On July 1, 1981, four people were found murdered inside a Los Angeles home in a sensational case combining “dope, porn, sex and drugs and organized crime,” as a retired LAPD detective once told The New York Times. The home was located on Wonderland Avenue, in Los Angeles’s Laurel Canyon neighborhood.
According to The Los Angeles Times, it was a “drug den” belonging to a group of people dubbed the “Wonderland Gang.” Three members died of blunt force trauma: Ron Launius, Billy DeVerell, and Joy Miller. Friend Barbara Richardson was also brutally murdered in the home.
Launius' wife, Susan Launius, survived the attack, which is shocking given the crime scene photos and video. Though, she didn’t survive unscathed. She even had to have part of her skull surgically removed as a result of her injuries.
Detectives on the Los Angeles Police Department said that the murder scene was more gruesome and much bloodier than the scene where Sharon Tate and friends were killed by the Manson family. Police took video of the crime scene, narrating a walkthrough of the bloodshed. That video was later used at one of the suspect’s trials, which was a first.
Nightclub owner Eddie Nash and his accomplice Gregory Diles in addition to John Curtis Holmes (pictured), one of the most prolific porn actors at the time, were all arrested, tried, and acquitted in connection to the slayings. However, according to The Los Angeles Times, Nash was sentenced to 37 months in 2001 for “racketeering and other crimes, including a conspiracy to murder four people in a Laurel Canyon drug den.”
Just two days before the slaughter, Launius, DeVerell and two other people associated with Wonderland allegedly committed an armed robbery at Nash's home, which ended in Nash's bodyguard, Gregory Dewitt Diles, getting grazed by a bullet. According to The Los Angeles Times, Nash was “forced to beg for his life and surrender $1 million in cash, jewelry and narcotics.”
Investigators believed that the slayings were committed as retaliation for the robbery. Holmes allegedly confessed to his wife that he played a role in the killings before he died, according to The Los Angeles Times.
The infamous murder case is also sometimes referred to as “Four on the Floor.”
[Photo: Getty Images]
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