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  • John 12:46 pm on July 26, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: ron launius   

    Launius Birthplace Revealed 

    Ron was born in Shawneetown, Ill. This is not to be confused with Old Shawneetown, which got wiped out by the Flood of 1937. Old Shawnee is still around but has a scanty population and few businesses and fewer homes. The newer Shawneetown was set up about 3 miles NW of the old river town and far enough away from the unpredictable Ohio River.

    shawneetown

    New Shawnee sports around one-thousand folks and it is your typical small Midwestern town, a lot smaller when Ron was born there though. Today there is a quik-mart, gas station, pizza joint and one complete neighborhood of mixed-size homes and few zoning laws. It is completely surrounded by farmland.

    For it was here in May, 1944 that Ron was born. His mother was about 17 or 18, and dad was in the US Army Air Corps, probably stationed at Scott AFB or one of the others nearby or off in a foreign land. Shawneetown is where Betty grew up in Gallatin County, Ill. She lived with her mom and stepdad and had two step-brothers, no blood-siblings that I could find. They may have lived on a farm.

    After having three boys together, Betty left Arlin for a forklift operator named Marvin Bryson. She fell in love with him in the early 60’s while she was working at a hospital; he was a patient there. But they were divorced in 1967. Arlin Launius died in 1964 in an alcohol-related car accident, allegedly after drinking at the “Stockton Club” bar near Betty’s house in Stockton. It was a bar at the end of a strip mall. The old Stockton Club location is now a Latino bar. Betty lived across the street. For it was at this house in 1973 that the FBI and cops went looking for Ron after the Mexico business, when he initially fled the country amidst smuggling charges. Betty was handcuffed, roughed up, the whole nine-yards. It is no wonder Ron was the coldest person that that one cop had ever met.

    This info comes from a friend who lived near the Launius family in the late 1950s/early 60s.

     
    • criticextraordinaire 6:33 pm on August 17, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Wow this is some good research John. You are nothing if not thorough.

      I make my way into the Midwest quite often. I’ll see if I can make it into Ronnie’s home town. ‘Twood be nice if at some time in the future, something is done to commemorate Ronnie in Shawneetown.

      I would not be surprised if Ronnie had tracked down the guys who disrespected his mother and gave them a colossal ass whipping.

    • jimmy chicago 1:49 pm on August 18, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      If Ronnie was the size of josh lucas mabe .Even billys son said that ronnie was a little shit that his father could smack him around.Ronnie is about the size of charles manson and manson had to come up with the psycho herky jerky thing in the joint swinging his arms and body around to ward off potential problems with other inmates.Holmes was bigger than ronnie and had more hand to hand combat training as a paratrooper in the army than ronnie in the air force as a supply clerk.I think Holmes was more afraid of David Lind and being cut off from the drugs. Ronnie was just a hardened junkie a scrapper not a real in your face fighter more like dont turn your back on him type thing.When I first saw wonderland I thought ronnie was a lot bigger but this blog really schooled me on ronnie and the rest of the gang

  • John 10:15 am on July 22, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: ron launius   

    The Return Of Ron Launius! 

    Not really. Just some small info to keep your fires burning…

    In June of 1957, David Lind applied for Social Security disability benefits but he was denied. Disability type was not listed. (document found via cross-reference of his mother’s name)

    After having reached the lawful minimum of living in the United States for five years, and with gainful employment, in 1956, Ed applied for his Naturalization in the USA via Milwaukee where he of course owned a restaurant called “Eat’n Time”. One of his female relatives owned or worked at Shamalie’s Dinnette restaurant. Even at this point, he was already living in a big brick home with his wife Maria from Milwaukee and his baby daughter. Seven dollars my ass! The Nash was smart: the old “marry a citizen and have an anchor baby” trick! …and then your newfound citizenship simply consists of filling out some paperwork. In 1956, Ed’s first child with Maria named Debra was born in Milwaukee. There is almost an entire chapter on Debra in my book.

