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A group of detective and police officers surround a crime scene. An officer holds up a white sheet to conceal with they are all looking at.
Coroner officials outside the Sharon Tate-Roman Polanski home in 1969.
Bettmann Archive

Mapped: 26 of LA’s most notorious murders

The city’s history is rife with grisly homicides

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Coroner officials outside the Sharon Tate-Roman Polanski home in 1969.
| Bettmann Archive

Los Angeles’s noir reputation is hard-earned: From the early days of the film industry, it’s seen murder after lurid murder, often made more lurid by the voraciousness of a press that can’t pass up a tragedy. For Halloween, here’s a map of 26 famous murder sites in LA, from Old Hollywood director William Desmond Taylor’s Westlake bungalow court to the scene of a gruesome quintuple murder carried out by the followers of Charles Manson.

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William Desmond Taylor

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In one of Hollywood's oldest mysteries, Irish director William Desmond Taylor was found shot to death in his Westlake bungalow on February 2, 1922. Suspects included several actresses and a former chauffeur known to fake a British accent, but the murder has never been solved.

The exterior of a house. There are stairs leading to the door. There are two people standing at the door facing each other. Los Angeles Public Library

Thomas Ince

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Early studio mogul Thomas Ince died at his Dias Dorados estate in Beverly Hills on November 19, 1924, but he was rumored to have been shot a few days earlier by William Randolph Hearst on Hearst's yacht, off the coast of San Diego. There are a million versions of the story, but they mostly assume that Hearst mistook Ince for Charlie Chaplin, who he believed was having an affair with his mistress, Marion Davies. Officially, Ince died of natural causes.

A large house. There is a body of water and a lawn in front of the house. Los Angeles Public Library

Ned Doheny and Hugh Plunkett

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On February 16, 1929, shortly after oil heir Ned Doheny moved into Greystone Mansion in Beverly Hills, he and his secretary Hugh Plunkett were both found shot to death in a bedroom. It's unknown who exactly shot whom or why, but money, sex, and the Teapot Dome scandal are obviously the most common theories.

Greystone Mansion
A large mansion with a courtyard. In the center of the courtyard is a fountain.
Los Angeles Public Library

Elizabeth Short (the Black Dahlia)

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Maybe LA's most famous murder of all time: Elizabeth Short was found cut in half in a field in Leimert Park on January 15, 1947. The papers turned her into the legend Black Dahlia, but the case has never come close to being solved.

A deceased woman (Elizabeth Short, the Black Dahlia) is laying on the grass next to a sidewalk. Los Angeles Public Library

Bugsy Siegel

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On June 20, 1947, LA mob king Bugsy Siegel was sprayed with bullets as he sat reading at the home of his mistress, Virginia Hill. The murder was never solved.

A large white building with a domed entrance. There are palm trees outside of the building. Los Angeles Public Library

Johnny Stompanato

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Gangster Mickey Cohen's former bodyguard was stabbed to death on April 4, 1958, by his girlfriend Lana Turner's daughter, Cheryl Crane. Stompanato was abusive and Crane said she was acting in defense of her mother.

A large white building with a black roof. There is a courtyard and tress in front of the building. Los Angeles Public Library

George Reeves

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On June 16, 1959, TV Superman George Reeves was killed in his house by a single gunshot. It was ruled a suicide, but some insist it was a murder.

Los Feliz murder house

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In the early morning hours of December 6, 1959, cardiologist Harold Perelson murdered his wife, Lillian, while she slept in their Los Feliz mansion. Using a ball-peen hammer, he then attempted to kill his daughter Judye, who escaped to a neighbor’s house. Perelson then killed himself by taking fatal doses of Nembutal and tranquilizers. The house where the murder-suicide took place sat vacant for most of the next six decades, as rumors spread that Christmas decorations from that December night were still intact. It sold in 2016.

Los Feliz murder house
2475 Glendower Pl.
Photo by Alexis Vaughn/Life in My Lens

Sam Cooke

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Brilliant musician Sam Cooke was shot to death at the Hacienda Motel on December 11, 1964, supposedly by the manager (who said he attacked her). There was a lot of strangeness going on that night (Cooke had a woman with him at the motel who left with most of his clothing), and some people dispute the official story. Today a grocery store can be found where the motel once stood.

Robert F. Kennedy assassination

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Early on June 5, 1968, Robert Kennedy had just addressed supporters after winning the California Democratic primary and was on his way out of the Ambassador Hotel via the kitchen when he was shot several times by Sirhan Sirhan. Most of the hotel was demolished in 2006 to make way for an LAUSD campus.

