Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

LA Forensics: West Hollywood Hustle

Third Man Down

Ronald Klugman was last seen at the Security Pacific Bank Ready Teller at 6th and Alvarado streets, near MacArthur Park. He was then found murdered in his home around noon on October 12, the victim of asphyxiation by strangulation. Patrol officers following up on an employee's concern about his missing boss made the discovery. Klugman had not been at work for several days, since October 6.

Dramatization of Body Placement at Klugman Crime Scene
Dramatization of Body Placement at Klugman Crime Scene

The front door was unlocked, including a deadbolt, and Klugman was found in bed his ground-floor apartment wearing underwear, socks, and a red plaid shirt. The window was open eight inches and the blinds partially closed. His body, lying on its left side, was badly decomposed and his right leg lay atop the left at the ankle. A pillow covered his head and his legs were covered with a blanket. The murder weapon a gray electrical cord cut from a carpet cleaner had been made from an item in the home rather than brought to the scene. Wrapped three times around the victim's neck, the cord ran to his hands, which were bound behind his back with clear plastic tubing. Two credit cards belonging to him had been placed between his legs. Detectives were called to the scene.

There was no sign of forced entry or a struggle, so they assumed the victim had voluntarily let the offender into his home. There was evidence someone had been drinking a beer, possibly with another person, as two beer cans were in the trash. Underneath the television, an empty spot in the dust indicated a missing videocassette player, and there were videocassettes on the floor.

A glass ash tray on the coffee table contained many Winston cigarette butts, and in another area, a plant had been knocked over. A dust pattern indicated that another appliance was missing from that area.

Wallet found at scene.
Wallet found at scene.

In the bedroom where the body was found lay a crumpled, empty package for Winston 100 cigarettes. In one corner was a brown jacket with the sleeves tied. An open wallet lay on the floor, and a MasterCard was on the bed. It appeared that a television was missing, as was the victim's brown 1988 Dodge Ram pickup truck.

Two days later, the truck was recovered within nine blocks of where the Bayis car had been left in South Central Los Angeles, and police learned that it had been there since October 8. Both cars had been parked on the same side of the street and both had been locked and without keys.

One witness said that just before he disappeared, Klugman was letting a young Hispanic man into his apartment. Another witness at a bar where Klugman often turned up said he rarely if ever drank beer, only hard liquor. He'd seen Klugman on the evening of October 8, and Klugman had left the bar alone.

SID was able to lift 23 identifiable prints from inside the apartment, and only three were from the victim. There were none on the credit cards. The vehicle yielded no useful prints, but the blood test analysis on fourteen cigarette butts indicated that the perpetrator was a Type A secretor with the same unique DQ alpha type as the perpetrator from the Bayis homicide.

Watch this story and many others from the case files of the LAPD's Scientific Investigation Division, which solves crimes using cutting edge forensics. Only on Court TV. Learn more.

 

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