of  those same people.

    Dominic ‘s best friend was Micheal Mazzechelli. Dom’s G/F was Desi. They all originally came from Danbury Conn. After the Starwood closed not long after the crime (Wonderland). Everyone who worked there scattered. Fear was in the air. Dom and Mike and Des all went back to Conn. but who can stay away long from the scene we lived in? I myself went to work at the Troubadour after the Starwood. I’m sure that Dom and Micheal were certain that they could come back after a few months. Things had calmed down. They all 3 of ’em came back in Dom’s red van and tried to set up shop.  Things were tough though. Not many people were really looking for sound guy’s who were willing to pay what they were used to making. I was after all only 17 at the time and willing to work for CHEAP!  Gary Fontenot (Starwood mgr) made a call on my behalf to Doug Weston and I got lighting work for I think it was $20.00 a night. Dom and Mike couldn’t do that cause they were used to a LOT more. Ed Nash was good to us all.

    So Dom and Des and Mazzechelli were broke and addicted to coke then evicted from their motel room and so it goes same old story. So the Danbury crowd stayed in the van in Fontenots driveway (in Studio City) for a 2 or 3 weeks. Everyone was partying and what not.  Gary set up Dom with an Colombian dealer named Orlando (Not the same person as the Orlando who did ‘buisness’ with Ed). Gary was trying to get them a situation to get them out of the driveway. Dom got fronted 4 oz’s and it got smoked up. They only let me have a couple of hit’s cause the drug is like that and their excuse was cause I was so young. Ed pulled that same crap with me later. C”mon guy’s! They knew how tough I was.  Assholes.  Anyhoo, when Dom and Micheal couldn’t come up with the money, They tried to tell the Colombian that the coke had been “Poison” and they just flushed it.    Well,,,,,   This did not go over very well with the dealer.  Nor with Gary. I watched Gary kicking that red van and throwing stuff around untill they left. Gary was good with histrionics.   Tell you what John..  It’s late and I’m tired. So do you want me to keep this up?? I Don’t know anything about East Coast mobsters. Dom and Mike and Desi were guido-trash pretty much.  I Know that Dom’s Mother actually Bronzed his bass guitar after his death. Just like baby-shoes. Then hung it over the fireplace.  And Dominic couldn’t play that thing for shit!!!   Truth is truly stranger! In a day or two I’ll tell you how Dom ended up living at Ed’s. and his unfortunate demise. Now why dont you give me something??  I’ll leave it up to your imagination..    Boy the Colombian did not take it well. The 1st time I ever heard an automatic weapon fired. A REAL Machine gun. Bullets flew everywhere. 10 minutes later the phone rang.  The Hispanic voice said: ‘Give that frog-faced fucker my message”  I’ll tell you the rest (maybe) soon Goodnight.

    • Brandy 3:12 pm on October 31, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      Holy cow this is incredible, wow. You rock JOhn!

    • criticextraordinaire 4:52 pm on October 31, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      Don’t roll out too much, too fast John. You don’t want to blow your wadd all at once.🙂

      • John 7:03 pm on October 31, 2013 Permalink | Reply

        Coming Soon critic. Next up Ron’s prison time…. And Joe Mikaelien’s cry baby vibe to the judge. “I murdered people but grant me a mistrial because I get headaches, and have done drugs” That fucking asshole!

    • criticextraordinaire 5:05 pm on October 31, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      You know, I think that Jon Taffer was running the Troubadour back then. Can you ask Lee if he was? And if so, was Taffer as cranky as he is these days on Bar Rescue?????

      • John 5:20 pm on October 31, 2013 Permalink | Reply

        Sure, I’ll ask him. Sounds funny, I need to watch that show more often.

    • localarts 6:47 pm on October 31, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      Cool Story. In the early 80’s, if you wanted to get signed or seen by a major recod label the Starwood was the place to be.

    • scabiesoftherat 11:24 pm on October 31, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      That was a pretty cool story. I had just seen a documentary about the Troubador and this chronicle really confirms what they said in the documentary.

      Doug Weston really was a cheap MF.

    • John 7:24 am on November 2, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      I may have to go into the secret Wonderland golden cache of photos to get Lee to give me part 2!

    • John 9:00 am on November 5, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      Here’s the conclusion to the Domenic Fragomeli story from Lee at the Starwood. Nash allegedly tried to help, but that’s a double-edged sword:

      Ok.. Here’s some more.
      Gary threw the Danbury crowd out of the driveway but that wasn’t good enough for the Colombian dealer. I was in the room where everyone always hung out. Kind of a ‘back’ living room. I believe it was a street called Laurel terrace. But it was a long time ago. So Gary and his housemate Nurse Michael were watching TV. It was around 6 PM or so. I had just given Gary’s horrible little dog ‘itty-bitty’ a bath and was drying her when what sounded like Big ole firecrackers on the very front porch went off. Gary, micheal and I looked at each other and the ‘ What the f was that’ thing went on for a minute till I went out to investigate with Nurse Micheal. At 1st Things looked cool. Then I looked at Nurse Micheals Older blue lincoln and said something to the effect/affect of;’ Hey Micheal, Why’d you leave all of your windows down on your car?’ Then we both saw that the ground was littered with broken glass. Going around to the street side we saw MANY hole’s in Micheals car. I went went “Holy S–T! Mcheal, Get back in the house, NOW”! And almost had to drag him back inside cause he just didn’t seem to get it. I hollered at Gary that someone just SHOT up the f-ing house! Gary didn’t believe it until we went into the front room and saw hole’s along the inside front room wall. Bullet holes.(Thank whatever Gods were there that no-one ever hung out in that room and there was a huge stone fireplace which caught the lead and none entered where we were. Then the phone rang. I picked it up and the aforementioned Hispanic voice, ( Not the dealers voice which I knew but a different one.) “Did you get get my message? Someone needs to pay” Stunned silence there I assure you. What we thought was that since the dealer was introduced by Gary. Gary was responsible for the dept. About 3 or 4 days later there was a little get together at the house. Gary had told everyone he knew that they were SO BUMMED OUT FROM BEING (Why am I yelling? OH.. Just hit the caps key.) machine gunned that everyone should come over with as many drugs and much booze that they could carry, so Nurse Michael and Gary could calm down and enjoy life a bit.( Oh, And if you have a stray roach or something for the kid. That’d be cool, But don’t really worry about him. a-holes. I ALWAYS got the shaft in the drug dept.) So just at twilight when everyone’s getting all mellow. Were in the backyard grilling when BANGBANGBANGBANGetc. AGAIN! Being outside this time There was No doubt that it was gunshots. People scattered. Over fences into neighbors yards. Anywhere but there. I think, But am not certain that Danny Boneduce was there for that 1. He was around allot in those day’s. “Got Coke? Got Danny Partridge!) Nurse Michael had his bag packed before the last shell hit the ground I swear! This was in 1981. I remember a person who lived at least 1/2 a block down the street had a chat with Gary as they walked up and down the street cause a bullet fragment had traveled down the street and entered his home through a window within feet of his young son. There HAS to be police reports on this. I tried looking on google maps for the exact address, but I’m not real computer savvy and couldn’t get it. Mazzechelli went back to Conn. and that’s how Dom and Des ended up at Ed’s. I would conjecture, But I don’t know. That Ed intervened on Doms behalf. There were no more gunshots at that house. I don’t have any idea what Ed had required of Dom for letting him live there and I assume taking care of that debt. But Dom Never had to pay it cause within not too awful long later. Dom died of a Speedball, Or MANY Smoked Speedballs. ) I used to laugh seeing Fontenot smoke one. Here’s a guy who could Freebase All nigh and be a bit weird but O.K. Then Ed would sprinkle a bit of that brown stuff on the top and Gary would RUN to the Bathroom to puke immediately! Ed would never give me ANY freebase cause he said; ” He’s Too Young” Like I had never done it before. He’d have one of the girls give me a couple of lines and some crappy pot instead. Well, Beggers cant choose I guess. Ok John. Now that I’m ‘warmed up’ so to speak. I got to get back to my own stuff. Talk to you soon. Maybe!