A large hotel building with a lawn in front of it. David McNew/Getty Images

Ramon Novarro

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Ben-Hur star Ramon Novarro was brutally murdered in his Laurel Canyon home on October 30, 1968. Two brothers, convinced that Novarro had a hidden stash of cash, tortured and beat him; the crime scene allegedly involved a silver lead dildo given to Novarro by Rudolph Valentino.

Police officers carry out the covered body of Ramon Navarro on a stretcher from his home into an ambulance. Los Angeles Public Library

Cielo Drive Manson murders

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On the night of August 8, 1969, members of the Manson Family broke into a house being rented by pregnant actress Sharon Tate. She, several of her friends, and an acquaintance of the caretaker were murdered.

Police officers stand guard outside the house of Sharon Tate. There is a house and lawn in the background. There is a body covered with a sheet on the ground in front of the house. Bettmann Archive

Leno and Rosemary LaBianca

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The very next day, the Manson family struck again, murdering husband-and-wife Leno and Rosemary LaBianca at their home in Los Feliz. As in the group’s other murders, police investigating the crime scene found ominous messages written on the walls in blood.

A police officer stands in a driveway that leads up to a house on a hill. Bettmann Archive

Sal Mineo

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Rebel Without a Cause co-star Sal Mineo was stabbed to death near his West Hollywood apartment on February 12, 1976. A pizza deliveryman was convicted of the murder.

Dorothy Stratten

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On August 14, 1980, Playboy model Dorothy Stratten was shot to death by her estranged husband Paul Snider at their former shared house in Rancho Park.

Hillside Strangler

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Cousins Angelo Buono and Kenneth Bianchi kidnapped, raped, and murdered 10 women in 1977 and 1978. Bianchi said that most of the murders were committed at Buono's home and auto upholstery shop in Glendale.

A house. Police officers stand in a driveway with a police car outside of the house. There is a Stop sign. Los Angeles Public Library

The Wonderland murders

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Four people, part of or associated with a gang of burglars/drug addicts, were beaten to death with pipes at a townhouse in Laurel Canyon on July 1, 1981. Their friend, porn star John Holmes, was tried and acquitted for the crimes—though police still suspect that Holmes and drug dealer Eddie Nash were behind the slayings.

Marvin Gaye

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On April 1, 1984, legendary soul singer Marvin Gaye was shot to death by his father after an argument between the two escalated into a physical fight. The shooting took place at the West Adams home where Gaye’s parents lived.

Jose and Kitty Menendez

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Lyle and Erik Menendez killed their wealthy parents with shotguns on August 20, 1989 at their mansion in Beverly Hills (the motive was allegedly money). They (and all of America) were subjected to a lurid televised trial.

Nicole Brown, Ron Goldman

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On June 12, 1994, Nicole Brown and Ron Goldman were stabbed to death outside of Brown's condo in Brentwood. Brown's ex-husband, OJ Simpson, was eventually tried and acquitted of the murders—but you probably already knew that.

A white house with many trees and a lawn in front of it. There is a police vehicle parks on the street in front of the house. The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images

The Notorious BIG

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The great Biggie Smalls was shot in his car outside the Petersen Automotive Museum after a party, early on March 9, 1997 (prior to the museum’s swooshy makeover). The murder has never been solved.

The Petersen Automotive Museum, Notorious B.I.G. (Biggie Smalls) crime scene. The building exterior is a curvy metal structure against a red backdrop. LunaseeStudios/Shutterstock

Zankou Chicken murders

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A dispute over the ownership of beloved Los Angeles chain restaurant Zankou Chicken reached a violent climax on January 14, 2003, when Mardiros Iskenderian shot and killed his mother, Margrit, and his sister, Dzovig Marjik. Iskenderian, who was suffering from cancer, then turned his gun on himself.

Susan Berman

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Robert Durst, son of real estate magnate Seymour Durst, will soon stand trial for the December 2000 murder of his longtime friend Susan Berman, who was shot and killed at her home in the Beverly Hills area..

A house with a garage. Behind the house is a hill with assorted plants and shrubs.
Robert Durst is accused of murdering his friend Susan Berman inside this home in Beverly Hills in 2000.
LA Times via Getty Images

Bonnie Lee Bakley

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Bonnie Lee Bakley was shot to death outside of Vitello's restaurant on May 4, 2001. Her husband, actor Robert Blake, was acquitted on criminal charges but found civilly liable. He said he wasn't at the scene of the crime because he'd gone back to the restaurant to get a gun he'd left there.

Lana Clarkson

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On February 3, 2003, legendary music producer Phil Spector shot actress Lana Clarkson to death in his house in Alhambra. He was sentenced to 19 years to life for the murder.

