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  • John 10:39 am on March 14, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Bob Souza, four on the floor, lange, , ,   

    Malice In Wonderland 

    Malice in Wonderland by retired LAPD detectives, Tom Lange & Bob Souza is highly recommended. Scroll down to read more.

    I rarely do this, but here is another book recommendation:

    6200 Carbon Canyon Road – My Life as a Penthouse Pet

    by Terri Lenee Peake

    A rare look into the world of a distinct, and sexy slice of SoCal, 1980s style – Terri Lenee Peake tells her story as a young model living life amidst its struggles and good times with her beau, in what became a lost, and noirishly bygone era. A view into their life together at Tara, a fairytale castle in the canyon, and the surrounding and looming chaos. It is an amazing memoir that creates envy, awe, and fear – and that oft-misunderstood mistress, nostalgia.

    We don’t hear enough in print about folks like the lovely Lenee or her fiance whom she might’ve died with… Horace McKenna, who like any rich L.A. guy kept a pet tiger – and during their break-up in the late 80s was gunned down by a random, prototypical L.A. hustler; it was like out of a movie, and it later was part of one.

    Those who say art doesn’t imitate life, or vice-a-versa, hadn’t been to Lenee & Big Mac’s 40-acre horse ranch.

    Read more about Peake’s new book


    Here is the link to purchase the Tom Lange & Bob Souza book on Amazon, you won’t regret it.

    Here is the link to purchase the book on Amazon, you won’t regret it.


    This episode of a new true crime program looks interesting…. set your DVRs. Watch preview below, it airs on OXYGEN Fri 3/30 primetime.

    I hope this episode is not hijacked, and another glorified version of the other story. I hope there is mention of the real interesting people – those peripheral characters- slimy or not, each with individual motives… LA’s craziest criminals for the ages! and all those bad personal choices & decisions that in 1981 in Hollywood – could get you killed, the era in which this mayhem occurred was crazy… so I hope this episode is fresh and juicy.

    Thank you.

    • Michelle 3:21 pm on March 18, 2018 Permalink | Reply

      Is this the book that was originally to be called “Four on the floor@?

      • John 10:44 am on March 20, 2018 Permalink | Reply

        No, it’s 2 of the same gents, but a different effort altogether, decades later and a welcome surprise.

    • Bobby 7:17 pm on March 18, 2018 Permalink | Reply

      Great posts John, good to see the blog back in action. When it rains it pours!
      Your book looks riveting – can’t wait!

  • John 7:09 am on March 9, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: ,   

    Interview With Kevin Deverell & Photo Of Paul Kelly 

    Kevin Deverell and I spoke yesterday for 45 minutes. Kevin was serving in the US Navy aboard the aircraft carrier USS Forrestal when his father died.

    This is a true crime discussion forum. The whole point is to discuss details and find out the truth. The real story and the back-story so to speak. The visitors and posters at this blog feel compassion for the departed, because we have all had someone close to us lost to drugs, crime, or loved ones who got mixed up with the wrong crowd. In Wonderland, the truth about those involved was elusive in this case from the very beginning. It is nice to finally begin to find out the truth. In the decades since the 80s, some of the key figures (Thorson, Schiller) have even changed their stories somewhat. Erroneous details, exaggerations and accusations have consistently been thrown around by the media, sensationalized TV shows and so on. Thus, it is nice to start finding out the truth and setting the record straight. Thanks to Nils and Kevin, Jill Nelson and blog contributors for helping me out in this arena. The goal of this blog from the beginning was to gain exposure, through genuine discussion with key people, and possibly do a book or “real” documentary. If you’re new here, use the Search button because some of the highlights include contributions from Holmes author, Jill C. Nelson, Nils Grevillius, Julia Negron (ex-wife of Three Dog Night singer, Chuck), Lee who worked at the Starwood and knew Eddie Nash. There is also the close family friend of Tracy McCourt, the widow of Ron Launius’ friend, Carroll Evan Sherrill, among others. Go to Podcasts in the drop down menu if you want to listen to my interview from last year with Wonderland investigator and private eye, Nils Grevillius. Thanks for stopping by, but please don’t leave comments in anger or use curse words.

    Stream the interview here:

    Play or Download the mp3 audio file here:

    Also included is a photo of Billy Deverell and Paul Kelly, circa 1960s. Billy was 27 years old in this photo. Thanks again, Kevin!

    Billy Deverell and Paul Kelly

    Billy Deverell and Paul Kelly

    • criticextraordinaire 9:10 am on March 9, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      re: Billy’s 13 arrests. Would that not be public record? I’m pretty sure that info would be available to prove or disprove, at least the arrests and any possible convictions.

      • John 8:27 am on March 10, 2014 Permalink | Reply

        While this is possible if you know someone, it’s pretty impossible to walk in or phone a police station or Sheriff’s office and say you want someone’s criminal records. Even if they are deceased. Even if you are family. Basically in this case, I guarantee that one cop told a reporter this number, and it was said once, and then got reprinted over and over again by the newspapers.

        The Freedom of Information Act is a joke. Especially if the clerk is too lazy to even fulfill your request. I have numerous requests over a year old with the prison systems, military records people, a Sheriff’s dept, state police, etc. Civil service has gone downhill, worse than it ever was before. Even if you pay them their fee. Good luck.

        • Bonnie Brae 10:46 am on March 10, 2014 Permalink

          Hey Jenn – Friend me on Facebook – ask John how to find me.

        • Bonnie Brae 10:53 am on March 10, 2014 Permalink

          John – you make some damn good points.

        • dreamweaverjenn 5:47 pm on March 10, 2014 Permalink

          Oh no doubt…..I have personal experience with media taking one thing, blowing it waaaaaay out of proportion and spreading it everywhere…..

        • localarts 4:24 pm on March 12, 2014 Permalink

          Chris Cox statement somewhat dubunks Thorsons allegations about what happened to Holmes after Nash found out it was him who set up the robbery. I think Chris Cox said he heard that Nash had been robbed, and went up to Dona Lola to see Eddie. He said when he walked in the front door he saw John Holmes stand by the bar.

          That’s a big contrast from Thorson’s account. “Diles burst thru the front door with Holmes by the back of the neck and marched him straight to the bedroom. Thorson said they beat the hell out of Holmes and walked out of the bedroom an hour later with Holmes by the back of the neck with one hand and a pipe in the other.

          It’s like you were saying John, Thorson may have been just as big a liar as Holmes

        • John 5:54 pm on March 12, 2014 Permalink

          So according to Kevin and Nils, back in 2001 a 71 yr old Eddie Nash had a rough time at Terminal Island prison.

    • Bonnie Brae 9:50 am on March 9, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      Nils is the Man.

    • criticextraordinaire 9:53 am on March 9, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      Is Paul the guy who took a dump on Joy’s coffee table or something like that?

      • John 7:59 am on March 14, 2014 Permalink | Reply

        I think that is what Kevin told me before, but it was a b-day cake. Paul must have been the life of the party.

    • Bonnie Brae 9:59 am on March 9, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      Someone left a comment a while ago that we need to get a life. Could not agree more. At the same time it’s such a fascinating story.

      • dreamweaverjenn 11:21 am on March 9, 2014 Permalink | Reply

        Ah, screw ’em! It is a fascinating story! There is so much more to these people then “they did drugs, they were bad criminals, they were murdered” the end. So, if we need to get a life, what were they doing on here as well??

      • Eric B 1:33 am on March 12, 2014 Permalink | Reply

        Funny! 🙂 I was just checking this story on Facebook and my girlfriend peers over my shoulder and says, “GOOD GOD ARE YOU STILL READING THAT STUFF!??! THEY’RE ALL DEAD…” haha

    • Bonnie Brae 10:05 am on March 9, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      I love the story about the Hawk. So sweet.

    • Bonnie Brae 10:15 am on March 9, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      Cool interview. Thanks John. – I love when he asked why you were so interested in the story.

    • dreamweaverjenn 11:22 am on March 9, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      Awesome! Love this interview! Thanks John!

    • Bonnie Brae 11:43 am on March 9, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      Final comment. I agree with Dream. We have heard all the speculation. The newspapers made sure we knew about all the dirt that sensationalized the story. Thank you Kevin for showing us the other side of your dad and letting us see the human guy that some people are unable to grasp. Why the fascination? hmmm good question. Why are people so fascinated with Jack the Ripper, or Dahlia?

      • swrworkingman 9:32 am on March 12, 2014 Permalink | Reply

        For me, the fascination has got to do with the lead pipes. Of course John’s double role and all, but the led pipes nails Nash as the stereotype godfather that he was, not only did he show no mercy, he wanted to send a message in the underworld of LA. Tom Lange points it out in the British documentary.

        • John 10:00 am on March 12, 2014 Permalink

          As bouncer at some of Nash’s clubs, Diles was known to wield a pipe fitted with a rubber bicycle handlebar grip to threaten unruly customers. He also chased a man from one of the clubs one time, emptying his gun at the man across 6 lanes of traffic at 2 in the afternoon. His brother, Sammy once pistol whipped the brother of a city councilman at the Kit Kat Club, for which he served 2 year I believe for assault.

        • dreamweaverjenn 9:14 am on March 13, 2014 Permalink

          Wow, these people were hard core. I can see Diles emptying his gun in broad daylight too and not EVEN worrying about it. Dang…..

        • localarts 10:16 am on March 13, 2014 Permalink

          I think Eddie Nash was the most dangerous person of all the people that been profiled on this blog. Eddie had a vast amount of resources available at his disposable. If I were to rank me:
          1) Eddie Nash
          2) Horace “Big Mac” McKenna
          3) Ron Launius
          4) John Curtis Holmes

      • localarts 9:27 pm on March 15, 2014 Permalink | Reply

        John Holmes did far worse than Billy ever did.

    • Nils Grevillius 12:21 pm on March 9, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      Kevin is a good man and has my respect. I am glad the back story is included here, of real lives of real people. Good work, Weghorst.

    • localarts 3:11 pm on March 9, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      Fantastic as always! Without John’s dedication and drive, some of the mysteries surrounding the people and events that led up to the murders would still be unknowns. It sounds like Billy was just a regular guy.
      Went to work, paid his bills, and raised a family then fell into drugs, unfortunately. The same thing can probably be said about Joy.

      Without going into alot of detail, if you remove John Curtis Homes from the equation, it changes the course of everyone’s life forever. Including, Eddie Nash. And that’s a fact.

      • dreamweaverjenn 4:21 pm on March 9, 2014 Permalink | Reply

        I agree!

      • dreamweaverjenn 4:53 pm on March 9, 2014 Permalink | Reply

        Some asshole started shit with me on Facebook because I didn’t like his comments and the fact that he referred to himself as John Holmes. I asked if was also a sorry piece of shit and then it was on, lol. Sometimes I can’t keep my comments to myself and it gets me in trouble……Most of the time I try to be a very nice lady (My daughter’s saying “yeah, right, Mom.”

    • Darlene 6:49 pm on March 9, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      It was close to end of May I seen Billy a week before this all happened , Joy was the worse thing that ever happened to him

    • Darla 9:27 am on March 10, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      If Billy was under survallience , Why was that not a factor in catching his murderers?

