Authors: James Ellroy
Their eyeball duel ended. Iwasaki did yard work. He did not see the peeper again.
Dr. Harold Kade performed the autopsy. Stephanie Lynn Gorman/Coroner's File #19597.
She was 5â²3â³/100 pounds/brown hair, brown eyes. She was healthy. Gunshot wound #1 perforated her heart and left lung. The result: Massive hemorrhage. Gunshot wound #2 perforated her right lung. The result: massive hemorrhage. Gunshot wound #3 penetrated her trachea, esophagus, and vertebral column. The result: massive hemorrhage. Gunshot wound #4 fractured her skull and penetrated her brain. The result: massive hemorrhage.
Kade checked her reproductive system. The uterus, fallopian tubes, and ovaries:
Grossly normal. No lacerations of the vagina,
rectum, or perineum.
The Gorman job continued. Homicide Division jumped in. Sergeants J. R. Buckles and W. R. Munkres clocked on.
They found the Negro candy sellers. They cleared them. They questioned the Gorman family. They learned this:
Stephanie was a good girl. She did not flirt or provoke boys. She got top grades. She held class office. She excelled at Palms Junior High and Hami. She had no enemies. She did not truck with bad kids.
SID kicked back ballistics. The weapon: a .25-caliber auto. The millimeter equivalent: .635. Right-hand twist/six lands and grooves/Colt brand autos excluded. In evidence: 4 “Western” brand shell casings, 4 .25-caliber bullets. In progress: crime report cross-checks for the same type gun and MO.
The detectives worked. They debunked hysterical tips. They cleared suspicious Negroes. They read recent crime reports. Two nuts-at-large stood out.
Nut #1: “The Shoe-Tree Rapist.” At large since 2/4/62. A West Valley habituÃ©. A unique MO.
He cruises residential blocks. He spots housewives outside. He enters their pads through rear doors. He finds neckties or electric cords. He finds vaginal jellies or cold cream. The ties and cords act as restraints. The jellies and creams lubricate.
He wears gloves and masks. He grabs the women and binds them. He stuck a shoe-tree in his first victim's vagina. His next five victims fought him off. He ran out their back doors. He never speaks. He may be a mute. He may drive a '48 or '52 Chevy. He's good for 13 burglaries and 7 attempt rapes. Witness descriptions vary. He
a white male. He
be 19 to 23. He
be 30 to 40. Sometimes he appears unshaven.
Nut #2: “The Remorseful Rapist.”
He's a white male “Latin type.” He's about 26. He's 5â²11â³/185. He's got a crew cut and a neat appearance. He hits apartment pads in Wilshire and Central Division. He hits pads near bus lines.
He targets lone women. He cons his way in. He shows a small revolver and subdues them. He tapes their eyes and mouth. He rapes them. He apologizes post-rape. He shows them the gun is a toy.
The detectives worked. They found the Negro church crew. They cleared them. They checked out three local meter men. They cleared them. They went to Stephanie's funeral. The crowd ran 1,000 strong.
Hillside Memorial Park. Rabbi Michael Albagli presiding. Relatives, friends, and neighbors. Ed Gorman's clients and Hami Hi kids. Tears and soliloquy. Ed and Julie Gorman distraught.
The detectives worked. They skimmed old crime reports. They read ballistics reports. They read FI cards. They checked out loiterers detained and released. They fielded crank calls. A kid called in. He said Stephanie was a hooker. She nixed a Hami football player. He shot her for it. A crank note came in. It snitched off actor Richard Burton. More neighbors called in. They snitched off suspicious Negroes. A Hami girl called in. She said Stephanie dated Paul Bernstein and Steve Spiegelman.
SID retained the slugs and shells. Techs ran comparison tests. The slugs and shells matched no slugs and shells from prior confiscations. The print men studied the elimination prints. They found four prints remaining. They photographed them. The photo lab made blow-ups.
A sketch artist worked with George Iwasaki. They created a peeper sketch. The detectives talked to Dr. Kade. He offered this opinion: Stephanie Gorman was not a virgin at her time of death.
The detectives talked to Ed and Julie Gorman. They questioned them per Stephanie and sex. The Gormans deemed her a virgin. She had a checkup on 4/3/65. Talk to Dr. Fred Pobirs.
Buckles and Munkres saw Dr. Pobirs. He confirmed the checkup. He consulted his records. He saw no pelvic exam notes. He said she was 15 then. If she wasn't a virgin, I would have told the family.
