Los Angeles, California is known as the City of Angels, infamous for its flashy sports cars, million dollar homes and five-star shopping. However, there is something more to Los Angeles than just the glitter and the glamour. Under the cover of plastic surgery and nightclubs lay a very sinister history that plagues Los Angeles, housing some of the most bizarre and creepy murders that still give us chills to this day.
In these fifteen notorious cases of murder, we’ll take you to the crime scenes where it all started, sure to be a sight that you won’t soon forget. Los Angeles may be the City of Angels, but how many of those angels weren’t angels by choice, but the victims of truly sinister circumstances.
15 The Freeway Killer
Eerily enough, the next crime scene on the list was the work of a man named William Bonin. In a bizarre twist of fate William Bonin was also abducting, sexually abusing and killing young men and boys and discarding their bodies on Southern California freeways. Strangely enough, as far as law enforcement can tell William Bonin and Randy Kraft were committing nearly identical murders, during the same few years but were not co-conspirators. Both men have contended that they were working alone and independently. Originally, police thought all of the murders were connected, however, they suspected a second murderer when they noticed some bodies had been severely mutilated, while others hadn’t. The bodies that were claimed by Randy Kraft were far more mutilated than those that belonged to William Bonin.
14 The Murder of the Three Little Inglewood Girls
Okay, flashback to 1937, Inglewood is still a suburb and it was still normal for children to play in the outside world without adult supervision. However, on the balmy day of June 26th, 1937, three little girls from Inglewood were unbeknownst to them having their last picnic. Madeline and Melba Everett, aged seven and nine, were with their eight-year-old playmate Jeanette Stephens when they would run into their own worst nightmare, Albert Dyer. Dyer lured the girls to a nearby ravine where he would sexually assault and murder them, one at a time. Dyer showed a dark meticulous tendency when he stayed to clean the bodies spotless, even dressing the girls again and tidying up their clothes. Police said he also stayed to say a bizarre prayer over their bodies.
13 Murder of the Mafia Don's Daughter
Most of us may not know the name Susan Berman off hand, however, her father Davie “the Jew” Berman was a prominent Las Vegas mafia figure, of which Susan wrote about frequently. Susan made a comfortable living and moved out to Benedict Canyon, eerily the same area where the Manson murders had been committed. On a crisp Christmas Eve morning in 2000 Susan Berman was found shot, execution style, presumed to have been dead for at least a day. So, who could’ve killed the mafia princess? Most would assume it had to do with her father’s involvement in organized crime, the only possible explanation right? Wrong. Berman’s close friend Robert Durst was arrested not long after in connection with her murder. Eerily, Robert Durst’s first wife Kathie had gone missing years earlier and was never found. Some say Susan stumbled upon evidence of Durst’s involvement and he killed her to keep her quiet, mafia style.
12 The Scorecard Murders
Randy Kraft was a fog that rested over several California interstates, between 1971 and 1983 Kraft has been linked to at least sixty-seven murders. However, during his trial and subsequent conviction, he had been found guilty of killing sixteen men then mutilating their bodies and littering them across Los Angeles highways. Kraft confessed that he would lure most of his victim’s with the promise of drugs, alcohol or a free ride. None of the victims could ever imagine that they would never return from a ride from Randy Kraft. After luring his victims, he would sexually abuse them then subsequently strangle most of his victims, following with the mutilation of their bodies. Kraft was called the “freeway killer” and “scorecard killer” due to where he left the bodies of his victims and later, investigators found that he had kept a scorecard memorializing all of his murders.
11 Rebecca Schaeffer Killed by a Deranged Fan
We’re all familiar with the story of Beatles front-man John Lennon, shot dead outside his apartment building by a deranged fan. However, a nearly identical case occurred in Los Angeles a few years later in the summer of 1989 with the murder of actress Rebecca Schaeffer. The man who had the deadly fixation on young actress Rebecca Schaeffer was a man named Robert John Bardo. Bardo was weaning off of his previous obsession with actress Samantha Smith, after she died in a plane crash in 1985. Before July 18th, 1989 Bardo had tried to meet with Schaeffer twice, but was turned away by Warner Bros security. However, after seeing Schaffer in bed with another man in the movie Scenes from the Class Struggle in Beverly Hills Bardo became enraged and once again made the trek out to Los Angeles. He hired a private investigator to find Schaeffer’s home address and walked right up to her door and rang the doorbell, when she answered he shot her point blank in the chest.
