Labianca Homicide Report IIHello Folks! For anyone serious about studying this case in earnest... the Second LaBianca Homicide Report, is an important fact-filled document worthy of close inspection.
Unfortunately, this document sat on my desktop for 6 months. There's so much material covered in these 23 pages... I simply couldn't find enough time, to do it justice.
I asked Starship, if he would be so kind, as to dissect this lengthy document for us. Fortunately for us... Starship accepted the challenge... and the resulting thread is below. As always... Starship delivers in top form. Starship is a blogger, scholar, and gentleman who needs no introduction. I hope everyone truly avails themselves of Starship's fabulous research which follows. Now for Starship...
Revisiting the LaBianca’s
At Lynyrd’s behest, I have studied closely the two official police progress reports on the LaBianca murders. If there is a third or a fourth, we’ve never seen them, and I doubt there is because of the dates of these documents…and that by December, 1969 pretty much all of the suspects were in custody and the Justice System had started its engine. What follows, hopefully, will be worth discussing. Perhaps we can glean more insight from the points made.
I had read long ago the first homicide report, as that one is readily available. Thanks to Lynyrd for getting me the second, as I’ve always wanted to review it, and, believe me, I was not disappointed.
Probably the biggest thing I found was that by the time the second report was submitted (October 15th), Charles Manson was indeed already identified as a suspect. It’s the how and the why he was identified as a suspect in this case which is really the interesting part…but more about this later.
To begin, let me start but saying that one of the overlooked people in this case who may have been insightful is a member of the LAPD by the name of Roxie Lucerelli who evidently was a good friend of Leno’s and who knew him for many years. He is mentioned in Bugliosi’s book and also in both homicide reports as someone who was interviewed about his knowledge of Leno and his activities. He may be a worthwhile pursuit for an interview even today, provided that he is still alive. I have no idea. More on him in a bit.
Next we need to consider the nature of the relationship between Leno and Rosemary. The second report specifically delves into whether or not Rosemary may have been bi-sexual and had engaged in lesbian relationships. This, much like the speculation regarding Steven Parent’s sexuality, may ultimately be much ado about nothing. But it is notable also because Rosemary really must have been something and, I apologize for my sexist male perspective on this, but I wish we had more photos of her to study because she apparently was alluring enough that one of the men she had a relationship with remained in love with her even after, even while, she was having an affair with the man she became pregnant with Suzan by (LaBerge). Rosemary totally ripped this first guy off too: furniture, cars and a coin collection (interesting because Leno was a coin collector, although she wouldn’t meet him until much later). Dude never called the police. Love is funny like that. Rosemary dated and LAPD guy too for a bit.
|Frank Struthers & his Dad|
Leno, on the other hand, is described as being ‘sexually cold.’ I have not read Alice LaBianca’s book, so I have no idea if any of this is touched upon there, but the one girlfriend of Leno’s who was found after his divorce was with a women who had been the wife of one of his buddies…but it was only long after she had broken up with her husband. She told the LAPD that Leno was self-conscious about his height, especially around taller women. There also is a rumor that Leno had dated a woman who was a known prostitute, but this is speculation only. No extra marital affairs on his part is implied at all.
Other good nuggets of information which is helpful to our quest to understand these murders are:
Rosemary complaining to a friend that she thought someone had broken into their house had occurred PRIOR TO 1968. The first report mentions some known burglars who had worked the neighborhood.
The LAPD searched Leno’s personal telephone book for old girlfriends to interview (is this the famed little black book?)