A group of men stand outside Phil Spector’s home which is the crime scene of Lana Clarkson. They are standing behind yellow crime scene tape which is stretched across a driveway. Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

Terry Carter

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Hip hop mogul Suge Knight was sentenced last month to 28 years in prison for fatally running over his friend and business associate Terry Carter on January 29, 2015 during promotional filming for the movie Straight Outta Compton.

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William Desmond Taylor

The exterior of a house. There are stairs leading to the door. There are two people standing at the door facing each other. Los Angeles Public Library

In one of Hollywood's oldest mysteries, Irish director William Desmond Taylor was found shot to death in his Westlake bungalow on February 2, 1922. Suspects included several actresses and a former chauffeur known to fake a British accent, but the murder has never been solved.

The exterior of a house. There are stairs leading to the door. There are two people standing at the door facing each other. Los Angeles Public Library

Thomas Ince

A large house. There is a body of water and a lawn in front of the house. Los Angeles Public Library

Early studio mogul Thomas Ince died at his Dias Dorados estate in Beverly Hills on November 19, 1924, but he was rumored to have been shot a few days earlier by William Randolph Hearst on Hearst's yacht, off the coast of San Diego. There are a million versions of the story, but they mostly assume that Hearst mistook Ince for Charlie Chaplin, who he believed was having an affair with his mistress, Marion Davies. Officially, Ince died of natural causes.

A large house. There is a body of water and a lawn in front of the house. Los Angeles Public Library

Ned Doheny and Hugh Plunkett

Greystone Mansion
A large mansion with a courtyard. In the center of the courtyard is a fountain.
Los Angeles Public Library

On February 16, 1929, shortly after oil heir Ned Doheny moved into Greystone Mansion in Beverly Hills, he and his secretary Hugh Plunkett were both found shot to death in a bedroom. It's unknown who exactly shot whom or why, but money, sex, and the Teapot Dome scandal are obviously the most common theories.

Greystone Mansion
A large mansion with a courtyard. In the center of the courtyard is a fountain.
Los Angeles Public Library

Elizabeth Short (the Black Dahlia)

A deceased woman (Elizabeth Short, the Black Dahlia) is laying on the grass next to a sidewalk. Los Angeles Public Library

Maybe LA's most famous murder of all time: Elizabeth Short was found cut in half in a field in Leimert Park on January 15, 1947. The papers turned her into the legend Black Dahlia, but the case has never come close to being solved.

A deceased woman (Elizabeth Short, the Black Dahlia) is laying on the grass next to a sidewalk. Los Angeles Public Library

Bugsy Siegel

A large white building with a domed entrance. There are palm trees outside of the building. Los Angeles Public Library

On June 20, 1947, LA mob king Bugsy Siegel was sprayed with bullets as he sat reading at the home of his mistress, Virginia Hill. The murder was never solved.

A large white building with a domed entrance. There are palm trees outside of the building. Los Angeles Public Library

Johnny Stompanato

A large white building with a black roof. There is a courtyard and tress in front of the building. Los Angeles Public Library

Gangster Mickey Cohen's former bodyguard was stabbed to death on April 4, 1958, by his girlfriend Lana Turner's daughter, Cheryl Crane. Stompanato was abusive and Crane said she was acting in defense of her mother.

A large white building with a black roof. There is a courtyard and tress in front of the building. Los Angeles Public Library

George Reeves

On June 16, 1959, TV Superman George Reeves was killed in his house by a single gunshot. It was ruled a suicide, but some insist it was a murder.

Los Feliz murder house

Los Feliz murder house
2475 Glendower Pl.
Photo by Alexis Vaughn/Life in My Lens

In the early morning hours of December 6, 1959, cardiologist Harold Perelson murdered his wife, Lillian, while she slept in their Los Feliz mansion. Using a ball-peen hammer, he then attempted to kill his daughter Judye, who escaped to a neighbor’s house. Perelson then killed himself by taking fatal doses of Nembutal and tranquilizers. The house where the murder-suicide took place sat vacant for most of the next six decades, as rumors spread that Christmas decorations from that December night were still intact. It sold in 2016.

Los Feliz murder house
2475 Glendower Pl.
Photo by Alexis Vaughn/Life in My Lens

Sam Cooke

Brilliant musician Sam Cooke was shot to death at the Hacienda Motel on December 11, 1964, supposedly by the manager (who said he attacked her). There was a lot of strangeness going on that night (Cooke had a woman with him at the motel who left with most of his clothing), and some people dispute the official story. Today a grocery store can be found where the motel once stood.

Robert F. Kennedy assassination

A large hotel building with a lawn in front of it. David McNew/Getty Images

Early on June 5, 1968, Robert Kennedy had just addressed supporters after winning the California Democratic primary and was on his way out of the Ambassador Hotel via the kitchen when he was shot several times by Sirhan Sirhan. Most of the hotel was demolished in 2006 to make way for an LAUSD campus.