10 The Greystone Murders
Now, let’s take a break from the eighties and travel all the way back to February 16th, 1929 and look at the chilling case of the Greystone murders. The Greystone mansion was a Los Angeles suburb landmark, a 46,000 square foot Tudor style mansion who had belonged to victim Ned Doheny for only four short months. Ned Doheny was a singer, songwriter with notable success, earning him that sprawling mansion in the Los Angeles suburbs. However, that all would come to a halt that cold February day when Ned’s body was discovered in his guest bedroom alongside his secretary, Hugh Plunket in an apparent murder-suicide. The Greystone murders are still that of some speculation. Some say Plunket murdered Doheny because he refused to give him a raise and then turned the gun on himself. However, others point to the significance of Doheny not being buried alongside his family in a Catholic cemetery, suggesting that he was in fact the one that committed suicide.
9 Bugsy Siegel Shot While Reading the Los Angeles Times
Benjamin “Bugsy” Siegel was yet another member of the mafia, said to be one of the main driving forces behind the building of the Las Vegas strip. Siegel was in cahoots with some of the biggest names in organized crime such as Lucky Luciano and Vito Genovese, heads to the powerful Genovese crime family in New York. Some say Bugsy was a hired hitman for the Genovese family, allegedly being the man behind dozens of mob murders, but most notably the assassination of Joe Masseria, a fat cat crime boss from New York. Like most men in “the life” will tell you, you rarely make it out alive and Bugsy was no exception. On a balmy night in June, 1947 Siegel was reading The Los Angeles Times when he was shot through his window with a military grade M1 Carbine, riddling his body with holes. The gunman was never identified and the case remains unsolved.
8 Lana Turner's Fourteen-Year-Old Daughter Murders Her Boyfriend
Old Hollywood noir icon Lana Turner had claimed her fame in films like The Postman Always Rings Twice and Peyton’s Place. The MGM bombshell would be remembered for something else, other than her acting chops, when police were called to her Beverly Hills home on April 4th, 1958. As police followed the blonde into her home they were stunned to find the body of her boyfriend, Johnny Stompanato, lying in a pool of his own blood in her bedroom. Lana’s handsome beau was said to be an associate of mobster Mickey Cohen, but associate or not, there he lay on Lana’s bedroom floor stabbed in the abdomen with a butcher knife. However, the confession that followed was somehow even more shocking. The murderer was Lana’s fourteen-year-old daughter Cheryl Crane. Crane said she had only stabbed Stompanato in defense of her mother, who she said was in the crosshairs of Stompanato’s homicidal rage. The coroner agreed and found it to be a justifiable homicide.
7 Ronni Chasen's Last Drive
The murder of PR titan Ronni Chasen is one that still puzzles investigators to this day, an absurd puzzle with an unclear message. On November 16th Chasen was driving her dark colored Mercedes-Benz up Sunset boulevard to turn on Whittier drive when the calls came into police. Surrounding residents began to phone police that there was a dark color Mercedes-Benz that had driven up onto the curb and had run down a concrete streetlight. When police arrived on scene they found Chasen slumped over in the driver’s seat, her deployed airbag soaked in her own blood from her nose and mouth. Police had originally stated they thought it looked like an obvious murder for hire, the shattered passenger’s window suggested that Chasen was shot by a sharp shooter in a vehicle that had passed her. Eventually, a tip from none other than America’s Most Wanted led police to a felon named Harold Martin Smith. The investigation didn’t get far because as soon as police arrived to question Smith he pulled out a pistol and shot himself in the head.
6 The Head in the Hollywood Hills
If you’ve never heard of the infamous discovery of a severed human head in the Hollywood Hills, then today is your lucky day. In early 2012 a woman walking her dogs on the hiking trail to the infamous Hollywood sign when she stumbled upon a severed human head belonging to 66-year old Mexicana Airlines employee Hervey Medellin. In the later months other parts of his well-preserved body were found all over the trail. Initially the investigators thought Hervey’s strange art collection was the motive. Medellin had managed to acquire several rare and famous fine art pieces, his collection said to be worth over half a million dollars. However, no leads panned out until they focused on Medellin’s lover, Gabriel Campos-Martinez. Police eventually found that Campos-Martinez had lied about Hervey Medellin calling him from a calling card in Mexico. Police found that money was likely the motive after Campos-Martinez was the sole recipient of all of Medellin’s valuables.
