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  • John 1:35 pm on September 3, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , drugs,   

    TIME Magazine Article – July 6, 1981 

    The timing for the release of this article is perfect. A week after the Wonderland Murders. I do like the part about middle class Americans… for weren’t most of the Wonderland players, at some point as adults, middle class too? And although they were hopeless heroin addicts, they also dealt in cocaine. Basically, the message of this article is that … the times have now changed. Coke is here to stay.

    There is little likelihood that the cocaine blizzard will soon abate. A drug habit born of a desire to escape the bad news in life is not likely to be discouraged by the bad news about the drug itself. And so middle class Americans continue to succumb to the powder’s crystalline dazzle. Few are yet aware or willing to concede that at the very least, taking cocaine is dangerous to their psychological health. It may be no easy task to re-convince them that good times are made, not sniffed.

    The rest of the article is great. I love the part about real-estate agents accepting large cash payments for property. Those were the days…

    Read more: http://content.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,922619,00.html#ixzz2dr3PnGsj

    July 6, 1981.

    July 6, 1981.

    • Brandy 7:48 pm on September 3, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      I wonder if they all would have been “hopeless heroin addicts” if the murders had never occurred. I can’t see Ron Launius or Billy Deverell necessarily cleaning themselves up, especially because of the criminal aspect. But the women, did they have hope, would they have sobered up someday or just died of an OD. I only ask because I myself could have been considered a “hopeless heroin addict” 7 years ago. I was most definitely involved with some bad bad people & got myself in (and out, thank God) of some really sticky situations. Hard core stuff but I made it. I wonder…….

      • Bobby 4:30 am on September 8, 2013 Permalink | Reply

        Well done Brandy! Were you in a co-dependent relationship with someone who also used? I think in most cases that always makes it a lot harder. I believe if Barbara finally got away from Lind she might’ve been alright as she may have only been in the “dabbling” stage but unfortunately I saw very little hope for Billy and Joy. They would’ve needed to take the initiative to get far away from the drug scene and start afresh. I knew an elderly drug using couple who’d been junkies for over 20 years and did exactly that and are clean to this day.. but they moved away to a rural part of the country where they had zero access to drugs. Of course it’s do-able but it seems from all accounts Joy was in too deep and possibly enjoying the excesses of heroin oblivion and that all consuming power that comes with dealing too. Billy on the other hand said that he wanted to get away from drugs so who knows, maybe he could’ve initiated an exit strategy… but to quote Neil Young: “every junkie’s like a setting sun..”. So hard to say without really knowing these people.

        • Brandy 8:14 am on September 8, 2013 Permalink

          Yes Bobby I was. The first one was the one who first introduced me to heroin. To me it was coke so I snorted it. OD’d on the spot. I blame no one, but that doesn’t mean I will ever forget who it was. The second guy I met in rehab. We were going to help each other stay clean. Yeah right , that lasted about 3 weeks. My husband of 7 years is just a normal person wig no addiction issues. Two together is never good.

    • localarts 10:14 am on September 5, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      Launius would have been incarcerated, so he would have been forced to kick the habit. Joy was potentially looking at some jail time for narcotics trafficking; she had a court date later that month, so she would have been forced to kick the habit as well. As for Billy, I guess he would have been left to his own device.

      • John 10:47 am on September 5, 2013 Permalink | Reply

        Right on.

        When Ronnie was about halfway through his prison time in the mid-late 70s, the feds decided to mothball McNeil Island Federal Prison. Phase it out… but eventually the state of Washington took over the prison for the state to use. I wonder if this transition played a role in Ron being transferred to a place in southern California, and that’s where he met Lind and those L.A. connections? Now, I’m reminded of the classic rock song “LA Connection” by Rainbow! Classic is right.

      • criticextraordinaire 6:07 pm on September 5, 2013 Permalink | Reply

        Billy would have held down the fort until everybody got back out of jail. At this point Launius was so bad ass, he probably would have arranged a jailbreak in broad daylight and been out in no time.