    • John 1:16 pm on November 7, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      Part 3 is even better!

  • John 9:03 am on October 28, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , investigation, , massacre, , , ,   

    Interview With NILS GREVILLIUS – The Lost Audio Is HERE 

    The complete audio files are hosted on SoundCloud. You DO NOT need an account and you may even download the mp3 files to your pc or device. I burned a cd… to listen to while driving around😉  You will need to crank the audio a bit on your end, but here is the full 36.5 minutes that was captured.

    All told, you get 15 more minutes today!

    As I mentioned, we spoke for 45 mins and sadly…. 8 minutes was completely lost when the recorder shut off after 20 minutes. The lost 8 was basically a general discussion about Launius (see comments below). A key moment from that lost audio was “Cherokee” (Larry Hershman) a buddy of Launius, calling the house non-stop during the videotaping of the crime scene by the cops. The phones were off the hook, but you can see a light blinking on the multi-line phone in Ron’s room… that was Cherokee. As things pop into my head, I’ll post them but the Cherokee thing stuck out and was the most important thing that I had not heard before.

    Hit the big PLAY button to play all 36 mins:

    • localarts 11:11 am on October 28, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      Unbelievable!! I was completly wrong about Launius, he was an out and out killer! It would appear Paul Kelly was only looking for some “street credit” I know I read some where that Howard Cook was a major
      drug dealer at that time which now appears to be BS. John, Who was Cherokee?

      Once again, Bravo. That was beyond awesome.

      • John 11:34 am on October 28, 2013 Permalink | Reply

        Cherokee was one of Ron’s guys. He is featured twice in the movie. Nils knows his real name but I forgot it. I’ll ask him.

        • Brandy 8:04 pm on October 28, 2013 Permalink

          Where is Cherokee now, alive? It would be a miracle if any one from that episode were still alive & kicking.

        • John 8:10 am on October 29, 2013 Permalink

          Nils says “Lind called McCourt Titmouse Tracy. Cherokee’s real name was Larry Hershman”

        • Brandy 8:14 am on October 29, 2013 Permalink

          Oh yeah, I would have most definitely put the nickname “Cherokee” with Larry Hershman, haha. Holy crap, is he still kicking????? I’m sure he would speak up by now if he was still alive, no?

        • John 8:28 am on October 29, 2013 Permalink

          That name is too hard to search by, Brandy. He’s not currently in the California prison system. There’s a showbiz Hollywood agent guy with that name, but I doubt it’s him. Cherokee may be another lost soul in the Wonderland case, of which we know little about. I can check with Nils and see if he knows more.

        • Brandy 8:31 am on October 29, 2013 Permalink

          Yup already did the same search. You never know how people can turn themselves around but……. Let him remain in peace, if he’s alive he would have most likely been contacted for Wonderland , if he wanted.

        • criticextraordinaire 7:45 pm on October 29, 2013 Permalink

        • John 8:57 am on October 30, 2013 Permalink

          Selling drugs at the Traveler’s Inn… Sounds like some sweet digs!

        • John 9:51 am on October 30, 2013 Permalink

          The Traveler’s Inn in Vallejo. It looks pretty sweet. Present day photo:


          Here’s what a room looked like back then (from a scanned postcard), and there’s a partition as described where the accused and Cherokee’s girlfriend had a conversation, from the court document:

          Kentwig Lodge Vallejo CA

          Just sayin…

          “Shortly after entering the room and exchanging greetings, Hershman, appellant, Exxon and Hershman’s girlfriend, Cheryl Rickard, had a conversation in the rear of the room behind a partition. Exxon and Rickard were the first to emerge from behind the partition. Hershman followed and, holding a plastic bag which contained a white powdery substance, stated that he had just “scored a half ounce” and that they could consummate the sale when he found his “rig, kit,” necessary for packaging the drug.”

        • Brandy 8:38 am on October 30, 2013 Permalink

          Thank you criticextraordinaire, very cool!

      • John 11:51 am on October 28, 2013 Permalink | Reply

        Oh! and Tracy was known around certain circles as “Titmouse Tracy”. Quite demeaning, but his persona and laid back attitude brought that on. That was either a nickname by people outside the Gang, or from Lind or somebody… “Titmouse Tracy” is what some guys called him, either to his face or behind his back. I’ll ask Nils that too.

      • John 12:17 pm on October 28, 2013 Permalink | Reply

        And Ron did serve brig time for trying to smuggle back drugs from SE Asia. One article I saw after his death said 6 months. Again, more of the lost 8 minutes. Which I didn’t think would be so much awesome stuff from Nils…. but it’s proving to be. I got to everyone’s questions, except for Bobby’s. I neglected to check the blog in the final hour, as I was scrambling in the last hour to make the existing technology I had work without making a trip to Radio Shack.

