The Locations of L.A.’s 100 Most Memorable Crimes by Neighborhood

The neighborhoods, streets, and addresses that forever hold some of the city’s darkest moments

Downtown

The Chinese Massacre of 1871
Seventeen Chinese men and boys were killed in what L.A. Weekly called the greatest string of unsolved murders in Los Angeles history. No one ever went to prison for what is believed to be the largest mass lynching in American history. 
Year: 1871
Location: Downtown
Read about it: In L.A. Weekly

The Skid Row Slasher
Vaughn Greenwood murdered two transients in 1964, went to prison for a decade for a different crime, returned to Los Angeles and killed nine men in a two-month span. His M.O. was slashing the throats of transients while they slept. 
Years: 1964-75
Location: Downtown and Hollywood
Read about it: In Los Angeles magazine, and the Los Angeles Times

The Downfall of Two of L.A.’s Top Cops
Sheriff Lee Baca fancied himself a visionary. His No. 2, Paul Tanaka, considered himself a force to be reckoned with. Together they allowed one of the nation’s most powerful law enforcement agencies to drift into a morass of scandal. Tanaka began a five-year sentence in January 2017, and Baca will be retried after a mistrial. (Update: Baca was convicted in March 2017 in a second trial and was sentenced to three years in federal prison. He was permitted to remain free while appealing his conviction.)
Year:
2011
Location:
211 West Temple Street (LASD HQ)
Read about it: In Los Angeles magazine, and the Los Angeles Times
Watch: CBS LA

Elisa Lam

The Bizarre Death of Elisa Lam
How did the body of Canadian tourist Elisa Lam wind up in the water tank at the top of the Cecil Hotel? Theories spread like wildfire after a video was posted online of Lam exhibiting strange behavior in the hotel’s elevator.
Year: 2013
Location: 640 South Main Street
Read about it: In Vice, The Lineup, Los Angeles magazine, and CNN

El Monte

Geneva Hilliker Ellroy
James Ellroy is America’s greatest living crime novelist. His mother was murdered when he was 10 years old, her body dumped on the side of the road. After 36 years of “running from her ghost,” he decided to look into it.
Year: 1958
Location: Arroyo High School, near the athletic fields
Read about it: In Ellroy’s own words in GQ
Book: My Dark Places by James Ellroy

Encino

The Phil Hartman Murder/Suicide
A murder/suicide at the hands of his wife Brynn claimed the life of beloved SimpsonsNewsRadio and Saturday Night Live star Phil Hartman, a death that stunned a generation of comedy lovers.
Year: 1998
Location: 5065 Encino Avenue
Read about it: In Salon, and the New York Post
Book: You Might Remember Me
Watch: Shocking Celebrity Deaths

Fairfax District

Death at the Silent Movie Theater
The boyfriend of the owner of the Silent Movie Theater hired a hit man who tried to make it look like a robbery. Laurence Austin was murdered in the lobby of the theater while an audience of 60 watched a comedy short.
Year: 1997
Location: 611 North Fairfax Avenue
Read about it: In the Los Angeles Times
Watch: Mysteries and Scandals

Freeway Killers

The Trash Bag Murderer
Patrick Kearney claimed to have killed one victim a month, starting in 1974. He was convicted of killing 21 males, between the ages of 5 and 28, and he admitted to killing 11 more, becoming known as the “Trash Bag Murderer” for putting his victims’ remains in trash bags and leaving them on the side of the road. He was one of the three famed “freeway killers,” along with William Bonin and Randy Steven Kraft, who became known for dumping bodies by the side the freeway.
Years: 1962-1977
Read about it: In The Daily Breeze

William Bonin
The second of the “freeway killers” on this list, Bonin kidnapped, tortured, raped, and killed 14 teenage boys. He was the first California inmate put to death by lethal injection.
Years: 1968-80
Read about it: In the Los Angeles Times
Watch: Anatomy of Crime