      • John 9:33 am on March 10, 2014 Permalink | Reply

        Hi Darla. I think the police were aware of things at the house but it was not being watched 100% of the time.

        • Darla 9:47 am on March 10, 2014 Permalink

          I knew him all my life the Good,the Bad and the Ugly, Growing up he wasn’t like what ppl are saying and honestly, the Movie I call ” Bullshit”

      • localarts 5:47 pm on March 10, 2014 Permalink | Reply

        I think the house was under surveillance not Billy specifically. The police were keeping tabs on who was coming and going in order to build a case. Joy was potentially looking at doing time already.

        • John 1:09 pm on March 11, 2014 Permalink

          Yeah, the fuzz were probably checking out the house once in a while, but I doubt a team of narc’s were on the case full time.

    • localarts 10:32 am on March 10, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      I wonder whatever became of those antique Colt dueling pistols? Even back in 81 they would have been worth a fortune.

    • Tori 11:42 am on March 10, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      Does kevin live in Orange County? Didn’t u say garden grove ?

      • Tori 12:09 pm on March 10, 2014 Permalink | Reply

        My pops works for Bragg crane n rigging . They totally test randomly idk about back then. Like kevin said That kind of work there is no way you could be on drugs. Too dangerous.

      • John 12:36 pm on March 10, 2014 Permalink | Reply

        I’m not sure where.

        • Tori 2:08 pm on March 11, 2014 Permalink

          John I showed my dad ur blog he loves it. He’s on it as we speak. He’s just as fascinated in wonderland as we are!He loves that song . Who’s song is it?!

        • John 3:31 pm on March 11, 2014 Permalink

          Bette Davis Eyes by Kim Carnes. It was the #1 song on the charts in June & July 1981.

    • dreamweaverjenn 5:53 pm on March 10, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      Hey Bonnie, sent him a message ❤

    • swrworkingman 12:55 pm on March 11, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      I kind of feel sorry for the actor who had the role as Tracy in Wonderland, if it is true they wrote him more or less out of the movie because of the real Tracy being a pain in the ass 😉

      • John 1:01 pm on March 11, 2014 Permalink | Reply

        You mean George Leonardopoulos? LOL. Yes, his career also took a nosedive after the movie. He appeared in very little and also suffered a setback LOL

        • swrworkingman 1:05 pm on March 11, 2014 Permalink

          Its all McCourts fault, haha

        • Bobby 4:34 am on March 12, 2014 Permalink

          ..And what a terrible line and delivery too! Doesn’t he say something like “Sure thing boss!” as if he’s in a damn James Cagney gangster flick after one of the gang tells him he’s the wheelman. Makes we cringe whenever I see it. Almost as bad as that extra slapping his thigh to the music when Lind enters the house for the first time during the party scene. When you see how badly that guy is overacting it can never be unseen! LOL!

        • dreamweaverjenn 5:36 am on March 12, 2014 Permalink

          Every time I watch it I notice something like that, the thigh slapping or someone saying something cheesy…..

    • John 4:41 pm on March 13, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      John Holmes died on this date in 1988. 3-13.

      • localarts 5:25 pm on March 13, 2014 Permalink | Reply

        Yes, and he took alot of secrets with him. Anyone willing to speculate where Holmes is spending his days now?

    • Mike 11:55 pm on March 13, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      Interestingly you can hear a hawk calling loudly on one of the Wonderland walk-through vids on YouTube.

    • kdimmick 12:19 am on March 14, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      Is Paul Kelly still alive?

      • John 5:49 am on March 14, 2014 Permalink | Reply

        Ken, nobody really knows. He’s be about 70+ now if he was alive.

        • Ken D. 3:17 am on March 15, 2014 Permalink

          Here is a tidbit of information that I do not know if you are aware of if it is true…
          Back when the movie WONDERLAND came out Lions Gate had a discussion board that a lot of people used to post at but it eventually got shut down due to all the crap that went on there. Anyway…..There was a lady from Canada who posted there.She was a painter by the name of Denise LafFrance who was planning to write and illustrate with her portraits of porn people a coffee table type book about the golden age of porn. She went on a trip to L.A. in order to meet a lot of the old time porn performers. She was wired in pretty tight with Cass Paley and he was making introductions to of her to people like Bob Chinn,Bill Margold etc…. After she got back from her trip I asked her how it went and what all she did while she was there and she related an interesting visit that she took with Bill Amerson to Glickman’s bail bond office there in L.A.. Glickman regaled her with old stories about Eddie Nash and also mentioned that an old friend of Ron Launius’s worked there with him but was not in at the time…..that friend of Launius’s was Paul Kelly. She said that her and Bill Amerson waited awhile for Kelly to get back but they had to leave when he hadn’t shown up after awhile so she never did actually meet him.
          Do you by any chance know anything about a Hal Glickman/Paul Kelly connection?

        • John 7:26 am on March 15, 2014 Permalink

          I will ask Nils about Hal Glickman, if he is still around and such. In his investigation he found that Glickman’s wife may have given Holmes a ride home that fateful morning. Thanks for the lead, maybe it will open up some channels!

    • Jill C. Nelson 1:44 pm on March 16, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      “In his investigation he found that Glickman’s wife may have given Holmes a ride home that fateful morning. Thanks for the lead, maybe it will open up some channels!”

      John, this is information Tom Lange touched on briefly when we spoke with him. We didn’t use it verbatim in the book because it couldn’t be confirmed. He said he believed they (LAPD) located the car eventually, that had dropped Holmes off at Sharon’s or at Bill Amerson’s since both claimed on the record that John arrived at their homes during the early hours on July 1st. The distance between Glenwood and Sherman Oaks is not exactly a hop, skip, and a jump away — it’s approximately eleven miles — so it’s hard to imagine that Holmes arrived at both doorsteps even if he’d had a lift, unless he cloned himself. We asked Lange about the car when it was found, did it have blood in the interior. Lange couldn’t recall or wasn’t certain. He couldn’t commit either way.

      The following are direct quotes from Tom Lange extracted from our September 2007 interview in which he references Dottie Glickman, Scott Thorson, Holmes and Nash. Some of it might be recycled information for readers, some of it not.

      Tom Lange: “We had other witnesses too. We had Hal Glickman’s wife, who is also deceased, who is the one that supposedly drove the killers to the house. She was in hiding, you know, and there was a big rigamarole over that. She was in hiding and she died, too. Dottie Glickman was her name. We looked for the car and we spent hundreds and hundreds of man hours over the years on this thing. We found phony leads. She never really gave us specifics.”

      Tom Lange: “We had Thorson’s car up at Nash’s house right after the murders. He said he overheard Diles beat up John. There’s always a little bit of truth to what someone says. When they’re impeached how much of what they say is true? How much do they embellish their statement for this reason or that reason? Books are written on that subject.”

      Tom Lange: “The pressure was on John. We would have rather not filed a murder charge against John. We wanted him as a witness, but he would have to have been completely forthcoming. Say ‘Yes, I opened the door, I knew what they were going to do.’ And if you were in fear of your life, which he probably was, then that’s what you say. ‘I saw them go to the victims and I saw them beat the victims and they made me take some whacks, I had blood on me. I went to Sharon’s house and I went to Amerson’s house,’ wherever he went. ‘This is what I did and this is what I did with the clothing.’ He needed to make a bold confession, not little admissions where he ended up playing a game. If he did that, then he would have been a witness and given immunity. But instead he played the game. Therefore, we had to put this so-called domino theory into effect to pressure him.”

      Tom Lange: “Nash was a suspect and certainly the motive was very strong and we’d done a background on all these people. We were finding out that Nash had been very insulated in the city for all these years, like the Teflon Don thing. Nobody could ever nail him. And there was a reason for that. You had political corruption, and you had police corruption, and he was a very insulated individual. This was rampant. That’s why he walked for so many years, and basically, he got away with anything he wanted. So, he was a hard nut to crack.
      Of course, then we found out that the feds were investigating him and there were dirty feds involved. Corrupt feds. They had come to our department behind our back and said that we were dirty and we were in bed with Ed Nash — forcing our department to investigate us when they were the ones that were involved — thereby derailing the investigation for a number of years. Which is exactly what they wanted to do.”

      • localarts 3:06 pm on March 17, 2014 Permalink | Reply

        Nils Grevillius said Dottie Glickman gave Holmes a ride as well. You know you’re dealing with a very, very big fish (Nash) when everybody either goes into hiding or wants witness protection.

        I remember I once said on this blog, Nash’s power was far reaching and Jill’s quote from Lange would seem to support this plus Nils thought the more fascinating aspect about the whole thing was what appeared to be a cover up, it would sure seem that way.

        It would be interesting to know just how far up the ladder this went?

      • John 3:11 pm on March 17, 2014 Permalink | Reply

        Thanks Jill. Amazing. Those tapes belong in the Smithsonian right near the 75 Granada and John & Sharon’s Malibu. This seemingly soft corruption by the cops or powers that be is underrated / understated. I’m sure there was more payola floating around from Ed to some judges or cops. I doubt he was slipping under the radar because he buying drinks and dinner for these people.

    • John 8:51 am on March 18, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      I just finished reading Chuck Negron’s book, 3 Dog Nightmare. Kevin sent me a copy. The Wonderland section is brief, but very telling. What Chuck says about Joy and Billy backs up what Kevin said in a way. Joy was owed by just about everyone, even Chuck and Julia Negron. Thus, Billy was collecting for her, shortly after they began dating. Kevin said to me this past weekend “You did not want to owe Billy Deverell money”. Before Billy was around, one of Joy’s suppliers named Jack had slapped around Joy because of money that Chuck and some others owed.

      Chuck would trade Joy for antique furniture, jewelry, etc. Chuck was also arrested twice while driving away from Joy’s apartment in Brentwood. She must have been watched for some time. One time, Julia picked up Chuck at Joy’s because Chuck was in no condition to drive. Julia fell asleep and they got into a bad car wreck. Chuck also says in the book that Fat Howard shot up his house over an unpaid drug debt. Chuck did a counter-threat to Fat Howard Cook, and I guess it scared him and Cook told Joy to tell Chuck that don’t worry, we’re all square. Although delinquent on debts, Chuck didn’t take any crap, and once burned up a dealer’s garage who had taken his Benz.

      The Wonderland chapter is very brief but awesome. The only mistake was saying Billy was an ex-con, which he was not. Chuck called Holmes a “worn out loser” or something like that and said he was friends with all 4 people who died that night. He would have been there but was sleeping off a dopesick day. The guys at the house must have thought he would stop by, thus the Three Dog Night album “Harmony” was out, and on the turntable, according to the crime scene.

      I was hoping Chuck would mention Bill “Ricco” Vlick but he never did.

      • localarts 10:42 am on March 19, 2014 Permalink | Reply

        Great stuff. I wonder if Joy kept a ledger for accounts receivable & accounts payable? I’m only half kidding but you would think Joy or Billy would have kept some kind of record of who owed what. Even though what they were doing was illegal, it was in essence a business.

