The Mistress of Hollywood: June Cassandra Mincher
An Intimidating Private Eye
With some digging, detectives learned that Antonelli's family had hired a private detective named Michael Pascal, an intimidating man who owned Crest Security, to learn more about Mincher's activities and to provide protection to family members. In fact, Pascal's crew had a reputation for aggression, even violence, and they possibly had links to organized crime. In other words, they probably would not hesitate to do whatever was asked, as long as the price was right. Sally Thomas, a Deputy DA for LA County later involved in the case, documented a check written by a member of the family for $18,000 to Pascal just before Mincher was pistol-whipped and a check for $90,000 before she was killed. Reportedly, the family had pressured Pascal to "take care of" the problem and he'd decided that his reputation was at stake, so he'd elected to ensure that Mincher never bothered the family again.
Antonelli remained a suspect, at least as an accomplice. He also owned two guns. With this information, the police were able to get a warrant for a phone tap and they learned that he'd called June a few days before, as well as the day of, the murder. Had he tried to lure her into a trap? He claimed he'd had no part in the murder.
They brought him in for questioning, and he failed to provide a solid alibi, aside from his claim that he was in another state, so he was placed under arrest. It seemed fairly clear to investigators that Antonelli, whose physical appearance fit witness reports, was their best bet. Yet he told them that the reason Pascal had been hired was because Mincher's harassment had scared him.
Charged with murder and attempted murder, Antonelli went free on $75,000 bail. Investigators wanted to look into the backgrounds of the six bodyguards that Pascal had hired, says Michael Connelly in Crime Beat, but by the time they did, the men had left the agency and were difficult to locate. No weapon was found that could be tied to the crime.
Pascal then mentioned, says officer Rick Jackson, that he'd done his own investigation of the scene, since the family had hired him to protect them from Mincher, and he'd found a shell casing there, which he now turned over to the police. Thus, they could account for the missing casing. It proved to be a match to the others.
In June 1986, over his protests of innocence, Antonelli went to trial for the murder of June Mincher, charged as the driver of the getaway car.