    In the Olivehurst city directory, Ron Launius is seen living at this duplex in unit B with his first wife Fay. I’m guessing that second unit there, and these probably were much nicer back then. Of course, Ron is listed as “USAF” in the directory. In the 1970 directory, it’s the same but includes his old phone number. I guess that was so Cherokee could call him, and for other shady deals. Ron and Fay were divorced in 1970 so it’s a good guess that either Ron was long gone from this address by ’69 or that Fay moved back down to Atwater where she was from (probably the latter, since she filed in San Bernadino). Fay died in 1988 at 40 years old. At fifteen, she gave birth to another serviceman’s baby girl, which was quickly put up for adoption. She must have lived a troubled life til the end.

    You can’t find a good used old Blazer anymore… ‘cept in Olivehurst:

     
    • jim 9:54 am on July 23, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Excellent research!

      • Jenna 6:04 pm on September 21, 2016 Permalink | Reply

        I need some sound advice guys…please tell me only true tales. 8763 Wonderland is up for a month to month lease…im really wanting to move in, but im scared. heard alot about voices at nite and doors slamming….

        • John 10:16 am on September 22, 2016 Permalink

          Jenna,
          I only heard about these strange occurrences from the guys in the pop group, LMFAO, who posted videos on YouTube. However, whatever spirits to haunt the home may have only wanted them, their shitty music and big hair – the hell outta there! LOL

    • criticextraordinaire 6:36 pm on August 17, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      That’s too bad about Fay. As I was reading along I was thinking “Hey, she could fill in some blanks about Ronnie.” But it’s not to be. ;-(

      I still would like to see a movie based on the life and times of Ronnie Launius. I think it could be a major hit.

  • John 7:22 am on February 14, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , michael woods, mike woods, ron launius   

    Horace “Big Mac” McKenna Featured On New TV Show 

    “Tell my mother I love her”.   –Big Mac’s last words to his chaffeur

    Horace “Big Mac” McKenna has been discussed here in the past. He was a former CHiP (highway patrol cop) and a strip club and night club owner in L.A. He was known to have been an associate or at least knew Ron Launius. The two possibly met while in jail in Southern California in either 1977 or 78, as Ron’s sentence was winding down after his transfer from McNeil Island Federal Penitentiary to a unit in SoCal. But that’s just my speculation, based on Ronnie’s timeline and discussions with members of this blog. Ron may have also known McKenna’s partner, Mike Woods, or Woods’ buddy and later business partner, a former bouncer named David Amos.

    Big Mac’s murder and the events that happened at the end of his life will be featured on a new Investigation Discovery crime show hosted by Jerry Springer. So far, the new series has received good reviews from viewer comments that I have read. This new show is called “Tabloid”. And Horace’s episode is titled “Ex-Cop X’ed!”. Check out the preview video here. I believe this episode will be featured next Thursday, Feb. 20 at 10pm eastern time. Check your local cable or satellite listings. Discovery ID/Investigation Discovery.

    A year or two before his murder in the mid 80s, the men who conspired to kill Horace also produced a few B-movies, or straight-to-video films, one of them titled “Flipping” had a similar plot and murder scene as Horace’s real-life demise. 

    The two (McKenna and Woods) quickly rose in the strip club universe and, within only three years, were owners of the “Valley Ball” in Van Nuys, and “Bare Elegance” and the “Jet Strip” in Los Angeles and were wealthy, powerful men.  –Carbon Canyon Chronicle

    There is also an episode from the series City Confidential about Horace, titled “Silenced Partner”. I have watched City Confidential before… but, I don’t know if that show is still aired regularly. Help me out if you find it, post a link. I have not seen “Silenced Partner”.

    Go to the Carbon Canyon Chronicle to read the entire McKenna story and to see reader comments, some of which claim to have known Big Mac or these other gents.

    A few photos from Big Mac’s funeral in 1989. It was a media circus.

     
    • localarts 11:43 am on February 15, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      Will definitely watch it. They might have a different take on McKenna than City Confidential. Damn, I feel sorry for that horse.

    • Ray Johnson 5:04 pm on February 17, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      I was stationed with Big Mac (Hoss back then) in Guam 1961-62 and El Toro where he won the Mr El Toro contest in 1963. We trained for Vietnam but were never sent. I was Big Mac’s workout partner. We always backed each other up in many fights. He was a great friend – very loyal.

