Testimony of Paramedic at Wonderland House

This courtroom testimony was obtained via the Freedom of Information Act from the Federal Office of Mind Your Own Business.



Called as a witness by the People,

was sworn and testified as follows:







Q: Officer Mitchell, what is your occupation and assignment?


A: I’m a paramedic with the L.A. City Fire Department.


Q: And directing your attention to July 1, 1981, just shortly before 4:00 o’clock in the afternoon: Did you respond to 8763 Wonderland Avenue in Los Angeles?


A: Yes, I did.


Q: For what purpose was that, Ma’am?


A: We had a call, our dispatcher called and said we had a possible dead body at the scene.


Q: And referring to People’s 1-A and 1-B of the chart, in the area marked S. Launius in bedroom number one did you see this person?


A: Yes I did.


Q: Was this a female, by the way?


A: Yes it was.


Q: In what condition was this person in?


A: She was lying on the floor. She had a lot of head injuries. She had an amputated finger. The patient at that time was semi-conscious. We were unable to get any information from her, Her vital signs were within stable limits. She was completely incoherent.


Q: But she was alive?


A: She was alive. Yes.


Q: You say her finger was amputated. Was it a fresh amputation? By that I mean it was not –


A: No. It was a fresh amputation.


Q: Was there a lot of blood in the area of the person, S. Launius?


A: Yes. There was blood. It was mainly on the wall right behind her head. Her head was pretty close to the wall. There was blood all over the wall behind her.


Q: And what was the condition of her head?


A: Her head had a lot of – we couldn’t determine at the time what the cause – what the damage was caused by, but it was on the top of her head, she had a lot of deep wounds.


Q: Did you notice anything, any of the other victims in the residence?


A: Yes, we examined all the other four and pronounced all of them deceased.


Q: The only person that was alive was S. Launius in the People’s Diagram 1-A?


A: That is correct.


Q: Did you cause this person to be transported to a hospital?


A: That is correct. I transported her to Cedars.[1]


MR. COEN: I have nothing further.







Q: Miss Mitchell, what time did you arrive again?


A: We arrived at approximately 1600 hours.


Q: When you say “we” who are you referring to?


A: Okay. There was myself and my partner.


Q: Just two of you?


A: That is correct.


Q: Aside from the five victims or bodies that you saw in the residence were there other people in the residence when you arrived?


A: In the home itself?


Q: Yes, Ma’am.


A: There was an engine company on the scene. They preceded us. We had four people from the engine company there, my partner and myself.


Q: Did you see any people that did not appear to be connected with the paramedics or fire department or some other official sources?


A: Not inside the home itself.


Q: Did you see people outside the home?


A: There were several people on the sidewalk, which is normal any time you have a lot of fire engines and –


Q: With regard to the four people that were pronounced dead, did you personally physically examine those four people?


A: I pronounced two of the people; my partner pronounced the other two.


Q: And those two – strike that – did those four people appear to you to have been dead for some period of time?


A: We are not the coroner. We couldn’t determine the time of death. They were, very obviously, dead, though.


Q: Did you notice any blood on them?


A: Yes, they all had blood on them.


Q: Did the blood appear to be dry?


A: Yes, sir.


Q: With regard to the one party that was still living – that was Susan Launius. Is that correct?


A: Yes, sir. From what I understand. At the time we couldn’t get the name out of her. We just had her as Jane Doe.


Q: You told us that she apparently was talking but her speech was either garbled or incoherent? Is that correct?


A: She was not really talking. She was moaning more than anything and she was mumbling a word occasionally but it didn’t make any sense to me.


Q: Were you with her from the time that you found her until she was taken to the hospital?


A: Either my partner or I were with her.


Q: And how much time transpired from the time you found her until she was taken and delivered to the hospital?


A: Till the time we loaded her up in the ambulance to get ready to leave for the hospital? Approximately 10 minutes.


Q: And how long did the ride to the hospital take?


A: 15 minutes.


Q: Were you with her when she was being treated at the hospital?


A: No, sir.


Q: During any of the time that you were with her did she make any statements to you that made any sense to you?


A: No, sir. She did not.


Q: Did you relate to the police whatever statements she did make, whether they were intelligible or unintelligible?


A: She didn’t actually make any statements to us.


Q: I see. Nothing further, Your Honor.


THE COURT: Redirect?


MR. COEN: Nothing, Your Honor.


THE COURT: Thank you very much, Miss Mitchell. You may step down and you are excused.


MR. COEN: Thank you, Your Honor. The People call Susan Launius.

[1] Cedars-Sinai Hospital on Beverly Boulevard in Los Angeles