        • localarts 3:55 pm on October 28, 2013 Permalink

          I think I read the same article but the author wasn’t specific as to what crime Ronnie did.
          Thanks for getting those questions answered, really appreciate all the effort you put into this. I think a Ron Launius movie is doable. Charlie Sheen clould play Launius, Sheen is damn near crazy anyway he would only need to bleach his hair. It wouldn’t take much for him to get into character!

      • John 12:30 pm on October 28, 2013 Permalink | Reply

        One more:

        A short while before the Nash hit…. from the lost 8 minutes on the Grevillius Tapes that I uploaded…after he talks about Ron allegedly doing a few killings…. there was a story about how Ron, Billy and Dave pulled a robbery on a rich businessman who had a nice house in the valley. I forgot the exact suburb… but the maid was the only one home at the time. This is where Ron got the antique guns. During the burglary, the maid was tied up and put into a bath tub. Ron wanted to shoot her, but Billy and Dave persuaded him not to. Nils found this out during his investigation. He never met Dave, but he talked extensively with his brother and with Dave’s best childhood buddy from that band, The Safaris. I guess they had the big hit “Wipeout” in the 60s. Dave must have told them a lot of good stuff.

        Those lost 8 minutes are killing me! But that is pretty much the entire story there. I think I remembered it quite well.

        • Brandy 12:08 pm on October 29, 2013 Permalink

          I just re-watched the UK documentary on John Holmes & the Wonderland murders & there’s a brief interview with Nils. Also in the very beginning is John’s brother David saying “all John wanted was cocaine, cocaine, Cocaine. Day & night, cocaine”.

        • Brandy 12:08 pm on October 29, 2013 Permalink

          That was a random, had nothing to do with anything comment, by the way.:)

      • John 12:35 pm on October 28, 2013 Permalink | Reply

        One more I remembered from the lost 8 minutes…. Damn those 8 minutes!

        A detective from Sacramento when hearing that Ron Launius had been killed: “Well, it will be an easy funeral” to which the LA cop asked “Why is that?” “Because a trash can has two handles”. I’m not sure if that remark was from Sac-town cop, Beder Clifton, who coined Launius as “the coldest person I ever met”.

        • localarts 3:26 pm on October 29, 2013 Permalink

          Beder Clifton would be one to interview if he were still alive. I’m sure Clifton had a reason
          for calling Launius “the coldest person he ever met”.

        • John 9:00 am on October 30, 2013 Permalink

          In his obit, Clifton’s daughter said her dad was a no-nonsense kind of guy, with a dry wit and whatever. He told it how it was, and so people often got the wrong impression about him, even non-criminals. That was just dad. (aka he didn’t F around!) LOL

      • Adam 6:57 pm on October 28, 2013 Permalink | Reply

        You ppl should really do your homework

        • John 8:25 am on October 29, 2013 Permalink

          Prior to Nils interview, Adam, I really did not believe that sensationalized stuff about Ron, nor did many people here. We get a bit carried away sometimes, and so I guess in the end, there’s still no direct evidence to place that label as a killer on Ron.

        • criticextraordinaire 9:09 am on October 29, 2013 Permalink

          I had done my research pretty thoroughly, and have felt for years that Ron was “the real deal”. Never had any doubt about that. Bring on that movie!!!!!

    • Brandy 11:13 am on October 28, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      Can’t wait to listen when I get home. The “Cherokee” part sure sparks my interest. His “character” was the one who brought David Lind to Ron at the party in the movie “Wonderland”. Why was he calling? Was he trying to confirm their death???

      • John 11:36 am on October 28, 2013 Permalink | Reply

        He had been calling all day, trying to score. Since someone was usually at the house, he was in panic mode. He may have been far away and without wheels to drive over there, who knows. But that was Cherokee calling and letting it ring and ring. I believe they had 2 lines at the house.

    • Brandy 1:21 pm on October 28, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      I love Michael Connelly lol!

    • Mark C 6:44 pm on October 28, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      Wow just listen tape’s, This blog just keep getting better and better.

      I wonder if Dave Lind ever Wipe Out on his mean motor bike listen to his friends song before? ..Just had to say that one.. LOL .. Dave come from his grave to hunt me up on that one if he could I bet..

    • criticextraordinaire 9:10 am on October 29, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      John, did you and Nils get to discuss if David Lind is really in the witness protection program?

      • John 9:40 am on October 29, 2013 Permalink | Reply

        No, that question was missed… but, Nils stated he’s dead and died in 1995. That said, my background check on Dave listed several addresses in NoCal and southern Oregon over the years before he died. His last address in Eureka, CA.

        • criticextraordinaire 11:56 am on October 29, 2013 Permalink

          Isn’t 1995 when the Feds started in earnest to build their RICO case?

    • localarts 2:06 pm on October 31, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      After listening to the Nils Grevillius interview again I’m leaning more to the fact Launius may very well have been a contract killer without having any direct evidence to prove it. Horace McKenna was a very, very scary guy, more so than Nash. If Ron Launius was associating with McKenna it was either drug or murder related without a doubt! City Confidential ran a very good story about Mckenna a week ago.

    • Bonnie Brae 8:04 pm on October 31, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      This link never works for me. i think it’s my computer. Damn it all.

    • Dave 12:39 am on November 1, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      Very interesting stuff. Would love to hear more about the digging Mr. Grevillius did with respect to Ron Launius and his interview(s) of Susan Launius, among other things. Thank you, John, for making this happen. And thanks to Mr. Grevillius for sharing his knowledge.

    • localarts 8:24 am on November 1, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      Yes! With regards to Wonderland, this blog has gone where no other blog has gone before. If there was an award for blog of the year, I can’t think of anyone more deserving than John’s Wonderland Blog!!

    • floppa1 12:37 pm on November 7, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      I second that. It is hard to find facts on this case these days but John has done a stellar job. Nils has a wealth of knowledge on it too. A film on Ron could be great!

    • LMNOP 6:35 am on December 28, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      Hi! I was wondering if you can clarify what really happened with Julia Densemore Oakly Negron. I didnt hear anything about it in the recording…..

      • John 10:45 am on December 28, 2013 Permalink | Reply

        I just posted the Julia Negron info about 2 weeks ago. Go to the blog homepage and scroll down a bit. Also search her name in the search box. There’s more there too!

        • LMNOP 8:57 am on December 29, 2013 Permalink

          Thanks. I knew Chris Cox in 1990-95 and never thought of asking him about wonderland. I havent talked to him in a while but maybe I will in the future now that I found out where he is!

