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“Wonderland Murders”: Rick Jackson On Making A Podcast From Infamous True Story

The Wonderland Murders are one of the most infamous cases in Los Angeles history, and Michael Connelly and Rick Jackson are giving true crime fans unprecedented access in their new Audible podcast The Wonderland Murders & The Secret History of Hollywood.

In 1981, Laurel Canyon was the site of brutal slayings that would have ripple effects for decades to come. Rick spent 34 years working for the Los Angeles Police Department, with almost three decades of that in homicide; he has a lengthy relationship with award-winning author Connelly that includes consulting on Amazon’s hit series Bosch.

Now as Connelly plunged into this infamous case, Rick joined him as an executive producer — and joined Nerdophiles to speak about what this podcast has to offer that others don’t and why it’s worth going back to the case 40 years later. True crime fans will find a lot to nerd out about in this Audible original.

Nerdophiles: You’ve worked with Michael Connelly on numerous projects. How did you become part of The Wonderland Murders specifically?

Rick Jackson: I’ve worked with Michael on his books as a consultant for probably 17 years, was involved in the Bosch TV show for the first couple of years as a technical advisor, and we’ve established a friendship as well [through] other projects that we’ve been involved in. This one, in particular, I came up with the idea, and I knew Mike was always interested in the Wonderland case.

I obviously had contact with Tom Lange and Bob Souza, people I worked with who were the original detectives on the Wonderland case. And I’ve also dealt with Scott Thorsen for 33 years, which is a story in and of itself. That was an independent case that I investigated as a murder in Hollywood in 1987, and eventually his name got pulled into it and I ended up arresting him—not for the murder, but for an unrelated robbery that was connected, because they were saying some of the same people were involved as suspects in the murder and in the robbery.

That wasn’t the end of Scott Thorsen for me; it’s been an off-and-on continuum for 30-something years. So I knew I had access to him, and he could tell some amazing stories and was obviously a prominent figure in the eventual reason the case got filed against Eddie Nash and Gregory Diles in 1988, some seven years after the murders occurred.

NP: What motivated you to want to revisit the case? Is there a particular story you wanted to tell or a specific resonance the case has for you?

RJ: Even though I worked homicide with LAPD for 28 years, I’m still fascinated by the cases [and] historic crimes as well. I’m kind of a historian of crime in L.A. I spent a lot of time working with James Ellroy, who is a crime historian, if you will, and I learned many new things from him as well. So I’ve just always had a fascination with certain cases.

I actually was the first detective at the scene on the Wonderland case. I had no involvement in the case at all; I was a detective trainee in Hollywood and no one was around that night when we first heard about the multiple bodies found in the house. I knew enough as a trainee detective to at least go up there and try to control the crime scene until the assigned investigating officers were going to get there. It was just before a holiday weekend, I worked nights and I knew Robbery Homicide Division, which eventually handled the case, would not be up there for a while. So I went up there just to try to control things and limit the amount of people that were in and out of the house before the detectives got there.

So I had not only an interest in crime but in this particular case from that first day. And I knew Mike Connelly was interested in the case, and I just came up with this idea that this would be an interesting story to tell. It’s been told a lot of different ways, and believe me, it’s not told in this way ever before this. We pulled a lot of people from the cobwebs 40 years later and had them tell some amazing stories, so it’s been fascinating to do it.

NP: The Wonderland Murders exploded into this huge case that included drugs, the mafia, a corrupt federal agent, and all kinds of almost unbelievable things. What kinds of discussions did you have as far as how to even find people and wrangle all this information?

RJ: There’s a way to leave a message in this website for retired LAPD personnel, and so I put something in there, because a lot of people had their fingers even peripherally in the Eddie Nash stuff that was going on outside of the murder—his drug empire, if you will, and then also in the second tier level of people that were involved, whether it was a witness, whether it was a first officer at the scene. I put a little feeler out in this site and ended up getting probably 30 or 40 calls from people that had all kinds of experiences in dealing with Eddie Nash, or his clubs, or the narcotics world.

