Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

The Wonderland Murders

The Wonderland Murders

Location of the Wonderland Murders
Location of the Wonderland Murders

A casual passerby wouldn't notice the house at 8763 Wonderland Avenue in Los Angeles' rustic Laurel Canyon. The white stucco, two-story structure blended generically into the neighborhood around it, a favorite of television producers, character actors, and other minor Hollywood cogs.

But a closer look at the house would have revealed several peculiarities. The stairway leading to the front door was encased in a metal cage and patrolled by a pair of snarling pit bulls. Visitors were required to use an intercom at the bottom of the cage to announce themselves, and, if welcome, the dogs were retired and they were buzzed through an electronic deadbolt. Then there were the denizens of the house, a tough crowd that slept all day and partied all night.

To the cops, 8763 Wonderland was a renowned drug den.

To the public, the address would become synonymous with a crime that horrified even the most jaded Angeleno: In July 1981, four people were bludgeoned to death as they slept in the house.

LAPD announced their primary suspect in the grisly killings: legendary porn star John C. Holmes.

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