DR 69-586 381
LA BIANCA, Leno A. (CC #69-8859)
LA BIANCA, Rosemary (CC #69-8860)
DATE AND TIME OCCURRED: August 10, 1969, 0200/2230 Hours
LOCATION OF OCCURRENCE: 3301 Waverly Drive
DIVISION OF OCCURRENCE: Hollywood Division R/D 635
TO: Lt. P. B. LePage, Supervisor of Investigations, Robbery-Homicide Div.
SIR: The investigation into the La Bianca murders was divided into areas to facilitate a thorough examination of each aspect of the case. Portions of these areas have, and are presently being examined. There are also aspects of each area that will be investigated in the future. This report will detail what has, is and will be done in each area.
ROSEMARY LA BIANCA
Although it cannot be verified, it is believed that Rosemary La Bianca was born in Mexico. She was separated from her parents and resided in an orphanage in Arizona until age twelve. A Mrs. Carman, now deceased, is reported to have been a friend of Rosemary’s mother and the Harmon family. Carman influenced the Harmons to adopt Rosemary and she lived with them in the Fullerton area. She left Fullerton and lived in the San Diego area during the early 1940’s. She later moved to Long Beach where she lived with a Reba Gage. In 1944 she was employed by Consolidated Steel in Long Beach. While working for this company she met Henry Martin.
Henry Martin, A construction business owner, was interviewed at Parker Center and will be polygraphed at a later date. Martin supplied officers with the above information on Rosemary’s past. He knew Reba Gage as Ione Gage. Rosemary, at the time, was using the name Rosemary Harmon.
Martin was aware of Rosemary’s love affair with Charles Ray LaBerge prior to, and during the time he, Martin, and Rosemary were dating. After the war (1946), Martin supported Rosemary. A short time later, they broke up and Rosemary began going with LaBerge.
Rosemary contacted Martin in 1948 and told him she was pregnant by LaBerge. Martin and Rosemary moved into an apartment and lived as man and wife until Suzan Struthers was born.
Martin left on business several months after Susan’s birth. He later learned that while away in Alaska Rosemary left their apartment, taking all the furniture and two new vehicles which were jointly owned Martin did not notify the police because he could afford the loss and was “still in love with Rosemary.” Among other items taken by Rosemary was a $2,000 (face value) silver dollar collection.
Rosemary again contacted Martin in 1950 and asked forgiveness. Since he was still in love with her he offered her another apartment which they shared until 1951.
Martin asked Rosemary to marry him. However, she declined and their relationship ended.
Four years ago (1965) Rosemary contacted Martin by telephone and informed him she had married Leno LaBianca. She invited him to her home to meet Leno; however, Martin declined. That was the last time he heard from Rosemary.
Martin supplied investigators with a list of Rosemary’s female friends whom he suspected were lesbians. This list included Ione Reba Gage, AKA: Reba “Ski” Young; Beatrice Lee, AKA: “Pudgy”; “Marty” Martin; Charlene Abernathy, AKA: “Charlie” and Ellen Varney.
Although Rosemary showed no evidence of lesbianism, Martin believed that she participated in affairs with lone Gage and others.
Ellen Varney was contacted in Sacramento. She informed investigators that lone Gage was deceased. When questioned about Rosemary’s affection toward Ione Gage, Ellen Varney denied either were involved in that type of love affair. This denial, however, was contradictory to statements by Frank Martin, Charles LaBerge, Frank Struthers, and Jack Mynatt.
Ellen Varney, it appeared, was not truthful with investigators as to Rosemary’s and Ione Gage’s affair. This could be due to the fact that she, Varney, now a married woman, had herself been involved with a lesbian, Charlene Abernathy.
A personal interview with Ellen Varney is planned in the future while investigators are in Sacramento obtaining statistical information from CII pertaining to suspects.
Charles Ray LeBerge was interviewed and polygraphed in San Diego. He showed no guilty knowledge of the crime. He reported meeting Rosemary in 1945. He lived with her periodically until 1949. She had a child by LaBerge in February 1948, Susan Struthers. He took her to Mexico during this period and they were married. However, the marriage was invalid as LaBerge was legally married to someone else at the time. LaBerge claimed he continued to see her until 1959 when he left for Texas. He was gone one year and when he returned, was unable to locate her as she had married and he couldn’t ascertain her newly acquired name. She had their child, Susan Struthers, living with her. He learned of Rosemary’s death from Ellen Varney. LaBerge admitted he was seeing her during her marriage to Frank Struthers. LaBerge believed there was a possibility that she was bisexuel. She had lived with and had been a close friend of Ski Young (Reba Gage), a lesbian. LaBerge claimed he has always been in love with Rosemary. He denied she came to San Diego to visit him and also denied seeing her during her marriage to Leno LaBianca.
Frank Struthers Sr. was interviewed and polygraphed at Parker Center. He showed no guilty knowledge of the crime. He met Rosemary in 1949 while she was a “car hop” at the Brown Derby Drive-In on Los Feliz Blvd. He started dating her in 1950 and they were married in 1952. They had one child Frank Jr., born in 1954. Rosemary’s daughter, Susan, lived with them. They were divorced in 1958. Struthers was not aware that Rosemary was seeing LaBerge while they were married. He was aware that she dated Sam Frank, a bartender at the Burl Room where she worked as a waitress. Struthers knew that Rosemary had gone with Laberge. He also recalled that prior to marrying him, she was going to marry someone he knew only as “Hank” (Henry Martin), but she jilted Hank at the last minute. Rosemary also dated a LAPD officer who worked Hollywood Division and a Frank Dosset (phonetic). These two people have not been identified. Rosemary was working as a waitress at the Los Feliz Inn when she met and married Leno LaBianca in 1959. She also worked part time at the Roger Young Auditorium as a waitress. Struthers works as a bartender and has custody of their son, Frank Struthers Jr. Heresay information is that Struthers expects his son will receive a large sum of money from the LaBiancas’ death.
LaBerge is employed as a mail carrier in the San Diego area. He has a part time job as a producer/director of a small acting company. LaBerge informed investigators that he once had a conversation with a mutual friend of his and Rosemary’s, Jack Mynatt, and that Mynatt claimed he had an affair with Rosemary.
Jack Arthur Mynatt was interviewed at his place of business, the A-C Paving Company, 2901 Worthen Ave., Los Angeles. He denied having an affair with Rosemary. He agreed with LaBerge’s remarks that she could have been bisexual. He based the possibility on Rosemary’s close friendship with Reba Gage. Mynatt met Rosemary through his wife, Sandy. Sandy divorced Mynatt, remarried and is now Sandy Gwynn. Mynatt believes Sandy was a close friend of Rosemary. Sandy has not yet been interviewed. Mynatt and his wife socialized with Leno and Rosemary between 1962 and 1968. The socializing ceased when Mynatt divorced Sandy. Mynatt first met Rosemary in 1946, but never socialized with her until her marriage to LaBianca.