Heidi Fleiss, even though she’s not an officer, gets pulled into this because she had dealings with Eddie Nash. So that shows you that the breadth of the people we’re talking to. Heidi Fleiss I happened to deal with because I handled her best friend’s murder in 1989, I believe it was, and this was before she was known as the Heidi Fleiss we know of today. Her best friend was murdered and I was the investigating officer on that case. I reached out to her, and she granted an interview to Michael Connelly for the podcast as well.

A person that I worked with and knew, I had no idea he was the first officer to the scene. He reached out to me, so we interviewed him and it’s a pretty dramatic telling of the story. He’d never told this story before…his arrival at the scene, not knowing what to expect, what he saw, what he heard, and it’s pretty riveting stuff. People came out of the woodwork to contact us, and I’m sure a lot of it had to do with seeing Michael Connelly’s name was part of this production. Law enforcement officers love Connelly’s work, as do defense attorneys and prosecutors. They just know he gets it right. I’m sure that drew people out more, knowing that he was involved in the project and that it would be done and told in an inappropriate way.

NP: Most true crime seems to want that visual element to sort of shock the audience with the graphic nature of the cases. What was it like for you to do The Wonderland Murders as a podcast, and not have that part of the presentation?

RJ: I grew up listening to Dodger games and listening to Vin Scully. That, in retrospect, was probably the best thing for me rather than seeing every game on television, because you lived in your mind with what you were hearing, and you could visualize it. It’s fascinating in that way. For instance, the first officer at the scene, a gentleman named Norm Lee, him telling that is actually more intriguing to me than if you had a body cam on him walking through [the crime scene].

Some other dramatic stories were told by a man that’s now a judge; he’s been a judge for 36 years in Los Angeles, but before that, he was a highly experienced and highly regarded prosecutor with the District Attorney’s office, and he handled the first murder trial on this case, the trial of John Holmes. Some of the stories about the trial and other things that were happening outside of the courtroom, like people that would come into his office and try to make contact with him that were involved with Nash, were pretty interesting to hear. He’s got a great voice and he tells it dramatically—not because he’s trying to, it’s just what’s in the information and the way he tells it.

This stuff fascinated me as a crime historian, and I know Mike was just as fascinated…I think it’s a great way to tell a story.

NP: Is there anything that you’re hoping true crime fans walk away with after they’ve heard The Wonderland Murders? A misconception you want to correct or just something you want to leave them to think on?

RJ: I had nothing to do directly with the investigation of the case. But I had a big effect on it in the sense that I had initiated an arrest of Scott Thorsen for some felonies, which caused him to want to try to deal with those felonies, so he didn’t go to jail or maybe spent less time. Him coming forward really flipped the case, even though I didn’t know he had the information. It’s funny how I found out; I was on a plane going to Las Vegas on another murderer investigation, and I read the L.A. Times that day, and it talked about this new witness had come forward. They confirmed that it was Scott Thorsen, he was waiting in jail on some other charges [and] had given the information that put them over the top to charge Nash and Diles with murder. That’s an interesting story, and it just blew me away because they did all this behind my back, which was fine because they were dealing with multiple murders.

I think the listener will walk away with an appreciation of how involved these cases get [and] how things can go sideways on them. Like in the jury trial involving Nash and Diles, how it can go from one almost conviction to something completely opposite within a few months. They’ll get a better understanding of behind-the-scenes things that are going on—the facts that lead detectives to do certain things, how the justice system can not work sometimes when you have the right people. It’s not a question of if you had the right or wrong person; it’s just how things worked.

Connelly does a brilliant job of giving the reader a time and place. This was Laurel Canyon, leaving the 1970s and music and free love, the days of the Eagles and Crosby, Stills, and Nash, into one of the more horrendous crimes in the history of Los Angeles Police Department. This was particularly vicious, and such a personal attack—all done right up close and personal, not with a gun, but with blunt force trauma instruments that took the lives away of four people, and really five in a way because I’m not sure how fully [the surviving victim] ever totally recovered from it, both physically and psychologically.

