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

    McNeil Island Corrections Center 

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

          Damn. Pre 82…microfiche? Just a guess.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • John 8:40 am on November 4, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , mcneil island, smuggling   

    McNeil Prison Closed in 2011; Prisoners Have Reunion 

    I was reading a sample of Lee’s book about the Starwood, Hollywood and his life in Rock n Roll. Good work, Lee! That is a great story. I can’t believe how many times that you saw Holmes at Nash’s… or the orderly procession, however slow, that it took each guy to get in to see Ed in his inner sanctum. Just Amazing work, my friend. Stay in touch.

    I guess that either Wonderland or the Liberace movie was on TV yesterday. … because the site received 2,000 visitors. Several dozen people even searched “people that entered witness protection after Wonderland” or something like that. I don’t think there is a list online but, nobody is on it anyway. The only person offered a deal was Holmes or Thorson. And they blew it.

    Check out the date that McNeil officially closed… spooky.

    We have discussed Ron’s prison time before on this blog. Ron was sentenced in 1973-74, and probably served 3 years up at McNeil… with a final year in SoCal at Chino or elsewhere near Los Angeles. McNeil was closing as a federal prison and Washington state was taking it over. They had to empty and transfer the federal prisoners by 1981. Alvin “Creepy” Karpis of the Ma Barker Gang died just a few years before Ron’s arrival. Al was 147 years old.

    Even though McNeil Island operated as a modern institution, in 1976 the Bureau of Prisons decided to phase out the 107-year-old federal penitentiary, declaring it “obsolete” — too big, too old, too remote, and too expensive to maintain and renovate. The trend was toward smaller, more manageable prisons, housing no more than 500 inmates.

    By 1979, the shutdown operation was in full swing. At the Federal Work Camp, the beef and dairy herds were moved to the Federal Correctional Institution at Lompoc, California, and the rest of the livestock was sold. The Federal Prison Industries shops and equipment were moved to other federal institutions.

    In 1980, at the request of Senator Warren G. Magnuson (1905-1989), the Bureau of Prisons agreed not to further dismantle the penitentiary. Washington state wanted to use the facility temporarily, to help relieve overcrowding in the state’s institutions. In February 1981, Governor John D. Spellman (b. 1926) negotiated a contract with the General Services Administration to lease the prison for three years, with two one year extensions permitted, for $350,000 a year.

    In March 1981, the last of the federal prisoners were transferred out and the first state prisoners moved into the penitentiary. Control of McNeil Island was formally turned over to Washington State Department of Corrections on…. July 1, 1981.


    After his release, I don’t know how Ron skated through parole without keeping a job, unless someone helped him, or he had a medical exemption (Agent Orange?) or if the parole office had bigger fish to fry. Many questions….

    If the men in the 8 man dorm were your friends, I guess you could call that “Easy Time”:

    This slideshow requires JavaScript.

    The article below is satire but it cracked me up. Carly Simon…

    “Sentimental Prisoners Remember McNeil Island Penitentiary”

    Closing Prison Hosts Prisoner Reunion

    McNeil Island – McNeil Island Corrections center will close its portcullis this month after 136 years housing federal and state criminals.  An unlikely gathering of past prisoners is gathering to say final farewells and share memories of the isolated prison. They silently debark from the ferry, Carly Simon’s “Let the River Run” playing on the boombox of a Maratrucha 13 gang member. Real teardrops glisten like dew in the spiderweb tattoo covering his face and neck.

    “I can’t believe it’s really closing,” chokes the Pokey Puppy, an inmate who spent decades moldering in Cell Block 2. “I mean, it was a shithole, but a historicshithole.” Several of the inmates expressed difficulty coming to grips with the closure. They laughingly compare knife wounds  and wonder whatever happened to the serial rapist who escaped through the sewer back in ’96.

    (There are some recent photos here but I gathered most of these from the Washington state archives, and sorted by Ron’s stay, with a liberal date range from about ’73 to ’78)

    “There Was Love Here”

    Perhaps it’s not surprising to see such an upwelling of emotion from prisoners; after all, incarceration can turn the most hardened sociopath into a professional regretter. But there are things about the prison to miss: the glorious views of the South Puget Sound, the corner of the yard where prisoners would gather around a new, stripped prisoner, spontaneous shankings in the chow hall, and the way the spilled blood would blossom on the white floor.