Mynatt and Leno formed a corporation called MYCA Construction Company, this was in 1963 and their address at the time was 1724 E. Street (possibly Louis Street), Las Vegas, Nevada. Mynatt was the president of the corporation. This is discussed in detail under Leno LaBianca. Mynatt suspected Rosemary was having an affair with Frank Struthers during her marriage to Leno. Struthers denied this.
Martin, LeBerge, and Struthers described Rosemary as a sexually “active” woman. Susan Struthers described Rosemary and Leno as “sexually conservative”: Susan said her parents bedroom door was always open and she was never aware of them having a sex act. There is the possibility that Rosemary was having an affair but this has not been verified.
Lucille Ellen Larsen is the owner of Lucy’s Pet Shop, 2524 Hyperion. She claimed to be a close friend of Rosemary. She is a friend of Charlene Abernathy, AKA: Charlie, a lesbian, who was also a friend of Rosemary. Larsen said she and Rosemary had long talks about the problems Rosemary had with Susan. Rosemary supposedly favored Frank Jr. Larsen recalled Rosemary being in the insurance and real estate business. Rosemary played the stock market and had an exclusive interest in commodities. She believed Rosemary’s Dress Shop business was successful. Larsen had no idea who killed the LaBiancas. She recalled Rosemary once making the statement “someone is coming in our house while we’re away.” Larsen suggested it might have been the children or their friends. Rosemary said she had questioned them and was satisfied it was not the children or their friends. Larsen asked Rosemary how she knew someone was coming into her home. Rosemary replied, “Things have been gone through and the dogs are in the house when they should be outside or visa versa.” This was first mentioned prior to 1968. There were reported burglaries at the LaBianca residence yet it is common knowledge that Rosemary left the keys to her car and the house in her Thunderbird, which was usually parked in the rear of the house.
LENO LA BIANCA
Prior to his marriage to Rosemary, Leno was married to the present Mildred Alice Findley, a CPA. Investigators have not yet interviewed Mrs. Findley or her three children. Leno was the father of these children. After his divorce from Findley, Leno supposedly dated several women. Investigators have only been able to locate one.
Peggy Ann McClellan first met Leno in 1952 when they bowled on a team sponsored by the Sons of Italy. McClellan’s husband, Benny Giampietro, was a friend of Leno’s. McClellan did not date Leno until 1957. She described him as a bashful and sexually cold. She recalled he was selfconscious of his height around women who were taller than himself. She last saw Leno in 1963; however, she had not dated him since her marriage in October 1958.
In his first interview Roxie Lucerelli stated that Leno had received a telephone call from a female stating she was in trouble and wanted to meet with Leno. Lucerelli further added that Linc Warman, a friend of Leno’s, knew about the telephone call and the girl was supposedly a Hollywood prostitute. Linc Warman was interviewed regarding this female. He could not recall any such conversation with Leno regarding this particular person. However, he did state that Leno had a girl friend, approximately ten years ago, who was possibly a prostitute. He could not recall her name nor could he supply investigators with an address. A further check of possible girl friends was conducted by reviewing Leno’s personal telephone book with negative results. This phase of the investigation is continuing in order to determine if he had a code by which he would conceal their names. Investigators found that Peggy McClellan’s name was listed in the book.
Ray Norwood, treasurer-controller for Gateway Markets, was interviewed and polygraphed at Parker Center. The polygraph showed he had no guilty knowledge of the crime. He has been an employee of the company for 23 years. He admitted knowing that Leno LaBianca had been taking money from the company for the past 8 or 9 years. He estimated that between 1961-2 and 1966, Leno had taken $80,000 from the company. This amount was over and above his salary and normal expenses. There was an additional documented $43,000 taken by Leno between 1966 and 1969. It was Leno’s habit to take $1,500 once or twice a week from the company. The money was taken in two ways. Leno would go to one of the markets, take cash and fill out a voucher in duplicate showing he had taken the money. The copy went from the store to the main office. Leno retained the original copy and later surrendered it to Norwood. Norwood was therefore not involved and commented that whatever Leno did he did alone. The other method Leno used to obtain “extra” money was to instruct Narwood to make out a check to him, Leno. Norwood had possession of the checks but could not make or sign them. Dolores Brown, Leno’s secretary, was the only person who could make out the checks and Leno was the only one authorized to sign them. Norwood would give Brown a check, have her make it out and then return it to Leno for him to sign and cash. Leno had complete control of the check system. Leno did repay some of the money he took. He returned $15,000 in December 1966 and $30,000 in June 1969.
Leno did not get along with Peter Smaldino, the third partner in the firm. Leno complained to Norwood that Smaldino “kept his eye on everything he did.” The company sold some of their stores to Mayfair Markets Incorporated in 1964 and received $400,000 cash. The sale created a situation whereby the company would have to be paying the same number of executive salaries but with less income. It was decided that one of the three partners (LaBianca, Smaldino or DeSantis) would have to leave to reduce expenses. Smaldino agreed to leave but insisted that his stock be redeemed in cash. He was given $250,000.00 in cash. Norwood believed it was not a wise business move to give a partner so much currency but Leno did it to eliminate Smaldino. Leno was then able to do as he pleased as DeSantis was too busy with his lodge (Sons of Italy) work and never challenged Leno.
Peter Smaldino and his family have been friends of the LaBiancas for as long as he could remember. He and Leno worked together for Gateway Markets after the war. Leno worked mostly for State Wholesaler Grocers and he, Smaldino, worked or the retail end of the business, Gateway Markets. When Leno’s father died, Leno became president of the corporation. Smaldino said he recognized Leno as the boss and always complied with his decisions. When the corporation sold some of its markets for a large cash amount, he left the corporation to become his own boss. While working at Gateway Markets he had purchased two liquor stores. He cashed out of the corporation and invested his money in other stores. Smaldino stated he got along well with Leno as a person although they did have business disagreements. He did not socialize with Leno even though he was married to one of his sisters. He was not aware that Leno was taking money from the company until Leno’s mother informed him of the fact.
Smaldino was polygraphed but showed no guilty knowledge of the crime. He had no idea who murdered Leno but openly admitted he thought it might be the Mafia. His belief that the Mafia is responsible for the murder is based on his information that Leno was a heavy gambler and in debt. All of his information concerning Leno’s activities was admittedly heresay.