      • Bobby 4:04 am on September 8, 2013 Permalink | Reply

        Do you know roughly how much time Ron or Joy were facing if convicted? Even if a stint in prison did get them clean it probably would’ve been short lived, non to mention the prevalence of drugs inside wouldn’t have helped matters either. Sure enough Joy would’ve returned to useless ol’ Billy, who would still have been using, and relapsed within minutes. As for Ron it’s anyone’s guess, but sadly I’d have put money on him relapsing too. By this stage in his life he was a career criminal with a massive habit so it’s hard to imagine him just going clean and settling down into a routine 9-5 lifestyle… But who knows, maybe Susan would’ve kicked his ass and made sure he stayed on the wagon… got him “clean… well, clean-er!” 😉

        • localarts 8:06 am on September 9, 2013 Permalink

          Ronnie would have been charged with accessory to murder after the fact. With a prior conviction for drug smuggling, probably 25 to life. There is no minimum sentence for accessory after the fact but there sure is a maximum….Life. Joy probably would have spent a year or two in jail or maybe none at all if she were still battling breast cancer.

          I’m only speculating.

        • John 10:27 am on September 9, 2013 Permalink

          Even if Ronnie had not died that night, a year or so later he would have faced charges over the death of Gary Moore and Carroll’s confession in 1982, after he was attacked and wounded at Folsom. Carroll wanted special treatment if he came clean about Moore’s death. Carroll Evan Sherrill would have squealed to save his own ass and hope for a transfer from Folsom Prison. Ron would have been accessory to murder like localarts says. But, who knows because Sherrill died within a year of his confession. Ron might have gone teflon again on that case, considering that the case probably would not have gone to trial with just Carroll’s written testimony after he was dead.

    • localarts 11:22 am on September 5, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      “I wonder if this transition played a role in Ron being transferred to a place in southern California” I’m sure that had something to do with it. I remember his brother Rick said Ronnie was transferred somewhere in the Los Angeles area to finish the remainder of his sentence. I’m not aware of any federal prison facility in the LA area but were talking the 1970’s so who knows.

      I’m sure thats where he meet Horace McKinna, Howard Cook and a few other Big League players. It’s anyone’s guess where he meet David Lind. In the movie Lind says he meet Launius in Chino, Ca in 1973.
      That could have been taken from court transcripts.

      • John 12:14 pm on September 5, 2013 Permalink | Reply

        Man I gotta find those other court transcripts!! Rodger Jacobs could not get the actual transcript for Holmes real trial. They said the documents were lost. Yeah…

    • localarts 12:20 pm on September 5, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      The first Nash trial would be a great source too. I would have loved to have seen the look on Nash’s face when Lind called him a ” Mother Fu**er” from the witness stand.

      • John 12:36 pm on September 5, 2013 Permalink | Reply

        That’s gonna be great when I get my hands on that case to read it.

    • localarts 10:58 am on September 9, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      Good point John. I forgot Sherrill died so soon after his confession. With that said, John is probably right Ronnie would have walked with Carroll’s testimony to back it up in a court of law.

      • John 12:36 pm on September 9, 2013 Permalink | Reply

        I’m gonna break it down this week, and email Rickey Launius. Couldn’t hurt. I’ll craft a short email right now.

    • localarts 2:03 pm on September 9, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      Good luck, I hope he responds. After re reading Julia’s comments about her & Chuck’s association with Joy and the gang I find myself asking more questions about how Holmes was able to get himself and the others into the home that night to commit the murders. Chuck had been scoring drugs long before Holmes was in the picture and yet they said it was like jumping thru hoops to get into 8763. They had to call ahead of time, set an appointment, show up at said time wait to be buzzed in… Bottom line, there was protocol and nobody showed up un announced, even if you’re as well know as Check Negron much less John holmes whom Deverell didn’t trust to begin with.