      • Kevin 5:42 pm on March 19, 2014 Permalink | Reply

        Wow John well I guess I could’ve got my question answered by coming to this blog site I didn’t realize this is going to take me days to go through I bet I could answer a lot of questions and get a lot of questions answered also good job

        • Kevin 5:47 pm on March 19, 2014 Permalink

          I didn’t know the Wonderland crew had such a following I guess my dad’s a little mini celebrity too bad he had to die to acquire it

      • Bobby 2:14 am on March 24, 2014 Permalink | Reply

        Would LOVE to read that Wonderland chapter! Any chance you could put a scan of it up on this here blog?.. or perhaps some of the highlights?… We love you long time..;)

    • mark c 6:24 pm on April 17, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      Kevin Deverell sound’s like a very nice person.
      Been a pleasure just listen to him.

    • @oglepke via 8:46 am on July 11, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      I too grew up around this time, did odd jobs around Starwood lived 1321 n. LAUREL ave. and all through Hollywood it’was a different time, black and white no in between if you weren’t an erner you weren’t part of any scene the drugs were different back then and so was the outcome when you go up agenist anyone with influence or power, like a drug power will get you took out the game as it did for ANYONE who went to Nash’s spot expecting a different out come, my best friend ended up in pieces, i kept myself Respectful and humble and maybe that’s why I’m still living I learned you never F^%#K with a mans #1 Money, #2 drugs, #3 pussy, and #4 manhood, period as in the case of the WONDERLAND gang that wasn’t the case and like any addict 1 is too many and a 1,000 just a tease, my heart goes out to the families who suffered for we as parents never want to see our beloved children stuck in a WONDERLAND TRAP HOUSE. Been there done that!!! Trust me. I’m also a writer and write on living within the streets of LOS ANGELES HOLLYWOOD addicted not only to the drugs, but to the whole lifestyles. The thing that pulls me in a different direction is I know if I was to hit someone as big as Nash, not even a thought would occur in my twisted thinking!! I would of made sure I burryed myself away where I would of panicked myself to the surface as any drug use plays a roll to where that much stash would have ANYONE not making good choices, I too like most am intreged by LAUREL CYN KIRKWOOD. LOOKOUT MTN. Area,” I was hiking when I was young and came accross a decomposed body up off of Kirkwood before you hit the CYN store me and another kid we were dirt bike riding bikes, the police said the person was shooting dope and ODed on the spot, such a horrible smell. I think it was early 70s way before anything up the way. It left me with a feeling that life isn’t taken seriously in those hills I grew up in partied in it always left me with a feeling I still hold on to today a fear that if I’m not on my pees and Q’s life can be snatched away eaither by my own hands or by another’s. Good piece john keep us posted I would diffitnitly like to read more.., I’m also on twitter @oglepke an original HOLLYWOOD REBEL. 1963 2014

  • John 8:35 am on March 6, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: murder of Jimmy Lee Casino   

    The Death Of L.A. Hustler Jimmy Lee Casino 

    Who are these people. Where do they come from.

    As Lee from the Starwood stated from his own experience growing up within the L.A. night life culture, the 70s and 80s in Los Angeles were filled with half-ass middle aged night club hustlers who preyed on young people to get what they wanted. History has shown that L.A. is a magnet for starstruck kids, as well as career criminals,  ex-cons, sociopaths, psychos, perverts and other less desirable types in society.

    These baby-boom aged strip club hustlers and wannabe “Mickey Mouse Mafia” guys are mostly all dead due to the profession they chose to pursue.  However, some are living on borrowed time, whether legally or physically. 

    Like the Vic Weiss and Horace McKenna murders, the murder of Jimmy Lee Casino was an unsolved cold case for many years. Whereas McKenna’s murder was solved by a hit man’s guilt, due to his confession and later cooperation with police in the trial of Mike Woods, Jimmy Lee Casino’s murder was solved by DNA. It takes a long time to process DNA from old cases, but oftentimes a hit will come back. That is what happened here.

    Oh, how the mighty have fallen…


    A 59-year-old man convicted in May of slaying the owner of a Santa Ana strip club and of raping the club owner’s girlfriend in their Buena Park condo in January of 1987 was sentenced today to life in state prison without the possibility of parole.

    –Matt Coker, Orange County Weekly. Sept 3, 2013.

    James Lee Stockwell, aka Jimmy Lee Casino. Jimmy was a smooth-talking salesman, businessman, hustler, entrepreneur. It’s said that his murder was for unpaid debts, just like what happened to sports promoter, Vic Weiss.

    Trial for 1987 murder of Jimmy Casino to wrap up


    Nick Schou from OC Weekly tells us more about Jimmy and the Mickey Mouse Mafia, affectionately named because of their dim-witted, coke fueled crimes, as well as their operations being in proximity to the Disney theme park. The coked out 80s in Orange County were really something else:

    As reporter Nick Schou observes in his well researched article, the attempted murder of Carroll and murders of Avila and Mustang owner Jimmy Casino (real name James Lee Stockwell) were part of a string of assassinations, professional and otherwise, that occurred over a short period in the ’80s, “spotlighting the city’s status as a playground (and killing field) for shady businessmen, drug kingpins and organized crime figures affiliated with what cops dubbed the ‘Mickey Mouse Mafia,’ who reveled in Newport Beach’s glamorous lifestyle and coke-fueled nightlife scene.”

    Here’s how Schou described the hit on Casino, who possessed a three-decades-long rap sheet and heavy debts to the Mickey Mouse Mafia:

    On Jan. 1, 1987, 48-year-old Jimmy Lee Casino, the owner of the Mustang Topless Theater, a Santa Ana strip club, returned to his Buena Park home after attending a New Year’s Eve party with his 22-year-old girlfriend. As the LA Times later reported, two “masked and armed intruders were waiting. The intruders tied up and raped his girlfriend and dragged Casino downstairs. They ransacked the condo, taking jewelry, furs, credit cards and two cars.” Then they shot Casino three times in the head.

    The case went cold for decades. Then, in May 2008, Richard C. Morris Jr. was arrested in Hawaii for drunken driving and DNA evidence was taken from him. A crime database found a match to evidence collected in the Casino murder. Morris was arrested at his home in Oahu in 2008 and extradited to Orange County in connection with the shooting.

    Morris was also implicated in the murder/robbery of restaurateur, Joe Avila.

    The scene of the crime. Jimmy Lee Casino’s Buena Park condo after his murder. Note the new Rolls Royce and crime scene tape:


    • Bonnie Brae 9:06 am on March 6, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      You can’t collect from a corpse.

      • John 9:14 am on March 6, 2014 Permalink | Reply

        Yes, I thought initially that this could have been two guys just wanting to home invade/rob a seemingly rich club owner for a big score. But then, after reading some of the linked articles to this case, there was a lot of connections made to the Mickey Mouse Mafia, and then recently a lot of finger pointing by those implicated. I guess in L.A., someone always wants you killed for something. McKenna or some other club owner or half-ass wise guy wanted Jimmy dead. McKenna wanted to buy out his club to add to his own empire. Jimmy Casino also lost $300+K of a dozen investors money in a chain of “Casino’s Hot Dog” stands that went belly up.

        • Bonnie Brae 9:17 am on March 6, 2014 Permalink

          Those suckers are all in Disneyland now with Ramirez.

        • Tori 12:24 pm on March 10, 2014 Permalink

          John u know the address to this location? I could drive by and snap a couple pics. I live in Buena Park.

        • John 12:37 pm on March 10, 2014 Permalink

          I wish! It was just a pic in an online news article.

        • Tori 7:57 pm on March 10, 2014 Permalink

          The guy who was killed dad delivered my cousin

        • John 1:07 pm on March 11, 2014 Permalink


    • Bonnie Brae 9:19 am on March 6, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      Is there any chance that 300 pound Greg Diles had any ties to the MMM?

      • John 9:33 am on March 6, 2014 Permalink | Reply

        It was not a real tight connection of guys in an organized family, etc. I think it’s just a nickname for all the various cons and goofs who where part of the strip club and coke scene in the OC. The name stuck because of their wannabe mob desires/big man attitudes, careless killing methods, amateurish ways, and closeness to the theme park. A lot of strippers also “disappeared” or were found dead during the 80s heyday of the MMM.

      • John 9:09 am on March 7, 2014 Permalink | Reply

        I used to golf with this guy I met on the golf course who was an asst. mgr at a strip club. Snazzy dresser, loose with cash- buying us drinks, etc…Nice guy, if you were friends with him like I was, but I could tell he wasn’t somebody you wanted mad at you. He was about 10 years older than I was, and I found out later that he died of a heart attack while at the club. Cocaine is a hell of a drug! The moral to the story is all these strip club dudes are shady as hell. I was probably golfing with someone who was a killer.

        • criticextraordinaire 9:49 am on March 9, 2014 Permalink

          There’s some sort of odd appeal to hanging out with people who live at the limits of the law. I used to hang with a guy whose street nickname was “Two Guns” and whose name came up a couple of times in regard to Hoffa’s disappearance.

          Dude was nothing but nice to me, and the job I presently have, I got through his recommendation.

    • John Sheridan 9:33 am on December 4, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      There were two guys that killed Jimmy Casino. Did they only get the one guy or did they get both?

    • John Sheridan 11:05 am on April 22, 2018 Permalink | Reply

      Did they ever get the second killer of Jimmy Casino?

      • John 11:16 am on April 23, 2018 Permalink | Reply

        Not to my knowledge. But he’s probably dead, natural to the lifestyle he led. Richard Morris doesn’t look like much today and is still cooling his heels in prison, but according to an old cop, he wasn’t much back then either. Just another two-bit junkie who robbed convenience stores and unfortunate others.

  • John 11:43 am on March 5, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: ,   

    Slain Brea Man’s Ties to Mustang Club Are Probed 

    More on the Horace McKenna saga. This is a juicy and long article that explains a lot about Horace’s past… his career as a highway cop, beating up an off-duty cop at a bar in San Pedro and more. If you could say anything about Horace it would be that he was not boring to hang out with, for certain. In L.A., it seems that if you live by the sword you die by the sword (well, except for Eddie Nash).

    The initial dismissal of McKenna–remembered by associates who asked not to be named as a “tall, lanky guy in those days; sort of a goofball, a clown”–occurred at about the same time that he was arrested by Los Angeles police in connection with some sort of theft. The nature of the theft, the disposition of the case and whether it was connected to McKenna’s dismissal were not known Friday.

    The L.A. Times needed help with the wording of their crime headlines back in 1989. What a mouthful!

    Slain Brea Man’s Ties to Mustang Club Are Probed

    March 11, 1989 | MARK LANDSBAUM and TRACY WOOD | L.A. Times Staff Writers

    The flamboyant former Highway Patrol officer killed in ambush at the gate of his Brea hilltop home tried to buy the notorious Mustang Club topless bar in Santa Ana before its operator was also killed in a gangland-style shooting 2 years ago, a confidential informant told authorities.