Peter DeSantis, Leno’s other brother-in-law, was interviewed and polygraphed at Parker Center. The polygraph exam indicated he had no guilty knowledge of the crime. DeSantis has been a life long friend of Leno and desceibed him as “family”. They worked together at the market for Leno’s father in the ’40’s. Leno later ran the operation of State Wholesale Grocers, a second company owned by Leno’s father. Smaldino, another brother-in-law, ran the Gateway Market chain. When Leno’s father died the two companies were then managed by Leno, although they remained separate. DeSantis believed Smaldino resented Leno’s being the boss as he, Smaldino, knew more about the business. Smaldino kept a constant check on Leno’s activities in the business and Leno resented Smaldino’s “supervision”‘. Leno once commented to Norwood, when discussing how he was taking money from the company by writing checks, that he couldn’t have done it when Smaldino was around because Smaldino checked him too closely. Leno’s mother was the first to tell DeSantis about Leno taking money from the company. DeSantis claimed he was shocked, as the two had discussed ways to cut expenses to help the company. Leno told DeSantis in June 1969 that he was going to leave the company. DeSantis discussed Leno’s future plans with him. Leno told DeSantis ha had no definite plans for employment. He mentioned going into an investment situation with three other men. Each man was to put up $25,000. The only man in the group that Leno mentioned was Bill O’Brien. After Leno’s death, DeSantis learned he was planning to buy a ranch for $127,000 in Vista, California. DeSantis couldn’t understand where Leno was to get the money to purchase the property, pay back the money he had borrowed from the company and go into the investment business. DeSantis is the regional head of a fraternal organization, “The Sons of Italy”. The region extends from Colorado to Hawaii. DeSantis refused the idea that the Mafia could have been responsible for the crime. He commented that if they had, he would probably have heard about it.
LENO’s FINANCIAL AFFAIRS
The State Wholesale Grocery Company (DBA Gateway Markets) is a California Corporation chartered on August 9, 1930, with the authorized capital stock of 20 shares, $25 par value common stock.
The business originally was established by Antonio LaBianca in 1920. The operations were that of a wholesale grocer until 1954 when it changed to a holding company. In May of 1955 the company took over the operation of four supermarkets and operated them until 1958, when the company merged with Gateway Food Stores Incorporated, which operated seven markets.
Leno LaBianca, the son of Antonio, has been active in the business since completion of his education at U.S.C. Leno has been president since 1952.
The State Wholesale Grocery Company grew under the leadership of Leno to a maximum of nine stores. In 1963 the company sold five of the nine stores to Mayfair Market. The company retained the four remaining markets and established its headquarters at 2619 N. Figueroa.
The company’s financial background was stable and profitable over this period of time until 1962. According to Mr. Norwood, the company’s treasurer, it was at this time that Leno began taking salary advances in excess of his own salary and expenses.
On December 17, 1962, Leno purchased a home at 4053 Woking Way for $62,100.00. This amount of money was borrowed from Title Insurance Company. The property was sold on November 12, 1968 for $120,000 and Leno carried a second trust deed for $10,000 on the property. Leno then acquired the property at 3301 Waverly Drive which had been the LaBianca family home. He acquired this location for $18,000 from his mother. In 1965 he obtained a loan from Home Savings & Loan Association for $40,000 and used his residence as collateral.
It was in 1962 that Leno made plans to rebuild the market at 2619 N. Figueroa. The money for this improvement was acquired from Summit Finance Company in Glendale, California. The Summit Finance Company first made a loan of $100,000 on July 15, 1966. This money was secured with ten lots in the Highland Park area and a second trust deed on the warehouse and land in Vernon, California. The balance to complete the improvements was $300,000 and this was provided by Summit Finance Company on November 22, 1966. The collateral for this loan was the same as used for the $100,000 loan.
A personal loan was made to Leno in 1965 by the same Company for $25,000. This particular loan was renewed in 1968 and Leno used 1,000 shares of Gateway stuck as collateral. The purpose for this loan as listed on the credit request was to pay for existing indebtedness.
On September 20, 1964, Leno purchased property at 2279-83 Glendale Blvd. He borrowed the money to make the purchase from Atlantic Savings Loan Company. The original amount borrowed was $32,000 and at present the principal is $28,246.19. During this period of time there was no second trust deed on the property, but on June 24, 1969, a $9,000 trust deed was acquired by Mr. Don Porter against the property. This particular transaction regarding the second trust deed was handled by Roxie Lucerelli through the Atlas Escrow Company.
In 1964, Leno invested an undetermined amount of money in the Hollywood National bank. He was else appointed a board member and served as such from 1964 to February 1967. The bank fell into financial difficulty in 1967 and Leno sold his interest and resigned his position. According to the records of the bank, a loan of $15,000 was made on June 24, 1969 to Leno and the purpose of this loan was listed as business.
The Gateway Markets sold money orders and this service was provided through the Golden State bank. The policy is that the market is to turn in the cash from the money order sales every three days, since the money is the property of the bank. Leno had been negligent in turning the money over to the bank and in January 1968 was contacted by the bank to explain his tardiness. In order to retify the problem, it was necessary to obtain a loan. Leno owed the bank $120,000. He paid a portion of that amount and took out a loan for $40,000 on the remaining balance. The loan balance as of August 20, 1969 is $8,507.88. Information received from G. F. Holt, Golden State Bank (I# 115).
Although Leno transacted business at numerous locations, his main account was located at the Bank of America, Lincoln Heights Branch. It was at this bank that Leno had his business account, personal checking account and safe deposit box. Leno had a loan of $5,000 awarded him on March 19, 1969. He reduced the loan on June 24, 1969 by $1,000 and renewed it for $4,000 and 9 ½% interest. Mr. Hartnack, bank manager, indicated that Leno had approached him for a loan at numerous times. Hartnack had indications that Leno was in financial trouble, but Leno would not confide in him as to the problem.
The Atwater Branch of Crocker Citizen’s National Bank Shows on its records a savings account for Leno and Rosemary LaBianca. This savings account was open in 1967 and at one time had a balance of $997.17 but on May 14, 1969 the balance, which was then $425, was withdrawn, leaving a zero balance.
Mr. Norwood, the treasurer for Gateway Markets, was aware of Leno’s heavy drawing from the company funds and also of his existing indebtedness, as mentioned above. These facts were then made known to Leno’s mother, who owns stock in the company, as well as the remaining stockholders.
An audit was conducted by Mr. Norwood and the amount owed by Leno was in excess of $100,000. Leno made efforts to repay the money and returned approximately $30,000. It was evident that Leno could not repay the entire amount, therefore, it was agreed upon by the stockholders that Leno would sell his investments in the company. His stock consisted of 1,519 shares of class A, non-voting stock and 1,744 shares of class B, voting stock.