The Scorecard Killer
The third “freeway killer,” Randy Kraft kept a scorecard of his kills. When police found it, the “scorecard” contained 61 entries.
Years: 1971-1983
Read about it: In the Los Angeles Times and its archives, and Orange Coast

Glendale 

The White Flame Murder
Aviation executive Paul Wright said “a white flame” exploded in his head when he awoke to a single note repeated on the piano, where he found his wife making love to his best friend on the piano bench. He shot and killed them with nine rounds.
Year: 1934
Location: 
1830 Verdugo Vista Drive
Read about it: 
In the Los Angeles Times

The Hillside Strangler
The “Hillside Strangler” (actually two men) terrorized L.A. in the late 1970s with a series of murders in which strangled women were left naked on hillsides. The base of operations for cousins and serial killers Angelo Buono Jr. and Kenneth Bianchi was their Glendale auto body shop, which is still the site of a working transmission shop.
Years: 1977-78
Location: 703 East Colorado Street 
Read about it: In the Los Angeles Times obituary of Angelo Buono Jr., the Los Angeles Times archives, and The Lineup
Book: The Hillside Stranglers by Darcy O’Brien
Watch: American JusticeBiography, CNN’s The SeventiesNBC News archive footage, and these three movies

Angel of Death
A pudgy, bespectacled respiratory therapist at Glendale Adventist Medical Center, Efren Saldivar would materialize at the bedsides of critically ill patients, syringe in hand. Confessing to more than 100 murders, but pleading guilty to only six, Saldivar said that he was just trying to end his victims’ suffering—and lighten his workload on the graveyard shift.
Years: 1989-1997
Location: 1509 Wilson Terrace
Read about it: In the New York Times and Los Angeles Times

Efren Saldivar

 

Hollywood

Death at Gower Gulch
In a scene out of a Western, cowboy film extra Jerome “Blackjack” Ward shot and killed fellow extra Johnny Tyacke (“Johnny Tyke”) in broad daylight, at Gower Gulch. The men had been arguing over a woman when Ward pulled a gun.
Year: 1940
Location: 1438 North Gower Street
Read about it: In KCET

The Hole-in-the-Ground Gang
They got away with a pair of ingenious heists (and may have attempted a third) by tunneling under banks and escaping underground on ATVs. Then they disappeared for good. 
Years: 1986-1987
Locations: First Interstate Bank at Spaulding Avenue and Sunset, followed by Bank of America at Pico and La Cienega, and Union Federal Savings and Loan on Wilshire Boulevard in Beverly Hills
Read about it: In Los Angeles magazine, and the Los Angeles Times

The Gray Widows
Before they murdered two homeless men, septuagenarians Helen Golay and Olga Rutterschmidt killed them with kindness. The women put a roof over their heads and fed them for years—while taking out millions of dollars in life insurance policies on the men and listing themselves as beneficiaries. 
Years: 1999-2005 
Location: 307 North La Brea Avenue
Read about it: In the Los Angeles Times archives, and Los Angeles magazine
Watch: The Associated Press report

Helen Golay and Olga Rutterschmidt

Arsonist Harry Burkhart
German national Harry Burkhart terrified Los Angeles between Christmas 2011 and New Year’s, lighting cars on fire in carports, driveways, and garages. He was ultimately convicted on all 49 counts. The motive was said to be revenge for his mother, who was facing deportation back to Germany, where she faced fraud charges.
Year: 2011
Location: Hollywood, Westside, the Valley
Read about it: Daily Beast, and Los Angeles Times

Hollywood Hills

The Actress Who Kidnapped Her Manager
Or did she? The Madge Meredith case took some unusual twists and turns.
Year: 1947
Location: 8444 Magnolia Drive
Read about it: In Los Angeles magazine, and Deranged LA Crimes