I can’t tell if Rosemary knew, but it was NOT a surprise to Leno’s family or his business partners (which, essentially were family too) that Leno was in debt and that he had been embezzling funds from Gateway Markets for the past few years. Leno, in fact, was making plans to leave the company and agreements in principle had been arranged for him to repay what he owed and for him to become involved in some sort of investment business. It’s a mystery as to whether or not Leno would have had the means to pay back everything he owed, and what is known appears to point towards that he wouldn’t despite the fact that he was re-financing everything he could and also cheated on the Supermarkets money order contracts as well, but his own mother was one of the owners of Gateway and she, of course, may have had a soft spot in her Italian mother’s heart for her little boy, Leno (here I am assuming she was Italian, but I do not know for sure), but she may have helped him off the hook eventually. If you don’t believe that, groove on this: Leno’s mother sold him the house on Waverly Drive for $18 grand! That’s $110Gs today. The property is assessed today at $450,000. Leno told his mother he made a large profit on his previous house when it sold too! What’s more is Leno apparently was purchasing a ranch house in another location as well…where he would get the money from this is unknown as well (it is also reported that rumor had it he owned some sort of property in Las Vegas).
A MEETING FOR ALL INVOLVED TO DISCUSS LENO LEAVING THE COMPANY WAS SCHEDULED FOR AUGUST 9TH BUT IT NEVER TOOK PLACE. Interesting. It seems it was known to at least one of his business partners that the major reason Leno was in such debt was because of his gambling habits.
What WAS a surprise to all involved here was the fact that Leno owned interest in a number of race horses, owning 8 of them in January 1969. (Kildaire Lady?). He had $$ tied up in the training and maintenance and upkeep for these horses…perhaps this is the business he was going to move into (along with three others) after his exit from Gateway? Lots of money needed for upkeep but no evidence of any profits derived from these horses to offset the losses.
Was the Mafia involved? Well, of course not, as there is no such thing as the Mafia. Just kidding. But the origin of this theory is explained here as well. Leno’s business partners, besides his mother, were his two brothers-in law. One of them was married to Leno’s sister, I assume the other one was too (a different sister, people!), and they all seemed to have known each other for most of their lives. One of the brothers-in-law (Smaldino) offered to the LAPD the suggestion that the murders were a result of a Mafia hit specifically motivated as a result of Leno’s gambling debts. The other brother-in-law (DeSantis) discounts this theory to the LAPD because he is a card carrying member and head of the Sons of Italy lodge and he believes that if the Mafia had been involved, then he would have known about it. Hmmmmm. My personal take on this is that it’s a possibility, but a remote one. Smaldino’s suspicion is not unreasonable given Leno’s gambling debts. DeSantis, however, is blowing smoke. If a Mafia hit is to blame, then no one in the know would have been talking about it…especially to the victim’s brother-in-law! I know what I’m talking about, believe me. Much speculation has centered around the fact that Leno had been on the board of Directors of the Hollywood National Bank which the LAPD had claimed was backed by “hoodlum money”, and that some associates of the bank had gone to prison because of a check kiting scheme through the bank. Leno was officially involved from 1964 to 1967. However he had in June 1969 succeeded in borrowing $15,000 from this very same bank. He apparently had tried to borrow money from his regular Bank of America, but was not successful. The boat that Leno owned was financed and the LAPD even looked into whether or not the marina where he bought it may have been connected to the Mafia, but it was not.
SO… Leno was a coin collector. The LAPD looked into this aspect as well, but did not glean anything useful. Leno’s LAPD buddy Roxie Lucerelli told the investigators that Leno had offered a collection to him for $20,000…a silver dollar collection Leno owned was sold just in July, 1969.
Now, before we get to the suspects, let’s ponder these last couple of nuggets: Several witnesses says they saw a male Caucasian on the lawn of the LaBianca’s house on Sunday, August 10th between 4 and 5pm, but they positively said it was NOT the gardener who told police he worked the property from 11am to 4pm that very same day. The gardener said he heard no sounds coming from the house except for the telephone ringing a call once. A security guard for the house to the west of the LaBianca residence told police he heard what he thought was a gunshot and the sounds of furniture being moved coming from their house between 4:45 and 5pm that same day (what is up with these lame security guards? Must be LAPD wannabes for sure as they’re certainly just as poor). Can you imagine? There the LaBiancas lay in death and the house is making noise and still no one calls the police!