The agreement was that Leno would sell all of his rights, title and interest and 1,941 shares of capital stock. The total purchase price for said stock would be $77,640. One thousand dollars would be paid on the execution of the agreement and the balance would be paid in monthly installments of $1,000 with the entire unpaid balance due five years. These conditions of sale were drawn up by Mr. Alphson, Attorney at Law, under the sole direction of Leno LaBianca. Although Leno was selling 1,941 shares, it must be remembered, that 1,000 of said shares were being held as collateral on a personal loan through Summit Finance Company. It was therefore Leno’s responsibility, in order that the agreement be consumated, that he obtain a loan in the approximate amount of $16,300 in order to reacquire the shares.
A true value of each share in Gateway Company would be extremely difficult to ascertain correctly. The company is a closed corporation, therefore, only approximates can be reached. The total value of Leno’s interest in the company is valued at approximately $100,000. This is based on a value of $40 per share. Even though this entire sales agreement had been drawn up and presented to the buyers, it was never executed. DeSantis recalled Leno leaving the document on his desk with a note instructing him to look it over. DeSantis never had the opportunity to discuss it with Leno. There was to have been a meeting of the stockholders (mainly Leao, DeSantis, and Leno’s mother) for Saturday, August 9, but it never took place. DeSantis read the document and considered it absurd. The shares of stock and the terms would not compensate for the amount Leno had taken. DeSantis concluded that the document was merely a bargaining point. Conversely, DeSantis was aware of Mrs. LaBianca’s feelings for Leno and he surmised she would be generous to her son even though he did not deserve it.
The boat owned by the LaBiancas was purchased and financed in San Diego. It seemed unusual that a boat would be purchased while they were on vacation, however, Susan Struthers stated Leno would often make impulsive purchases. The boat was purchased from Dana Marina Inc., Yacht City, Bahia Boat Works, 2590 Ingraham, San Diego, (714) 224-3221. Date of sale, August 18, 1968. Delivered August 19, 1968. Total price, including trailer, license, etc. was $3,050.00. The loan was made through the Ocean Beach Branch of the Bank of America. Emma Bumbaugh, a bank employee, handled the loan. Donald D. Erickson, Manager of the bank, was interviewed. The loan application listed $50 cash paid by the LaBiancas with a $3,000 loan payable at $98.33 per month for 36 months. Present balance, $2,400.00 including interest. Cory LaBianca, daughter of Leno by his previous marriage, contacted the bank and informed them of Leno’s death. The boat was sold this month (October 1969) by Susan Struthers. Lt. Hellmick, San Diego Police Department Intelligence Unit was contacted for information on Mafia activity in the Mission Bay area, in particular the location where the LaBiancas purchased their boat. His information was that there was “Jewish Mafia money” in the motels but Dana Marina Incorporated was a legitimate operation.
THE COIN COLLECTION
During the investigation it was learned that Leno LaBianca had displayed a large coin collection to Roxie Lucarelli and afforded him the opportunity to purchase the collection which presumably was valued in excess of $20,000. The fact that Leno was a numismatist was widely known fact by his friends and relatives. Mr. Norwood was shown the collection in March 1967 and at that time Leno had two or three suitcases full of uncirculated silver dollars, which had a face value of $3,000. Leno also had several books full of various coins. Sometime during July 1969, Leno informed Norwood that he had sold his silver dollar collection with the exception of some coins, which had a face value of $400.
NOTE: Four hundred dollars in uncirculated nickels were recovered from the trunk of Leno’s vehicle.
In order to positively ascertain whether the collection was sold and to whom, numerous coin shops were checked in the Los Angeles area. The coin shops checked were obtained from business cards and other memorandums found in the personal effects of Leno LaBianca.
Investigators contacted Don Sherer, executive secretary, American Numismatic Association. The only information he had was the confirmation of Leno’s membership; card #46808. Agent Richard Cameron, United States Secret Service Coin Operations, was contacted but unable to give any worthwhile assistance.
The Coin Gallery Coin Shop, 228 N. Beverly Dr. – Jerry Cohen, the proprietor, checked his active and inactive records and could find no sales transaction conducted under the name of Leno LaBianca.
Superior Coin & Stamp Shop, 517 W. 7th Street, Los Angeles – Mrs. Larry Goldberg, one of the owners, acknowledged that he had numerous business transactions with Leno LaBianca. Their business dealings took place over a long period of time. Leno had purchased many thousands of dollars of coins and the last purchase was in 1965 or 1966. This transaction involved approximately $5,000 worth of coins.
Joe Flynn Sr. Coin Company, 2812 W. 47th Street, Kansas City – Mr. Flynn was contacted via telephone and by the Kansas City Police Department (per our request). He examined his records and could find no indication that Leno LaBianca had made purchases from his store. Mr. Flynn did state that it was not unusual for his business card to be in the possession of someone in Los Angeles since he attends coin conventions in the Los Angeles area. He opined that possibly Leno met his at such a convention, but no sale was made.
Los Feliz Coin Shop, 5611 Hollywood Blvd. – Mr. Fred Bass, who owns the coin shop, is an acquaintance of Leno LaBianca. Mr. Bass went to the LaBianca residence in January 1969 and appraised a part of Leno’s collection lt $10,000. Bass describes Leno’s collection as “mint coins”, both foreign and domestic. The last business transaction Mr. Bass had with Leno was the sale, by Bass of a 1009s Indian head penny for $250.
Investigators personally contacted the owners of fifteen coin shops in the San Diego area. A photograph of Leno and Rosemary LaBianca was shown to each person interviewed. The nature of the crime and the information concerning the coin collection was discussed with the owners. Investigators did not receive any information that would indicate Leno LaBianca sold portions of his collection in the San Diego area. Photographs of the victims were left with the larger coin buyers and it was requested that they show the photographs to dealers in other cities and states. Investigators were assured of cooperation by each person interviewed.
While in the San Diego area, investigators checked the registration list at the Bahia Motor Motel. It was learned that the LaBiancas had been guests at the motel for two week periods during the summer for the past seven or eight years. They stayed at the motel in 1968 from August 16, to August 26. A copy of their out-going phone calls was obtained and the phone numbers checked in an attempt to ascertain if Leno had contacted a bookmaker, coin dealer, or someone unknown to investigators. The results of this investigation were negative. The LaBiancas wrote the motel on November 12, 1968 requesting reservations for the period August 15 to 31, 1969. This reservation was cancelled by Cory LaBianca on August 15, 1969. It was during the 1968 vacation period at the Bahia that the LaBiancas purchased the boat mentioned earlier in the report.
Leno LaBianca owned eight horses in January 1969. He first purchased two horses in 1966 at a total cost of $4,888. Two more horses were purchased in 1967 at a cost of $7,350. Seven horses were purchased by Leno in 1968 for $18,361. Leno had a total of $30,800 invested in race horses alone. He sold two horses and had one put to sleep in 1968 for a total loss of $2,365. His 1968 income tax return reflects a total expense for the horses in excess of $15,000. It is unknown what, if any, profits were derived from these horses to offset the aforementioned expense. The horses were listed as owned under Arnel Stables, 2623 N. Figueroa, Los Angeles.