    “I had hopes that one day my son would do time in this prison.” A bald man with a swastika tastefully embroidered on his flight jacket murmurs. “I could have given him some good advice to get along in here. Son, I’d say, sign up for the Aryan Brotherhood Leadership Development classes right away. They taught me to properly manage the accounting side of my burgeoning meth lab chain.”

    One Last Memory

    Staring at the imposing structure, one man has reluctant words torn from him. “I entered this prison as a federal agent posing as a DC Black in 1988, but what I found was true friendsh-” before he could finish he was set upon by former members of the United Blood Nation gang who expertly gave him a Columbian Necktie and spit on him as he gurgled his last breath.

    “Blood in blood out, pig.” Says Pokey, wiping blood flecks from his hands. Then he sighs. “I sure will miss this place.”

    • criticextraordinaire 6:15 pm on November 4, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      You can be pretty sure that “Bubba” never hassled Ronnie in prison. Launius would have handed him his ass in a hat.

  • John 11:38 am on April 22, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , wonderland murders timeline   

    The Wonderland Timeline 

    I have started this timeline of events because the Wonderland saga can get really confusing… especially when you are trying to figure out Eddie Nash’s legal woes, arrests, other crimes, etc. That guy could write a book on the legal system all by himself.

    Please post anything missing in the comments section at the bottom of the page.


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

    Wonderland Timeline of Events

    Late 1940s

    Adel Nasrallah arrives in Southern California from the middle east (Palestine). He was born near Ramallah in 1929 is of Palestinian Christian descent.


    Eddie Nash stars in the Cisco Kid episode “Quarter Horse”. He is credited as “Eddie Nash”, and his character is called “Nash”.

    Circa 1950s

    Eddie owns Beef’s Chuck hot dog stand on Hollywood Blvd. Decades later during the 1980s, a woman with an autistic son whom Ed had known at this time, writes the judge a sympathetic letter regarding Eddie while he is awaiting sentencing for drug charges.

    June 1962

    Ron Launius enters the US Air Force.

    Early to mid 1960s

    Eddie owns all or part of P.J.’s Night Club, along with Dominic Lucci in Hollywood.


    Ron Launius marries Fay Wetzel. They will divorce in 1970, papers filed in San Bernadino, CA.

    July 1966

    Singer and musician Bobby Fuller is found dead in his car, foul play is later alleged, but it is ruled a suicide. Bobby Fuller’s band was the house band at P.J.’s, where it has been said he romanced a waitress that either Lucci or Nash was sweet on.


    Ron Launius serves during the Vietnam War at Ubon Royal Thai Air Force Base in eastern Thailand.

    Sometime in 1970

    David Lind is convicted of three felonies: Receiving stolen property, forgery and assault with intent to commit rape.

    May, 1970

    Ron and Fay Wetzel get divorced.

    April 4, 1971

    Ron and Susan Annette Murphy are married at the Sunset Wedding Chapel in Carson City, NV. Witnesses/Friends of the bride and groom are Jerry White and Mary Yeaman from northern California.

    January 1972 – Ron Launius leaves the US Air Force with an Honorable Discharge.

    Sometime in 1972

    Ron Launius is acquitted of gun and drug charges in Northern California.

    At some point in 1972 or 1973, Ron Launius is involved in a messed up drug deal in Mexico, where he is set up by California dealers. The people in Mexico hold Susan hostage and demand more money from Ron. He allegedly saves her by coming back, killing the men, and he then returns to California where he kills others involved. This is a very elaborate story with lots of details and was shared with Wonderland investigator, Nils B. Grevillius by Susan Launius in the late 1990s. This is where the legend and the 27 homicides attributed to Launius seems to begin.


    Ron Launius and Carroll Sherrill allegedly kill Gary Moore after he is suspected of being a narc or informant. Moore is found floating in a river near Yuba City, CA with a broken jaw, cuts and bruises on his corpse, and he had been shot a few times. Sherrill confessed from jail in 1982 that he killed Gary and Ron helped him dispose of the body and burn evidence, such as the bloodied backseat of Ron’s Scout truck or SUV.

    Ron Launius, Carroll Sherill and Junior Ballard are busted trying to smuggle heroin and pills across the Mexican border into the USA. They all plead guilty.


    Ron Launius is sentenced to 8 years in federal prison. He will serve most of his time at McNeil Island in the Puget Sound area of Washington state. Carroll Sherrill and Junior Ballard pull shorter sentences.

    Mid to Late 1970s

    P.J.’s has become the Starwood club.