    Buena Park police said Friday that they will investigate the alleged connection between Horace Joseph McKenna, 46, who was killed early Thursday, and Jimmy Lee Casino, operator of the Mustang Club, who was murdered on New Year’s Day, 1987.

    “It’s certainly a possibility that will have to be explored,” Buena Park Police Lt. Dick Hafdahl said. “There’s a possibility of all of the things that have occurred in and around the Mustang bar were all interrelated to McKenna.”

    The confidential informant told Los Angeles district attorney’s investigators last year that McKenna, linked by authorities to prostitution, counterfeiting, narcotics, gambling and topless bars, had approached Casino about buying the bar, according to court documents made public this week. But the informant “could offer no additional information,” according to the documents.

    Casino, an ex-convict who, like McKenna, had served a sentence at Terminal Island prison, was murdered when two intruders broke into his luxury condominium in Buena Park. After tying up his 22-year-old girlfriend, police said, the assailants shot Casino, 48, in the back of the head at close range with a small-caliber weapon.

    On Christmas Day, 1987, the Mustang Club was nearly destroyed in an arson fire. Another fire a few months later finished it off. One man has been convicted and another awaits trial for the Mustang arsons.

    While authorities have not linked McKenna to the Mustang arsons, he had threatened a different Los Angeles topless bar owner in 1978 and mentioned prior arson incidents at that club.

    McKenna made reference to the problem (arsons) that happened a few years ago at the Wild Goose (bar) in making the . . . threats,” the informant told investigators.

    McKenna threatened that “If anything happened, it would be worse (than the arsons),” the informant said.

    Under Investigation

    At the time of his murder, McKenna was under investigation by several law enforcement agencies for conspiracy to launder money, hide assets, tax evasion, provide false returns and fraudulent loan applications in connection with his alleged hidden ownership of several Los Angeles-area nude and topless bars.

    Casino was believed by authorities to have a hidden ownership in the Mustang Club. Casino’s murder remains unsolved.

    However, two men are facing trial in Orange County for the attempted murder of William Carroll, an investor in the Mustang Club. Authorities contend that Carroll was shot three times in the head May 1, 1987, when he resisted a mob takeover of the topless bar.

    The confidential informant told Los Angeles investigators last year that McKenna and attorney Joshua Kaplan had approached Casino about buying the Mustang Club. But on Friday, Kaplan denied it.

    “It never happened,” Kaplan said. “It’s an absolute, utter falsehood. I have never represented Mr. McKenna personally in any matter ever, civil, criminal . . . personal, whatsoever.”

    “I know who McKenna (was) and I probably had two conversations with him in my life,” Kaplan added.

    Represented Club

    Kaplan said he once represented the Mustang Club when it won a court case in 1983. The case was brought by the city of Santa Ana to challenge the bar’s right to feature topless dancing.

    “I represented the Mustang Theater and I know Jimmy (Casino) had some participation in that somehow,” Kaplan said. “He was either a manager or a consultant. I know there were some allegations he” owned the bar. “I know the government has said he did.”

    Kaplan has been active in several disputes throughout Southern California involving topless bars.

    Last November, he represented prospective club owner John Morrison in an unsuccessful attempt to win Fullerton City Council approval for the establishment of a restaurant-cabaret that was to have featured topless dancers.

    Kaplan also represents the Casbah A Go-Go in La Habra, which has been battling the city over restrictions on club dancers.

    Kaplan’s name is referred to repeatedly in the McKenna investigative files unsealed this week in Los Angeles Superior Court.

    “My name seems to come up whenever people in the adult entertainment industry are contacted” by police, Kaplan said. “I’ve represented the (adult entertainment) industry for 20 years. It would be very surprising if my name didn’t come up.”

    Meanwhile, Brea police conceded Friday that they were “back to square one” in determining who killed McKenna.

    Capt. James Oman, the Brea Police Department’s chief of detectives, said his men knew nothing about McKenna’s purported ties to criminal activities and reputed ownership of a string of topless and nude bars until he read about them in the morning newspapers.

    “You’re way ahead of us at this point,” Oman told a reporter.

    McKenna’s alleged ties were detailed in warrants and affidavits released Wednesday by the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office, which–along with Los Angeles and Long Beach police, Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies and the FBI–has been monitoring McKenna’s activities for months.

    But Oman said that until McKenna’s murder Thursday morning, Brea police “were only minorly aware of him being in town. . . . There was no clue that he was going to be murdered.”

    Oman said he had sent two of his detectives to Los Angeles County on Friday to be briefed on the district attorney’s ongoing investigation into McKenna’s past. But he said that while investigators in Los Angeles “are the ones with all the information” in the case–and he was appreciative of their help–Brea would retain control of the investigation.

    “The homicide occurred in Brea,” he said. “They’ve (Los Angeles) got enough homicides to keep them busy.”

    “It’s going to be a tough one,” said Capt. Edmund Alecks, head of investigations for the district attorney’s organized crime section. “It looks like an execution, and these things are never easy to solve.”

    Shell Casings Found

    Oman said Friday that the only physical evidence found so far in McKenna’s death are “more than 20” 9-millimeter shell casings at the gate of McKenna’s 35-acre Carbon Canyon equestrian ranch.

    McKenna, a 6-foot-6, 300-pound body builder, apparently died instantly from multiple gunshot wounds suffered in the gangland-style ambush at his “Tara Ranch” home. The shots were fired through the rear side window of his limousine at about 12:30 a.m. as McKenna’s chauffeur, Robert Berg, 42, was returning to the car after unlocking the gated entrance to the estate.

    Berg reportedly told investigators that McKenna was asleep in the back seat at the time of the attack.

    Berg and McKenna’s 20-year-old son, Michael, said to be at the house at the time of the attack–were both questioned by police and then released pending further investigation, according to Oman.

    Court documents identify Berg as one of the alleged conspirators in the tax-fraud investigation being prepared by the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office. The documents allege that at least eight people conspired with McKenna and Michael Woods–himself a former highway patrolman–to skim money and hide profits from several topless and nude bars in the Los Angeles area.

    Warrants say that McKenna and Woods are believed to be the hidden owners of these bars and that police had been monitoring their alleged activities in gambling, prostitution and narcotics for some time.

    The district attorney’s office said the tax-fraud case was “extremely sensitive” because both McKenna and Woods “have maintained associations with terminated, retired and currently employed law enforcement officers.” The office said this warning was included to advise law enforcement officials that they might inadvertently reveal something to someone who knew McKenna.

    A woman at Woods’ Thousand Oaks home said Friday that he was “not available for comment,” and Oman said Friday afternoon that no attempt had yet been made to find or contact him in connection with the murder.

    “We’ll get to him when we get to him,” Oman said. Records show that Woods–along with McKenna and Daniel Fenton Sully, a man identified in the affidavits as a functionary in one of the topless bars–all served together in the California Highway Patrol in the late ’60s and early ’70s. All three were assigned as motorcycle patrolmen in the West Los Angeles area.

    Woods, 47, took a disability retirement in October, 1974, after spending his entire tour in the West Los Angeles office. Sully, 55, served in several posts before he took a disability retirement in July, 1975.

    Reached by phone at his home Thursday night, Sully denied any knowledge of illegal activity and said he “hardly knows” McKenna. He characterized the tax-fraud investigation as “a lot of misinformation,” then refused to comment further.

    Entered CHP Academy

    McKenna entered the Highway Patrol academy in June, 1967, and served in the West Los Angeles office until June, 1972. He was dismissed by superiors, but one year later, on an appeal to the state Personnel Board, had his departure reclassified as a “resignation.” CHP spokesmen said that state law prohibited them from discussing details of McKenna’s “rather extensive” personnel file.

    The initial dismissal of McKenna–remembered by associates who asked not to be named as a “tall, lanky guy in those days; sort of a goofball, a clown”–occurred at about the same time that he was arrested by Los Angeles police in connection with some sort of theft. The nature of the theft, the disposition of the case and whether it was connected to McKenna’s dismissal were not known Friday.

    In April, 1976, McKenna was arrested on suspicion of running a large prostitution ring in the Inglewood and Lennox areas. Later that same year, he was sentenced in federal court to concurrent terms of 5 and 6 years for conspiracy and passing counterfeit money.

    McKenna served 4 years at a prison camp in Arizona on the counterfeiting charges, earning a parole in 1980. Two years later, he was arrested in a San Pedro bar–owned by a former associate–on suspicion of assaulting an off-duty police officer. The charge was reduced, but McKenna was convicted of violating his parole and was sent back to the federal prison at Terminal Island for another 2 years. Released on parole in 1984, his probation ended in 1985.

    ‘First Target’

    Capt. Alecks of the district attorney’s office said the tax-fraud investigation began 2 years later, in 1987, when McKenna was selected as the “first target” in a new program to build cases against “full-time criminals.”

    Beverly Hills attorney Kaplan, who represents several figures named in the tax-fraud inquiry, said the search warrants were unsealed because of demands from himself and other lawyers “representing a number of individuals who had property seized. . . . It’s natural to be curious why the government is seizing your papers.”

    Kaplan said the conspiracy claim was fiction.

    “The prosecutor’s theory that this industry is controlled by one godfather figure, if you will–McKenna–is contrary to my experience. . . . This has never been a violence-ridden business,” he said. “The whole thing is really surprising.

    “My experience with this industry is that it’s the most disorganized industry there is, lacking any cohesion at all,” Kaplan said.

    The lawyer said his own attempts to organize nightclub owners for legal battles were failures because “the animosities exhibited between each business prohibited them to get together and do anything. If I got six owners in a room at one time, I’d get eight opinions.”

    McKenna’s mother, interviewed Friday afternoon on the porch of her modest home in the Crenshaw district, described her son as a “wonderful person. . . .

    “He was . . . a great man to his mother, his father and his family,” she said. “It’s a beautiful man they killed.”

    Times staff writers contributing to this article were Scott Harris, Eric Malnic, Penelope McMillan, Boris Yaro, Hector Tobar and Tracey Kaplan in Los Angeles, and Dianne Klein and Jim Carlton in Orange County.

    • John 12:34 pm on March 5, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      “Those considered the best may not see God in their actions,” the priest said. “Those who are considered the worst may see God in their actions.” — Priest at McKenna’s funeral.

    • Bonnie Brae 3:21 pm on March 5, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      You know that off duty cop had it coming.

    • John 3:51 pm on March 5, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      The Mickey Mouse Mafia. What a great name, due to their hair brained shenanigans and close proximity to Disney

    • criticextraordinaire 6:20 pm on March 5, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      Man, if only Horace, Ronnie, and Eddie had decided to work together. They coulda had an empire.

    • localarts 6:51 pm on March 5, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      On paper that sounds like a great idea but the reality of the matter is there was only one Godfather, and that was Eddie Nash. As the highlander said…there can be only one! Besides, Eddie already had an empire.

      • criticextraordinaire 6:01 am on March 6, 2014 Permalink | Reply

        True, but the bad blood (to say the least) between Eddie and Ronnie pretty much crushed both of their empires. If these guys had worked together like the Five Families they could have owned the West Coast. Too bad that Johnny Wadd could not keep away from the powder, he would have otherwise been a great go-between amongst the kingpins, using his admiration if not respect. Of course… he met them all due to his dope addiction so I guess it is a non-fulfilling concept.