The Bling Ring
A group of 12 Valley teenagers (most of the gang was from Calabasas and attended Indian Hills High School) were charged with breaking into the homes of celebrities (Orlando Bloom, Paris Hilton, Lindsay Lohan, and more) and stealing jewelry and clothing.
Years: 2008-09
Location: Hollywood Hills
Read about it: In Vanity Fair
Book: The Bling Ring by Nancy Jo Sales
Watch: Sofia Coppola directed the movie that starred Emma Watson

Indio

The Lonely Hearts Killer
Harvey Glatman, AKA “The Glamour Girl Slayer” and “The Lonely Hearts Killer,” posed as a photographer in order to rape and kill women, at least three in the Los Angeles area. He took photos of his victims while committing his heinous crimes.
Years: 1957-58
Location: The desert near Indio, and Anza State Park 
Read about it: In the Los Angeles Times

Koreatown

Man Killer Louise Peete
With the ability to talk her way out of any situation, Louise Peete left a few bodies in her wake before the law caught up with her. She became only the second woman to be executed in California’s gas chamber.
Years: 1920-44
Locations: 675 Catalina Street 
Read about it: In Los Angeles magazine

The Fox
William Edward Hickman kidnapped a prominent banker’s daughter, 12-year-old Marion Parker, calling himself the “Fox” in his ransom note. The Parkers paid the ransom, but Hickman never intended to give Marion back. He strangled her with a dish towel, mutilated her, and left her body on the street. Five years before the Lindbergh baby kidnapping, Angelenos mourned the Parker kidnapping.
Year: 1927
Location: Manhattan Place and 5th Street 
Read about it: In the Los Angeles Times
Books: The Butterfly in the Rain, and Not Just Evil

The RFK Assassination
When Sirhan Sirhan shot and killed Sen. Robert F. Kennedy at the Ambassador Hotel, he altered the course of history, and further devastated a family that lost two sons in one decade to assassins.
Year: 1968
Location: 3400 Wilshire
Read about it: In Los Angeles magazine, the New York Times, U.S. News, the Los Angeles Times, and Time. Also: the LAT published this story of the busboy who cradled the dying would-be president.
Book: The Assassination of Robert F. Kennedy
Watch: Coverage from CBS (part 1 of 4 — his killing off-camera occurs around the 1:15:30 mark)

La Canada Flintridge

Mary Busch
A dead wife with a strange cut on her leg, her body found in a goldfish pond. A collection of black widow spiders in the garage. Something about Mary Busch’s death didn’t add up, and due diligence from an insurance investigator led to the conviction of Major Raymond “Rattlesnake James” Lisenba, the last man to be hanged in California.
Year: 1935
Location: La Canada Flintridge
Read about it: In the Los Angeles Times
Book: American Murder

Laurel Canyon

Ramon Novarro (right) with the Australian-American musical composer and pianist Percy Aldridge (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

Ramon Novarro
One of Hollywood’s first romantic idols, Ramon Novarro was sadistically killed in his home by a pair of thieving prostitutes.
Year: 1968
Location: 3110 Laurel Canyon Boulevard
Read about it: In Out, the Los Angeles Times, and Los Angeles magazine
Book: Beyond Paradise: The Life of Ramon Novarro
Watch: Mysteries and Scandals

The Wonderland Murders
Known now for its expensive homes and wonderful views, the Hollywood Hills have a violent and disturbing past. Such as in the early 1980s, when four people were killed in Laurel Canyon, with the famous porn star John Holmes in the middle of it all. Also known as the “Four on the Floor Murders” and “Laurel Canyon Murders.”
Year: 1981
Location: 8763 Wonderland Avenue 
Read about it: In the New York Times, and Los Angeles Times
Books: The Road Through Wonderland, and The Devil and John Holmes
Watch: The movie Wonderland

Little Armenia

Lois Pantages’ Deadly Ride
Yes, as in Pantages Theater. Lois Pantages was found guilty of manslaughter for killing Japanese gardener Juro Rokumoto while driving intoxicated the wrong way down Sunset Boulevard in her Stutz coupe. 
Year: 1929
Location: Sunset and Serrano
Read about it: In the Chicago Tribune, and Deranged LA Crimes
Book: Fighting Bob Shuler of Los Angeles