    Eddie Nash’s fortunes increase as he owns multiple businesses in and around L.A. and Hollywood.

    Paul Revere and the Raiders live at Wonderland.

    Adel Nasrallah has become known as Eddie Nash.

    Sometime in 1978

    Ron Launius is released from prison for his 1974 drug smuggling sentence.

    Susan Launius attempts to or does marry another man while still married to Ron.

    December, 1978

    Joy Miller signs the lease at Wonderland.


    Sports promoter and businessman Vic Weiss is murdered. Horace McKenna and Ron Launius are suspected, but there is no evidence to file charges or connect them to the crime. At this time, Ron is suspected of another murder or hit in San Pedro, CA.

    June, 1979

    William “Billy” Deverell moves in to Wonderland. The landlady said Billy was employed at this time.

    Sometime in 1979 or 1980

    John Holmes develops a friendship with Adel Nasrallah aka Eddie Nash.

    June 4, 1980

    Joy Miller’s home at Wonderland is raided by L.A. vice cops in a drug sting. She is the only one in the house charged with a crime. Billy Deverell is released when Joy takes full responsibility for the drugs found in the search. The alleged supplier, Bill Vlick, is arrested at his home a few blocks away with more than $59,000 in cash and drugs.

    July, 1980

    Joy Miller asks to Rachel Rybicki if she can buy the house at Wonderland. She is told no and that she should move out of the neighborhood. This is before her cancer diagnosis later in the year. She would have three surgeries.

    Early 1981

    Eddie Nash’s wife, Jeanna, of 10 years has already left him, and after death threats, she files a protection order against him.

    May or June, 1981

    Ron Launius and Billy Deverell travel to Sacramento on drug business. While there they meet up with David Lind but while there Ronnie is also busted driving a stolen car. He is given a court hearing date of July 1, 1981. He would not make it.

    Mid-June, 1981

    David Lind and Barbara Richardson arrive and stay at the Wonderland house.

    Monday, June 29, 1981

    8am – The Wonderland Gang commits the robbery of Eddie Nash’s house.

    When the guys arrive back at Wonderland, Joy and Barbara go to the Canyon Store for party favors, cig’s, booze, beer, whatever. The guys are busy divee’ing the loot!

    10am to Noon – Tracy McCourt gets frightened at the Wonderland house, and takes a cab back to the apartment on Lemp Ave. in North Hollywood, where he is staying with friends (allegedly Mr. Vegas – Jimmy Arias).

    Afternoon – Billy Deverell takes the jewelry to Fat Howard Cook, their fence.

    Tuesday, June 30, 1981

    7am – Susan Launius arrives at Wonderland with Ron. They arrive in his vehicle.

    9 or 10am – David Lind leaves the house to go transact several drug deals. He spends Tuesday night at a motel in the valley with a prostitute.

    Day – Nash’s goons pick up John Holmes at his answering service office parking lot in L.A or Santa Monica. He is taken to Nash’s house for interrogation.

    Tracy McCourt has a friend “Mike” and girlfriend Shelly take him to Wonderland so he can score some drugs off Ron & company. Tracy gives them $50 for the ride there and back.

    Afternoon / Early Evening – Julia Negron and Chuck Negron (singer for Three Dog Night) are at Wonderland scoring or hanging out. They leave and go home. Joy contacts them later asking them to come back over, she has something for them. They decide to stay home.

    Evening – Scott Thorson arrives at Nash’s house to buy cocaine and sees Holmes there getting roughed up by Diles, while Nash threatens Holmes. Thorson has eerie conversation with Holmes in the kitchen before they leave to murder the people at Wonderland.

    David Lind is partying at a friend, James Fuller’s house in Monrovia. Later on, he gets a ride back to the San Fernando Valley with two women, Cindy and Terri. They stay up all night doing drugs.

    Wednesday, July 1, 1981

    Ron Launius is due in court today in Sacramento for driving a stolen car.

    Early morning – The Wonderland Murders occur. Those murdered are Ron Launius, Joy Miller, William Deverell and Barbara Lee Richardson. Susan Launius survives.

    After the murders, the assailants allegedly kick Holmes out of the car at the corner of Lookout Mountain and Laurel Canyon Blvd. Holmes then walks down to Ventura Blvd, where he calls Dottie Glickmann, wife of Hal Glickmann, businessman, bail bondsman and friend Holmes. Dottie gives John a ride to either his car at his answering service office or to Sharon Holmes’ house in Glendale.