It’s a fascinating tale. I use the word tale because it’s a story, but it’s true life, so it takes it to a much higher level that most people don’t have to experience in their days…And you’re hearing it from people that experienced it, were there, and most of these people you have not heard from in detail the way you’re going to hear it in this podcast.

The Wonderland Murders & The Secret History of Hollywood is available now exclusively on Audible. Stay tuned next week for more about this explosive true crime series.

Sours: https://www.nerdophiles.com/2021/07/08/wonderland-murders-rick-jackson-on-making-a-podcast-from-infamous-true-story/

Thirty-year-old Cold Case Solved

News Release

Monday, February 5, 2007

Media Relations
Los Angeles: Los Angeles Police Cold Case detectives have solved a decades old homicide, bringing bittersweet closure to the victim's family and the investigators themselves.

During the evening hours of March 18, 1973, George Akopian, 54, of Tarzana, was home with his wife when he was shot and killed by a man who had answered Akopian's advertisement to sell a stamp collection. Akopian had been heard arguing with the suspect just prior to the shooting. The suspect shot Akopian once in the chest killing him.

The case lingered unsolved until 2005 when cold-case detectives Rick Jackson and Richard Bengston reopened the investigation. They discovered that a fingerprint had been lifted from original evidence recovered at the scene, but it had never been matched to a suspect. The fingerprint was run through LAPD's updated automated fingerprint system and returned with a hit.

Investigators found the fingerprint belonged to Francis J. Fico, also known as Rodney H. Wallace. Fico had a multi-state criminal history dating back to 1958, including two bank robberies, one in New York in 1969 and the other in Los Angeles in 1973. The west coast robbery occurred just two months after Akopian's murder. Fico had spent most of his adult life in and out of prison.

Closure has been bittersweet, because Fico died in 1995 from injuries he sustained in a traffic accident in Spokane, Washington, where he was living.

Detective Jackson conceded that, "There is pleasure in closing a case, but the true satisfaction comes from providing justice to the families of victims." In spite of the disappointment of not having the opportunity to hold the suspect accountable for this crime, detectives expressed satisfaction in knowing that they were successful in solving an age-old crime.

Further inquiries can be made to Detective Jackson or Detective Bengston of Robbery Homicide Division, at 213-847-0970. A photograph of Fico is available through Media Relations Section at 213-485-3586.

Sours: https://lapdonline.org/february_2007/news_view/34598
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Watching the Detectives

Anyone who wonders why crime stories dominate our popular culture should spend a day with Tim Marcia, Rick Jackson and Dave Lambkin. They're Los Angeles police detectives, members of the department's two-year-old cold-case squad, which is responsible for re-examining unsolved crimes through the lens of the latest forensic advances. A conversation about their work sounds like a pitch meeting for a new ripped-from-the-headlines TV series: ''L.A. Law and Order.'' The stories go on literally for hours, and, well, you couldn't make this stuff up, which is ostensibly why the best-selling crime novelist Michael Connelly is here in the squad room, a stuffy, essentially characterless enclosure with a few desks pushed together. He's just starting a new book, and on this January morning he's foraging for material.

He has a lot to select from. There's the story about the rapist and murderer who, in his portable crime kit, along with several pairs of handcuffs and precut lengths of duct tape, carried a vial of another man's semen, which he sprinkled on the rug of the crime scene to throw off the cops. There's the one about the murder suspect being monitored on a wiretap who revealed -- long before divulging the details of his crime -- that he was a homosexual and, to the great glee of the police officers listening in, that he had a crush on Detective Jackson. And then there's the one about the guy arrested for sexually abusing his daughter. The cops tested his semen, but as Detective Jackson recalls, ''they come back and they say to the guy: 'We got good news and bad news. The bad news is that we made you on the DNA. The good news is that she isn't your daughter.'''