      • John 2:04 pm on September 9, 2013 Permalink | Reply

        Something about Holmes having a key… hmmm…. he never gave it back, or said he lost it, so he could rob the gang at some point. Everyone was robbing each other.

    • localarts 2:50 pm on September 9, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      I remember Mike Sager (The Devil & John Holmes) said Launius took his key back and then beat Holmes with his own walking cane because Holmes ” smoked up the delivery” or something like that.
      I would not have put it past Holmes to have a duplicate made earlier.

      • John 8:45 am on September 10, 2013 Permalink | Reply

        Yep. Get a key made, and then wait for them to not be home.

  • John 12:40 pm on May 16, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: drugs, ,   

    Drug Environment During And After Vietnam War 

    Thanks to reader, James, for sharing this info. Great stuff. Again, if you have not seen the posts on Ron’s Air Force military career, etc, please use the search button. Gracias!

    I am also trying to hook up an interview with one of Ron’s close relatives… stay tuned, kids!


    I have no empirical research other than historical military research that indicates that the drugs opium, heroin, amytal and seconal were readily available in Thailand, Laos and Vietnam. Ron served at the Ubon Airbase, the home of America’s major secret bombing campaign of 1966-67.
    “drugs were available to U.S. forces. In 1967 opium cost $1.00 while morphine went for $5.00 per vial. Tablets of Binoctal, an addictive drug consisting of Amytal and Seconal, were available in tablet form from Vietnamese children at from $1.00 to $5.00 for twenty tablets. Although technically a prescription drug, Binoctal was available over the counter at almost any Vietnamese pharmacy for about eight piasters for twenty tablets. Twenty tablets, consumed at once, was a fatal dose. One soldier had died from Binoctal use, and three near-fatalities had been reported. “O.J.’s” were opium joints.”
    The soldiers were affected by the drug differently in the US than in South East Asia. Why? Because in the US heroin was generally used in intravenously because it wasn’t “readily available” in the US. 20% of US GI’s came home having been regular users, 15% of that group quit upon coming home and an additional 3% ceased use with treatment. Ron was one of the 1%-2% that remained hooked upon return. He never received treatment because they were just becoming aware of the problem in 1966-67. In fact they ignored the drug problem over there largely until after 1967.

    Ron’s addiction changed radically when he returned home because it wasn’t so readily available in the US as it was in South East Asia and the drug is used intravenously in the US. There is a massive difference between smoking heroin VS intravenous drug use. If you smoke opium or heroin, you can kick easier than when you use heroin intravenously. So Ron was forced to steal and cross borders to keep his intensified intravenous addiction alive.

    • Jenn 7:32 pm on May 16, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      This is a sad topic for me. My daddy was a marine in Vietnam. Mom said he came home all messed up. He had seen so many horrific things too and that effected him. He had a very bad heroin addiction. I am a bit confused because I didn’t see him use drugs as a kid but I knew of some of the crazy things that happened in our lives and even as a little girl, I had an inkling as to why. That being said, for the most part, he was a wonderful father to me. He wasn’t a good husband but he was always a good father. I believe now that even if he wasn’t getting crazy high off the heroin and sometimes coke, he needed it to even function normally. We were seperated from him when I was 6 and I didn’t see him again until 1995 when I was pregnant for my daughter. Then in 2002 he was dead. He od’d. I felt sad because then I knew I would never get to see him again (until later anyway) and mom said he died doing what he did and getting higher than high. I guess I believe in every addict there are good things. I guess I want to believe that about Ronnie and the rest of them had some good in them too. I remember the wonderful times I had with my daddy and all of the nice things he did and said.

      • John 12:26 pm on May 17, 2013 Permalink | Reply

        My uncle was in Vietnam too. He would work from time to time but never recovered from it and did drugs until the day he died of a heart attack in 1990.

        • dreamweaverjenn 12:35 pm on May 17, 2013 Permalink

          It’s sad. It doesn’t seem like they are doing anything more to help our veterans of Iraq/Afghanistan either. I’m sorry about your uncle.