A large hotel building with a lawn in front of it. David McNew/Getty Images

Ramon Novarro

Police officers carry out the covered body of Ramon Navarro on a stretcher from his home into an ambulance. Los Angeles Public Library

Ben-Hur star Ramon Novarro was brutally murdered in his Laurel Canyon home on October 30, 1968. Two brothers, convinced that Novarro had a hidden stash of cash, tortured and beat him; the crime scene allegedly involved a silver lead dildo given to Novarro by Rudolph Valentino.

Police officers carry out the covered body of Ramon Navarro on a stretcher from his home into an ambulance. Los Angeles Public Library

Cielo Drive Manson murders

Police officers stand guard outside the house of Sharon Tate. There is a house and lawn in the background. There is a body covered with a sheet on the ground in front of the house. Bettmann Archive

On the night of August 8, 1969, members of the Manson Family broke into a house being rented by pregnant actress Sharon Tate. She, several of her friends, and an acquaintance of the caretaker were murdered.

Police officers stand guard outside the house of Sharon Tate. There is a house and lawn in the background. There is a body covered with a sheet on the ground in front of the house. Bettmann Archive

Leno and Rosemary LaBianca

A police officer stands in a driveway that leads up to a house on a hill. Bettmann Archive

The very next day, the Manson family struck again, murdering husband-and-wife Leno and Rosemary LaBianca at their home in Los Feliz. As in the group’s other murders, police investigating the crime scene found ominous messages written on the walls in blood.

A police officer stands in a driveway that leads up to a house on a hill. Bettmann Archive

Sal Mineo

Rebel Without a Cause co-star Sal Mineo was stabbed to death near his West Hollywood apartment on February 12, 1976. A pizza deliveryman was convicted of the murder.

Dorothy Stratten

On August 14, 1980, Playboy model Dorothy Stratten was shot to death by her estranged husband Paul Snider at their former shared house in Rancho Park.

Hillside Strangler

A house. Police officers stand in a driveway with a police car outside of the house. There is a Stop sign. Los Angeles Public Library

Cousins Angelo Buono and Kenneth Bianchi kidnapped, raped, and murdered 10 women in 1977 and 1978. Bianchi said that most of the murders were committed at Buono's home and auto upholstery shop in Glendale.

A house. Police officers stand in a driveway with a police car outside of the house. There is a Stop sign. Los Angeles Public Library

The Wonderland murders

Four people, part of or associated with a gang of burglars/drug addicts, were beaten to death with pipes at a townhouse in Laurel Canyon on July 1, 1981. Their friend, porn star John Holmes, was tried and acquitted for the crimes—though police still suspect that Holmes and drug dealer Eddie Nash were behind the slayings.

Marvin Gaye

On April 1, 1984, legendary soul singer Marvin Gaye was shot to death by his father after an argument between the two escalated into a physical fight. The shooting took place at the West Adams home where Gaye’s parents lived.

Jose and Kitty Menendez

Lyle and Erik Menendez killed their wealthy parents with shotguns on August 20, 1989 at their mansion in Beverly Hills (the motive was allegedly money). They (and all of America) were subjected to a lurid televised trial.

Nicole Brown, Ron Goldman

A white house with many trees and a lawn in front of it. There is a police vehicle parks on the street in front of the house. The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images

On June 12, 1994, Nicole Brown and Ron Goldman were stabbed to death outside of Brown's condo in Brentwood. Brown's ex-husband, OJ Simpson, was eventually tried and acquitted of the murders—but you probably already knew that.

A white house with many trees and a lawn in front of it. There is a police vehicle parks on the street in front of the house. The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images

The Notorious BIG

The Petersen Automotive Museum, Notorious B.I.G. (Biggie Smalls) crime scene. The building exterior is a curvy metal structure against a red backdrop. LunaseeStudios/Shutterstock

The great Biggie Smalls was shot in his car outside the Petersen Automotive Museum after a party, early on March 9, 1997 (prior to the museum’s swooshy makeover). The murder has never been solved.

The Petersen Automotive Museum, Notorious B.I.G. (Biggie Smalls) crime scene. The building exterior is a curvy metal structure against a red backdrop. LunaseeStudios/Shutterstock

Zankou Chicken murders

A dispute over the ownership of beloved Los Angeles chain restaurant Zankou Chicken reached a violent climax on January 14, 2003, when Mardiros Iskenderian shot and killed his mother, Margrit, and his sister, Dzovig Marjik. Iskenderian, who was suffering from cancer, then turned his gun on himself.

Susan Berman