Connelly, 47, listens with gratitude and amazement; he isn't used to this kind of openness. He first got to know the Los Angeles Police Department as a reporter for The Los Angeles Times. He arrived from Fort Lauderdale, Fla., to take a job on the police beat in 1987 and stayed until 1994, a span that included the Rodney King beating and the Los Angeles riots and ended just before the O.J. Simpson case got under way. They were years when the department was riddled by scandal, the scrutiny of the press was ever-present and the institutional animosity between the department and the newspaper was intense. ''I can't tell you how many times I'd approach a guy and introduce myself, say I'm Mike Connelly from The L.A. Times, and he'd say, 'Good for you,' and turn away,'' he says.

A compact man with short gray-blond hair and a trimmed beard, Connelly has the solicitous manner of a reporter who knows that today a vein has opened for him and doesn't want to stanch the flow. When he speaks, it's in a soft monotone, and his questions are mostly about the details of police procedure:

''If you have DNA, and you send it through the Department of Justice,'' he asks, ''how long until you get the results?''

''Is it just an urban legend that if you get a bone-marrow transplant, it changes your DNA?''

''Have there been changes in the law regarding wiretaps since 9/11?''

Later, asked what he got from the day's research, Connelly says that the wiretap information was helpful. The detectives had described a communications center where several taps were being monitored at once. It's not the usual image of a wiretap in progress, he says. You know the one: a couple of guys hunched in the back of a van with headphones on. Still, the lion's share of his gleaned information was not in the particulars.

''I don't want to underplay procedure and technology,'' he says, ''but to me what's really important is the emotional stuff.''

He noticed, he says, that each of the three detectives had photos of victims prominently displayed on their desks. ''Early on, one of them said, 'You always have one case you fall in love with,''' he says. ''Most people in life have pictures of kids or wives festooned around their desks. These guys have dead people.''

To inform those without a weakness for detective stories, Michael Connelly is the emerging star of the genre. He routinely sells about 300,000 copies of his books in hardcover and about a million more in paperback. While that doesn't approach the really heavy hitters like John Grisham, whose legal thrillers sell upward of two million hardcovers, Connelly is an avowed favorite of critics and other mystery novelists, who give him credit for elevating, if not transcending, the genre. He has been called the natural heir of the Los Angeles crime family, which begins with Raymond Chandler and descends through the likes of Ross MacDonald, Joseph Wambaugh and James Ellroy. And others have been more complimentary than that.

''In the old mystery tradition, in which a crime is committed at the beginning and solved in the end,'' says George Pelecanos, whose 10th book, ''Hard Revolution,'' was just published, ''he's the best mystery writer in the world, I think.''

Connelly is a student of police procedure -- he keeps a small library of manuals at home -- and he comes equipped with a reporter's eye for detail and, as a setting, a city that is rife with atmosphere. He also has a nose for plot; he knows where the skeletons are buried (the bare bones of an early novel, ''The Concrete Blonde,'' were snitched from a procedure manual), and he has the writerly ingenuity to provide their page-turning, seductive flesh.

But what may distinguish him most is his interest in the psychic toll of police work: not how a cop works on a case, as he puts it, echoing a line of Wambaugh's, ''but how a case works on a cop.'' His admiration for the police officers who manage to do the job right is as viscerally felt as a little boy's. He was first intrigued by the police as a 16-year-old, he says, when he witnessed a carjacking in Fort Lauderdale and spent the night in the police station answering questions about it. ''There was definitely a bit of hero worship in it,'' Connelly says of his decision to write novels about cops, which happened not long afterward, when he was in college.

Since then, he says: ''I've come to respect them more, probably. It's a hard job to do correctly, and when you do, it's not noticed. But if you make a mistake or fall victim to the myriad lures of corruption or the other things that can happen to you, then you get noticed. They accept that, and their acceptance of it is the nobility of the job.''