  • John 10:17 am on March 5, 2014 Permalink | Reply

    McKenna Was Not Shady, Just Flamboyant, Son Says 

    Big Mac’s son is 3″ taller than Mac. Big family! Also, Mac’s prison stint in 77-78 could be where he met Ron Launius, but that is mere speculation on my part.

    Big Mac wasn’t arrogant at all…

    As a joke, there is even an out-of-era headstone for Superman, who, according to his marker, “tried to take on Mac.” The elder McKenna was known as “Mac” to his friends.

    No Suspects in Brea Slaying : McKenna Was Not Shady, Just Flamboyant, Son Says

    March 13, 1989 | Claudia Luther | L.A. Times

    The son of a bodybuilder-businessman who was slain in a gangland style ambush Thursday said Sunday that his father was “a little flamboyant” but far from the portrait painted of him as a shady businessman who lived extravagantly.

    “The man I knew and the man the family knew was a man who liked to joke around a lot, he was really nice,” Michael McKenna, 23, said in an interview on his father’s $825,000 estate in Brea.

    Horace Joseph McKenna, 46, who had convictions for counterfeiting and parole violation, died in a hail of gunfire about 12:30 p.m. Thursday as he was sleeping in the back seat of his limousine. The ambush occurred just as McKenna’s chauffeur, Robert Berg, was pulling up to the gate at McKenna’s 40-acre estate. Berg was unharmed.

    There are no suspects in the case. McKenna will be buried Tuesday, his son said.

    The shooting occurred only hours after court records were unsealed unveiling a Los Angeles district attorney’s tax fraud investigation of Horace McKenna and a business partner, Michael Woods. Those records alleged that Horace McKenna and Woods were the hidden owners of several nude and topless bars in Los Angeles County.

    Horace McKenna, who served in the California Highway Patrol from 1968 to 1972, was convicted in 1976 of counterfeiting and convicted in 1982 of parole violation after he was arrested on suspicion of assaulting an off-duty police officer.

    Michael McKenna said he agreed to be interviewed because he wanted everyone to know “the true part, the way my father really was. Not the man they portrayed as some big Mafia leader.” He said his father “was as gentle as a kitten.”

    None of the court records or police reports made public said that Horace McKenna was ever linked to organized crime or the Mafia.

    Michael McKenna said that as far as he knew, his father “was not into anything that had to do with the Mafia, nothing to do with gangs . . . nothing to do with prostitution or with drugs.”

    Michael McKenna said he lives with his father’s parents in Los Angeles County. He said he had spent weekends and other time with his father but never lived with him after his parents divorced when he was a child.

    McKenna allowed a reporter and a photographer into his father’s rambling house. It is comfortable rather than elaborate, decorated with bronze statues of western scenes and stuffed animals that, according to his son, McKenna on big game ranches. It sits at the top of a green knoll in Carbon Canyon with a sweeping view of Orange County clear to Disneyland, where Michael McKenna said fireworks can be seen at night.

    As the hazy afternoon grew dimmer, McKenna showed his guests the ranch’s many other buildings, including a 20-foot gazebo and stables with 16 horses, including his father’s favorite, an American saddle horse named Lord. The horse pulled away as McKenna stroked its nose, and McKenna explained, “My Dad rode him every day, so Lord knows something is not right.”

    Just down the blacktop road is a small mock “ghost town” his father had built as an amusement for himself and his friends. The ghost town has a saloon, a jail, a general store and other businesses from an old western outpost. At the entrance to the town is a “cemetery” with “headstones” for Dead Eye Dick (“He ain’t fastest no more”) and other cowboys.

    As a joke, there is even an out-of-era headstone for Superman, who, according to his marker, “tried to take on Mac.” The elder McKenna was known as “Mac” to his friends.

    The hilly road up through the property that McKenna developed from rough acreage is peppered with Old West signs such as “Dead Man’s Curve.”

    A full 3 inches taller than his 6-foot-6 father, the younger McKenna said he used to enjoy horsing around with his dad.

    ‘A 46-Year-Old Kid’

    “We’d tear out around the house, tackle each other on the lawn or something, wrestle,” McKenna said. “He was a 46-year-old kid.”

    McKenna said his father did not drink or smoke and did not take drugs, nor were there ever any drug activities around the ranch home that he saw. He said that while his father, who was twice divorced, sometimes dated women half his age, there was no hint of a party life style.

    “People say it the way they want to say it,” McKenna said. He said his father “was a man who liked to have fun. He liked to entertain. He had all kinds of friends.” But he added, “He didn’t give parties in the sense of loud banging music with people walking around. He liked to have people up here in the daytime, go horseback riding, to walk around the ranch and just generally relax.”

    Even the brand new pool was designed for volleyball–it is 7 feet deep in the middle and shallower at each end.

    McKenna said he believes his father made his money breeding Arabian horses and from profits on the 4 Star Gym in El Segundo, which he owned. McKenna said his father also owned some apartment buildings.

    Of reports that his father had beaten his wife of 9 years, Sherry, from whom he was divorced 2 years ago, McKenna said, “Baloney. Absolute baloney.” He said he and Sherry McKenna were not close, and that he “wondered why” his father took so long to divorce her. “If she was as cold to him as she was to me, I don’t see why there wasn’t a divorce the first day after they got married.”

    The son said he saw no guns on the ranch except the shotgun his father used to shoot gophers. “I’d say out of every 10 shots, he may get one gopher, and we’d laugh about it,” McKenna said.

    ‘A Little Frightened’

    Michael McKenna said he was “a little frightened, yeah,” to be on the ranch where his father was slain.

    “I was in town for a while and I didn’t get back until dark and I had to stop and unlock the gate,” said McKenna, whose size might intimidate most intruders. “And I was petrified. I was very scared.”

    But he said that he did not fear the murderers would return for him.

    “In my heart, (I know) it was just somebody who wanted my father,” McKenna said. “Who, why–I don’t know.”

    McKenna said that in the last several months his father had been dieting on low-fat yogurt, tuna fish sandwiches and water, bringing his weight down to 265 pounds.

    He said that as he was driving to Brea after learning of his father’s death, he thought about the ranch.

    “I knew how much he loved the horses. I knew how much he loved the ranch. This was his dream. Right then and there my main concern was to keep it alive, to keep the dream alive.”

    But he said he has not figured out how he will do it. The police and federal officers took his father’s papers even before they allowed McKenna in the house, so he has no idea of what his father’s assets are, or even how he might be able to pay the ranch hands. He said he was to have started a job as a security officer, but decided to delay that until his father’s estate is straightened out.

    “There are too many unexplained questions, too much paper work,” McKenna said. He said quietly, “My father and I were really good friends. We loved each other. . . . He was there for me whenever I needed him.”

    • Brandy 10:36 am on March 5, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      Michael McKenna passed away of a heart attack unfortunately I believe a few years ago. He was a LA radio personality I read.

    • Brandy 10:41 am on March 5, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      I highly recommend “Dying to be a Centerfold” by Terri Lenee Peake to your blog readers. She is “Heaven” Big Mac’s ex fiancé. Also “Vice” by John Rick Baker.

      • John 11:53 am on March 5, 2014 Permalink | Reply

        Yes, Centerfold looks great! I just put Vice on my wishlist too, so as not to forget it.

    • Bonnie Brae 10:48 am on March 5, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      I wonder what LA branch Mac was in? My guess is Rampart.

      • John 11:25 am on March 5, 2014 Permalink | Reply

        Not sure, but the next article I post only says “West LA”

      • localarts 12:29 pm on March 5, 2014 Permalink | Reply

        McKenna was a motorcycle cop for the Burbak area.

      • John Sheridan 6:20 pm on June 3, 2018 Permalink | Reply

        He was a motor cop for the California Highway Patrol. He and Mike Woods use to patrol Sunset Blvd. in West Hollywood area in the late 60’s early 70’s.

    • John 11:26 am on March 5, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      Mac served his time for using counterfeit money in the late 70s in Arizona.

      • Terri Lenee Peake 3:07 pm on January 15, 2015 Permalink | Reply

        Hey John it’s me Terri Lenee Peake, aka Heaven Thank you for doing this blog! And talking about my true love and my book, Thank you so much

        • John 1:11 pm on March 18, 2015 Permalink

          You’re welcome Terri. I am going to order both of your books soon. Dying to read them.

  • John 10:01 am on February 21, 2014 Permalink | Reply

    “A Hit Man’s Guilt” – The Murder Of Horace McKenna 

    Southern California beat-writer, Fred Dickey, did a hell of a job with this long article about the murder of Horace McKenna. Top notch. Enjoy~!

    A Hit Man’s Guilt | Fred Dickey | December 16, 2001 | L.A. Times

    John Patrick Sheridan was lucky. He murdered Big Mac McKenna and got away with it. Then he heard about the dying man’s last words (which were “Tell my mom I love her”)

    * * * * * * * *

    Through the plate glass separating prisoners from visitors, John Patrick Sheridan talks about the secret he kept for a decade. He explains how loyalty to a drinking buddy and a promise of $25,000 were enough for him to murder someone. He describes how he planned the killing and rehearsed it, and then pulled it off without a hitch. Yes, he says, he was lucky for a first-time hit man. Lucky, that is, except for one thing. He failed to consider the person who stepped forward 10 years later and fingered him, sending him to prison. That person was himself.

    In the autumn of 2001, Sheridan is being held in a cell in the Santa Ana City Jail, awaiting his prison term for murder. He looks young for 39, slim and handsome–thick black hair, almond eyes and the tawny skin that is a blending of his Chinese and Irish genes. He is held in isolation 23 hours each day, left with only one hour to shave, shower, watch TV and make phone calls. This is not punishment, though. It is the same protection given to any snitch who would be in danger in the jail population.

    Sheridan is an intelligent 10th-grade dropout from Agoura, a drug dealer and a chronic user from age 11, a strip-club roustabout before he became a contract killer. He can be a fun guy without a gun in his hand. He punctuates sentences with a merry laugh and is disarmingly frank about his life, including one particular night 12 years ago.

    John Sheridan was in a place that made him uncomfortable. He had been there several times, but had backed away on every occasion, lacking the resolve to pull the trigger. This time he sat hunched down, obscured by darkness and a low wall, sipping beer from a bottle and caressing the stubby barrel of his Uzi automatic weapon. Every set of car lights that approached made him tense. Could this be the one? But every car continued straight down Carbon Canyon Road. Each time, Sheridan leaned back, knowing that the car would eventually come.

    The man Sheridan awaited was Horace “Big Mac” McKenna Jr., a New Orleans native and a bodybuilder who stood 6-foot-6 and weighed almost 300 pounds. At 46, McKenna was mean, tough and a bully. But he liked animals, especially those that could eat humans, a species he was not especially fond of.

    As Sheridan waited, McKenna was lounging in the rear seat of a luxury car gliding through Orange County. It was about 12:30 a.m. on March 9, 1989, still early for a sporting man, but he relaxed with the assurance that comes with being big-time and uncontested.