The detectives questioned Stephanie's friends and classmates. They confirmed Stephanie's good-girl status. They talked to boys she dated. They had 8/5 alibis. They denied sex with Stephanie. They were credible. They vouched Stephanie's chastity. The detectives figured this:
Doc Kade might be right. Doc Kade might be wrong. Natural function or accidents cause vaginal rupture.
The detectives braced registered sex offenders. They ran RSO mug shots by George Iwasaki. He nixed them all. They were not the northeast-bedroom peeper.
It was 8/11/65. L.A. was wicked hot. The Watts Riot broke out. LAPD responded. A manpower call blared. LAPD men answered en masse. The riot featured arson, sniping, and looting. It was Suspicious Negro Armageddon. The National Guard arrived. A curfew was imposed. L.A. shut down. L.A. stayed indoors. L.A. watched the riot on TV. LAPD got swamped. The riot impeded travel. The riot fucked up communications. Normal LAPD service got suspended. Hot investigations lost time.
The riot de-conflagrated. Order got restored. South L.A. got singed to Cinder City. LAPD service resumed
The Gorman job: stymied, quicksand, sludge.
Buckles and Munkres wrote a progress report. Lieutenant Pierce Brooks approved it. The report ran hypothetical reconstructions.
12:45. Stephanie gets home. She goes to her bedroom. She drops her schoolbooks and purse. She goes to the kitchen. She has a snack.
Stephanie has dry-skin problems. She goes to the master bathroom. It adjoins Cheryl's room. She creams her rough skin. Maybe the suspect grabs her there. He's already in the house. The skin-cream bottleâfound in the bathtubânot normal there.
No forced entry. That cord by the front door. Maybe he knocks. Stephanie answers. Maybe he just barges in.
He hits her. He subdues her. It explains her torn lip. The bruise on her foreheadâcall it blow two. Maybe it's a fall-down bump from blow one.
He carries Stephanie. He
Stephanie. Her right-hip brush burns suggest this. Cheryl's bedroom is close. Stephanie is helpless or unconscious. He pulls the south bed out. He throws her on it. He binds her wrists to the east-bed legs. He spread-eagles her. He strips her lower body. He throws her clothes on the floor. He cuts her top and bra up the middle. He goes to the master bedroom. He finds a Jergens jar. He returns to the bedroom. He lubricates Stephanie's rectum and vagina. He tosses the jar and lid. Rememberâthe jar on the floor/the lid on the nightstand.
Doc Kade's opinion: sodomy and rape.
Tests for residues or foreign fluids inside the body not yet conducted.
The killer assaults Stephanie. Stephanie regains consciousness. Say she struggles then. Say it's like this. Say she struggles throughout the whole thing.
Her wrists break free. Rememberâthe right-wrist cord still on her arm/the cord strands loose on the bed leg.
She gets off the bed. The killer corners her. He blocks the doors. Stephanie stumbles. She hits the east wall. She kneelsâ horror/shock/exhaustion. He shoots her four times. His gun's an automatic. The spent shells eject left to right. He's bloody now. He goes to the master bedroom. He grabs two towels. He wipes himself off. He goes out the back door. He hits the patio. He drops the towels on a chaise lounge. He goes out the back gate. He's on Sawyer Street. He's gone.
Stephanie dies in Cheryl's bedroom. A sibling resemblance exists. Was
the intended vic?
The Gorman job faded out newswise. Postriot shit upstaged it. Stephanie got brief coverage. It played up her good-girl status. She was young, bright, lovely. She got straight A's. She was Hami Hi “in” crowd. She was movie-mad. She got extra gigs in
Bye Bye Birdie.
The detectives slogged. They issued a bulletin. It featured a crime summary and the peeper sketch. It went out 8/24/65. It went to the Feds and PDs nationwide. LAPD got kickbacks: similar MOs/divergent MOs/MOs off the beam. Rape-os, rape-o killers, bondage rape-os. Burglar rape-os, knife rape-os, gun rape-os, child rape-os, girl rape-os, woman rape-os, old lady rape-os.
Some freaks resembled the sketch. Most freaks didn't. George Iwasaki viewed nationwide mug shots and nixed them. They got no print matches. They got no ballistic matches. They got more phone tips and more letters. They cleared three hundred suspects. They issued bulletin #2. They sent slug and shell samples to the FBI and CII. Bulletin #2 begged for comparison slugs and shells. It featured the four-print blow-up. It begged for kickbacks: All suspects known or in stir.
No matches. Straight kickback zeros.