    5am – John Holmes arrives at Sharon Holmes’ house and is covered in dried blood. Years later she would state that he confessed to being at the crime scene and letting the killers inside the house.

    Early morning to late afternoon

    Jimmy Arias AKA Mr. Vegas and Paul Kelly arrive at Wonderland Ave to pick up Ron Launius and put him on a plane for his Sacramento court date. They walked through the house. David Lind first talks to Fat Howard (the fence) and is later told by Mr. Arias not to go to the house, that everyone is dead. Also, Paul Kelly had a thing for Maggie Coffman and bullshitted or bragged/made up a story to her that he had to take out her love interest, Ron Launius. This was the “red herring” by Nash’s defense via testimony of Maggie Coffman at Eddie Nash’s re-trial where he was fully acquitted because it cast reasonable doubt. One juror then explained after the trial: “We would really like to see Paul Kelly put on trial next for these murders”. On the stand, Paul Kelly plead the 5th Amendment. He was in county or state jail at the time of Nash’s second trial in 1990.

    At least 6 to 8 drug customers venture into the house, either looking for the gang or to buy drugs. Nobody calls police about the dead bodies or to help Susan Launius, the sole survivor.

    Afternoon – The bodies are discovered around 4pm after Julia Negron and a male friend “B” are leave the house and make a comment to mover’s next door about bodies inside the house. The mover looks inside the front door and sees Barbara Richardson’s body on the floor. The police are called.

    3:55pm – A fire crew arrives quickly followed by paramedics.

    4:05pm – Paramedics leave with Susan Launius. They take her to Cedars Sinai Medical Center.

    4:10pm – Police arrive and find yet another person or drug customer wandering around inside the home. They would briefly detain the man, then let him go. Police then videotape the scene and investigate the house for the rest of the night. In the crime scene video, the phone line seen ringing via the ringer light was Larry “Cherokee” Hershman, one of Ron’s drug buddies and dealers, who had been constantly calling the house all day.

    Thursday, July 2, 1981

    Morning – The bodies are removed from the home by the coroner.

    10am – David Lind and a childhood friend, James Fuller, a musician in L.A., walk into the Hollywood police station to tell detectives what he knows.

    July 10, 1981

    Police raid Eddie Nash’s house. He and Diles are arrested. Diles has brief shootout with police; his defense would later be that he thought they were burglars. He would be charged with drug possession and I believe attempted murder for firing at police officers.

    July 11, 1981

    John Holmes and Dawn Schiller are arrested at a seedy motel in Los Angeles and taken into police custody. They are held in protective custody at two different fancy hotels in Los Angeles.

    July 15, 1981

    Police release John Holmes from protective custody after he does not give them the information they need to implicate Nash and Diles in the murders.

    July 16 or 17, 1981

    Police spot John’s Malibu at Eddie Nash’s house. John and Dawn meet Sharon Holmes twice in a grocery store parking lot to say goodbye and get some money from her.

    July 18, 1981

    John Holmes disappears. Over the next 5 months, he and Dawn head east thru Arizona, up to Montana and eventually down to Florida.

    Early August, 1981

    Eddie Nash’s divorce from Jeanna is finalized. Fellow club owner, Chris Cox, stated to Legs McNeil that he spoke to Ed many times in the late 70s, trying to get Ed to leave his philandering ways and drug use behind, go back home at night to your wife and kids. Eddie would not take his advice.

    August 21, 1981

    Fearing for his safety and needing him as a witness, police arrest David Lind in North Hollywood and put him in custody. He may have also been with McCourt since North Hollywood was Tracy McCourt’s last address when living in L.A.

    Mid-September, 1981

    Susan Launius released from hospital. She stated in her testimony that she was in the hospital for 2.5 months.

    September 20, 1981

    Sharon Holmes has interview with Los Angeles Times, but she only says that John was at the Wonderland house a few days before the killings. She would not come clean about what John told her and his involvement until after his death in 1988.

    November 25, 1981

    Police search Nash’s home for a second time after the drug overdose death of a guest (24 yr old Dominic Fragomell who had been living at the home for 5 months). Cops find more than 2 lbs. of cocaine, heroin, Quaaludes, and opium. Nash and Diles are arrested on narcotics charges. Both men had been on bail from the July 10 raid and arrest.

    Friday 8:45pm, December 4, 1981

    John Holmes is arrested at his motel room in North Miami Beach, FL. He and Dawn would never see each other again.