Connelly has written 14 novels since 1992, 10 of them -- including ''The Narrows,'' just published by Little, Brown -- featuring a Los Angeles police detective named Harry Bosch. And in many ways the Bosch novels amount to a chronicle of life in the Los Angeles Police Department in the post-Rodney King era. In Connelly's unflattering portrayal, it is an angry, paranoid force, hamstrung by bureaucracy and riddled not so much by corruption (though there is some of that) but by petty jealousies, small-mindedness and self-aggrandizement.

In such an environment, Harry Bosch is a rogue cop, and real cops like Tim Marcia, an 18-year veteran, say Connelly gets it almost exactly right. Things are changing under a new police chief, William J. Bratton, Marcia says, but for years too many L.A. cops were preoccupied with not getting in trouble themselves rather than with putting bad guys in jail. Harry, Marcia says, is an idealized version of what you have to be in order to do a good job. ''He's very methodical, and he's never interrupted,'' Marcia says. ''That's the way we would like to work.''

Growling, contemplative and skeptical, a man who suffers fools and authority figures with ill-disguised contempt, Harry is an iconoclastic throwback, the kind of guy whom men test themselves against and who challenges women to make him love them. He smokes, listens to moody jazz; he isn't averse to either drinking or heading into danger alone, and he is constitutionally unable to walk away from an innocent in peril or a criminal who might be getting away with it. In short, he is the old-fashioned sort of detective protagonist about whom Chandler wrote in the famous essay, ''The Simple Art of Murder'': ''He will take no man's money dishonestly and no man's insolence without a due and dispassionate revenge.''

Look closer, however, and Harry is a hero for our age. In fact, his tough exterior and noir milieu notwithstanding, he's actually rather soft-boiled. He has a past and a personal life; his mother was a call girl who aspired to higher things; she was murdered when Harry was 11. (Connelly borrowed this detail from the life of James Ellroy.) She gave her son the name Hieronymus, after the 15th- and 16th-century painter whose view of the hellishness on earth becomes a metaphor for the way Harry perceives Los Angeles.

And crucially, unlike just about every other fictional detective, Bosch is aging in real time. He was born in 1950. He served in Vietnam. He has an estranged wife he still loves -- and a young daughter he's just getting to know.

Harry's not a wiseacre, like Robert Parker's Spenser, nor does he have the deep sadness of P.D. James's Adam Dalgliesh. He's a brooder, though, a blue-collar philosopher who believes that the empirical evidence tells him evil exists in the world and that it is his mission to confront it.

''The idea of whether there's such a thing as a waiting evil, it's a question I don't know the answer to,'' Connelly says. ''I ask about it, but it's hard to bring it up with a cop. You have to wait for an alone moment, but I've never gotten a good answer from anybody, which is why it comes up over and over in the books.''

Connelly says he built Harry from a number of cops he met while he was a reporter. And parts of himself? Is Harry's heart his heart?

''If that would be the case, I'd be proud of that,'' Connelly says. ''His heart is the heart I'd hope to have on my best day.''

You might not expect the Los Angeles chief of police to be a Connelly fan, but he is. Chief Bratton, in his second year on the job, says that Harry's problems with department bureaucracy are ''on the money,'' and that Connelly's portrayal of a 9-to-5 culture in the department is, sadly, accurate. ''Harry would welcome the changes we're trying to bring here,'' Bratton says. ''A year ago, you could be the victim of a rape on a Friday, have three uniformed officers take you to the hospital to do all the lab work, but not see a detective until Tuesday morning. So we're getting closer to his work ethic, in the sense that his work is his life.''

Unknown to Bratton, he's playing a part in Harry's life. A couple of books ago, Harry was fed up and left the department. In the last book, ''Lost Light,'' and in ''The Narrows,'' he's working on his own, as a private detective. But Connelly found that he missed having Harry trying to turn the battleship of the department bureaucracy. In ''The Narrows,'' a new police chief announces a policy that will allow officers who took early retirement to return within three years -- a policy that, in real life, has been championed by Bratton -- and in the next book, Harry will return.