        • John 9:19 am on January 3, 2014 Permalink

          I had him slated for a phone interview, but never got around to it. Nils Grevillius knows him too.

  • John 10:30 am on October 24, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: death tour, findadeath   

    Tonight on “E” … Hollywood Death Trip! 

    It’s also Dave Lind’s birthday today. He would have been 800 years old.

    “E! Entertainment Special Hollywood Death Trip”

    Premieres Thursday, October 24th @ 10:00 pm ET/PT

    “E! Entertainment Special Hollywood Death Trip” follows a real-life tour guided by Scott Michaels of Findadeath and Dearly Departed Tours, of high profile murders and shocking deaths that occurred in Los Angeles. The captivating E! Special unravels some of the most gruesome and notorious cases that made headlines, and takes a look at where these events actually unfolded.

    It’s Scott’s world… we just get to live in it.

    Man, I don’t know how the old school did it with that booze. I am 44 and after three beers I can barely roll outta bed the next day. Jim Beam and a pack of Marlboros. Eghhhh.

  • John 9:48 am on October 23, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , ,   

    Former Nash Attorney Now Works For LAPD 

    Of course, he does not mention Eddie Nash in his bio on the LAPD web site:

    Gerald Chaleff was appointed to the Los Angeles Police Department by Chief of Police William J. Bratton on January 13, 2003. He serves as Bureau Chief to the Chief of Police and Commanding Officer of the Consent Decree Bureau (CDB). Police Administrator Special Assistant for Constitutional Policing.

    The drug related armed robbery mentioned below and carried out by Thorson and his posse is a rather seedy affair. It was a home invasion. The drug dealer and his girlfriend were so traumatized, that they called the cops. Not many dealers do that. I read that they got beat up pretty bad. I’ll try to find the link to that story and post it. The sheer horrra… as you’re being pistol whipped by Liberace’s boy toy! Oh the humanity.

    Anyway, Edward Rucker later took over the defense from Abramson and Chaleff and won Nash an acquittal in the second trial.

    LA Times | September 23, 1988

    An attorney for former nightclub owner Adel (Eddie Nash) Nasrallah, who was charged this month in four 1981 Laurel Canyon bludgeon murders, said Thursday that she is “seriously underwhelmed” by the evidence against her client. Much of the case assembled by the district attorney’s office “seems to be based on the credibility of folks who are less than ministers of the cloth,” said attorney Leslie H. Abramson, who represents Nash along with co-counsel Gerald L. Chaleff.

    A spokesman for the district attorney’s office declined comment on Abramson’s remarks.

    Nash, 59, and his former bodyguard, Gregory DeWitt Diles, 40, have pleaded not guilty to four counts of murder and one count of attempted murder in an attack that prosecutors have said was intended to avenge an armed robbery at Nash’s Studio City home.

    The late pornographic film star John C. Holmes was acquitted of the Laurel Canyon slayings at a 1982 trial.

    The Times reported last week that the decision to file charges against Nash and Diles was based in part on new evidence provided by Scott Thorson, 29, an ex-lover of the late pianist Liberace. Thorson is in Los Angeles County Jail awaiting sentencing in connection with a 1987 drug-related armed robbery.

    LA Times | July 23, 1989

    Edward Rucker, 46, is currently defending Eddie Nash, charged in the 1981 Laurel Canyon murders for which the late porn star John Holmes was charged and acquitted. Rucker took over from Abramson and Chaleff, who handled Nash’s preliminary work. Rucker says he takes on “complicated” cases: murders, fraud and white-collar crime. Although his most prominent work was his defense of Symbionese Liberation Army member William Harris on charges of kidnaping and assault (he was convicted of assault), Rucker says his most disturbing case was a gang-rape case he lost during his 13 years as a public defender.

  • John 3:26 pm on October 22, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: bill lee,   

    Nash Crony Tricks Woman & Then Assaults Her 

    This blog article is pretty seedy and quite sad. It deals with the assault of a young lady during the early 80s. Much like the lovely Julia Densmore-Negron who shared some of her experiences in the Wonderland realm a few weeks ago, this young lady was a Hollywood-connected girl who also has a Wonderland-related story to tell. This time it’s from a book.

    I won’t publish the book name or tell you the person because this post is not to publicize that, only that she calls out Ed’s crony. Sad, but if you want to read the entire book, I will send you the link. She was a model back in the day, and also worked in TV, and like Julia, was seen with some of the major Hollywood players and music stars of the time (and married a few). Post a note or email the blog for the link. You can read her entire book online for free. It’s a great story.

    The foreword to this part of the story is that, this man Bill Lee, had a big thing for her, would bug her around town, etc. and one night at a club or party, he tricked her by saying he cut his hand really bad and was holding a rag on it. She offered him a ride to the hospital, and once in the car, he made her drive to her home at knife-point, where he assaulted her. Sounds like a nightmare. Her book is lengthy, and I read it over the weekend but could not find the page that details that part, not that you need to see it.

    Here’s what happened next:

    The good thing about most of Nash's bro's is that they're probably all dead or in prison by now.

    The good thing about most of Nash’s bro’s is that they’re probably all dead or in prison by now.

    Cops make no sense sometimes. Best to defend yourself with a piece or die tryin'.

    Cops make no sense sometimes. Best to defend yourself with a piece or die tryin’.


    • criticextraordinaire 9:39 pm on October 22, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      She should have called the same cop that Sharon Holmes did, when she needed a dead body to disappear from her place.

      • scabiesoftherat 12:11 am on October 23, 2013 Permalink | Reply

        That’s a real scumbag…and it’s a sad indictment of the world today. When are cops gonna learn that you only call cops AFTER the smoke settles. Why can’t they wrap that around thier heads around that? I have a gun for the same reason. Ain’t no one taking me down without a fight. And I can’t really make a phone call when the dude is in my house, can I? Just so stupid….

        Hey John. What’s the title of the Julia Densmore/ Negron piece? I missed that one. That one escapes me. Thanks

    • Janice 12:25 pm on June 19, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      yes! I would loveto read her book, please send the link. Thank You and Thank you for all your hard work….can’t wait for your book!

  • John 7:24 am on October 21, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: script, story,   

    About The Production Of Wonderland 

    This info was gleaned from Lion Gate’s Final Press Notes, which can be found here.

    I did not know that Max the chihuahua who played Thor in the movie belonged to Holly Wiersma, one of the producers of the film.