    Saturday, 10:30am, December 5, 1981

    Holmes appears in Florida’s Dade County Circuit Court. He waives extradition and flies back to California with Lange and Tomlinson.

    December 7, 1981

    John Holmes is booked for murder in the Wonderland slayings.

    December 8, 1981

    Greg Diles is arrested at the Seven Seas Supper Club in Hollywood. He is jailed and saliva, blood and hair samples are collected in an attempt to match samples taken from the house.

    Late 1981 or early 1982

    David Lind is sentenced to 7 months in county jail in Sacramento for possession of a controlled substance.

    February 1-2, 1982

    John Holmes preliminary trial. He is ordered to stand trial for murder/attempted murder. Many witnesses testify at this hearing including Susan Launius, David Lind, Tracy McCourt, and Det. Frank Tomlinson, among others. They provide enough evidence and the judge sends this case to trial.

    February 21, 1982

    Eddie Nash is linked to several arson cases from 1977-78 surrounding properties that he owns and he is charged with 3 other men by the Feds with arson, mail fraud, racketeering and conspiracy.

    March, 1982

    Ron’s buddy, Carroll Evan Sherrill, confesses while in Folsom Prison to the 1973 murder of Gary Moore. According to Sherrill’s widow, Carroll would die in prison by hanging a few months later under “suspicious circumstances”.

    March 24, 1982

    Greg Diles is denied bail at hearing regarding his murder charge. Murder charges are dropped but he is still jailed facing drug charges.

    April, 1982

    Scott Thorson is forcibly removed from Liberace’s penthouse apartment by 4 of Liberace’s goons. In the settlement, Scott receives his clothing, two dogs, three automobiles (Rolls Royce, a sedan and Chevy van) and $75,000 in cash. The Rolls Royce is later traded to Eddie Nash for cocaine.

    Week of June 4, 1982

    The murder/attempted murder trial of John Holmes begins in Los Angeles.

    June 8, 1982

    Jurors see the grisly crime scene video played in court.

    June 11, 1982

    The judge in the Holmes trial rules that the defense cannot contend Holmes was forced to help the killers because they threatened he and his family. This is called the “under duress defense” argument and would later be cited in legal textbooks.

    June 12, 1982

    Nash is acquitted in his arson and mail fraud trial. However, his 3 cohorts are convicted.

    Week of June 23, 1982

    The 8 man, 4 woman jury deliberates in the John Holmes Trial.

    June 25, 1982

    John Holmes is found Not Guilty in the trial of the century but is not released from jail pending the 1981 charge of receiving a stolen IBM typewriter. He had stolen it from a car in Santa Monica and was caught at the scene.

    August 4, 1982

    A judge rules that Holmes be kept in county jail for contempt of court and for not answering the Grand Jury’s questions.

    August 26, 1982

    John Holmes begins his “hunger strike” while in jail. He would cheat by eating cookies and candy bars given to him by other inmates, even two candy bars by Dr. Vonda Pelto, jail psychologist. Barbara Wilkins, a freelance journalist (hired by Hustler to write a piece for their magazine) who would eventually become one of Holmes’s girlfriends, organized a petition to free Holmes.

    Sept 23, 1982

    Holmes eats food again (burger, broccoli, potatoes, bread, cookies and coffee). John loses 11 lbs. from his hunger strike.

    Sept 28, 1982

    Eddie Nash drug trial begins.

    October, 1982

    Eddie Nash convicted of 7 drug counts (and possession of 2 lbs of cocaine).

    November 5, 1982

    Nash is sentenced to 8 years in state prison, of which he serves a few years.

    November 20, 1982

    The Studio City home of jailed nightclub owner Adel Nasrallah was burglarized and a 60-pound floor safe with undetermined contents was stolen.

    November 23, 1982

    Holmes is freed from jail on contempt charges after spending 111 days in lock up. He resumes his porn acting and porno business career.

    Sometime in 1983

    Samuel Diles, 31 at the time, had been a bouncer at one of Nash’s clubs, the Kit Kat in Hollywood. In 1983, he was arrested after police said he hit Michael Nolan, the brother of Assemblyman Patrick Nolan, in the head with a gun. Diles went to prison on an assault conviction for a few years.

    January 6, 1983

    Nash is denied bail during a court hearing pending his appeal.

    Sometime in 1984

    John Holmes and Bill Amerson are hired by VCX porn company, where Holmes works part-time as line producer and film director.

    August, 1984

    Due to health problems, Eddie Nash’s prison term is slashed and he is scheduled for release.