    • McKenna Vaughan 1:07 pm on March 11, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      @Ray, Yes Horace was Very Loyal! If he didn’t like you, you damned well knew it! And knew why.. Never in my life had I met anyone like Him!!!

  • John 11:18 am on November 26, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: mcneil island prison, ron launius   

    McNeil Island Corrections Center 

    Of course, this is where Ron served his 3 year federal smuggling sentence. It’s near Seattle. There are all types of McNeil videos on YouTube, but this one was produced shortly after Ron’s release…and discusses the closure of the prison. Thus you get a better vibe for the era, along with some valuable imagery. You may read more posts about McNeil here.

    Ah yes, and I have requested Ron’s prison records via Federal Prisons in D.C. However, by the time I receive the records, I am certain that I will have forgotten that I even sent away for them. At a minimum, we will at least know the dates of his confinement. It all depends on how lazy the clerk is that day who opens the letter.

    Today’s vault presentation aired September 10, 1979, when the penitentiary was well on the way to being closed. We took a look at the history of the prison as well as its possible future.

     

     
    • localarts 2:14 pm on November 26, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      “It all depends on how lazy the clerk is that day who opens the letter” In that case it may be never. You know, they could have made the prisoners swim to McNeil island if they were serious about reducing cost.

      • John 2:49 pm on November 26, 2013 Permalink | Reply

        What sucks is that post-1982, the basic profile records are online for federal inmates. Missed it by a few years!!

        • localarts 4:55 pm on November 26, 2013 Permalink

          Damn. Pre 82…microfiche? Just a guess.

    • Mark C 3:47 pm on November 26, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      John
      Little off subject but I do sometimes feel sorry for you. I bet trying keep all of us up to date with all the new – latest details of this crime, I bet sometimes you feel like you are a zoo keeper trying to feed a cage full of real hungry lions..
      Oh well you I think are one happy zoo keeper anyway.
      Just let you know some of us think about your feelings anyway and it got to be a tough job at times.
      But some of us really appreciate all your hard work.

      • John 7:42 am on November 27, 2013 Permalink | Reply

        Localarts is right, Mark. And there are many positives to few negatives. Readers here are really nice compared to other boards. Also, a few cats with peripheral or direct knowledge sometimes send in cool stuff.! Like the post coming here in a minute! Thanks again.

    • localarts 6:42 pm on November 26, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      I believe John would tell you it’s a labor of love.

    • jim ---Chicago 11:11 am on November 27, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      I wonder if Ronnie was a bad ass without a gun did he call shots in his cell block he was kinda small
      I think around 165 lbs

    • localarts 7:08 pm on November 27, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      I think Ronnie was actually closer to 140. I doubt it unless he had Bruce Lee type skills!

      • jim ---Chicago 10:24 am on November 28, 2013 Permalink | Reply

        I assume he was more of a scrapper not the toughest not the weakest either but someone you should not turn your back on . His eyes are piercing and he probably got by on intimidation and reputation you know not afraid to shoot ,stab or go to jail . As for military service I think Holmes in the army had more training in hand to hand combat than Ronnie I mean he was in the air force I think Holmes was a lot bigger I cant see how he let Ronnie push him around I guess he did not want to screw up that connection but I guess size isnt everything ever see that movie from the late 70s or early 80s Scared Straight but Ronnie 140 lbs thats wild.

        • John W 4:09 pm on November 28, 2013 Permalink

          Indeed, Jim. A scrapper… And Ron’s size immediately reminds me of my older brother. Not a big man, but he has that look in his eye that persuades others not to test him.

      • criticextraordinaire 6:10 pm on November 29, 2013 Permalink | Reply

        Ronnie was not huge but he was wiry. In prison he was no doubt in charge of his cell block. I’m thinking that the first guy to try anything with Ronnie served as the example as to why that would be a bad idea.