    WONDERLAND begins after Holmes’s career was washed-up, ended by his descent into drug addiction. To support his habit, Holmes befriended a number of dealers and criminals including the underworld kingpin Eddie Nash. Holmes owed Nash a fortune and supposedly masterminded a robbery at the dealer’s house, in which his friends from Wonderland Avenue purportedly stole $250,000 dollars worth of drugs, cash and jewelry. Nash reportedly discovered Holmes involvement and forced him to squeal on his friends, resulting in their murder. But the central mystery of the Wonderland murders — what was Holmes’ exact involvement? — remains elusive and has intrigued people for years, including director James Cox and producer Holly Wiersma.

    As director Cox says, “What always interested me in this project is that its true crime which has always been a passion of mine. But this was not just a murder story. There is also a unique love story, elevating this film above noir crime and making it universal.”

    To get to the heart of this love story, Cox, Wiersma and co-screenwriter Captain Mauzner tracked down Dawn Schiller, Holmes’s teenage girlfriend at the time of the murders, and his wife Sharon Holmes, a former nurse who remained married to Holmes even after his career choice effectively ended their relationship. Both women, who were friends then and are good friends now, served as consultants on the film, spending time on the set during production, sharing their insights into Holmes’ character and the era, and painting a very different picture of Holmes than one might imagine.

    As he learned from Schiller and Holmes, “John was a real romantic,” says Val Kilmer, who plays him in the film. “He loved his girlfriend and he was still friends with his wife. He definitely was a tortured soul who did a lot of awful things to everybody, betrayed every one he knew, every dealer he ever met, but, in a strange way, he remained absolutely loyal to Dawn and Sharon.”

    Kilmer was always the filmmakers’ first choice to play Holmes. His unique way of humanizing less-than-sympathetic characters, such as Jim Morrison in THE DOORS and Doc Holliday in TOMBSTONE, seemed perfect for the role. As producer Wiersma says, “Holmes is not very likable in the script so there has to be something about him that’s charming, to explain how he was able to instill such loyalty from both Dawn and his wife, Sharon, and every time Val smiles, you see that. Without his charm, it wouldn’t
    have worked.”

    Kilmer was less than convinced, though. The sordidness of the story and Holmes’ world turned him off and, despite pleas from the filmmakers and his agent, he refused to even read the script. Finally his agent and the filmmakers cooked up a plan. They asked Kilmer to consider the smaller part of Nash. Once Kilmer read the script, he quickly changed his mind and signed on for the lead.

    The presence on set of both Schiller and Holmes was a tremendous help and inspiration to the actresses portraying them in WONDERLAND. As Kate Bosworth, who plays Dawn, says, “She wasn’t just a cracked-out girl dating John Holmes. She was an innocent in a not-so-innocent world. And she loved him deeply.” As Schiller herself remembers, “I was fifteen when I met John. I came from a not very together background and he fed a lot of the things that I needed. He was my first love and very charming — he was like a kid in many ways himself and we really connected. And though things went
    bad, I’m able today to honor some of the good memories.”

    Seeing her past relived proved to be a very cathartic experience for Schiller, now a wife and mother who is at work on a book about her life with John. From the beginning, she had been impressed by the research the filmmakers had done and their commitment to getting the story straight. Says Schiller, “I really felt that it was going to be an honest portrayal, that the truth was going to be finally told.” She also enjoyed collaborating with Kate Bosworth who “was really open to listening to what my thoughts and feelings were at the time this was all happening. She, as well as Val and Lisa, have been very sensitive in honoring the feelings we had and very committed to telling the story with respect.”

    Sharon Holmes feels that “the best thing that came out of my relationship with John is Dawn. I was mature; I can understand her falling in love with him. She got the good and the bad of John. I had the good and I chose not to have the bad.” Sharon felt that Lisa Kudrow’s tough portrayal perfectly captured the woman she was. Says Kudrow, “Sharon, John and Dawn kind of lived like this content, untraditional family for a while. He kept them very separate and sheltered from his work — and then he developed the drug problem. Sharon Holmes was very straight and when she found out John was doing porno movies she cut him off,” she explains. “The script’s depiction of her is pretty accurate, so when I met with her it confirmed what a stoic a person she is; that she has rules and a code and she does not deviate from them.”

    Despite the sordidness of the film’s milieu, Kilmer sees WONDERLAND as both an unusual romance and a morality play: “it’s quite a vivid dramatization of what happens why you try to get satisfaction exclusively from the senses. It just doesn’t work.”

    • localarts 1:09 pm on October 21, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      “Holmes owed Nash a fortune and supposedly masterminded a robbery at the dealer’s house, in which his friends from Wonderland Avenue purportedly stole $250,000 dollars worth of drugs, cash and jewelry. Nash reportedly discovered Holmes involvement and forced him to squeal on his friends, resulting in their murder. But the central mystery of the Wonderland murders — what was Holmes’ exact involvement”?

      Yeah, pretty much sum’s it up. If I remember correctly Nash began associating with Holmes in 79 via Chris Cox. I don’t believe Holmes was completly washed up at this point or at least in debt to Nash then.
      Given Schiller’s time line when she used to wait for Holmes in front of the Wonderland house and when she came back from Oregon, Holmes was a “frequent house guest” at least four to six months prior to the robbery. Unless it can be corroborated, it’s virtually impossible to believe anything Holmes said about Wonderland.

      • criticextraordinaire 5:40 pm on October 21, 2013 Permalink | Reply

        It’s hard to corroborate things ANYBODY claims to have witnessed regarding Wonderland or Johnny C.

    • Jill C. Nelson 8:04 am on October 22, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      This seems worth noting here: Speaking of Wonderland and Holmes, director Julia St. Vincent was present in court every day during Holmes’ trial and kept a daily journal. Cher Vinarde, an L.A. based long term ex of John’s (from ’73-’78 who had also taken his surname back in the day as his common-law wife) has within a treasure trove collection from her years with him, an astonishing mass of newspaper articles from the Wonderland period. Vinarde isn’t known to the public in the same way that JSV is but these two ladies have been sitting on their cache for decades and there’s potentially a lot of interesting stuff there.

  • John 12:48 pm on October 18, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , james cox,   

    Director Works Actual Site Of Notorious L.A. Murders Into Creepy ‘Wonderland’ 

    Wow, this is such a great article full of stuff that I did not know. Also, don’t be afraid to email the blog, there are tons of things I’m finding everyday, but that doesn’t mean I have it all yet.

    I am very glad that I never sent any letters to the house. Not that I am not a “crime solving kook”🙂 but I was tempted before in order to get some photos of the interior. I can’t believe they receive letters at the house, and that’s probably been going on for years, and probably still goes on.