    September 6 or 7, 1984

    Eddie Nash’s illegitimate young teenage son, Telesforo, and his mother, Maureen (Nash’s ex-girlfriend) are stabbed to death by a Hells Angel biker/drug dealer (Robert Garceau) who is later put on death row but dies of cancer in 2004. Garceau knew both Nash and Bautista, and having failed to perform a hit for Nash, was worried that Bautista might alarm Nash to his whereabouts. Thus, he killed her and her son to silence them.

    November 17, 1984

    Eddie Nash released for good behavior from Soledad State Prison and given parole for the drug conviction in 1982.

    Early 1985

    After prison, a bony tumor was removed from Nash’s sinus cavity between his brain and eyes. It turned out to be benign.

    February 7, 1985

    John Holmes is honored by the industry and is asked to leave his autograph, hand prints and shoe prints in wet cement outside the Pussy Kat Theater in Los Angeles. The star’s concrete memorial is still there today.

    February, 1986

    John Holmes is privately diagnosed with AIDS.

    Summer, 1986

    Holmes is offered big money and travels to Italy to make a few big budget porn films.

    Wonderland driver, Tracy Ray McCourt, moves to Kentucky and enrolls in college at Eastern Kentucky University. He will be married twice while living in Kentucky.

    January 23, 1987

    John Holmes marries Laurie Rose, the anal porn queen. They met in 1983. She knew he had AIDS when they got married.

    Early 1988

    Dawn Schiller arrives back in L.A. from living overseas with her father.

    March 2, 1988

    John Holmes’ friend and producer announces that John has AIDS.

    L.A. detectives arrive at the VA Hospital in Sepulveda, CA in a final attempt to question Holmes and get some answers in the 1981 Wonderland Murders. They leave empty handed.

    March 13, 1988

    John Holmes dies from encephalitis complicated by AIDS at the VA hospital in Sepulveda, CA.

    Mid-March, 1988

    John Holmes ashes are spread off the coast of Oxnard, CA.

    September 7, 1988

    Diles and Nash are charged in the Wonderland murders.

    Tracy Ray McCourt is pulled out of college and offered a witness protection deal to testify in the new Nash/Diles trials. He and wife are put up in hotels in L.A. during the trial. After Nash and Diles are acquitted, the authorities do not follow through on protecting him and he moves to Colorado.

    September 19, 1988

    Nash and Diles enter Innocent pleas.

    Early 1989

    During a preliminary hearing, Scott Thorson testifies about what he knows about the Wonderland killings.

    June 15, 1989

    Rolling Stone article “The Devil and John Holmes” by Mike Sager is published.

    May, 1990

    Eddie Nash’s first trial ends in hung jury. Nash later admitted to bribing a young female juror with $50,000. Diles and Nash were tried together with two juries. Diles dual-jury trial then ends in mistrial.

    August 2, 1990

    Adel Nasrallah, also known as Eddie Nash, had his day in someone else’s court on Wednesday. Nash, held without bail and wearing jail blues, testified during the penalty phase for Linell Dumas, convicted of murdering the mother of a sheriff’s deputy. Nash appeared as a character witness.

    January 18, 1991

    Nash and Diles are acquitted of the Wonderland Murders. DA announces “This is the end of it”. Nash and Diles had been in jail since August, 1988.

    November, 1991

    Scott Thorson, aka Jess Marlow, is shot three times and badly injured by a drug dealer/burglar at a motel in Jacksonville, FL. He makes a full recovery.

    September 12, 1995

    Nash is arrested on suspicion of drug dealing. The cops find a mothball. Nash is released a few days later.

    November 16, 1995

    David Clay Lind dies of a heroin overdose in Eureka, CA. He was 55 years old.

    January 16, 1997

    Gregory Dewitt Diles dies. He had struggled with obesity problems for most of his life. Cause of death is liver failure.

    May 7, 2000

    Eddie Nash appears on local L.A. news program. When asked if he had ordered the killings, he stated: “No, I did not. All I can say is what I’ve said for the last 20 years. I really did not kill anyone or have anything to do” (with Wonderland).

    May 19, 2000

    Extensive RICO charges thrown at Eddie Nash. He is arrested at his condo in Tarzana, CA. The charges include orchestrating the Wonderland Murders, for which he does not admit too. He later accepts the plea bargain to serve 37 months in federal prison.

    May 22, 2000

    Nash has a bail hearing, and it is announced that he has tuberculosis. He is released shortly afterwards.