This time, however, he won't be working homicide. He's joining the cold-case squad -- the real one was formed just before Bratton took over -- which explains his visit to the squad room.

He has kept in touch with the three detectives, and since January, one thing he has learned, to his delight, is that the investigation of unsolved cases often leads out of town, offering a whole new set of possibilities for Harry. The three detectives are discussing bringing a serial killer in Delaware back to Los Angeles in connection with an old case, Connelly says, ''and I've been asking them things like, 'What do you say to a serial killer on a five-hour flight?'''

The impetus for the cold-case setting ''was the idea that these guys are coming back to cases that are 15, 20 years old and seeing the long-term damage of violence in our society. Harry's used to dealing with people in a state of shock, not with years of letting something this bad settle into their bones.''

One thing the detectives provide in January is a crucial theme -- that recent technology has turned police work upside down. Once it was the job of detectives to identify a suspect and then take fingerprints and blood samples from him to compare with evidence at the scene. Criminalists, that is, forensic experts, played a subservient role. Now, Detective Lambkin says, with the establishment of data banks for fingerprints, ballistics and DNA, ''the criminalists can come to us and say, 'This is your guy.' So you can't do the job anymore like we used to.''

This is especially pertinent to their current assignment, in that the changes have created an almost laughable backlog of work. Astoundingly, there are nearly 11,000 unsolved murders since 1960 on the books in Los Angeles, and the seven detectives on the cold-case squad are sifting through them to decide which ones might benefit from the application of techniques that were unavailable when the crimes were committed.

Connelly asks specifically about the difference between investigating cold cases and fresh ones. The speed necessary in pursuing a fresh case, he is told, means that you don't often form attachments to victims or their families. Cold cases, however, involve an enormous amount of desk work and research, of reading investigation reports and examining old evidence to familiarize yourself with the particulars of a case; murder books -- the notebooks kept by detectives as chronicles of each case -- can be more than 500 pages long. So even before you do any interviews, you know the victim almost intimately.

Detective Marcia tells Connelly a story about his recent visit to an elderly hardware-store owner to inform him that the investigation of his sister's 1969 murder was being reopened. The man broke down in tears. ''We were premature on that one,'' Marcia says, ''because we just got the DNA report back, and we don't have enough evidence to work with. So we just put this man through the ringer again, and even though we gave him hope for the moment, we're going to have to call him back and say we're sorry, but we don't have the evidence to continue. Emotionally, that's tough.''

Connelly came to writing crime novels first by accident and then by design. The son of a real estate developer who moved his family from Philadelphia to Fort Lauderdale when Michael was a boy, he was at the University of Florida, studying building and real estate, when he went to the movies one night and saw Robert Altman's film adaptation of Raymond Chandler's novel ''The Long Goodbye.'' ''That led me to the book, which led me to all of Chandler's books, and something hit me,'' he says. ''I wanted to switch my future and become a writer.''

Of course, other than witnessing a carjacking, he'd had no experience with crime or the cops. It was his father's idea that he become a reporter to learn the territory. So Connelly went to journalism school, where among other things he met his wife, Linda. (They have a daughter, now 7.) And in 1980 he went to work for The Daytona Beach News Journal; in nine months he covered one murder.

He moved back to Fort Lauderdale and spent six years on The Fort Lauderdale News. There he was luckier; in 1986, the city had more murders per capita than any other city in the country, earning it the title ''murder capital of America.''

By the time he moved to The Los Angeles Times in the summer of 1987, he had tried twice to write a novel and hadn't succeeded. But on the day he first set foot in town, he received what amounted to a sign. The headlines that day were about a mammoth bank heist, in which the crooks tunneled into the vault from underground. To this day, the crime has never been solved. But it became the centerpiece of Connelly's first novel, ''The Black Echo.''