      • James DelCol 5:20 pm on October 11, 2013 Permalink | Reply

        They are doing way more for these vets now. I applaud whet the US Government has done for our vets. There is just only so much funding. They have access to a lot. In the Vietnam era the attack against the “establishment” that had become synonymous with the corrupt older generation or part of a tradition the new US Culture was trying to break out of. Women and Feminism won a huge victory during this era, racial barriers were crumbling and it freaked a lot of people out. I find it to be a fascinating and wonderful history. They gave the Vietnam Veterans a hand full of chump change and a cheese sandwich and sent them home where they were despised. The anti-war movement decided in their great wisdom that to attack the soldier would be very painful. They felt that it would stop the war if families hurt from their sons coming home “Not American Heroes”, but the “baby killer” of leftist propaganda. It was a nutty time. The country was just awakening to its consciousness in my opinion.
        We are still growing up. Equal pay for equal work. I still side with the woman’s movement and the left generally, but I wouldn’t spit on a veteran and act like a jackass. I might have petitioned a veteran during that period. There was a better way to provoke ending war other than spitting on the guy who is just doing a job. Soldiers don’t get to make these decisions. If we feel that our country needs to change, we have to take it upon ourselves to become active and write opinion. I’m too busy working, how about you? It is a scar on the American soul that we treated those men like that, but that war was all wrong. We killed 3 million Vietnamese. 58,000 American soldiers died fighting one of the most brutal wars ever. Guerilla war Vietnam style is no joke. They were prepared to fight forever to not have a colonial power over them. They felt they had been fighting this fight in one form or another for 1,000 years. It was China first then everyone else and then the French. I will say the French made Vietnamese culture become Chic, but they wanted sovereignty and they fuggin meant it because they kicked a 250k man army off their land for good. Walking away with tail between the legs. Get the F out!

        • John 7:28 am on October 14, 2013 Permalink

          My good friend is a benefits admin for the VA in Houston. He helps vets find work, find a place to live, with money etc. Sadly, many of them don’t get a lot of $$$ each month because they were not in direct combat. He’ll have guys traumatized from watching their buddies killed in a street bombing in Saigon or another large city, but without evidence, they can’t get more money or whatever. He explained it better but the bottom line was “unless a vet can provide an old letter or testimony to some murder or even fighting with VC, it’s hard to prove the guy was not just a cook on a base in Saigon or Da Nang, like his papers say.

    • Bobby 11:16 am on May 17, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      John, If you manage to hook up this interview with Ron’s relative see if you can get them to send you some photos of Ron in his later years. It may be too much to ask, but hey, you just never know eh? Sure would be cool to see something other than that 70’s mug shot and that horrid autopsy photo. Will be great to finally get some definitive info from somebody who actually knew this elusive and very intriguing fella. All the best with the interview man.. we can’t wait!

      • John 12:27 pm on May 17, 2013 Permalink | Reply

        I will! Yes, the only other photo I have of him is that darkened newspaper clipping that was likely a yearbook picture. He had that starchy thin hair that no amount of hairspray could hold in place!

      • John 1:07 pm on May 17, 2013 Permalink | Reply

        Thanks. I hope it works out. I had e-mailed with a few other relatives of Barbara once, but nothing panned out. They were her younger cousins. At 18, Barb was already going down the rocky road with drugs, biker type guys, etc. Sad tale. Her mother and grandma are still alive.

        • Bobby 9:31 am on May 18, 2013 Permalink

          This is a long shot but you just never know..
          Whilst reading the comments for the 2nd crime scene video -http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=paRSucZyQlc
          I came across this post by someone called “dekum6826”:
          “What’s disturbing to me is that my mom still has the pink chair from that place..It was given to my dad after the place was cleaned out..He was a friend of Billy’s and saw him a week before the murders”
          This person could just be a BS attention seeker but on the off chance that he’s legit it might be worth shooting him a message.