    Also, I did not realize James Cox was only 28 when filming the movie. When I was 28, I was still living in my mother’s basement (not).

    The band that was living there during this interview was not “LMFAO”, the crazy rappers who made those YouTube videos and stuff. I Googled the guys mentioned and they are a real rock band, and not just bubblegum rappers like LMFAO. It’s cool that they let Cox use the house for parts of the movie. We had discussed that here on the blog before.

    Enjoy! Have a great weekend~

    Director Works Actual Site Of Notorious L.A. Murders Into Creepy ‘Wonderland’

    By Norma Meyer


    October 14, 2003

    HOLLYWOOD – Like a macabre tour guide, 28-year-old “Wonderland” director James Cox ambles through what he calls The Murder House, where the notorious L.A. multiple-slaying occurred that is the subject of his new true-crime film.

    It was in this hillside Laurel Canyon rental where four druggies died and a fifth was badly beaten in a 1981 revenge frenzy that involved porn star John Holmes. Cops compared it to the Manson bloodbath.

    “Ron was here,” says Cox, in blue flip-flops and cargo shorts, standing over the current resident’s twin bed with the gold throw spread. He raises his arms to simulate the vicious, lead-pipe bludgeoning that killed Ron Launius and severely injured his wife. “Susan gets hit there, and she flops over and survives.”

    One might think this would spook the guy who’s watching the mini-reenactment, since he now sleeps in the room every night. And especially since Mark Maher, 33, along with roommate and fellow band tour manager Mike Flynn, 27 – whose upstairs lair is where Billy DeVerell and Joy Miller were clubbed – didn’t know about the slaughter until after Flynn rented the infamous Wonderland Avenue white-stucco house two years ago.

    In the film that opens Friday, their home (the real exterior is shown, although the split-level interior, including the living room where 22-year-old Barbara Richardson died, was re-created on a Hollywood soundstage) is on the big screen, its corners crammed with drug partiers, its walls covered with blood.

    “It’s a little weird,” says Maher, noting that crime-solving kooks send letters and teenage girls recently knocked on the door and asked to come in.

    Cox understands the lure of wickedness. It’s why Val Kilmer, cast as cocaine-addicted, hard-core has-been Holmes, got so into his seamy character that he decorated his movie trailer with fake bloody palm prints and collages of the late porn king.

    It’s why Sharon Holmes, a now-retired, straight-laced R.N. who’s played by Lisa Kudrow and who was estranged from John after he became X-rated Johnny Wadd, gave Cox her wedding band before shooting began.

    “Everybody was creeped out,” recalls Sharon, 59, who was an adviser on the film. “I said, ‘I have something I believe is a good omen.’ ”

    On and off-camera, Kilmer wore the ring, inscribed with the couple’s initials, around his neck on a chain.

    “Wonderland” explores the homicides from several perspectives, including that of Holmes, the “Boogie Nights” inspiration who died in 1988 at age 43 of AIDS-related complications. After his death, Sharon said he had confessed his role. But a jury in 1982 acquitted him of any involvement in the killings, a payback for a $1 million robbery Holmes set up for his Wonderland pals at the home of nightclub owner and drug dealer Eddie Nash. (Nash was acquitted in the murders in a 1991 retrial after his first trial ended in a hung jury. He later admitted bribing the lone holdout with $50,000. In 2001, he pleaded guilty to federal racketeering charges, including conspiracy to commit the Wonderland murders and served eight months in prison).

    The subplot of this depravity is the unlikely nurturing alliance between Sharon and Holmes’ teenage girlfriend, Dawn Schiller (played by Kate Bosworth). Still close, Sharon and Schiller, now 42, married and the mother of a 3-year-old, chat with each other almost daily on the phone.

    “My daughter calls her Nana Sharon,” says Schiller, a former L.A. legal secretary who lives in the Pacific Northwest and is pursuing her real estate license.

    The story of the women – one childlike and vulnerable, the other maternal but resolute – is the reason that Kilmer, after months of turning it down, took the role. About 20 other leading men, including Matt Dillon, Vince Vaughn and Willem Dafoe, rejected the part because “the character was less than admirable,” Cox says, putting it mildly.

    For a time, it seemed the Lions Gate indie, which Cox co-wrote from an existing script, might not get made. But then Cox, who with tousled, spiky hair and wire-rim glasses looks like a college kid, is one of those Hollywood stories. At 23, based on a 10-minute short, “Atomic Tabasco,” and before even graduating New York University film school, he was picked to direct the New Line movie, “Highway,” starring Jared Leto and Selma Blair. It went straight to video, and Cox went straight to “movie jail.”

    “Wonderland,” which Cox says shot in 23 days for under $5 million, was his next big chance.

    Raised in the Bay Area, he knew nothing about Holmes or the murders until he rented a documentary from a video store, which included LAPD footage of the crime scene. “The hair went up on the back of my neck,” says Cox, sipping coffee at a Sunset Boulevard cafe earlier in the afternoon. “Five minutes after I turned it off, I said, ‘I have to do this movie.’ ”

    He recalls with awe how Kilmer early on took the script to Oscar-winning “Chinatown” screenwriter Robert Towne, who made some suggestions. And after it was shot, “Val brought the film up to Napa, which was incredible, and the Godfather took a look at it.” Cox means Francis Ford Coppola.

    The big coup was getting Schiller to participate. Crucial to the story was her relationship with Holmes, whom she met when she was 15 and he was 32 and with Sharon. In the movie, Holmes clearly loves his wife and Dawn, the latter who lets him physically abuse and prostitute her because she’s more addicted to him than drugs and believes he will turn around.

    What the film doesn’t show is what happened after the two fled to Florida, the movie’s last scene. The couple lived in a transient hotel, and Schiller, again subjected to beatings and prostitution, turned Holmes in. Fearful for her life, she moved to Thailand, where she lived for seven years, attending school and obtaining a degree in gemology.

    Cox e-mailed Schiller for two months before she agreed to meet him in a coffee shop near her home, then in Northern California. “For years, I tried to run from any connections to the past,” she says. “This was not the stuff I wanted people to hear about.”

    But Cox convinced her he only wanted to get their relationship right. “It meant more to me to discuss the love,” Schiller says.

    Schiller was on the set daily offering actors insight and reliving her past; Sharon, who had been awaiting Dawn’s decision to sign on, showed up during Kudrow’s scenes.