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

    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:

          http://www.city-data.com/businesses/858521347-travelers-inn-vallejo-ca.html

          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 8:02 pm on August 12, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , helen hennessy, , ron launius,   

    Thanks To You! 200,000 Page Views In 2 Years ;-) 

    I love you all.

    Thanks for stopping by and killing time with me, as we solve the mysteries of the past, and shed light on the future! There is nothing we cannot do!

    “As if you could kill time, and not injure eternity” –David Thoreau

    license_20130812175136_2351

     

     

     
    • localarts 8:42 pm on August 12, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      Great tune! Very appropriate for 200k+ hits. Just remember us little people when you go on the talk show circuit.

    • Bobby 1:49 am on August 13, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      Woohoo!!!

  • John 11:32 am on August 6, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , ron launius,   

    The Holmes Residences & More Classic Photos 

    This address was in the 1970 city directory for a Mr. John C. Holmes, born Aug. 8, 1944.

    Linnington Avenue.

    Linnington Avenue. Source: Ancestry .com

    Hollywood Blvd. 1981

    Hollywood Blvd. 1981

    John & Sharon lived here on Sherman Way in 1967. The apartments are gone now. Sherman Oaks, CA. 1967.

    Present site of where John & Sharon lived on Sherman Way in 1967. The apartments are gone now. Sherman Oaks, CA.

    Seven Seas

    Seven Seas

    Heart chillin' with Robert Plant.

    Heart chillin’ with Robert Plant.

    The "Seven Sleaze"

    The “Seven Sleaze”

    Seven Seas

    Seven Seas

    RIP. I wonder how Ronnie's dad died? When it happened, Ron was 22 and in the service. Life would never be the same after this.

    RIP. I wonder how Ronnie’s dad died? When it happened, Ron was 20 and in the USAF. Life would never be the same after this.

     
  • John 10:51 am on August 1, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: agent orange, ron launius, ,   

    Ronnie’s Vietnam War Illness …Continued 

    A veteran messaged the blog last night to relay this info. He was stationed at the same base as Ronnie in Ubon, Thailand. It is a very exotic, beautiful place, and Ron being over there makes the Wonderland tale that much more intriguing. Ron’s mom said he would be ill from time to time, with rashes, red marks, welps, etc. To see my other posts about Ronnie, his military awards and illnesses attributed to Ubon Air Base, go here!

    The veteran says:

    I served in the Army at Ubon Royal Thai Air Force Base with Detachment J of the 7th RRFS. We were located on the other side of the runway in a compound. After returning in 1974, I noticed growths on my back and side. I had them checked out by the surgeon on my ETS physical. Since then my wife had two miscarriages, two children with cancer one who died from a brain tumor. I am wondering if I was exposed to Agent Orange or something similar. I am now almost 61 years of age.

    To read more about Ubon and see some pics of the local town, go here to this excellent blog.

    Check out Bob Hope & Raquel Welch at Ubon in February, 1967. Ronnie was there at that time, and no doubt went to watch this show.

    Bob and Raquel Welch.

    Bob and Raquel Welch.

    A cool video slideshow of photos from a serviceman stationed at Ubon:

    Ubon flight crews in action!

     
    • localarts 2:37 pm on August 1, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      I would say everybody stationed there was exposed to agent orange to some degree. For all we know Launius could have been physically suffering day to day from the effects of agent orange at the time of his death. I have to give big time kudos to Ronnie for his service to our country in a war that was very unpopular.

      • John W 5:30 pm on August 1, 2013 Permalink | Reply

        Oh absolutely. In his few miltary records found online, a section reads: “Court Martial details not included in this file” or something like that. Thus, he was still honorably discharged. I wonder what his final rank would have been without this mark on his record? And he was STILL a Staff Sarge upon separation! My dad wanted to be a lifer in the Navy but he lasted 6 years. He was sick of it. I often wonder if Ronnie just Got sick of it!!??

    • localarts 7:31 pm on August 1, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      Difficult to say. He may have been dating Susan shortly before deciding not to reenlist and wanting to get a fresh start. I don’t think there’s any question Ron Launius drug addiction was a direct result his military career during Vietnam. His mother said Ronnie ” suffered trauma” in Vietnam.