Myca Corporation, an investment entered into by Leno and Jack Mynatt in 1963, was a financial loss for Leno. Mynatt, a contractor dealing in paving and cement work, was a social acquaintance of Leno. Leno approached Mynatt with a business offer wherein Leno was to supply the capital and Mynatt the equipment. Mynatt would select the project with Leno’s approval. Mynatt contracted to handle the foundation work on a housing track in Las Vegas. The owner of the land and the builder of the tract was unable to meet his financial obligations and Myca Corporation took over the operation. Leno originally invested $2,000 and later $10,000 when Myca Corporation took over the tract. Leno put another $3,000 into the corporation, but this was not sufficient to rectify the corporation’s financial problems. Mynatt requested additional money from Leno to keep the operation going but Leno was skeptical. Leno left the corporation taking a $15,000 loss. Leno was in the corporation for over a year. As an officer of the corporation, he was entitled to spend weekends in Las Vegas at the corporation’s expense. His hotel bill, food, liquor and gambling markers up to $1,000 were charged to the corporation. Mynatt recalled Leno losing $500.00 one evening, but he didn’t consider Leno a big gambler. This expense money was the only return received for his $15,000 investment. Mynatt could think of no one that was financially hurt because of Leno or Myca Corporation.
RIVERSIDE PROPERTY INVESTMENT
According to Norwood, and later substantiated by DeSantis and Smaldino, Roxie Lucerelli informed them and Leno about a parcel of land in the Riverside County area which they could invest for greater profits. Each put up $15,000 cash to purchase this property. It is unknown if Lucerelli or his wife invested in the land. However, Leno, Smaldino, and DeSantis, after an unknown time sold their holdings to Gateway Markets for $75,000 apiece. Norwood believed that the sale was made payable to a “dummy” corporation. Norwood believed that the land is still valued at its original price.
Norwood, the treasurer of Gateway Markets, in discussing the accounts payable of Gateway Markets, told investigators that Leno wrote checks to an organization known as Almour Properties in Newport Beach. It is believed, but not yet verified, that Almour Properties is owned by Leno’s ex-wife, Alice Findley. Norwood suspects that the money paid to this corporation was in fact Leno’s child support payments. There is also the possibility that Almour Properties is a “dummy” corporation. One of the checks payable to Almour appears to have been endorsed by Leno, according to DeSantis. Investigators examined the check and were of the opinion that the endorsing signature, initials “M. A. Findley” was signed by Leno LaBianca. This will be thoroughly investigated with the assistance of the corporation commission.
CORINA LA BLANCA
Mrs. LaBianca, the mother of the deceased, Leno LaBianca, stated that in June 1969 Leno told her about the trouble he was having with the company money. Leno admitted he had taken about $75,000 from the company and could not make restitution. He asked for some of her stock to make up the shortages. She refused him the stock stating if she gave him stock she would have to give her two other children equal shares. She told Leno to pay off his debt with his shares and she would pay off the balance. She offered to give him extra shares once a year to assist him financially; however, Leno refused.
Mrs. LaBianca told Leno to inform Pete DeSantis about his financial problem. Sometime later Leno and DeSantis discussed the money shortage and a meeting was arranged of the principal stock holders to arrange Leno’s departure from the business. This meeting was to have taken place in the first part of August; however, it never materialized.
Shortly after Mrs. LaBianca learned of the shortage, Leno told her he wanted to leave the company and go into the stock business. When she asked where he would get the money for the venture he told her he intended to use his stock from the Gateway Markets.
Corina LaBianca last saw Leno alive on August 5, 1969 when he went to her house to get his boat, which was parked in her garage.
When Alice and Leno separated, Corine LaBianca allowed Leno to use the house on Waverly Drive, rent free. After Leno’s marriage to Rosemary, he moved from this location. In late 1968, Leno, Rosemary and Frankie Struthers Jr. moved back to the Waverly Drive residence after purchasing it from Corina LaBianca for $18,000. Corina LaBianca stated Leno had sold the house on Woking Way fcr a big profit, but he did not tell her what he had done with the money.
Investigators have checked 46 suspects to date. One hundred and forty suspects have been checked as a result of a MO run with the remainder to be completed by October 17, 1969. The palm print on the bank deposit slip has been checked against 2,150 suspects. There have been 41,034 suspects checked against the print found on the liquor cabinet. A copy of all prints found at the scene has been forwarded to the FBI, Washington, D.C. to be checked in their files.
investigators are obtaining a sample of the printing of all possible suspects. The printing of the suspect(s) is discussed under “Blood Analysis” (see below). No definite determination can be made from the handwriting to indicate if the suspect is left or right handed. The height of the suspect could possibly be put at 5’8″ plus, as the word “Rise” was printed at the top of a 6’8″ door jam.
The photographs of the crime scene and the coroner’s photographs have been assembled and placed in a folder. The knots used to bind Leno LaBianca’s hands and the knots tied in the cords around Rosemary and Leno LaBiancas’ necks were recreated with a similar cord. The knots were loosely tied to show how they were made. Photographs of these knots were taken. An MO run on crimes in which the victims were tied is presently being made in CII. The agency supplying the information will be contacted and copies of the knot photographs will be forwarded to them to see if there is any similarity.
The following people have been polygraphed to date: 1. Frank Struthers Sr., 2. Frank Struthers Jr., 3. Susan Struthers, 4. Joseph Dorgan, 5. Rodney Davis, 6. Robert Greene, 7. Ray Norwood, 8. Peter BeSancis, 9. Paul Blyman, 10. Charles LaBerge, 11. Peter Smaldino. Investigators interviewed and/or reinterviewed each person prior to being polygraphed
The crime scene survey map of the LaBianca residence, 3301 Waverly Drive, has been completed. The map will be photographed for ease of handling and reference. The original will be left in the survey office if needed for trial.
Two composite drawings of a possible suspect were made by Officer Garcia from information supplied by Leno and Amine Berberian and Sosy Sarkasian. Officer Garcia told investigators there was “quite” a discrepancy between the information given by Leno Berberian and that given by Sosy Sarkasian and Amine Berberian. The Berberians and Sarkasian observed a male Caucasian on the lawn in front of the LaBianca residence on Sunday, August 10, 1969 between 1600 and 1700 hours. They were all shown a photograph of Eugene Borenare, the LaBiancas’ gardner, who was working on the LaBianca premises on August 10, 1969 from 1100 to 1600 hours and positively stated it was not the same person. Bordenare heard no noise coming from inside the house with the exception of the phone ringing once, his story is not in conflict with that of Charles Butterworth, the security guard for the premises next door (west), who heard a noise similar to a gunshot coming from the house between 1645 and 1700 hours on August 10, 1969. Butterworth also claimed to have heard the sound of furniture being knocked over during the same time period. Butterworth will be reinterviewed and probably polygraphed at a later date.