    In the meantime, Sharon, who lives in L.A., never remarried or had children, was diagnosed with breast cancer and underwent surgery and chemotherapy. Always the protector, she made sure that Kilmer returned her wedding ring, which Dawn wanted to keep for good karma. Cox brought it to Schiller the night of the movie’s premiere.

    The story’s darkness – which initially made it hard to find a lead – attracted the film’s other actors, says Cox, including Dylan McDermott, Josh Lucas, Carrie Fisher and Janeane Garofalo (who originally wanted to play Sharon). Christina Applegate, who is cast as Susan Launius, the survivor who couldn’t identify her assailants because of massive head injuries, wanted in because the case was L.A. lore.

    “She said, ‘I grew up around the corner from the murder house, and I remember driving by when I was 8 and seeing the bloody mattresses,’ ” Cox says.

    Finally, it got to him. Cox says he “bawled” when he added the guttural sound mix to the murder scene. He thought about the autopsy photos. And about Sharon and Dawn. He says, “in front of the camera, off-camera, during the filming, after the filming,” the immersed Kilmer also sobbed.

    It was lowbrow evil. It was two decades ago.

    But says Cox, as he winds up Wonderland Avenue in a car toward The Murder House, “This happened.”

    “That this was true Los Angeles-noir was like, ohhh,” he sighs. “Can you get much better than that?”

    • dreamweaverjenn 4:10 am on October 19, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      Awesome as always. This case has always affected me the same way that’s why I am fascinated by it, drawn to it, saddened by it, As a medium, I have felt the energy of 2 of the victims, the human side of them and the emotional pain that went with such a horrible, horrible death. Thank you for this blog. I always enjoy reading everything you post. Blessings, Jenn

      • John W 2:35 pm on October 20, 2013 Permalink | Reply

        Yes Jenn, Kilmer did not want the role of Holmes… But his agent tricked him into trying for the Nash role, but he liked the story of Holmes so much that he didn’t want to pass it up! You wouldn’t believe the actors they offered Holmes role to– it’s crazy. Matt Dillon n shit. At least Kilmer sort of looks like him.

        • dreamweaverjenn 5:47 pm on October 20, 2013 Permalink

          Oh yeah, there’s NOBODY else that could have played that besides Val! No question!

    • Beth 3:07 pm on October 19, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      How could these people have not known about the murders?? Were they living under a rock?? That’s like when people moved into the Amityville house and said they’d never heard about those murders. Must have been to busy smoking crack to pay attention I guess.

    • Deb 8:55 pm on March 15, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      Interesting blog! I just happened to pick up Dawn’s book and was fascinated by this story. There wasn’t much in her book though about the actual murders and being a true crime buff I had to see what I could find. I just ordered Wonderland and Boogie Nights and can’t wait till they arrive. Thanks for the info!

  • John 11:08 am on October 18, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: ,   

    1984 Article: Jerry Vann was Nash’s Right Hand Man 

    This article is about the criminal hijinx of L.A. and Vegas tough guy, Gerald Van Hoorelbeke, aka Jerry Vann, aka VAN, aka VANN.

    This really is a pretty crazy article. And it is merely posted for entertainment purposes, because Vann is full of shit and because it seemed that everyone wanted a piece of the Nash, or at least to point the finger at him. When necessary, a prosecutor could say “the defendant knew Eddie Nash!”. Big deal. Lots of people did. I don’t know if you could call Ed an Israeli mafia boss either. He was a wealthy club owner with connections, despite wearing his speedo around the house and doing lots and lots of drugs.

    US DoJ officials Henderson and Crane later sued the Arizona Republic over this article alleging slander/libel. I don’t know if they won their case.

    Hey, can anyone find me a photo of Jerry Vann? I had no luck.

    Van was found guilty in June 1979 of two counts of assault with a deadly weapon, two counts of assault, attempted extortion and conspiracy to commit extortion. He was identified in court records as the “right-hand man” of reputed Israeli Mafia boss Adel “Eddie Nash” Nasiallah.

    * * * * * * * * * * * *




    By Jerry Seper

    Republic Staff

    LOS ANGELES — The U.S. Justice Department is investigating allegations of corruption and misconduct by high-ranking officials of the federal Organized Crime Strike Force, The Arizona Republic has learned.

    The probe, which is being conducted amid extraordinary secrecy, is aimed at James D. Henderson and Richard Crane, the current and former heads, respectively, of the strike force based in Los Angeles.

    The Justice Department investigation was requested by a congressional committee in the wake of its own secret, four-month probe, and it was outlined in a confidential letter to Attorney General William French Smith from Rep. Charles B. Rangel, D-N.Y., chairman of the House Select Committee on Narcotics Abuse and Control.

    “This committee recently received information concerning allegations of official corruption and dereliction of duty relating to narcotics enforcement in the Southwest area of the United States,” Rangel wrote in the Nov. 15, 1983 letter, a copy of which has been obtained by The Republic.

    “I bring this matter to your attention and strongly urge you to undertake a vigorous investigation.”

    The allegations of wrongdoing and misconduct involving strike-force officials were brought to the committee in September by a protected federal witness, Jerry Van, who is a former lieutenant of the Israeli Mafia in the Los Angeles area. This crime syndicate specializes in murder, arson, narcotics and pornography. The allegations are described in several confidential reports from committee investigators to Rangel and others.

    Van told the committee that Henderson and Crane were “unusually soft on organized crime and corruption” and testified that he knew of instances in which the two men avoided prosecuting certain organized-crime figures operating in the strike force’s five-state region, which encompasses Arizona, California, Nevada, Hawaii and New Mexico.

    The strike force, which is within the Justice Department, coordinates federal, state and local law-enforcement agencies in cases against racketeers and mobsters, and prosecutes.

    Van described the crime figures, including high-profile drug dealers and members of the Israeli Mafia, as “friends or associates” of the two prosecutors. He said Crane, who retired in 1977 after 13 years as head of the strike force, currently works for “the Las Vegas mob” and is involved in gambling interests in Nevada.



    “Crane’s clients are organized-crime figures,” Van told committee investigator Sterling Johnson, according to a confidential memo. “When Crane’s clients have problems with the Los Angeles strike force, they are rarely touched because the current chief, Jim Henderson, is a friend and former subordinate (of Crane).”



    John T. Cusack, the committee’s chief of staff, confirmed this week that the panel had requested the investigation. He described the allegations as “very serious and very comprehensive” but declined to be specific.

