The Wonderland Murders
(aka Four on the Floor Murders)
(UPDATE: Be sure to join the Wonderlands message board.)
Twelve years after the nearby Manson murders, 8763 Wonderland Avenue in
Laurel Canyon was the site of a drug-related multiple-murder (a few websites
misstate the address as 8764). Four people were beaten to death with a
steel pipe on July 1, 1981.
The major suspect in the case was Eddie Nash (also known as Adel Gharib
Nasrallah, born circa 1929) but the best known suspect was John Holmes.
Holmes, thanks to his 13-inch penis, had appeared in over 2,500 pornographic
movies and was known as "Johnny Wadd." Holmes and Nash became friends
somewhere along the line. Nash could allegedly supply the coke and Holmes had the
connections to the wild lifestyle of the porn-industry.
Along the way, Holmes picked up a $1,500 per day cocaine habit which greatly
effected his ability to work. He turned to robbery to sustain his coke
habit and reportedly began running drugs between Nash and the Wonderland Gang.
The most commonly stated series of events has Holmes setting up Nash to be
robbed by the Wonderland Gang in a home invasion style robbery. Stolen,
allegedly, was cocaine, heroin, money and jewelry. Present in the house at
the time was Nash along with his bodyguard, 300-pound Gregory DeWitt Diles.
Nash knew Holmes was involved.
Scott Thorson (gay lover of pianist Liberace) arrived at the Nash residence
to pick up some drugs. Upon his arrival, Nash told him he had been just
been robbed. Thorson witnessed Diles bring Holmes into the house and beat
him horribly until Holmes admitted the Wonderland Gang was behind the robbery.
Nash threatened to kill Thorson if he ever repeated what he witnessed.
Holmes reportedly helped Nash's crew to enter the Wonderland house where four
of the residents were slaughtered brutally on July 1, 1981. A fifth victim
survived. At best, Holmes watched the murders. At worst, he helped
swing the pipe.
Shortly after the murders, police arrested Nash when a raid found $1 million
worth of cocaine in his house. He spent two years in prison.
In 1982, John Holmes was put on trial for the murders. His lawyers
convinced the jury that Holmes was just another victim and he was acquitted.
Holmes later found he was HIV-positive but continued to perform in porn.
In 1988, he died from AIDS-related illnesses.
Over the years, Scott Thorson remained friends with Nash although his own
life had been threatened. Thorson had broken up with Liberace and
experienced drug problems. He claims to have lost most of his possessions
to Nash in exchange for drugs. When the state of California eventually brought
murder charges against Eddie Nash, Thorson made a deal with the District
Attorney to have unrelated criminal charges dropped in exchange for his
Nash's 1990 trial ended when the jury hung on a vote of eleven to one.
Later, it would be alleged Nash had bribed the holdout.
Thorson entered the Federal Witness Protection Program but later left it.
Thorson was shot five times in a 1990 robbery but lived.
In 1991, a second trial acquitted Nash. His bodyguard, Diles, passed
away in 1995 at age 48.
1997 saw the release of the movie "Boggie
Nights." The characters Dirk Diggler and Rahad Jackson were based upon John Holmes and Eddie Nash.
On May 19, 2000, a federal indictment named Nash, Holmes, Diles and three
others as suspects in racketeering, bribery, drug trafficking, money laundering
and the Wonderland Murders. Nash was 71 at the time of the indictment.
In poor health and suffering from emphysema, Nash was tested and found to be infected
with tuberculosis. The remaining three people named in the indictment were convicted of wire fraud
and tax evasion. Nash pled guilty to conspiracy to commit the Wonderland
murders. He was sentenced to 37 months in federal prison and now lives in
the Los Angeles area.
In the Fall of 2003,
Lions Gate Films released a movie ("Wonderland")
about the case starring Val Kilmer, Kate Bosworth, Lisa Kudrow and Dylan
Mark Lindsay of
Paul Revere and the Raiders lived
in both the Sharon Tate house and the Wonderland house.
John Holmes was born on August 8, 1944. Exactly 25 years later, members
of the Manson Family would leave Spahn Movie Ranch to commit five murders at
Cielo Drive (just after midnight on August 9). Gregory Diles was born on
Manson shot Bernard "Lotsapoppa" Crowe on July 1, 1969. The Wonderland
murders were exactly twelve years later on July 1, 1981.
The last name of victim Barbara Richardson's father was Easton. Manson
victim Jay Sebring lived on a street named Easton.
Paul Caruso represented Eddie
Nash and Susan Atkins in separate cases.
LAPD investigator Tom Lange was involved in the case. He is better
known for his detective work in the O.J. Simpson murder case.
William "Billy" Ray DeVerell (born 2-14-37 in California)
Ronald "Ron" Lee Launius (born 5-18-44 in Illinois)
Joy Audrey Miller (born 5-14-35 in Illinois)
Barbara Lee Richardson (born 10-17-58 in California)
Susan Launius (survived, wife of victim Ron Launius)
|Click images to order from Amazon.Com.
|Rolling Stone, June 15, 1989
||"The Devil and John Holmes"