The blood used in the writings on the walls and blood found in various parts of the house were all “B” type, Leno LaBianca’s blood. However, the blood found in the rear bathroom was “A” type, which is Rosemary LaBianca’s type.
The strands of hair found in Rosemary LaBianca’s hands was of two types. One was her own and the other spimal (dog) hair. It is impossible to ascertain if the hair was pulled or fell out. Strands of human and animal hair were found on the rug in the bedroom where Rosemary Labianca was found.
CII – MO RUNS
Sergeant Robert Roddenberry, #3599, Administrative Detectives, is coordinating for the department with CII to arrange for MO runs. A MO run on all crimes where the victims were tied is presently being run. (See photographs sections for details of this run). Future runs will be made concentrating on peculiarities of the robberies, used gloves, wore glasses or disabled the phone. A total of 1,033 suspects printed out of the computer in these categories. Another MO run where the victim was blindfolded or bound supplied 715 suspects. Future MO runs will be more specific in order to isolate the pertinent data, and obtain a workable number of suspects.
Investigators met with Dr. David M. Katsuyama to discuss the protocol. It was learned that one of Rosemary LaBianca’s stab wounds severed the spinal cords making it impossible for her to move. This could possibly account for her not being tied. The liver temperatures taken at 0330 hours on 8-11-69 showed Leno’s body temperature at 84 degrees and Rosemary’s at 83 degrees. Dr. Katsuyama stated the body temperature should drop between one to two degrees per hour. Using these figures and assuming the body temperatures of the victims to be a normal 98.6 degrees Leno LaBianca would have died between 1230 hours (based on a one degree drop per hour) and 2030 hours 8-10-69 (based on a two degree drop per hour). Conversely, Rosemary would have died an hour earlier between 1130 hours and 2130 hours. Dr. Katsuyama cautioned that this formula is affected by room temperature. The U.S. Weather Bureau was contacted and the hourly temperatures for the civic center, closest area to the crime, obtained between 0100 hours, August 10, 1969 and 0300 hours, August 11, 1969. These hourly temperatures will be discussed with Dr. Katsuyama in an attempt to pinpoint the time of death. A coroner’s photo shows a plastic bag over the arms of Rosemary LaBianca. It was learned that this bag was placed on her arms by coroner’s deputy to preserve the strands of hair in her hands. The title page of the Coroner’s protocal shows Rosemary’s date of death as August 4, 1969. This is incorrect, correct date August 11, 1969. Page two of the protocol, under EXTERNAL EXAMINATION, line three makes reference to the plastic bags which are explained above. They were not part of the crime. Dr. Katsuyama found no evidence to indicate that the suspect(s) was definitely right or Left handed. The suspect(s) were probably right handed.
The Coroner’s protocol documents that of the two, Rosemary received more wounds than Leno. She also received what the Coroner has described as eight major wounds as opposed to three major wounds to Leno. Speculation suggests the possibility that she was tortured in front of Leno or the suspect had some greater anger for her.
Investigators checked the clothing of victims Rosemary and Leno LaBianca. The pillowcase that was over the head of Rosemary LaBianca has strands or human hair adhering to it. The significance or this was discussed with Officer Granado, Crime Lab, Scientific Investigation Division. It was his opinion that the hair was uprooted when the pillowcase was removed by the coroner. There are no cuts or tears in this pillowcase. At the time of her death, Rosemary was wearing a “shorty” nightgown. Over this gown she was wearing an expensive dress. It was first assumed that this dress was a robe. The “robe” was discussed with Susan Struthers and she identified it as one of her mother’s favorite, expensive ($85.00) dresses. There are several tear marks, probably caused by a knife, in the nightgown and dress. The pillowcase placed over Leno’s head had several tear marks probably caused by a knife. This would tend to indicate that Leno was stabbed through the pillowcase, although the knife that was left in his throat was covered by the pillowcase; which, on first observation would indicate the pillowcase was placed over his head after he was stabbed.
On September 16, 1969, this office received a teletype from the Blyth, California Police department stating that the above subject had been arrested for burglary in their city. This suspect had written on the walls, in red ink, where the burglary was committed, the words, “Pigs”. With the cooperation of that department and their District Attorney, officers returned the suspect to Los Angeles for interrogation with regards to both the Tate and LaBianca cases. After an intensive interview, investigating officers were of the opinion that the subject had no knowledge of either crime. In order to completely eliminate Greene, a polygraph examination was administered. The results indicated he had no guilty knowledge of the murders. Greene was returned to Blyth and rebooked by that department on a felony warrant for burglary.
On September 12, 1969, Frank Struthers Sr., surrendered a.22 caliber Ruger revolver, serial #34641, to investigating officers. Struthers stated he had received the weapon from Joseph T. Dorgan, Susan Struthers boy friend, shortly after the death of Leno and Rosemary LaBianca.
The gun was checked and found to have been stolen from Dale A. Hoppe on March 5, 1969; residence burglary DR 69-612 666, location 15411 Mulholland. Dorgan was interviewed and readily admitted he had borrowed the gun from Rodney Davis several days after the murder.
Davis could not be located, to verify this statement, therefore Dorgan was booked for burglary. A stake-out was placed at Davis’s residence and he was subsequently arrested.
Additional items were recovered from the residence that resembled property taken from the same burglary. Davis was interviewed and polygraphed with regards to the Labianca homicide. Both examinations indicated that this subject had no guilty knowledge of the LaBiance homicide. Davis was detained at Central Jail on a charge of 459 PC (Burglary). His case was handled by Sgt. Brown of Van Nuys Detectives.
HOFFMAN, RICHARD LEE
Mr. Bruno, who lives in the same neighborhood as the LaBiancas recalled seeing a suspicious vehicle in the area. He was suspicious because a burglary had occurred a short time earlier at 3260 Waverly Drive. Mr. Bruno, has not been reinterviewed because of an extended vacation overseas. In the original interview Mr. Bruno was not sure of the date he actually saw the suspicious vehicle. He first thought he saw it August 9, then later changed the data to August 2, 1969.
He described the vehicle as a black Datsun, license #UEF 772. A DMV check indicated this vehicle was a 1967 Datsun convertible, registered to Richard Lee Hoffman, 918 E. Palmer Street, #16, Glendale, California.
Hoffman’s address was checked and investigators found that he had moved from this location on March 3, 1969, leaving no forwarding address. On learning that Hoffman was employed by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, officers contacted his employer. It was learned that Hoffman had been terminated and recommended not to be rehired. A new residence address was obtained from this ex-employer, however, officers learned that he had moved from this location.