    “We wouldn’t have taken the trouble to write the letter if we didn’t think there was a problem,” Cusack said. “We just don’t write letters like that every day.”

    Crane, who is in private practice in Los Angeles, said he was aware of the Justice Department’s investigation but denounced the allegations as “untrue, unfounded and unfair.”

    “I never met Jerry Van, never had any (expletive) dealings with him and have no idea what he’s (expletive) talking about,” Crane said. “I have never represented any organized-crime figures, and I never asked Henderson to do a (expletive) favor for me or any of my clients.”

    He denied being actively involved in Nevada’s gaming industry but acknowledged he is a part owner of the Barbary Coast Casino in Las Vegas. Nevada Gaming Commission records show Crane owns a 5 percent interest.

    Crane said he attempted to find out about the Justice Department investigation when he learned of it a few weeks ago but was unable to get satisfactory answers from department officials or the House committee.

    “This is no way to run a (expletive) investigation,” Crane said. “I have a good reputation. Let’s get it over with and get the results of it out.”

    Crane said he and Henderson talked about the allegations, the House request for an investigation and the Justice Department probe of them. He said Henderson told him Van is “a kook.”

    Henderson, however, told The Republic he was not aware that specific allegations have been made against him, Crane or the strike force, that he had not talked to Crane about them and that he did not know that the House committee had requested an investigation by the Justice Department.

    “This is all news to me,” he said.

    Henderson denied any wrongdoing and accused Van of having a “personal vendetta” against him. He said Van, who is serving a 16-year prison sentence for assault, is not a credible witness.

    “If the committee is listening to Jerry Van, they ought to consider whether or not he is a credible witness,” Henderson said. “And I can tell you that he is not.”

    Van, located at a federal prison where he is being held in the government’s witnessprotectionprogram, challenged Henderson’s claim that he is not credible.

    “I testified several times for Jim Henderson,” Van said. “I was his star witness more than once. I guess you could say I am credible only when it is convenient for the government.”

    Records show that Van has been used by strike-force prosecutors and others in numerous cases as a witness during trials and before various grand juries. His testimony has been instrumental in winning 10 convictions of organized-crime figures in cases ranging from murder to racketeering, the records show.

    During a September 1982 hearing in Los Angeles County Superior Court, strike-force prosecutor Paul Corridini testified that Van had been used often as a witness, and that he was “100 percent truthful and had a unique amount of knowledge about the criminal activities” of the Israeli Mafia and other crime groups.

    Cusack said Van’s allegations, along with information his staff was able to gather, indicate that “much more than just narcotics enforcement is involved” in the alleged improprieties.

    Cusack said he learned “unofficially” last month that Justice Department investigators “are talking to people now,” but he said he doesn’t know who has been questioned because no one from the department has discussed the case with the committee.

    Department officials refused to comment.

    A confidential letter to Rangel from Michael E. Shaheen, an attorney in the department’s Office of Professional Responsibility, however, said an investigation was begun Nov. 28, 1983, and that the committee would be advised of the results once it was concluded.

    Shaheen failed to respond to several telephone inquiries. Rangel has not returned repeated telephone calls.

    The request for a Justice Department investigation came after the House committee began its own inquiry into the allegations, committee records show. That investigation, according to the records, continued for at least four months.

    A confidential memo dated Jan. 30 said many of Van’s allegations had been “substantiated” during the committee’s secret inquiry. The memo, a copy of which has been obtained by The Republic, outlined an interview with a law-enforcement official in Hawaii, who was described as being knowledgeable about the activities of the Los Angeles-based strike force.

    The official, Donald Cartensen, an investigator with the Honolulu city prosecuting attorney’s office, was quoted by committee investigators as saying he was “concerned and shocked” by the number of “strong cases” that had been dismissed by strike-force attorneys in Los Angeles.

    Cartensen told the committee’s chief counsel, Richard B. Lowe, and investigator John Capers, that cases involving well-known, high-profile drug traffickers working with entertainers and organized-crime figures either had been dismissed or never brought to trial and that he did not know why.

    A September memo from committee investigator Johnson to Cusack, chief of staff for the House committee, also described an interview with Hal Glickman, a Los Angeles bail bondsman who recently completed a prison term for attempting to bribe a federal judge.

    Glickman, according to the memo, claimed that strike-force prosecutors had been paid bribes by Los Angeles-area mobsters, but he refused to cooperate with the committee’s investigation. He said that if he cooperated with the government, “a lot of people would get hurt.”

    Glickman was not available for comment.

    Van was found guilty in June 1979 of two counts of assault with a deadly weapon, two counts of assault, attempted extortion and conspiracy to commit extortion. He was identified in court records as the “right-hand man” of reputed Israeli Mafia boss Adel “Eddie Nash” Nasiallah.

    Van agreed to cooperate with federal prosecutors in cases against other organized-crimefigures in return for a reduction in his 16-year sentence. He is scheduled to be paroled in June 1985.

    Shortly after Van appeared before the committee, he was transferred from the government’s witness-protection program into the prison’s general population, a move that some — including Rangel — felt had placed Van’s life in jeopardy.

    The protected-witness unit houses prisoners who have testified against others, often high-ranking organized-crime figures, and are considered at risk of being killed in reprisal for their testimony.

    “Shortly after Mr. Van made these allegations, he was transferred from protective custody into the general prison population,” Rangel wrote in his confidential letter to Smith. “While I do not want to draw conclusions from this act, it raises certain questions, particularly, what conditions have changed that would diminish the need for Mr. Van to be under witness protection.”

    Van was returned to the protected-witness unit shortly after the letter was received by the Justice Department.



    • criticextraordinaire 6:39 pm on October 18, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      Most “Israeli mob bosses” these days, and I have had occasion to do straight business with two of their foot dogs, are usually Jewish criminals from former Soviet republics, oftentimes because their home countries have warrants out for their arrest. My guys were from Uzbekistan and Georgia but there are plenty from the other republics, increasingly holing up in Israel.

    • justme 4:13 pm on December 29, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      If you still want that picture of jerry vann let me know

    • jimmy---chicago 1:29 pm on December 31, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      I am confused about the nash being an israeli mobster I thought he is a PLO they hate the Israeli’s with a passion and I read someware that eddie’s brother was killed by an israeli soldier before eddie came to the states so how could this be i’m sure he had to kiss jew ass to operate a buisness in hollywood or even just to get by but I cant see him joining any type of israeli gang or mob

    • jack 1:25 pm on August 10, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      Are you still looking for a pik of jerry vann?

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