        • John 2:28 pm on May 20, 2013 Permalink

          Yes, Bobby… I will do that! Thanks.

  • John 6:54 pm on November 1, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: drugs, , , , picture, ,   

    The Wonderland Murders 

    • nessaj85 4:26 pm on January 15, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      Hey, the address u have for Barbara is right, her mom still lives there under the name Easton

      • John 1:53 pm on March 22, 2013 Permalink | Reply

        Just posted a few yearbook pics. I may take them down in a few days. Check ’em out while you can. RIP Barbara!

    • John 9:04 am on January 16, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      Ok, thanks.

      • pixie 5:29 pm on February 17, 2013 Permalink | Reply

        I’ve always wanted to know more about Joy. I’d love to know how she went from socialite and Beverly Hills mom to this. Do you have any more information about her? She was so beautiful in those younger pictures. My heart goes out to her daughters. I wonder if they were in close contact with her at the time of her death. I’m also curious about DeVerell’s children and what type of relationship they had with their father at the time of his death.

        • John 11:22 am on February 18, 2013 Permalink

          From what I have read on other blogs… she was divorced from her Beverly Hills attorney husband in the early 70s. She went on to work as a secretary for a Hollywood type showbiz but on the drug fringe guy, who also introduced her to the local drug scene. ..and so that goes. Her daughters were still close to her, and are the only family on record talking to the media after the various trials of Nash, Holmes. I believe both daughters were at the 2001 trial of Nash. I read a quote in an old newspaper article on Google News Archive.

    • John 1:08 pm on February 18, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      I also read a post on a forum from a cousin of DeVerell’s… as could be expected, they were devastated, but not shocked by his passing, given that drugs were involved, and he had quite a long rap sheet. I can imagine with his criminal record and lengthy times of incarceration that he and his kids were probably not that close. Sorry, wish I knew more to share.

      • pixie 1:54 pm on February 18, 2013 Permalink | Reply

        Thank you so much for your quick replies! I’d love to see what DeVerell’s cousin wrote. Do you happen to have a link to that forum? I’m curious about how he met Joy Miller. I read somewhere on your blog that the connection between Ron and Joy was through Joy’s neighbor, William Vlick. Do you happen to know what ever became of Vlick? I tried to search for info on him, but all I could find was that he was supposed to stand trial with Joy later that year. I assumed that they all met each other through the drug scene, but Joy and the Wonderland guys seem like they came from two totally different worlds. Was DeVerell from the Sacramento area like Launius and Lind?

        I’ve been fascinated by this case ever since I saw the E True Hollywood Story. I know that the Wonderland gang were far from being angels; however, the way that one of the detectives spoke about Joy during an interview that was shown in that story always bothered me. They were human beings who had families and loved ones.

        I lived in West Hollywood for many years, but sadly didn’t discover this case until I moved away. I am very well-acquainted with the Laurel Canyon area. Nash’s house and the Wonderland house are only about 5 minutes from each other (I’ve read that it was reported to be a 10 minute drive, but it should be less than 10 minutes).

        • John 11:04 am on March 5, 2013 Permalink

          Sorry for the delay in responding. I don’t know what happened to Vlick, as I have searched high and low for info. No luck. I believe DeVerell was from Arizona. Yes, Joy seemed very cosmopolitan if you will, she at least kept a stylish interior to the home, and it was far from being a drug den or crack house. It was quite tidy.

    • pixie 12:28 pm on March 5, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      I think that’s one of the things that fascinates me so much about Joy. From all accounts of her fiancé and friends’ activity, you would think that she was a rough biker chick. Her life actually seemed like it was the complete opposite. It’s interesting that there doesn’t seem to be any info about Vlick out there. It sounds like he was a somewhat high profile drug dealer at the time. You would think that there would be at least one or two court documents out there. I’m assuming his case went to trial. I wonder if he turned state’s evidence on another case or ended up going into witness protection for some reason or other.

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