Feminism on Trial
As had been the case on other occasions during their relationship, Ginny ended up doing a disproportionate share of the work. Jack started showing up later and later for his night shift, forcing Ginny to work longer hours. He was often drunk when he finally did come in. Sometimes he would get so drunk he wouldn't show up at all and Ginny ended up working a double shift, which meant 11:00 in the morning till 2:00 the following morning. Fifteen hours, most of which was spent on her feet.
One hot night in August 1967, Ginny was sacked out on their couch, fully clothed and exhausted from working another of her extended shifts while ill with the flu. Jack had showed up late for his shift again, and when he finally did come in he was ornery, resentful, and drunk. Returning home in the wee hours of the morning, he shook Ginny awake. Expecting a beating, instead she heard him announce, "I killed somebody."
That "somebody" turned out to be an eighteen year old Samoan named Okeni Moe. The story that came out was that Jack had an altercation with a group of unruly Samoans at the bar. As they fled the scene in their car with Moe behind the wheel, Jack grabbed a gun from a friend's car and fired what was intended to be "a warning shot" at the fleeing vehicle. But the "warning shot" proved fatal. The bullet crashed through the rear window and lodged in Moe's head. He was rushed to the hospital in critical condition and died in the emergency room a few hours later. Jack was arrested and charged with murder later reduced to involuntary manslaughter.
Although Jack was freed on bail pending trial, he and Ginny never reopened No Regrets. To have done so might have invited reprisals from an angry Samoan community. Besides, the bar was "mortgaged to the hilt" and the couple could no longer afford to make payments. Soon after the foreclosure on the bar their car was repossessed and they were even more deeply in debt. Ginny's emotions went into a downward spiral and a deep depression set in. Her plight wasn't made easier by Jack's conviction in May 1968. After pleading self-defense, the judge didn't quite see it that way. Jack was sentenced to six months to fifteen years at the state prison in Chino.
Ginny moved into a small apartment in San Pedro and soon afterward she landed an opportunity that set her along the path of a promising career. She took a job at the Princess Louise, a one-time luxury cruise ship that was now dry-docked in San Pedro Harbor and converted into an upscale dining and entertainment complex. Starting at the bottom as a cocktail waitress making good tips, she moved up the ladder as her skill levels expanded. She began working then managing banquets, learning the catering business from the bottom up. This was an exciting new world for her that put her in touch with a sophisticated circle of friends. But it also, apparently, put her in touch with some shady characters, as well, one of whom was Richard Busconi.
Busconi, whose nickname was "Blackie," was a small-time hood who Ginny never mentioned in her book. According to an account in Ellen Hawkes's book, Feminism on Trial, Jack was questioned in his Chino cell by two L.A. detectives in connection with a murder that took place on May 15, 1969. Busconi had been gunned down in a seedy waterfront bar in San Pedro and the detectives apparently knew that Ginny had been seeing the victim and possibly living with him prior to his death. The detectives suspected Jack may have hired a hit man to kill Busconi, but Jack claimed it was the first he'd ever heard of Ginny seeing this other man. When asked about the murder by the same detectives, Ginny admitted to casually dating Busconi but denied living with him.
Ginny denied being physically involved with Busconi when Jack grilled her about it and, according to Hawkes's account, she accused the police of making the whole thing up. Jack later said that Busconi had beaten Ginny black and blue in the face, though Ginny claimed the bruises stemmed from an accident in which she had been involved.
Fortunately for Ginny at this time, her job at the Princess Louise made it possible for her to meet respectable people in the upper echelons of society. One of them was the restaurant manager, Raymond Foat.