Los Angeles (various locations)

The Westside Rapist
Prolific serial killer John Floyd Thomas Jr. raped and killed elderly women in their homes throughout the 1970s and 1980s, but he wasn’t arrested until 2009, when a DNA sample linked him to the crimes.
Years: 1972-89
Read about it: In Time, and the Los Angeles Times here and here
Watch: CNN and Associated Press

John Floyd Thomas Jr.

The Golden State Killer
Also known as The Original Night Stalker, the East Area Rapist, and the Diamond Knot Killer. The murderer/rapist’s crimes spanned virtually the entire state and lasted from the late 1970s to the mid-1980s. His identity remains a mystery.
Years: 1979-86
Read about it: In Los Angeles magazine’s In the Footsteps of a Killer, and additional reporting on the Golden State killer from writer Michelle McNamara
Book: Hunting a Psychopath
Watch: Crime Watch Daily
Listen: To an interview between a Los Angeles magazine editor and McNamara

A sketch of the attacker in the 1970s, one of the few derived from rape victims’ descriptions

The Night Stalker
Richard Ramirez was a remorseless Satanic ritualist, rapist, and serial killer who terrorized Northern and Southern California, and he was captured by a group of Angelenos who came to a woman’s rescue. The judge who oversaw his trial said Ramirez exhibited a “cruelty, callousness and viciousness beyond any human understanding.”
Years: 
1984-85
Read about it:
A 13-year-old boy told us about the night he broke the case wide open, and a librarian who came face to face with the killer wrote about it for Los Angeles magazine, his obituary from CNN, and an essay from his niece in the Daily Beast
Book: 
The Night Stalker
Watch: 
Biography, and the movie The Night Stalker

Los Feliz

The Los Feliz Murder House
The site of a grisly murder, one in which Dr. Harold Perelson beat his wife with a hammer, savagely beat his teenage daughter, and killed himself by drinking acid. The residence has been famously empty ever since.
Year: 1959
Location: 2475 Glendower Place
Read about it: In Curbed, and the Los Angeles Times

The Manson Murders
It’s been said that the brutal cult murders (which included actress Sharon Tate, who was eight-and-a-half months pregnant with Roman Polanski’s son) marked the end of the 1960s. The Manson murder spree is still terrifying to contemplate today.
Year: 1969
Locations: LaBianca home, 3311 Waverly Drive, and in Beverly Hills (Tate was killed at 10066 Cielo Drive)
Read about it: In Manson: An Oral History, from Los Angeles magazine
Book: Helter Skelter by Vincent Bugliosi, with Curt Gentry
Watch: The Dianne Sawyer documentary, CNN’s Faces of EvilBiography here and here, and numerous movies

Johnny Lewis

The Secret Life of Johnny Lewis
Actor Johnny Lewis (Sons of Anarchy, Alien v. Predator) murdered his landlady and her cat before either jumping or falling to his death, bringing to end a troubled life that included a relationship with the singer Katy Perry, who is rumored to have written two songs about their romance.
Year: 2012
Location: 3605 Lowry
Read about it: In Los Angeles magazine
Watch: ABC News

MacArthur Park

Chloe Canfield
The “beautiful and beloved” socialite Chloe Canfield was gunned down by a former employee, on her porch, in front of her granddaughter, causing outrage throughout 1906 Los Angeles. Her oilman husband Charles A. Canfield was so enraged that he persuaded the city’s leading defense attorney to prosecute the case against Morris Buck.
Year: 1906
Location: 8th and Alvarado
Read about it: In the Los Angeles Times