Ok, now for the important parts:
So the LAPD knows that Leno plays the horses, so they also begin to look into if he had any relationships with any bookies. As they look into this, they discover that a known bookmaker by the name of Edward Pierce lives right on Waverly Drive. The LAPD can’t find a connection, but start to investigate anyway, and discover that Pierce was the biggest bookie in LA until a bust in 1967. He also is a known associate of an underworld figure, who is associated with other underworld figures. Knowing people who know people, as I always say. When the LAPD arrive at the Pierce house on Waverly Drive on August 18th, they find out they have fled the area as the IRS has confiscated most of their personal property...WHICH INCLUDES AN EXTENSIVE COIN COLLECTION WHICH COMPARES VERY WELL WITH A “WANT LIST” OF COINS THAT LENO HAD IN HIS PERSONAL PAPERS. The LAPD cannot prove or disprove that these coins ever belonged to Leno, but they couldn’t find a single one of them in Leno’s own collections.
Next, let us consider Leonard Posella, Sharon Ransom, and Zorba the Greek. Posella hooked up with Ransom, because as a lawyer he defended her on a narcotics arrest. Posella himself, had been arrested for attempted murder after he was accused of trying to stab his then wife, Jean Bruckman, after he had beaten her pretty badly. Oh, and he got the knife from the drawer in the kitchen. This was in September of 1968. Before that, Bruckman claimed Posella tried to kill his own father with a kitchen knife as well, and that she and his stepmother had to intervene to stop it. Anyway, Bruckman told the LAPD that while she was married to Posella, she can remember at least seven occasions where while they were visiting Posella’s mother – who lived right next door to the LaBiancas-that Posella went over to visit the laBiancas and that EVERY TIME HE RETURNED HE HAD EITHER MONEY OR WHISKEY THAT HE SAID LENO HAD GIVEN HIM. When she asked about this she says Posella told her “it’s ok, I know them and they better give it to me or else.”
As for Ransom, Posella had to defend her in court several times. Her previous boyfriend was Zorba the Greek. Zorba had an extensive arrest record as well and claimed to be “a revolutionist” who liked to wear a Nazi armband. Oh, and the LAPD investigators learned that he and Sharon HAD BEEN MEMBERS OF THE SATAN’S SLAVES MOTORCYCLE GANG.
And so it is here that Charles Manson first appears…and it seems to be as a result of the LAPD investigating the Satan’s Slaves connections to the LaBiancas murders. This is where the LAPD investigating LaBianca, and the LASO investigating Hinman, finally come together. By the time of this second report, both Bobby Beausoleil and Susan Atkins are in custody under suspicion of the Hinman murder…which had words printed on the walls in the victim’s own blood. Katherine Lutesinger is also in custody on grand theft auto charges. She is a juvenile, and is found to have been living at the Spahn Ranch along with a number of others: hippies, motorcycle gang members. Motorcycle gang members? Yes, indeed the Satan’s Slaves. And oh, by the way, Lutesinger tells them…our leader there is this guy known as “Jesus Christ” and “God and the Devil”… and she tells the cops that someone told her that this leader, our own Charles Manson, was the guy who ordered Bobby Beausoleil and Susan Atkins, to go to Gary Hinman’s house and get all his money. Hinman, of course, was killed…and so leads the LAPD to place Charles Manson himself as a suspect in the murders of Leno and Rosemary LaBianca.
The report also concludes with noting that similarities occurred in the murders at Hinman, LaBianca and Tate.
|Suzan Struthers, 21, leaves her home in Los Angeles |
where her stepfather and mother, Mr. and Mrs.A. LaBianca
were found murdered. With her is her boyfriend, Joe Dorgan.
A reliable blog source has told us:
"Danny DeCarlo was treasurer of the Straight Satans... It's never been proven/substantiated that Joe Dorgan was a member of any bike club, and he personally denied it".
Ok, everybody, let’s have at it. Hope I have served you well.
Thanks Starship!! You ROCK!!
To View the Entire Homicide Report... Click Below!