    Sheridan looked at his watch again and again. Could he pull the trigger this time? Certain expectations had been created. Back in L.A., a scary guy was waiting near a telephone for a call, and when it rang he expected to be told: “It’s done.” A hit man is not without job pressures. The news would reassure Michael Woods, 48, McKenna’s partner in three strip clubs–the Valley Ball in Van Nuys and Bare Elegance and Jet Strip in Los Angeles.

    The businesses had made both men wealthy, but that is about where the similarity ended. Ruthless use of people had brought McKenna an abundance of money and compliant men and women who feared him. His large estate was filled with wonders: a mock boot hill, the facade of a Western town, Arabian horses and exotic animals. He dressed pet monkeys in tuxedos and even had a Bengal tiger. He also had a caiman, an alligator-like animal, but it froze to death. He did all of this on a reported gross annual income of $44,000. The man could stretch a dollar.

    Compared to McKenna, Woods was as plain as a glass of milk. He lived in a sedate but expensive house tucked away in Westlake Village, nothing at all like McKenna’s splashy 35-acre estate with its sprawling Spanish-style house in Brea. The great gulf between the men’s personalities eventually drove them far apart. Trying to steal each other blind probably didn’t help.

    The rift widened, witnesses would later say, when Woods hired David Amos from England. Amos, then 21, was brought in as a club bouncer and he promptly created an aura around himself. He was even reputed to have been a British commando. The truth is, according to Amos’ brother Tony, that he never got out of boot camp. Amos, however, was nearly as big as McKenna, just as buff and much younger. The older man took an instant dislike to Woods’ burly new enforcer, the witnesses say.

    As McKenna sped through that early morning blackness in 1989, the sweet deal he and Woods enjoyed was under attack from the Los Angeles County district attorney and state tax authorities. The men had been accused of skimming large chunks of cash from the nightly takes at the clubs. At the same time, McKenna’s drug-influenced behavior was becoming more unpredictable and abusive. On at least one occasion, he and Woods engaged in a shouting argument, and McKenna took a big swing at the smaller man. Woods claimed that McKenna threatened to rape his daughters.

    McKenna’s car slowed and made the turn into his secluded driveway at 6200 Carbon Canyon Road. His driver was Bob Berg, an unaggressive born-again Christian nicknamed “Bible Bob.” The car stopped as Berg began his entry routine, which involved getting out to open the gate, driving through, then getting out again to close the gate.

    When the interior light went on, McKenna pushed himself up to a sitting position. As Berg got back in, Sheridan quietly slid the bolt on his Uzi and stepped from his hiding place. The interior light clicked off. Sheridan was alongside the passenger rear window, which was partially open. He could see McKenna’s dark form moving in the back seat. He raised the gun and pulled the trigger. The 9-millimeter clip emptied with the staccato sound of fingers sweeping across piano keys. The window disintegrated. At least 20 bullets thudded into McKenna’s torso. Through the broken glass, Sheridan heard him say calmly, almost in wonderment, “I’ve been shot.” With that, the stunned but unhurt Berg slammed the car into gear and shot up the hill. Sheridan sprinted for his own car down the street.

    Minutes later, after Sheridan put miles behind him, he pulled into a 7-Eleven parking lot and grabbed a pay phone. “That job you wanted done? Well, it’s done,” he said. There was a pause, then a man with a British accent answered. It was Amos, Woods’ main man. “All right. That’s good,” he replied.

    John Patrick Sheridan, assassin, went out and got drunk.

    McKenna’s funeral drew a crowd of 300, a few no doubt wanting to make sure he was dead. The coffin was draped in an American flag, and there was a photo on an easel of McKenna on horseback. The spiffed-up monkeys were not there. Mike Woods was not there. The congregation listened to a priest trying to convince them that God’s goodness was so vast that even Big Mac’s soul was not out of the running, a bet that Vegas oddsmakers would have taken off the board.

    As Sheridan talks on the other side of the jail glass, he struggles with emotions that are at odds with the unsavory world he occupied. This new language of “feelings” is foreign, and his vocabulary for expressing them is small. He takes refuge in a gruff, Clint Eastwood-style explanation: “I did what I did and I gotta pay the price.”

    The paradox of Sheridan’s being behind bars is huge. He didn’t have to be here. He was virtually untouchable by the law because there were no witnesses to the crime. As he says, “I didn’t leave my wallet behind.” Certainly, the men who hired him weren’t going to snitch. So why is he here now? The answer rests with two things we admire, family and God, and two things we do not, fear and hate.

    Sheridan had long been a strip-club hanger-on, which is how he met Amos. The two became drinking buddies. In 1988, Amos raised the subject of murder. “We were friends, and he first asked if I knew anyone who could take care of ‘a difficult job.’ He kept talking, and I figured out what he was talking about and who was the target. I also knew he was really asking me to take care of it.” He pauses. “I told him he was nuts.”

    Sheridan laughs at the recollection because, at the time, he was snitching for Ventura County cops in an attempt to avoid prison. “I was out on bail at the time on drug charges, and I was, like, going to friends and saying, ‘If there’s anyone you don’t like who’s selling drugs, let me know and I’ll turn them in.’ ” When Amos approached with the murder proposal, he unwittingly gave Sheridan a terrific opportunity to improve his standing with police. “Man, if David wasn’t my friend, I had a murder for hire. I could have turned him in, and I would have been home free.”

    But Sheridan didn’t. He liked his friend, and could use the money. Besides, he was hard into cocaine and alcohol, and his judgment did not serve him that well–especially after Amos sold him on the idea that if McKenna weren’t killed, Amos himself would be “whacked” by Big Mac. After considering it for more than three months, Sheridan went back to Amos and said, “You know that job you were talking about? I can get it done.”

    Whatever he was thinking–or not thinking–at the time, Sheridan had signed on. However, he soon developed cold feet and approached a friend, who tried without success to persuade the Hells Angels to do the deed. When they declined, Sheridan felt trapped. Veiled comments by Amos convinced him that if he didn’t do the killing, he could be in danger himself. So he bought the Uzi on the street for $1,200. (“So much for gun control,” he says with a laugh.)

    For the murder, Sheridan says he was paid $25,000 and given a job at the clubs. But in late 1989 he was sent to prison for two years on a cocaine bust. After his release, he resumed his strip-club job and spent almost a decade working in various manager roles. His salary at the clubs never topped $3,000 a month–even though, he says without bitterness, he watched Amos and Woods rake in hundreds of thousands of dollars, much of it taken out of the till before taxes. He admits to having stolen some himself.

    Woods had made Amos a partner shortly after the killing as a payoff for arranging the McKenna murder. For the next decade, the two men dominated the L.A. strip club industry. They ran their clubs, raked in cash, bought boats and expensive cars–a Humvee and Mercedes for Amos, a Lexus and Mercedes for Woods. In the ultimate act of L.A. narcissism, they even made two minor movies, produced by Woods and featuring Amos in acting roles. Amos fancied himself an actor and liked to pal around with fringe Hollywood types.

    Sheridan’s life was less exotic, although he had one thing that neither Amos nor Woods claimed: a sense of guilt. About seven years after the killing, Sheridan was told by an unsuspecting Bob Berg that as McKenna’s car sped up the driveway, the stricken man had said to his chauffeur, “Tell my mom I love her.” A cynic might say that Big Mac should have talked about his mother more often. But for Sheridan, hearing those words forced him to look at what he had done. He says he cried, and guilt began to percolate. As time passed, he quietly began grieving for McKenna’s family and prayed for his victim, using words he says will remain “between me and God.”

    He also was troubled when he saw the autopsy photos. “The guy really was a mess,” he says, shaking his head. He tries to put himself into his victim’s place, but his thinking is muddled. “I certainly wouldn’t appreciate anyone jumping out of the bushes and taking me out. Mac didn’t know what was happening, and all of a sudden he was dying.”

    Woods and Amos were suspects immediately after the killing, but investigators had no luck making a case. Eight years passed. Then, in 1997, the case drew the attention of Rick Morton, a 26-year veteran of the Los Angeles Police Department who had joined the Orange County district attorney’s office three years before. Morton and his team conducted interview after interview with dancers, cronies and club employees. The answer to the question, “Who killed McKenna?” was often the same: Woods, and maybe Amos. Even Woods’ brother Richard thought so. But as hard as Morton and his team worked, by 2000 they had little new information.

    They were about to get lucky.

    When Sheridan heard about the Orange County investigation, he began to worry–in ways Woods and Amos did not. All three had to fear the cops. But Sheridan also had to watch over his shoulder for his bosses. It wasn’t hard to figure out why: He had left no biological evidence of the crime and had destroyed the gun. There were no witnesses. He was home free, and so were Woods and Amos–provided Sheridan kept quiet. As Morton says, “The ultimate loss of control is the danger of someone you don’t trust being able to put you on death row.”

    Fearful that Sheridan might talk, Woods and Amos gave him another $10,000. Even so, Sheridan believed he eventually would be “whacked” by the partners. “One time, Mike invited me to go to Lake Mead with him and David and go out on his boat.” He laughs merrily. “I wasn’t that dumb.” He believes that had the situation continued, he would have had to kill Woods to save himself. “Other than going to the cops, that was my only option.”

    Sheridan also had developed an interest in religion, and in February 2000 he went to a Catholic priest and unburdened himself about the murder. He didn’t stop there. He also went to the police and confessed.

    Police wanted stronger evidence and persuaded Sheridan to wear a wire in the hope that Amos would incriminate himself. From February to October of 2000, Sheridan spent hours with Amos, using every opportunity to discuss the murder and their respective roles. Sheridan couldn’t use the same tactic with Woods because Amos had been his sole contact on the killing, and an approach to Woods at that point would have aroused suspicion.

    Wearing a wire was dangerous. If Amos checked for the device, Sheridan might have found out very quickly what God thought of him. But the ploy worked. On Oct. 26, 2000, police arrested Amos for murder and brought him face to face with Sheridan. Shaken, Amos agreed to wear a wire for a meeting with Woods. The next day, Woods and Amos had lunch at Jerry’s Famous Deli in Woodland Hills. Investigators listening to the conversation heard Woods discussing ways to continue covering up the killing. He was arrested immediately after leaving the restaurant.

    Jerry’s Famous Deli

    An Orange County jury convicted Woods on Sept. 7 of first-degree murder. He will be sentenced next month to life in prison without the possibility of parole. Amos, for his cooperation, was allowed to plead guilty to manslaughter and was sentenced to 20 years.

    Sheridan also was allowed to plead guilty to manslaughter for the contract murder–a crime that could have earned him the death penalty. He, too, has been sentenced to 20 years, of which he will have to serve at least half. “I wasted my life,” Sheridan says from his seat beyond the glass. “I wasted my wife’s life. I understand that.” Sheridan’s wife, once a nude dancer, is now a born-again Christian who, he says, supported his decision to step forward because they both wanted to start over, free and clear of the strip-club life. She has since moved to another state to try to hold her family together. Asked how she is doing, he says, “Not well.”

