Robber Describes Holdup At Nash’s Home

Well, since the Mort Downey video is not available yet, I bring you this interesting article from the Nash and Diles trial of 1989.

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January 6, 1989

SANDI GIBBONS, L.A. Daily News Staff Writer

A man who helped rob former nightclub owner Eddie Nash more than seven years ago was the leadoff witness Thursday at a preliminary hearing for Nash and a former bodyguard accused of the 1981 slayings of four people in Laurel Canyon.

Nash, 59, whose real name is Adel Nasrallah, and Gregory DeWitt Diles, 40, are accused of killing the four people on July 1, 1981, in retaliation for the million-dollar robbery at Nash’s former home in Studio City two days earlier.

David Clay Lind, an ex-convict who said he helped rob Nash, testified that the late adult-film star John Holmes set Nash up for the robbery.

Also in on the robbery, he said, were Ronald Launius, 37; William DeVerell, 42; and Tracy McCourt. He said McCourt stayed outside in a getaway car while the others took cocaine, heroin, quaaludes, jewelry, weapons and ”hundreds of thousands of dollars” from Nash on June 29, 1981.

Launius and DeVerell were among the four people bludgeoned to death in a house on Wonderland Avenue in Laurel Canyon. A fifth person, Launius’ wife, Susan, survived the attack and is expected to testify, as is McCourt. Also killed were Lind’s girlfriend, Barbara Richardson, 22, and Joy Audrey Miller, 46.

Holmes, who died of AIDS-related complications last year, was prosecuted for the Laurel Canyon murders, but acquitted in 1982.

A break in the case occurred last year when a former lover of the late entertainer Liberace offered new information, authorities said.

The prospective witness is Scott Thorson, 29, who authorities said talked about the murders after he pleaded guilty last July to a drug-related robbery.

Nash, of Tarzana, and Diles, of Los Angeles, were arrested last Sept. 7.

Lind, an ex-convict and admitted thief and drug dealer from Sacramento, testified that during the robbery at Nash’s house, the former nightclub owner got on his knees and begged for mercy.
At one point, Nash “asked permission if he could say a prayer for ‘my children,’ ” Lind said.
He said the robbers went to Nash’s house after Holmes called and said that only Nash and Diles were there. Holmes left a sliding glass door open for them, he said.

Lind, who said he and the others were armed with pistols, testified that he surprised Diles in the living room of the house as Diles was carrying a breakfast tray to Nash.

As he tried to handcuff Diles, his weapon accidentally discharged, inflicting a powder burn on Diles, Lind testified. At this point, he said, Nash, wearing only his underwear, appeared.

“He thought Mr. Diles had been shot and he was next,” Lind testified.

Lind said the robbers took the loot back to the Laurel Canyon house where they had been living to divide it up. He said he, Launius and DeVerell hid part of the money from Holmes and McCourt so they would get a bigger share for themselves.

Holmes, who Lind described as “weak,” became angry over his share, Lind said.

Defense attorneys contend that the Laurel Canyon murders were committed because of a “falling out among thieves,” not as retaliation for the Nash robbery, which never was reported to police.