Investigators have since attempted to locate Hoffman through DMV, telephone company, and utilities without success. His parents, Mr. Mrs. Charles E. Hoffman, were contacted. They stated their son was presently unemployed and lived somewhere in Hollywood. Hoffman is still being sought for questioning as to his reason for being in the area as stated by Mr. Bruno.
BLYMAN, PAUL HAROLD
On checking Leno LaBianca’s personal papers, officers came across a personal note in the amount of $450 to Laura BIyman. Investigation disclosed that Corrine Chatham, a close friend of Rosemary LaBianca, had contacted Leno LaBianca in June 1968 requesting a personal loan for her daughter, Laura Blyman. Leno agreed to loan her $450 with no interest after Mrs. Blyman signed a promisary note calling for repayment at $50 a month. An investigation into her husband’s background indicated that Paul Blyman was presently in jail awaiting trial for forging a narcotic prescription.
Investigators speculating that Paul Blyman, a narcotic addict, might possibly be involved in the LaBianca murders because of his knowledge of the easy loan to his wife and the LaBianca business, intensified their investigation in this area. A court order was obtained through the District Attorney’s Office in order to interview and polygraph Blyman, who was was in the county jail. Blyman was interviewed at length and later polygraphed. He showed no guilty knowledge of the murders. A sample of his handwriting and his fingerprints were obtained for comparison. The results were negative.
Due to Leno LaBianca’s great interest in gambling, the Administrative Vice files were checked for any possible connection with known bookmakers. To date, investigators have been unable to uncover any person with whom Leno placed bets.
The only remote connection which investigators were able to locate was a bookmaker, Edward Pierce, CII#288 8436, who lived five blocks from the LaBianca residence. Edward Pierce moved from New York to Los Angeles with his wife and son in 1950. His only known address in this city is 2743 Waverly Drive #9. He has been involved in bookmaking since 1956. At that time his wife, Blanche Pierce, was running a “call back spot” for her husband’s bookmaking operations. They have one son, Roger, who was born in New York and educated in Los Angeles. In 1965, a rumor became very strong that an unusual bookmaking operation was headed by an unknown person labeled “The Phantom”. As it turned out, the “Phantom” was Edward Pierce. Information is that Pierce used key personnel to solicit wealthy heavy bettors and coax than away from other bookmakers through an extensive public relations system. Pierce’s operation was the largest in Los Angeles until the arrest of most his employees in June 1967.
Investigators went to the Pierce residence at 2743 Waverly Drive and learned from the manager that the Pierce family moved out suddenly following the confiscation of their property by the Internal Revenue Department. Pierce vacated his two apartments at this location on August 18, 1969.
Mr. Kelly of the Internal Revenue Department stated that Edward Pierce was delinquent on his taxes in an excess of $100.00. Pierce was also suspected of being involved in a $600,000 stock swindle.
At the present time, the whereabouts of Mr. & Mrs. Pierce are unknown, however, intelligence reports indicate that he may have fled to the State of Florida..
Pierce is affiliated with the American Credit Agency, address unknown, with a post office box in Phoenix, Arizona. Three other individuals known to be associated with this organization are Gary Midleman, Jack Schwartz, and Leonard Monashkin. It is believed that this organization is in the collection business for certain Las Vegas interests.
In addition to the above mentioned associates, Pierce is closely affiliated with Albert E. Sunshine. Sunshine, is a known underworld figure, is closely associated with Johnny Battaglia, Joe Sica, Victor E. Pereira and numerous other underworld characters.
Among the items confiscated by the Internal Revenue from Pierce’s residence was a coin collection of foreign and “off set” minted coins. Investigators examined this collection and compared it with a “want list” of coins that Leno LaBianca had in his personal papers. Investigators were unable to positively prove or disprove that these coins were those of Leno LaBianca. However, officers could not locate any of the coins that Leno wanted for his coin collection.
This subject, the son of Edward Pierce, was located at his new residence in Hollywood and interviewed. Investigators obtained a handwriting exemplar and questioned him about any possible relationship with the LaBianca family. He recalled attending grammar school with Susan Struthers (Rosemary LaBianca’s daughter), but had not seen her since that time. He could not, or would not, divulge the whereabouts of his mother and father. The handwriting sample was checked by S.I.D. with negative results.
POSELLA, LEONARD JR.
LA#189 324-P, CII# 973 193, FBI#210 051-B, male Caucasian, DOBs 8-26-34, 8-28-34 and 7-10-28, 5’11”, 160-185, brown, brown.
Subject is listed as a suspect in the first progress report. He is described on pages 13 and 14 of that report. Subject is still being sought for questioning. Information obtained by investigators tends to indicate he is possibly living in the New York City or Newark, New Jersey areas. An unofficial request was made to the New York office of the FBI by a local FBI agent to determine subject’s whereabouts. The subject is a member of the California Bar Association. The Bar Association was contacted and will notify this department if subject contacts the bar Association. Subject was medically discharged from the Air Force; served from 1952 to 1954, serial #194 52 577. He has, in the past, applied for medical aid from the Veterans Administration; V.A. Claim #C191 68 065. The V.A. was notified and will contact this office if subject submits a claim. Subject has worked in the New York City area as a social worker and has stayed with relatives in the Newark, New Jersey area. He has worked as a gas station attendant since passing the bar. Subject is probably in company with:
RANSOM, Sharon, LA#915 240-R, CII#3 539 256, female Caucasian, DOB 5-11-49, 5,1 ½ “, 115, brown, brown. Subject defended Ransom on a narcotic arrest and has since become addicted to the use of drugs himself. Subject and Ransom are probably together.
Information received from the State Narcotic Office indicates that Posella was seen buying narcotics in the Hollenbeck area several months ago. Photographs of Posella and his girl friend,Sharon Ransom are being distributed to Hollenbeck radio car officers, Hollywood radio car officers, narcotics officers, and Sybil Brand Institute for women.
Subject is wanted on a Felony Warrant (Bench Warrant) #A056 027 issued 6-2-69, Division 64, Violation Section 4390 B&P. Total bail $625.00, Judge Leo Freund. Subject was arrested on the warrant by State Narcotic Investigators S.E. Kapelson and H. Feldman. Subject bailed out and did not appear for trial. Feldman described subject as a “meth-freak”.
Posella is also wanted on a misdemeanor warrant #V169225. Bench Warrant issued 5-16-69, Division 35, Violation Sections 23102A VC #12951 VC. Total bail $587.50 and misdemeanor warrant #318045 Bench Warrant issued 8-1-69, Division 18, Violation Section 415PC total bail $940.00.