    Visits with his kids are rare and painful because he is reminded of all that he has thrown away. “When my 8-year-old girl asks when I’m coming home, I have to tell her it’ll be when she’s in college.” The girl explains to people that her “daddy killed a bad guy.” Yet despite his new religion, Sheridan cultivates a hatred for Woods that he says provided additional impetus for going to the police. By doing so, he says, he prevented additional killings that Woods would have commissioned, including his own.

    He also resents Woods for being cheap, duplicitous and sexually using the dancers. “Mike messed with me and messed with a lot of people over a lot of years. I want Mike to have a long life so he can suffer. If Mike had had the guts to kill me himself, he wouldn’t be in the mess he’s in. I want him to think about that until the day he dies.”

    The time in prison will also give Sheridan time to think. He can probably use all of it, for the odd truth is that Sheridan still can’t explain why he did it, why he agreed to coldly aim an assault weapon at a fellow with whom he had no quarrel. Ask him the question a hundred different ways, and he cannot provide a single satisfying answer. Ultimately, an answer emerges: A screwed-up drug abuser committed murder primarily because he was a screwed-up drug abuser.

  • John 7:01 am on February 21, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: ,   

    Article About The Horace McKenna Story 

    This is a complicated case, but if you saw the TV show last night on Discovery ID, it was pretty awesome in describing the events.

    The daughter of Mike Woods has a blog where she discusses her life and what it was like having a father convicted of murder and being sent to prison. These are 10 things she has learned about the big house since her father’s conviction:

    1. The term used when a prisoner hides contraband up inside his person – Keystering – and thank you Dad for that detailed description.

    2. Inmates can ferment fruit and packets of bbq sauce into wine, taste at own risk.

    3. Inmates can make a sharp knife out of toilet paper, kind of like paper mache style.

    4. Prison guards steal any mail they may want, e.g. magazine subscriptions, packages of food, electronics.

    4. Contrary to prison life in movies, inmates don’t have computers or access to the Internet, unless you’re Martha Stewart.

    5. Inmates don’t ask other inmates what they are in for unless they offer you their sentencing papers.

    6. The prison pecking order starting from lowest to highest is:  sex offenders, including child murderers, pedophiles and rapists, law enforcement, informants, drug dealers, murderers (but not of children).

    7. If your Dad’s appellate attorney is the same as Phil Spector’s, be careful what you may write about Phil Spector.

    8. MCI is a racket and has the toe-hold on the collect calls. Rumor has it sometimes they purposely drop calls so you have to pay for the first minute again.

    9. Stamps are considered a form of currency.

    10. If you are in a prison fight, even if you’re the one being beaten and not beating, they’ll put you in the hole.



    • Bonnie Brae 8:13 am on February 21, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      I got invited to 3 Christmas parties at the mansion for work and missed all of them cause I was in (kill me now) – Iowa, with my hon and his family. I honestly don’t regret it at all. I just always wanted to go to a party there.

    • Bonnie Brae 8:14 am on February 21, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      Good article John. Interesting tid bits about the prison system.

    • localarts 8:22 am on February 21, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      .John, was there any mention of Launius? My dish package doesn’t included Discovery ID only Discovery. Was there any talk where McKenna served time back in the 70’s? I’m sure the show talked about McKenna’s narcotics escapades; I bet that where the Launius connection originates.

      Horace McKenna was a scary guy; Ronnie must have been a little crazy to associate with him!

      • John 8:32 am on February 21, 2014 Permalink | Reply

        No, to the Launius and jail time discussion, but I rec’d a 10 minute phone call in the middle and will re-watch it tonight. I was looking at Terri’s FB page and she has some photos of Big Mac. That dude was huge!! A guy emailed the blog last week saying he was in the service with Mac and that they were training together for ‘Nam but never got sent there. He was buds with him and was there when Mac won the “Mr. El Toro” contest in the 70s. Ugh. My little brother used to be into bodybuilding and I hate that whole scene.

      • John 8:40 am on February 21, 2014 Permalink | Reply

        This episode will eventually get posted to YouTube and I will find it and save it. I’m always looking for Mort Downey, Wonderland stuff, etc. I will add this to my list.

      • John 10:12 am on February 21, 2014 Permalink | Reply

        If a cop says they knew each other, then they probably did. I’m sure Fat Howard knew Weiss and McKenna too….. (I’d love to be a fly on the wall in Mike Wood’s jail cell when he opens my letter and I’m asking about Launius “What kind of nut is this guy?” LOL)

        Ronald Launius was another thief, and a drug dealer, who police learned had associated with Weiss. Though he was investigated, there was never any evidence to connect him to the slaying.

        On July 1, 1981, Launius, 37, was one of four people beaten to death in a Laurel Canyon drug den. A former Hollywood nightclub owner and his bodyguard were charged last year with killing the victims in revenge for a robbery.

        Orozco says Launius earlier had been associated with Horace McKenna, a former California Highway Patrol officer who operated a string of bars featuring nude dancers. McKenna was believed by police to have ties to prostitution, counterfeiting, narcotics and gambling in the Los Angeles area.

      • John 3:25 pm on February 22, 2014 Permalink | Reply

        Remember the Vic Weiss sports promoter guy… I wonder if Big Mac was the big guy, or if Ron was one of the three guys?

        A witness told police that he had seen the Rolls pull to the curb on a street in Encino and a white Cadillac with three men in it stop behind. The witness said Weiss got out of his car and two men–one described as a 6-foot, 6-inch blond–got out of the Cadillac.

        The witness said the blond man angrily pointed a finger in Weiss’ face as he spoke to him. After a few moments, Weiss got back in his car, the blond man got in the back seat behind him and the third man got in the front. Then the Rolls and the Cadillac drove away.

        As detectives delved into Weiss’ background, they became confident that the witness had seen Weiss’ killers. They learned that Weiss maintained a life style that belied his true financial worth. They learned that many of his associates were involved in organized crime.

      • John 9:50 am on March 5, 2014 Permalink | Reply

        The City Confidential episode about Big Mac is now 10 years old… (2003). I am still looking for it….

        Here’s what the New York Times said 10 years ago about the promising new crime show:

        That mood is enhanced by the show’s secret weapon: the voiceover narration provided by Paul Winfield. Sounding alternately laconic, arch, even patrician, Mr. Winfield seems to be getting a kick out of the tongue-in-cheek (I presume) text provided for him by the show’s writers. In an episode about carnival freaks in Gibsonton, Fla., focusing on the slaying of Grady Stiles Jr., better known because of his malformed hands and feet as Lobster Boy, Mr. Winfield gets to say, ”It’s never over till the bearded fat lady sings,” and, ”Two of the hands clapping were claws.” The show on the killing of a Los Angeles strip club entrepreneur named Horace ”Big Mac” McKenna, which has its premiere this Wednesday, is chockablock with lines Mickey Spillane would have tossed, among them, ”The news blew through like a sailor with a pocketful of greenbacks.’

        • John Sheridan 7:06 pm on June 3, 2018 Permalink

          John, We’re you successful in finding The City Confidential episode about Big Mac from 2003? IF so would you post a link to it please? Thanks.

        • John 6:25 pm on January 29, 2019 Permalink

          Hi John, yes I watched it on youtube. It’s out there w 100 other episodes but I cannot find it now

      • John 9:58 am on March 5, 2014 Permalink | Reply

        Big Mac could have met Ronnie in prison…the 1976 conviction would put him close to Ron serving out his final year or so in SoCal.

        Horace McKenna, who served in the California Highway Patrol from 1968 to 1972, was convicted in 1976 of counterfeiting and convicted in 1982 of parole violation after he was arrested on suspicion of assaulting an off-duty police officer.

        McKenna and Woods were obviously skimming the profits at the clubs. McKenna was said to only claim a salary of $44,000 a year at the time of his death. You can’t afford a 30 acre estate with that kind of salary.

    • dreamweaverjenn 10:24 am on February 21, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      DEFINITELY would NOT want to meet McKenna in a dark alley! He was scary!

      • foxychoplins 9:26 am on March 6, 2014 Permalink | Reply

        Mac Mckenna may have looked scary, and to many men he was scary. Young lady, If you had met up with him in a dark alley, that Big Teddy Bear would have nothing for you but a smile to light your way.

        • dreamweaverjenn 10:40 am on March 6, 2014 Permalink

          You’re probably right. I’m sure he was charming with the ladies…..

    • localarts 6:35 pm on February 21, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      Hulk Hogan vs. Horace McKenna in a loser leave town match, my money would be on McKenna!

    • criticextraordinaire 7:13 pm on February 21, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      Nicole Brown Simpson looks pretty hot in that picture with Dawn.

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

    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!!!

    • Rhonda Lipsey 2:55 am on November 2, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      I worked with Horace McKenna late 1988. He was one of a kind and at times could be very charming and always treated me well. But if he did not like you or was angry you would surely know. MIKE Woods was far from what Big Mac was ever like and at times treated people as if they were of a lower class.

    • John Sheridan 6:26 pm on June 3, 2018 Permalink | Reply

      Mike Woods definitely was a back stabber, and thanks very highly of himself. He was released from prison around June 2017.

  • John 11:58 am on November 10, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , mckenna, rose weiss, vic weiss, wolf weiss   

    The Weiss Family Tragedy 

    I blogged about the murder of sports agent Vic Weiss in the past, and there was even a loose Ron Launius/Horace McKenna connection. Nil Grevillius and I even spoke about the case in our interview. The sad part about this tragedy is that deaths in the Weiss family did not stop with Vic. His son, Wolf, would die as a contractor working in Iraq in 2004. Vic’s old widow, Rose, would be murdered at age 69, by their troubled daughter, Lauren, in 2008. Author Michael Connelly is also quoted below. Connelly once investigated and wrote about the Vic Weiss murder.

    Vic’s son, Wolf, certainly led an interesting life. At a young age, the former Marine swore revenge in finding his dad’s killer(s). I guess that’s why he joined the Marines in the first place, so that he could be a bad ass dude. He was also in a heavy metal rock band. You can sample his music here. Wolf even does a cover of Cliff Richard’s “Devil Woman”. Ugh. Play at your own risk!

    Lauren would be judged insane and end up in the nut house. At the time of the murder, she was a transient, only occasionally allowed to stay at her mother’s home. When captured after the murder, she was attempting to split town via the train station. I think she had two kids.

    Superior Court Judge Charles Campbell relied on court documents and mental health reports that detailed abandonment, sexual molestation, the death of a brother in Iraq, her husband’s suicide and placement in numerous health facilities.

    Donahue killed 69-year-old Rose Weiss in a bathroom in 2008 before dragging her body to the backyard to hide it in thick shrubbery.

    Daughter Held In Fatal Stabbing Of Simi Woman | Feb 7, 2008 | Ventura County Star

    A 41-year-old woman was booked Wednesday into Ventura County Jail on suspicion of fatally stabbing her mother in Simi Valley, authorities said.

    Police found the body of Rose Weiss, 69, at her home in the 5300 block of Diane Street at 2:44 p.m. Tuesday after responding to a call asking them to check on her. Sgt. Adam Darough, a spokesman for Simi Valley police, would not say who called police.