      Obviously, not all of Launius military records are available. All we know are at certain times he was involved inventory and various other record keeping. I’m sure there’s much more we don’t know about and probably never will.

      • John W 7:37 pm on August 1, 2013 Permalink | Reply

        Amen, that’s pretty much the shizzle, localarts. Sad. I have had the WDs before from hard drugs. After Ron’s last few Military paychecks I imagine Ronnie, Susan, Carroll Sherrill, etc… trying to score H or ludes… All the while Ron’s post-military job was as shipping and receiving clerk at fucking CostCo!! Or Kmart.

      • John W 4:31 pm on August 2, 2013 Permalink | Reply

        I have Rickey’s contact info. Contemplating on how to approach the situation. A news reporter contacting him is one thing, but a blog guy. Stalker, LOL.

    • localarts 9:09 pm on August 2, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      John, this would be incredible if you could persuade Rick to talk about Ronnie. Maybe you could explained to Rick Launius that the popularity of the Wonderland movie along with the miss information spread about Ronnie has created a lot of interest in his brother and you would just like for him to set the record straight.

    • Bobby 5:31 am on August 4, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      Wow, did anyone else notice in the second video that the word “Peace” along with a peace symbol had been graffitied onto some yellow siding near the runway? Looks like Private Joker from “Full Metal Jacket” had been there but was interrupted before he could finish writing “Born to Kill” under it!

    • phipson 1:50 pm on August 2, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      Many veterans are searching for answers to their illnesses, I was stationed at Ubon, have significant health problems, so if anyone knows anything, especially (for me) the 73/74 time period, please contact me!

    • Philip Woods 4:12 pm on November 10, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      I came to Ubon in late 1973 and returned to Nong sung because we closed Det J. I came back with cyst on my body. My wife had several miscarriages and my son died of a brain tumor and my daughter had ovarian cancer. I have been wondering if i was exposed because Det J was near the perimeter. I have more of these cyst and have now been diagnosed as a diabetic.

      • phipson 5:21 pm on November 10, 2014 Permalink | Reply

        I don’t know about cysts (I had two or three removed at Ubon) but certainly Type 2 Diabetes is an Agent Orange presumptive. There are several Facebook pages for Ubon/Thailand vets too, they have extensive information, maps, and photos.

    • David Clark 5:17 am on November 25, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      Stationed Ubon 1965. Is there a correlation with diabetes and Agent Orange?/ Never heard of this until now. Was TDY from MacDill AFB Florida. I was Air Police and guarded F4″s, Radar site and bomb dump and intelligent building on flight line. New Indian Joes and the playboy club very well. Was 20 years old at the time.

    • mark c 4:32 pm on January 19, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      I highly respect any servicemen or servicewoman, they serve our country.
      I am down right scare to ask my good friends wife where he serve at while in Vietnam. It would bring up too painful thoughts for her,
      He found out he had Agent Orange & like within 4 to 6 months he was gone. Healthy one day dead the next, He was pretty wild himself. I was more a calming factor with him. He like myself.
      I never did get to really set down & talk to him as he asked myself to do for him when he found out he was sick and that really hurt’s myself to this day. All he asked was I set down & drink few beers with him. He was gone before I had the chance. Stupid myself I thought we had more time. I was very wrong on that.
      I sure bet Ronnie would love this Holliday on 1st / 19th/

    • localarts 8:40 am on January 22, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      Even if the murders had never taken place, I’m not sure Launius would have seen the 90″s. I think he was indeed sick.

    • localarts 6:25 pm on March 16, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      This week marks the 25th anniversary of the first trial of Eddie Nash / Dials. This trial, in my opinion, was a watershed moment in what we know now as the Wonderland Murders. This is where the general public would get it’s first look at most of the key players involved with the exception oh Holmes and two others. This trial should have been the end of it but when you have the kind resources that Eddie had at that time…

  • John 8:19 am on June 21, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: ron launius   

    The Criminal History of Ron Launius – Part 3 

    This snippet is from the Jacobs book. It is dubious as to where this info comes from, or if it is even true at all… what do you think?