He left The Times in 1994, and three years ago, he and his family moved back East, to Tampa. But Los Angeles continues to provide fodder for his fiction, and he visits frequently. All the books are filled with descriptions of contemporary L.A., tidbits from its history, glimpses of its underworld. Many of the plot points were born in the city as well. ''The Narrows'' has its climax during a roaring rainstorm that turns the ordinarily placid Los Angeles River into a furious torrent, an idea Connelly borrowed from a historical incident in which a boy drowned in the river in spite of a massive effort to rescue him.

In his view, however, the greatest influence on his writing occurred before he arrived. He was in Fort Lauderdale, shortly after the city earned its unfortunate sobriquet, and the police department, to earn some counterbalancing publicity, granted a reporter, Connelly, a week's access to the homicide squad.

''And lo and behold, we had three murders, all in the middle of the night,'' Connelly says. ''So I'm filling notebook after notebook, fantastic stuff. But the epiphany came in the last five minutes of that week. I'd noticed at the murder scenes that the sergeant I was staying closest to would at some point go up to the body, take off his glasses and put the earpiece in his mouth. It was always a solemn moment, and I was building all kinds of things into what he was doing. Was he silently promising, 'I will find who did this?' That kind of stuff.

''So then at the end of the week I'm sitting in the squad room doing the final 'thanks a lot,' and he starts remarking that he'd spent three nights without sleep, and he takes off his glasses and drops them on his desk to rub his eyes. And I noticed that the earpiece of his glasses had a deep groove cut into it. And I realized that it was from his teeth, that his teeth are clenched so tight when he's looking at a body that they cut into his glasses. It dawned on me at that moment that that might have been the most important thing I'd seen.

''And that, now, is what my life is, a pursuit of that kind of detail.''

Sours: https://www.nytimes.com/2004/05/09/magazine/watching-the-detectives.html
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‘Bosch’ Creator Michael Connelly Sets Wonderland Murders Podcast At Audible

EXCLUSIVE: Michael Connelly, the author of Bosch and The Lincoln Lawyer, is moving into the world of podcasting.

Connelly is behind a new documentary podcast series that will take a deep dive into the the Wonderland Murders.

The Wonderland Murders & The Secret History of Hollywood will launch on Amazon’s Audible on July 1, around the 40th anniversary of the horrific crimes. Connelly has created and written the series and will exec produce alongside LAPD homicide veteran Rick Jackson, Jen Casey (Back from the Brink) and and Nick Gilhool (Slugfest).

Named for the street in Laurel Canyon where the murders took place inside the house of a small-time drug gang, it’s a gruesome crime that reflected its time, disrupted a mythology and tells a broader story of Los Angeles, the American dream machine, and when justice does – and doesn’t – work. And for the first time, a notorious, “missing” witness unlocks it all and puts the pieces together.

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The podcast follows Scott Thorson, a man known best as Liberace’s lover and confidant, played by Matt Damon in the movie Behind the Candelabra, revealing himself here to be the “Zelig of Awful” and a tour guide into Hollywood’s dark underbelly. He is either the ultimate conman or the ultimate witness to the secret history of Hollywood.

Though it happened in 1981, the aftermath of the Wonderland Murders spans decades with characters, details, subplots and investigative twists that prove the truth-is-stranger-than-fiction adage, including: Hollywood underworld’s most violent drug kingpin; three murder trials with zero convictions; a bribed juror and accusations of a corrupt federal agent; the birth of the crack cocaine epidemic; the investigators being investigated themselves, the Black Guerilla Family; the biggest porn actor of his generation, John Holmes, not to mention wild claims about the drug use of many major celebrities; a Boston mafia Don; and finally, the story of a quick-buck televangelist who was supposed to be in witness protection when he ended up on the floor of a Florida motel shot in the face and left for dead.

It will also feature Det. Tom Lange and Det. Bob Souza, lead detectives on the Wonderland case out of LAPD’s elite investigation unit, the Robbery Homicide Division (RHD), and authors of their personal account of the case, Malice in Wonderland. In the course of their investigation, the detectives dealt with snitches, thieves, drug addicts and porn stars as well as a powerful and connected prime suspect who was able to turn the investigation against them.