The Death of a Silent Film Director
Silent film director William Desmond Taylor was found dead in his bungalow in stylish MacArthur Park. He had a single .38-caliber round in his back. His murderer was never caught.
Year: 1922
Location: Maryland and Alvarado
Read about it: In Los Angeles magazine
Book: Tinseltown: Murder, Morphine and Madness at the Dawn of Hollywood
Watch: Connie Chung in the news magazine 1986

Malibu

Memorial: (from left) Latice, Lauren Sutton, friend Ronda Hampton, and Clea Koff at the site where Mitrice’s body was discovered

What Happened to Mitrice Richardson?
Mitrice Richardson was busted for skipping out on the bill at Geoffrey’s restaurant, arrested by sheriff’s deputies from the Malibu/Lost Hills station, taken to the sheriff’s station in Calabasas, and then released at 12:15 a.m. on a Thursday—40 miles from home with no cell phone, no money, and no transportation. Her body was found 10 months later, eight miles away in the Santa Monica Mountains.
Year: 2010
Location: Malibu Lost Hills Sheriff’s Station/Dark Canyon
Read about it: In Los Angeles magazine here and here
Watch: Los Angeles magazine on YouTube

Miracle Mile

The Murder of Biggie Smalls (Christopher Wallace)
As the East Coast rapper sat at a red light in an SUV outside the Petersen Automotive Museum, a Chevy Impala SS pulled up next to him, and a gunman in a blue suit and bowtie opened fire with a 9mm blue-steel pistol, hitting “The Notorious B.I.G.” four times. He was pronounced dead later that night in a hospital.
Year: 1997
Location: Fairfax and Wilshire
Read about it: In the Los Angeles Times here and here, and Rolling Stone
Book: Murder Rap: The Untold Story of the Biggie Smalls & Tupac Shakur Murder Investigations 
Watch: The 2009 movie Notorious
More: FBI file

Montecito Heights

Tiger Girl
On July 10, 1922, Clara Phillips visited the hardware department of a local five-and-dime. She picked up a hammer and weighed it in her hand for a moment before asking the clerk if he thought it was heavy enough to kill a woman with. When she used that hammer for murder, the press dubbed her the “Tiger Girl.”
Year: 1922
Location: Montecito Drive
Read about it: In Los Angeles magazine

Newport Harbor

Beulah Louise Overell and George (Bud) Gollum
In a trial that grabbed national headlines, an 18-year-old heiress (Overell) and her 21-year-old fiance (Gollum) were accused of bludgeoning her parents and dynamiting their Newport Harbor yacht to destroy the crime scene. The Overells reportedly objected to the young couple’s marriage plans.
Year: 1947
Location: Newport Harbor
Read about it: In the Los Angeles Times, Murderpedia, and the New York Daily News
Book: The Newport Harbor Murders Revisited

North Hollywood

North Hollywood Shootout
On Feb. 28, 1997, two bank robbers wearing homemade body armor and carrying automatic weapons with armor-piercing ammunition robbed the Bank of America in North Hollywood. The shootout that followed left 11 police officers and 7 civilians wounded, and the robbers dead. Nearly 2,000 rounds were fired by the robbers and police.
Year: 1997
Location: 6600 Laurel Canyon Boulevard
Read about it: In Los Angeles magazinethe Los Angeles Times, the New York Daily News
Photos: Los Angeles Times
Watch: Footage on YouTube, and the premise of the movie 44 Minutes

Northeast Los Angeles

The Gang Killings of Timothy Joseph McGhee
He rapped about the lives he took, boasting of his murders. As the judge who presided over his case put it, he treated killing “as some kind of perverse sport, as if he was hunting human game.”
Years: 1997-2001
Read about it: In the Los Angeles Times

Norwalk

The Disappearance of Stella Darlene Nolan
An 8-year-old girl was kidnapped from a refreshment stand and murdered in an absolutely devastating manner. What construction worker Mack Ray Edwards did to Nolan is unimaginable.
Year: 1953
Locations: 10900 East Firestone Boulevard
Read about it: In Los Angeles magazine, and the Los Angeles Times

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