    The character for Who’ll Stop The Rain and Dog Soldiers was based on a friend of Jack Kerouac’s, a counter-culture guy named Neal Cassidy. Also, Jacobs says Ron was in the Army. Hogwash!

    Ron Launius was an interesting and compellingly dangerous man. The character of Ray Hicks in the film “Who’ll Stop The Rain?” (as well as the Robert Stone novel “Dog Soldiers” that the film is adapted from) is reportedly based on Launius. When he was serving in the Army during the Vietnam War in the 70s, Launius was arrested and served time for transporting heroin back to the States in the cadavers of fallen U.S. soldiers. Once he was released from the stockade, Launius returned home to Northern California where he immediately fell in with a biker gang. The bikers gave Launius a large sum of cash – some say it was $100,000 – to travel to Mexico to procure heroin. Ron Launius and his wife crossed the border and met with the drug contacts he had been referred to. Instead of handing over the heroin, the Mexican thugs grabbed Launius’ wife, kept the heroin, and demanded that he return with another $100,00 or they would kill his wife. At this point Launius drove back to Northern California, robbed two banks and an armored car to procure the ransom money, and returned to Mexico, at which time he handed over the cash and the Mexicans returned his wife. According to reports, Launius secured his wife in a motel in Calexico, crossed back across the border again and murdered the Mexicans. Upon returning to Northern California, Launius reportedly killed the bikers who arranged the set-up in the first place.

    "I don't remember doing all of that stuff"

    “I don’t remember doing all of that stuff”

     
    • Bobby 8:37 am on June 21, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      Hmm… So it’s fair to say that most posters on this blog have major problems with this ransom story? This sure brings into question the validity of Jacob’s book if this is in fact BS. I’d hate to throw out the baby with the bathwater but other than the trial testimonials in his book do we have to take everything else with a handful of salt? On the off chance that it’s true would Lind and his Aryan Brotherhood cohorts be the bikers that Launius “fell in with” or was he knocking about with other biker gangs?

    • Jenn 8:59 am on June 21, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      I’m not sure I believe all that.

    • localarts 9:26 am on June 21, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      Who’ll stop the rain was released in 1978, the same year Launius walked out of prison. Do the math folks because Jacobs certainly didn’t.

    • Jill C. Nelson 11:19 am on June 21, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      The Launius story was discussed and hotly contested often on the old Wonderland forum at imdb. As much as it makes for a compelling tale, there were/are not reliable sources to substantiate or support the theories/information relayed about Launius’ past. Similiar issues exist with John Gilmore’s “Bad Eddie” chapter on Holmes and the Wonderland murders except that Gilmore included a small disclaimer to cover himself.

    • localarts 2:29 pm on June 21, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      If anyone believes Jacobs accont of Ron Launius then you must also believe that Ronnie carpooled with Holmes on their way to class at UCLA.

      • John W 4:50 pm on June 21, 2013 Permalink | Reply

        Ron, Greg and Holmes were also in the same Anatomy & Physiology class at night school. Greg rode shotgun in the Chevy Malibu.

    • localarts 9:28 pm on June 21, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      Yep. Greg would reach in the glove compartment and pull out an 8 track of the Starland Vocal Band and before you know it, all three are singing Afternoon Delight……… Now that’s really f***ed up!!

  • John 8:14 am on May 13, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , ron launius,   

    Wonderland Birthdays 

    happy-birthday

    Happy Birthdays go out this week!

    • Joy’s birthday is tomorrow, May 14. She would have been 77 years old.
    • Ron’s birthday is May 18. He would have been 68 this Saturday.
    • Susan’s birthday is May 30.

    I know that Ron and Joy were both born in Illinois and have close birthdays. I can imagine, after meeting each other, that this was enough for them to bond or whatever and become instant friends (besides the drugs). She let him move into her house. I know that when I meet someone who was born in the same state as me, then that is always an instant topic for conversation. Just sayin…

    Have a great week everyone.

    Keep the great posts and finds coming!

    7704_heading

    sm_wonderland_129

    images (7)

     
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