    June 18, 2000

    E True Hollywood Story airs “John Holmes and the Wonderland Murders” episode.

    January 7, 2001

    Nash is arrested and jailed for violating bail conditions of his $1.5M bond. He had been in touch with bad guys, allegedly.

    February 13, 2001

    Judge orders Nash to forfeit $75K of his bond for violating terms of his bail. Nash was allegedly in contact with people who were not on the list approved of by prosecutors.

    September 10, 2001

    Nash pleads guilty to RICO charges.

    October 11, 2001

    Nash is sentenced to serve 37 months in federal prison for RICO violations. He will serve a few years of this sentence at Terminal Island Federal Prison in southern California.


    Samuel Lawton Diles, brother of Greg Diles and alleged conspirator in the Wonderland murders, dies at 50. Sam was a bouncer at some of Eddie’s clubs, including the Kit Kat Club in Hollywood, and Sam also struggled with obesity problems for most of his life.

    Oct. 3, 2003

    The James Cox film, “Wonderland”, with its all-star cast, graces theaters with its presence. It would gross a few million dollars during its run, but later become a cult classic on DVD/Blu-Ray.

    Oct. 18, 2006

    Tracy Ray McCourt, the getaway driver during the Nash robbery, dies in Colorado of complications from Hepatitis C.

    Fall, 2011

    The Wonderland1981 Blog is launched… because why the fuck not! 🙂

    October 28, 2012

    Sharon Holmes passes away at age 69 in Haines, Oregon. Towards the end of her life, she was ill and had been living in Oregon close to Dawn Schiller.

    March, 2013

    Scott Thorson arrested in Vegas for using stolen credit cards. He is given probation.

    May, 2013

    The HBO movie, Behind The Candelabra, based on Scott Thorson’s book is aired. It stars Michael Douglas as Liberace and Matt Damon as Scott.

    Winter 2014

    Scott Thorson heads to prison for probation violation (failed drug tests)

    • localarts 2:29 pm on April 22, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      At around 10:00 am July 2, 1981 David Lind walkes into the hollywood police station and names names
      giving police their initial lead in the investigation.

    • localarts 6:37 pm on April 22, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      By the way John, thats one hell of a time line. It should be included in every Wonderland DVD as a bonus!

      • John W 6:47 pm on April 22, 2013 Permalink | Reply

        Thanks localarts. As you know.. it’s a labor of love my friend! If we could just pin down where the Diles brothers were that night, LOL.

    • Jenn 2:03 pm on April 23, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      Thank you for this! Every time I see again the crap John Holmes pulled on people and was involved in I just shake my head. I don’t know much about the trial but WHY did he walk?? I can’t figure that out. The minute the prison door shut on his sentence I’m sure he would have been singing like a bird. Even though he’s dead I can’t stand him. What an asshole.

      • John 9:25 am on April 24, 2013 Permalink | Reply

        The jury said there was not enough evidence. Of course, you need enough evidence to convict. Even though he was a scumbag, I don’t think you can just throw a person’s life away, without the evidence. There was no burden of proof, and his lawyer Earl Hansen did a great job.

        • localarts 8:16 pm on May 3, 2013 Permalink

          The raid at 8763 went down on June 4th 1980.

        • John W 11:10 am on May 4, 2013 Permalink

          Thanks, I’ll update it!

    • Chelle 12:53 am on September 8, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      Matt Damon and Michael Douglas? That kind of creeps me out.

      • dreamweaverjenn 6:28 pm on September 8, 2013 Permalink | Reply

        They both did an EXCELLENT job in Behind the Candelabra!!!!! HBO is running it again this month.

    • Mickey 1:15 am on December 18, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      I worked for Nash & knew Diles. I went to the house once & Nash asked me if I was into S&m because of my punk attire. Great to find all this.

      • dreamweaverjenn 10:49 pm on December 18, 2013 Permalink | Reply

        Wow. Fascinating. How accurate were the characters in the movie compared to them in real life? Did they scare the shit out of you? Were they friendly?

        • Mickey 2:43 pm on December 19, 2013 Permalink

          I stayed for about 2 days. Everybody was high on base or smack or something. Ed had a harem in his bedroom, so when he stepped out an assigned girl would be in charge of the pipe. I had responded to Ed’s S&M question by mentiong punk & he said something about how much $$$ The Starwood had cost him because it had been forced to close due to noise, etc. He told me to stay in the room with the Vegas girls. We ate lobster & of course he had a theatre. I remember a pretty girl named Desiree who was apparently his assistant. Everyone liked Diles because he had been a bouncer & fixture @ Starwood, etc. I didn’t realize I actually worked for him ‘ til then (Nash). I eventually went back to Hollywood as I got too freaked out. I was very young, but not that naive. Ed did say the cops had broken some stuff a while before.