Mr. Fiestman, an investigator for the Los Angeles County Probation Department, phone 381-6751, investigated Posella when he was arrested for attempt murder. Posella’s wife, Jean Bruckman, was the victim. The charge was reduced to 415 PC and the above mentioned bench warrant issued. Fiestman, in his investigation for the court, recommended Posella’s disbarment and a psychiatric report. Dr. Marcus Crahan, a court appointed psychiatrist, described Posella as having uncontrolled aggressions of maniacal proportions. In the classification of probationers, Posella has a case classification of III, which indicates the highest degree of supervision possible.
Bruckman informed investigators that while she was married to Posella she can recall seven separate occasions when Posella visited the Labiancas. Bruckman reported that on each instance when she and Posella were visiting Posella’s mother, who lived next door to the Labiancas, Leonard Posella would go to the LaBianca residence and return with either money or whiskey which he said Leno had given him. When questioned by Bruckman as to how he could do such a thing, he replied, “It’s Okay, I know them and they better give it to me or else.”
Prior to their marriage Bruckman stated that Leonard Posella and his father had a fierce argument at a restaurant which his father owns in Santa Monica. During the argument Leonard Posella grabbed a knife from the kitchen table and chased his father stating that he would kill him. Bruckman and Leonard’s step-mother were able to detain him long enough for the senior Posella to escape. After their marriage, which lasted two weeks, Bruckman stated that for no apparent reason Leonard began striking her. On September 2, 1968, Posella administered a vicious beating to Bruckman then grabbed a knife from the kitchen drawer and attempted to kill her. She warded off the blows and managed to escape and call the police. Posella was booked for attempted murder.
RANSOM, SHARON LEE
This subject is Leonard Posella’s girl friend. They have been keeping company for the past year. Posella has defended her in court several times. Ransom has a prior record for burglary, possession of narcotics and CCW. Checking her background, officers learned she had a prior boy friend named Zorba Demetian Kapranopoulous, AKA: Zorba the Greek. Officers learned that both Ransom and Zorba had been members of the Satan Slaves, motorcycle group. A follow-up to Ransom’s last known address at 733 N. Cahuenga showed she had left the location eight months prior, leaving no forwarding address. Officers, however, were able to ascertain her parents home phone number 467-3455. Her mother, Clarice Hendricks, stated she had not seen Sharon for several months, did not know her whereabouts, and did not know anyone who could supply the investigators with information regarding Ransom’s place of abode.
KAPRANOPOULOUS, ZORBA DEMETIAN
AKA: ZORBA THE GREEK
Investigators to date have been unable to locate Zorba at his last known address and local hangouts in the Hollywood area. Zorba has an extensive arrest record for robbery, narcotics, burglary, and desertion. This subject is wanted for desertion by the U.S. Army. A prior handwriting exemplar of Zorba’s was checked by S.I.D. against the handwriting at the LaBianca murder scene. Although there were similarities in some of the letters, positive identification could not be made. Officers noted that on his handwriting exemplar Zorba listed his occupation as “a revolutionist”. Zorba was arrested for traffic violation on 12-29-66 and had in his possession a Nazi armband.
Investigators contacted Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau requesting information on murders that were similar to the LaBianca murder. Deputy Guenther informed investigators that he and his partner, Sgt. Whiteley, were presently investigating a homicide that occurred at 964 N. Old Topanga Canyon Road, Topanga (Malibu area), on 7-25/26-69. The victim, Gary Hinman, lived alone at the above location. ln the case the words “Political Piggy” were written on the wall of the victim’s residence in his own blood.
There are two suspects presently in the Sheriff’s custody for this murder. The first, Robert Kenneth Beausoleil, male, caucasian, 21 years; and the second suspect, Susan Denise Atkins, female, caucasian, 21 years, is presently being held in Inyo County Jail on another charge. A hold has been placed on her for murder by Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.
Katherine Lutesinger, female, caucasian, 17 years was arrested by Inyo County Sheriff’s Department on a grand theft auto charge, and she was also listed as a missing juvenile by Devonshire Division. Guenther had information that Lutesinger had possible information regarding victim Hinman’s missing vehicles and death. When she was interviewed, it was learned that she had been living with a group of 30 to 40 hippies and motorcycle riders (Satan Slaves) on the Spahn Ranch in Devonshire Division. She informed investigators, and it was confirmed by other members of her group, that the leader of the people living on the ranch was Charles Manson. Manson was known as “Jesus Christ” and “God and the Devil” by the people living on the ranch. Sheriff’s investigators have been unable to confirm that he directed members of the group to rob and steal for him. Lutesinger told sheriff’s investigators she heard a story (source unknown) that Manson had directed Beausoleil and Atkins to go to victim Hinman’s residence and take money from him. Lutesinger related that a fight had ensued between the two suspects and the victim. The victim was killed.
Sheriff’s investigation to date shows that the two suspects went to the victim’s residence on 7-25 or 26 and attempted to get money from him. They forced the victim to endorse the pink slips to his two vehicles transferring ownership to them. The suspects held the victim captive for two days and then suspect Beausoleil murdered him. The victim received two stab wounds in the chest. These wounds were in length 1 ½” length anu ½ ” in width. The victim also sustained a third wound from the rear of the left ear to midway along the cheekbone, approximately 5″ long and ½” deep, severing the ear in half. The wounds, according to Guenther, were similar to the wounds received by some of the victims in the Tate murder. Guenther witnessed the Hinman and Tate murder autopsies.
Guenther showed investigators the pictures from the Hinman murder crime scene. One of the photographs of the scene show the words “Political Piggy” written on the wall above the location where the victim was found.
The Sheriff’s crime lab has established that the victim’s blood was used to write the words. Investigators believe it is noteworthy that this murder, which occurred on July 26, 1969 was followed by two other murders, to wit Tate on August 9, 19b9 and LaBianca on August 10, 1969. All three murders have the unique characteristic of the suspect using the victims’ blood to write on the all. This characteristic takes on a greater significance in that in each instance the words make reference to “pig” in one form or another. Other similarities between the Hinman and LaBianca murders were the placing of a pillow over the victim’s face, and the use of a knife as the death weapon. The motive for the LaBianca murder is unknown. There is the possibility that it was a residential robbery.
Investigators are presently working with Los Angeles County Sheriff’s investigators to collect the names of everyone living on the ranch. Their fingerprints and samples of their handwriting will be obtained and checked. Manson and Lutesinger will be interviewed first and other members of the group at a later date. Investigators are planning interviews with Beausoleil and Atkins. Although Beausoleil was in custody at the time of the LaBianca murder, Atkins had not yet been apprehended.
Sgt. F. J. Patchett, #7572 Robbery-Homicide Division
Sgt. M. P. Gutierrez, #7060 Robbery-Homicide Division
Sgt. P. L. Sartuche, #10518 Robbery-Homicide Division