    Darough said Weiss was stabbed multiple times.

    She had likely been dead for several hours by the time police arrived, said Craig Stevens, a senior deputy medical examiner.

    Police later arrested Weiss’ daughter, Lauren Donahue, in Santa Clarita. Darough would not offer any details on Donahue’s arrest or what led police to her.

    Police did say they learned Donahue "may have boarded a train in the San Fernando Valley," and they later found her at the Santa Clarita train station. Donahue was being held in jail in lieu of $515,000 bail.

    Donahue was listed as a transient by police. Police would not say if Weiss lived with anyone at the home.

    Court records show Donahue was convicted in 2007 of felony possession of a controlled substance.

    Detectives on Wednesday had not yet determined a possible motive for Weiss’ killing, authorities said.

    Neighbor Mike Seguin said the street was normally quiet, except for periodic police visits to the Weiss house. "It didn’t happen every week, but it happened often enough," he said.

    Darough confirmed police had responded to the home numerous times but would not say why.

    Seguin said he would sometimes see Donahue in front of her mother’s home or nearby, and she always seemed to want to be left alone. "If she saw someone coming her way, she would go to the other side of the street," Seguin said.

    Seguin said he didn’t see Weiss as often, “but she seemed like a nice, quiet person”.

    According to Social Security and Internet database records, Weiss was married to Victor Weiss, a well-known sports promoter found slain in North Hollywood in 1979. Simi Valley police, however, would not confirm the relationship, and other family members could not be reached Wednesday.

    Best-selling author Michael Connelly, who wrote an article about the 1979 killing for the Los Angeles Times a decade later, called the unsolved crime “one of the longer-lasting mysteries of Los Angeles”.

    Victor Weiss was reported missing by his wife, Rose. He was found dead three days later, stuffed into the trunk of his Rolls-Royce with two gunshot wounds to his head. Los Angeles police suspected Weiss was killed by mobsters because he had accumulated sports-betting debts and was skimming laundered money, Connelly wrote. Connelly’s novel, "Trunk Music," is based on Weiss’ killing.

    Victor’s son, Wolf Weiss, was killed in 2004 in Iraq, where he was working for a private security firm, according to neighbors in Simi Valley and published reports.

    Wolf Weiss, 36, told Rolling Stone magazine in 2004 that he had joined the Marines at 18 partly because he wanted to hunt down his father’s killers. His mother eventually talked him out of revenge. He became a mercenary after a career as a rock musician.

    After hearing about Rose Weiss’ killing, Connelly said Wednesday that the tragedy was one more strange twist in a saga that has stuck with him. “It’s a pretty surprising story”, said Connelly, who now lives in Florida.

    • david woodard 9:28 pm on June 22, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      I was wolfs best friend from 2004 till he died, I was woody and he did tattoos in my room all the time, I spent new years 200 with him and kit in vegas, pleze contact me at my email, I have stories, thanks and if u talk to kit tell her im srry

    • david woodard 9:47 pm on June 22, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      I have proof he was my brother with a tattoo he gave me with a skull and crossbones that he signed on all the bones, tyvm for opening this back up, I was the one who brought the party bus to the roxie when he played there, I wanna be part of his legacy, we spent many times alone and I miss him soo much, thanks for remembering him

    • Jarrett 2:48 am on November 12, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      Please contact me regarding film project.

      Jarrett Galante

    • Raeven 10:17 am on October 5, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Wolf was like my uncle. My father still to this day has trouble listening to his music with out crying, they were like brothers my dad looked up to him and was a marine as well.. i remember going to his house as a kid and his garage open with his tattoo gear gave my mom her belly button piercing and tattoos on her stomach and ankles he had this big plan in his head of a project tattoo on my mom and didnt get to finish it before he was lost.. he was such a cool guy..

    • Greg Carter 11:33 am on March 3, 2018 Permalink | Reply

      I was very close with the Weiss family in the 80s. Rose was a wonderful lady. Chuck and Laurie were not Vic’s natural children, but he was their dad. They both had drug and anger issues from a young age. I understand little Rose, the youngest, is doing well and is a city attorney in Los Angeles. Truly a tragic tale.

    • Yeni Marisela Menendez 12:30 pm on February 29, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      Wolf wasn’t Vic’s only son and Rose wasn’t his only wife .she was married to him first but Rose had a sister her name is Juanita Priscilla Weiss Vic actually left rose for her sister which made the two sisters disowned each other .Vic and Juanita married moved to Encino and had Gerald Frank Weiss …. But she ended up leaving him and Vic would visit Jerry Weiss on his bday but he didn’t really have a father son relationship with him ….rose knew about Gerald later changed to Jerry Frank Weiss … She knew Vic had a son with her sister but never acknowledge Jerry as Vic’s son …. So at the funeral they had for Vic Jerry was not allowed to sit with rose wolf and the sister she had him sit with the ot immediate family. And even for the will she didn’t want anyone to know about Vic having any other kids but her owns ….. How do I know this story I have two kids with Jerry Frank Weiss and we was sitting watching the news when they announced …. Rose was murdered so I always wondered who they left everything too because Juanita and Jerry never saw anything after Vic’s murder the sisters never again talked .my kids are Isabella Weiss and Daniel Weiss …. Jerry has. NO idea I just left this message …. But it’s not something you want to hold on to….

    • Yeni Marisela Menendez 6:50 pm on February 29, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      Wolf wasn’t Vic’s only son and Rose wasn’t his only wife .she was married to him first but Rose had a sister her name is Juanita Priscilla Weiss Vic actually left rose for her sister which made the two sisters disowned each other .Vic and Juanita married moved to Encino and had Gerald Frank Weiss …. But she ended up leaving him and Vic would visit Jerry Weiss on his bday but he didn’t really have a father son relationship with him ….rose knew about Gerald later changed to Jerry Frank Weiss … She knew Vic had a son with her sister but never acknowledge Jerry as Vic’s son …. So at the funeral they had for Vic Jerry was not allowed to sit with rose wolf and the sister she had him sit with the ot immediate family. And even for the will she didn’t want anyone to know about Vic having any other kids but her owns ….. How do I know this story I have two kids with Jerry Frank Weiss and we was sitting watching the news when they announced …. Rose was murdered so I always wondered who they left everything too because Juanita and Jerry never saw anything after Vic’s murder the sisters never again talked .my kids are Isabella Weiss and Daniel Weiss …. Jerry has. NO idea I just left this message …. But it’s not something you want to hold on to….

  • John 9:56 am on September 6, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , ,   

    Take A Tour Of Big Mac’s Estate 

    Horace “Big Mac” McKenna is a legendary L.A. character. Once a highway cop and always a fitness freak, he later got in the nightclub business. Horace was gunned down at the gate to his estate while sitting in his limo in 1989. He had apparently dozed off, as it was late at night and his driver was opening the gate to pull in the car. The case went cold, but a decade later, cops had enough evidence to bring his business partner and the hit men to trial. They were all found guilty and given lengthy prison terms.

    Horace was also said to have ties to Ron Launius of the Wonderland Gang. It is unknown what exactly the two were involved in together, if anything of substance, but this notoriety and relationship probably polished Ron’s bad ass image as a cold-blooded killer.

    You can read more about Horace in the article that I posted in April, 2013.

    Oh, and they made a half-ass Tarantino wannabe B-movie about Big Mac.

    Check out Horace’s Find-A-Grave page. I guess a lover or family member makes those tribute photos and stuff. I have not seen anything like that before on Find-A-Grave. Strange.

    You may now tour his estate at this real estate web site. It’s pretty sweet and remote. When Big Mac got wasted in 1989, news articles referred to the property as “Tara”. I guess he gave it that name.

    Check this out. Even the caretaker and maid get their own house:

    35+ Acres Overlooking the entire Valley. 4 parcels make up this private retreat. This property is all about the location, the value in not having neighbors & being King of YOUR Mountain. There are Walking/Horsetrails throughout the entire property. The 5 bedroom 3 1/2 bath home with Pool & Spa has a breathtaking 360 degree view. 3 Fireplaces, 1 in Master that also has an office or sitting room attached. Large Kitchen w/ center island & Sub Zero Fridge. 4 car garage with another 1/4/ bath with pool access. 5 year old roof, rain gutter & Fire Sprinkler System. Central Vac. This rolling property has several flat areas to build a barn with a full size arena if so desired. A 2bed/2bth Caretakers Ranch House ( not factored into the square footage) is located where horse facilities once were. Beautiful Views where many weddings have been held. Family Fruit Trees. Rifle and Archery site against the hills. Room for a personal Helicopter Landing Pad. View Disneyland Fireworks! Has been a Private site for World Renowned Freestyle Motorcross Riders to master their stunts. High Ranking Brea Schools Close to town. Endless Possibilities. Your own Private Oasis.

    Have a great weekend!

    My goodness, I hope that's not Liz Taylor.

    I hope that is Chesperito from Sabado Gigante, not Liz Taylor.

    • localarts 10:22 am on September 6, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      McKenna was co owner of several strip clubs. He was also involved in narcotics trafficking and money laundering. McKinna was more than likely one of Ronnie’s wholesale suppliers at one time or another. You don’t live in a mansion like Horace did on a motorcycle cop salary!

    • Brandy 10:30 am on September 6, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      Wow, interesting. I remember they did a story on Horace Mckenna on A&E a long time ago.

      • John W 3:59 pm on September 6, 2013 Permalink | Reply

        I need to see that! I’ll check it out.

      • Joey 12:56 am on August 7, 2015 Permalink | Reply

        Mike was my best friend. Knew the family well. Mike & I moved in to Tara ranch, immediately after Mac was killed.

        • Red 6:26 pm on July 3, 2020 Permalink


        • Moll 11:21 am on July 23, 2020 Permalink

          I think i remember you! We used to go hang at the Ranch with Mike after we’d close down Bennigans for the evening and “chill” in the jacuzzi/pool. I met him via Mike Murray who also lived at the Tara temporarily tel he and Mike had a falling out.. I’d be surprised if Murray is still alive, he seemed to like to burn his candle at both ends.. McKenna was always very nice to me, and acted like a big brother when we’d all go out clubbing. Even though I wasn’t out at the time, I think he knew I was queer and he’d act as protector when slimy dudes would try to hit on me. It was sad how he passed, I hope his spirit is at peace..

    • dreamweaverjenn 1:23 pm on September 6, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      Wow! I’ll have to check this out. Didn’t realize all that about McKenna.

    • Walter Lavender 8:11 pm on October 19, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      I knew Mac on Guam in 62 and 63. We both worked at US Naval Hospital. He was a great guy and good friend. He loaned me his car one time and chummed around together.

    • Moll 4:27 pm on September 17, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      Wow the property has changed a lot! Was friends with his son, nice guy. His dad was really into old movies and western and superman. Tara was named re: Gone with the Wind. In the mock ghost town that was on the property he had a gravesite with a tombstone for superman. Interesting dude. Sad tragedy for the family. Guess his widow has had the house this whole time?

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