The Wonderland Murders & The Secret History of Hollywood podcast is owned and produced by Miziker Content, edited by Terrill Lee Lankford, and features original music by Eamonn Welliver.

“It is exciting to be releasing this podcast on Audible, a company I’ve had a long and fruitful association with,” Connelly said. “The podcast will take the listener behind the scenes of this infamous case and look at it from angles never seen before. If you think you know this story already, you are wrong.”

The deal was negotiated by Heather Rizzo and Diane Golden for Michael Connelly and Lawrence Kopeikin for Jen Casey, Nick Gilhool and Miziker Content. Kristin Lang and Jon Kurland negotiated on behalf of Audible.

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Sours: https://deadline.com/2021/06/bosch-michael-connelly-the-wonderland-murders-the-secret-history-of-hollywood-podcast-audible-1234768526/

Lapd rick jackson

Wiretaps, Search Warrants, and DNA Swabs Murder Book

Chapter 3 - Police Sergeant. Rollin 60's gang member. Father. Murderer. Who is Pierre Romain? How did a gangster accused of killing an innocent man become a cop? As the investigation peers into Romain's rise to a badged uniform, LAPD Detective Rick Jackson and the District Attorney’s Office continue to build the case, awaiting DNA results and examining wiretaps of conversations between Romain and his associates. But even with all their efforts, they aren't prepared for the unexpected turn that takes them even further away from justice for Jade Clark.

Chapter 3 - Police Sergeant. Rollin 60's gang member. Father. Murderer. Who is Pierre Romain? How did a gangster accused of killing an innocent man become a cop? As the investigation peers into Romain's rise to a badged uniform, LAPD Detective Rick Jackson and the District Attorney’s Office continue to build the case, awaiting DNA results and examining wiretaps of conversations between Romain and his associates. But even with all their efforts, they aren't prepared for the unexpected turn that takes them even further away from justice for Jade Clark.

Sours: https://podcasts.apple.com/gh/podcast/wiretaps-search-warrants-and-dna-swabs/id1440107092?i=1000429610607
Richie Jackson, And Now - TransWorld SKATEboarding

Rick JacksonRick Jackson stands in front of a house on Rising Glen Drive at the top of the Hollywood Hills where the Realtors say the houses have jetliner views. It is his last day as a homicide detective with the Los Angeles Police Department. Retiring after 35 years on the force, most of them spent in homicide, he has returned to the scene of the first murder case he ever worked. He has the thick blue murder book that contains all the photos and records accumulated since he was called to the house on Oct. 9, 1981 to investigate the murder of Wilbur Wright, owner of a popular chain of upscale ice cream stores. The visit is half nostalgic, half hopeful in the idea that finally something will spring loose – an idea, a clue, a direction.

He studies the photos and the diagrams he drew of the crime scene so long ago. But it’s not to be today. Rick will retire and turn the murder book over to another detective, the case still open and unsolved. He has cracked dozens and dozens of murders in the City of Angels over the last four decades but it is the open cases that still haunt. “Sorry, Wilbur,” he says to himself. “Maybe somebody else will solve this one after I’m gone.”

It is unlikely. No one cared about his cases as much as Rick Jackson. It is end of watch for a consummate homicide man, one of the models for the fictional character of Harry Bosch. I thank Rick Jackson for his service to the community of Los Angeles as well as to me as an author just trying to get the world – his world – right in my stories. Somehow, through all of the years and all of the horrible cases, Rick has maintained his humanity and his humor. There is no one I know who carries Harry Bosch’s code as well as he – that everyone counts or no one counts. For that I will always be grateful. I hope that when it’s Harry’s time to pull the pin he does it with the same grace and dignity.

-Michael Connelly

Sours: https://www.michaelconnelly.com/about/otherwords/end-of-watch/

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