The Feds had a slug and shell. Ditto CII. LAPD retained two. The bulletin hit Canada and Mexico. Shit: no matches, more zeros.
The detectives slogged. They reinterviewed Stephanie's classmates. They reconfirmed her good-girl status. They interviewed Cheryl's male friends. They cleared them. They checked West L.A. FI cards. They braced Beverlywood freaks. They torqued wienie waggers, jailbait johnnies, glue sniffers, hopheads, and public jackoff freaks. They cleared them. They cleared local delivery-men. They cleared Ed Gorman's Negro ex-gardener. They cleared suspicious Negroes. They cleared rape-jacket Negroes citywide.
The Gormans were fine people. Ed was a fine lawyer. He had no enemies. His reputation gleamed. He served his synagogue selflessly. Julie's rep gleamed. The “good-girl” Gorman sisters were unassailably thus. They did not provoke or dick-tease. They did not backyard-sunbathe provocatively. Stephanie frequented the Standard Club. She wore demure outfits. She never wore revealing bikinis.
The Shoe-Tree Rapistâstill at large. The Remorseful Rapistâ likewise. Likewise
many sick humps.
THE GORMAN JOB slogged on. The Gorman job slogged on full-speed.
It was proactive. It was reactive. It ran tangential. It ran straight ahead. It was footwork and filework and gruntwork. It was a full-fledged freak symphony.
They got call-ins. A local girl ratted off a local “wino type.” She said he resembled the sketch. George Iwasaki saw him and nixed him. No print match/no viable gun stats. The Green Bay, Wisconsin, PD called. They had a local freak.
resembled the sketch. Iwasaki nixed a mug shot. No print match
Doc Kade called. He had late test results.
The vaginal and rectal semen tests: inconclusive. Plus: no other foreign fluids present/no
They cleared a Crest Drive wienie wagger. He flashed his shvantz from his balcony. Crest Drive adjoined Hillsboro and Sawyer. They cleared a freak nicknamed “Wino.” He forged prescriptions. He popped goofballs. He habituated the Mar Vista Bowl. He pushed mary jane to kids. They checked out a 6/4/64 case. A freak kidnapped a Hami Hi girl. It was bold and streetside.
He flashed a knife. He made her get in his car. He made her disrobe. He kissed her breasts. He let her go.
That one went nowhere. One still-at-large freak.
They checked out a 3/12/65 gig. It was a parked-car caper. It featured a Hami girl and a boy. The girl was topless. Her name was in Stephanie's address book. The caper was Mickey Mouse. They cleared the boy.
“Harvey the Confessor” confessed. Harvey was habitual. He showed up at West L.A. Station. He copped to the Gorman job. The cops heard his jive confession. The cops cut him loose.
Fall '65 dragged on. They checked out the Standard Club. It was in Cheviot Hills. It was mid-upscale Jewish. The Gormans partied there. Maybe some freak saw Stephanie there. Maybe his hard-on commenced there. Maybe Stephanie flipped his freak switch.
They did 122 interviews. They ran gun checks concurrent. They checked 8/5/65 time cards. They logged rumors. They logged more good-girl rebop. They found some freak employees. They found some ex-cons. They looked at them close.
They read rap sheets. They charted work histories. They charted work absences on 8/5/65. They leaned on the freaks.
One Negro had two DUIs. Fuck himâhe's a lush. One Negro had multiple busts: burglary/ADW/check-bounce tsuris. One Negro had a stat rape bust.
They leaned on them. They gun-checked them. They print-checked them. They cleared them both.
They checked out snack-bar guys, pool guys, lifeguards, tennis pros. They braced a potential rape-o. He picked a girl up at the club. He invited her to a movie. He drove her to the Hollywood Hills. He tried to promote a fuck. She said no fuck. He drove her home then.
The Standard Club washed out. They ran gun checks, print checks, and show-ups with George Iwasaki. They got bupkes. They punted. They tracked obscene-phone-call reports.
They waded in. They slid through slime. They tracked back four years. They tracked freaks who called young girls and freaks who bugged women about their daughters.
It was ugly. Bondage themes and straight fuck themes ran equal. The callers: all male. The victim-complainants: all female.
“Baby, let's fuck.” “I want to eat your pussy.” “I heard your sister works at Kentucky Fried Chicken on Pico. Do you and your sister fuck?”
“If you don't come across, I'll hurt your children.” “I know you got a 19-year-old daughter. Meet me on Ventura. Wear a skirt, blouse, and no nylons, or something will happen to her.”