        • John 8:58 am on December 20, 2013 Permalink

          Wow, Mickey. Please post more stories when you can. Great info!

        • Mickey 3:35 am on December 22, 2013 Permalink

          I have been wracking my brain to try & remember some of the characters. There was a bearded guy named “Butch” who managed some of the clubs. I recall him being involved in the trials somehow. He was not a big druggie, but was involved w/ Diles & I think was Desiree’s boyfriend. Does anyone remember footage of him? Also a Jewish guy, Saul, who was nice, but I know a dealer under Nash. God, I hope Nash isn’t reading this!!! It does feel a bit strange because maybe I should be afraid!

    • localarts 9:01 am on December 23, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      I think the guy’s name is Butch Reynolds. I believe he said he was summoned up to the Dona Lola address right after the robbery.

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

        I was emailed once by a guy who knew Butch. All he really said was Butch told him that the really hot, pretty A-list strippers at Eddie and Horace’s clubs, were only stripping to get money to pay their dues so they could become Scientologists. I don’t know what that is about.

    • localarts 5:34 pm on February 6, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      I guess we know where Tom Cruise & John Travolta spent their evenings back in the early 80’s…. turning strippers into Scientology Idiot’s!

      • John 7:42 am on February 7, 2014 Permalink | Reply

        Well, I have a headache this morning and I could really use a “touch assist” healing from someone like Travolta or Cruise, who are I assume are free of Thetans.

    • jimmy---chicago 8:21 pm on February 6, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      The scientologests will black list and try to ruin any and all that they percieve to be speaking out against them

      • Mickey 12:43 am on February 10, 2014 Permalink | Reply

        Butch was the GM of the Kit Kat when it was a respectable place. Gary Myrick who had the song “She Talks In Stereo” was a regular as were people like David Carradine & his brothers. It was a bikini bar & girls from UCLA worked there. There was a dancer from Alvin Ailey too. Because of its proximity to the studios a nice crowd came in before things changed. That’s also where The Red Hot Chili Peppers got the sock thing when they performed (check site). I guess a lot of people still don’t get that stripping & sleaze are not necessarily one & the same. Probably because they didn’t live in West Hollywood. As usual, bikers ruined alt of that scene. To me they are the sleaze. Call me a snob. The fact that the Starwood & later Club Lingerie, The Masque, & Cathay de Grand were nearby meant a nascent punk rock scene helped the are get way cool.And we know they had a famous bouncer!

    • Bonnie Brae 10:24 am on February 25, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      Great stuff John. I did not see July 3, 1971 – Bonnie Brae was born. Not that significant but what the fuck.

    • Thomas 4:33 pm on March 4, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      You forgot to add Sharon’s death to the timeline.

  • John 8:57 pm on November 2, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: mcneil island prison ron launius wonderland   

    Where Ron Launius served federal time from 1974 to 1977:

    McNeil Island is an island in western Puget Sound, located just west of Steilacoom, Washington. The federal penitentiary’s most famous inmates were probably Robert Stroud, the “Birdman of Alcatraz,” who was held there from 1909 to 1912; Charles Manson, who was an inmate from 1961 to 1966 for trying to cash a forged government check; and Alvin Karpis, who was an inmate until 1971 for operating as point man for Ma Barker’s gang in the 1930s. Karpis was the only person arrested by J. Edgar Hoover, and was released soon after Hoover died.

    A detention center for violent sexual offenders is to remain on the island.

    • John 1:11 pm on August 28, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      Although McNeil Island was never more than a “medium security” prison, over the years the penitentiary housed several prisoners well known to the public. The most notable inmates were Robert Stroud, known as “The Bird Man of Alcatraz”; Roy Gardner, a notorious train robber; Alvin Karpis, gangster in league with the “Ma Barker Gang”; Frederick Emerson Peters, a notorious swindler and impersonator; Roy Olmstead, king of the Puget Sound bootleggers; Mickey Cohen, called by Time Magazine “the undisputed boss of Los Angeles gangdom”; Charles Manson, responsible for the Sharon Tate murders; and Dave Beck, Seattle labor leader.

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