5 The Burbank Widow
The Burbank murder of Mabel Monahan is sure to run chills up your spine. The story goes that Monahan’s daughter, Iris, was married to a man named Tutor Scherer, who was a known associate of the mafia in Las Vegas. Most think that though the relationship between Monahan’s daughter and Scherer didn’t work out, Monahan still kept close ties to her former son-in-law, however, it was that same connection that would eventually do her in. It was rumored that Monahan and Scherer were still so close that Scherer kept up to $100,000 in a safe in his ex-mother-in-law’s home for security reasons. The rumors eventually found its way to four ex-cons and a junkie prostitute looking for an easy score, and they decided Mabel Monahan would be their mark. The young woman walked right up to Monahan’s door and rang the doorbell, spinning a convincing tale that her car had broken down, and she simply needed to borrow Monahan’s telephone. However, once inside the four thugs followed. They tied Monahan up and beat her to a bloody pulp after she claimed there was no safe with $100,000. As she lay dying on the living room floor, the crooks turned the Burbank home upside down and found to their dismay that Monahan was telling the truth: there was no safe.
4 Suge Knight: Death Row Records Hit and Run
Most of us have heard of Marion “Suge” Knight, the notorious Death Row Records associate rumored to be one of the shadiest men in hip-hop, associated with the deaths of Tupac Shakur, Eazy E and the Notorious B.I.G. However, there’s no confusion that he is responsible for the death of 55-year-old producer Terry Carter, after a spat with Knight over the biopic of Compton’s legendary rap group N.W.A. titled Straight Out of Compton. According to police Suge Knight followed Terry Carter and another associate to a nearby burger restaurant called Tam’s Burgers, and reportedly tried to run the two over in his red Ford F150. Knight succeeded and ran over Carter, eventually causing injuries that were bad enough to kill the man. Knight was arrested a few days later after eye witnesses positively identified Knight as the perpetrator.
3 The Sunset Strip Murders
In 1980, Los Angeles was the home to over 1,200 homicides in just a one-year period. What was once the glimmering backlight of glamorous movie stars soon became a place that seemed to attract danger as well. However, that danger became impossible to ignore in 1980 when Douglas Clark and Carol Bundy locked eyes in a dive bar in the valley one night. The two immediately found that they shared the same deviant sexual desires. Unknowingly, two 15-year old girls from the suburbs would be the first to fall victim to these psychopathic sweethearts. After abducting the girls, the couple sexually abused them then killed the pair. Clark continued to sexually assault the girls after their death and then mutilated their corpses after. The couple claimed several more victims and the press deemed them the “sunset strip killers” because they left their bodies of work on the Sunset strip for all the world to see.
2 The Body in the Water Tank
What’s even creepier than the death of Elisa Lam is the theories the setting and the fact that investigators are still just as puzzled as they were years ago when they found the young woman floating in the rooftop water tank of the Cecil Hotel. The bizarre history of the Cecil is the setting for several suicides and murders, including the strangling murder of three prostitutes by notorious serial killer Richard Ramirez. Lam checked in when in Los Angeles for a business trip, however, shortly after her arrival she went missing having never checked out of the hotel. Days later guests started to complain that not only did their water taste awful, but it was actually coming out of the faucets black. It was then that hotel employees went to check the water tank of the Cecil Hotel on the rooftop, to their horror, there lay the naked body of Elisa Lam, her decomposing body the cause of the plumbing issues. Shortly after a video was released from hotel security cams of Lam in an elevator acting extremely bizarre, looking around the hallway and the elevator and even seemed like she was speaking to someone even though there was evidently no one there.
1 The Grim Sleeper
The man that the press deemed “The Grim Sleeper” was none other than active Los Angeles community member, Lonnie David Franklin Jr. Franklin was given this infamous moniker because police believe he took a fourteen-year break from his killings, stopping abruptly in 1988 only to resurface in 2002. Franklin is known to have committed ten murders, but some believe he was responsible for as many as thirty. Conveniently for Franklin, there were several serial killers active during his rampage, making it hard for to police to attribute which murders belonged to which killer. However, Franklin’s M.O. finally emerged, Franklin would pick up women who police believed were prostitutes and addicts in his car and then kill them with a 9mm handgun after taking them to a private place, when police searched his home in connection with the killings they found polaroids of all his ten victims, and polaroids of many more women who have yet to be identified.