Steve Hodel is here to answer your questions. Steve immediately started answering the questions as soon as we emailed him the post. Thank you very much for doing this for DCC readers, Steve!
1: Do you know a guy named Lloyd Richman?
No, name means nothing to me.
2: Did George Hodel was ever friends with Mark Hansen or spent time at the Florentine Garden?
I cannot say positive that he did know Mark, but it’s hard for me to imagine that he did not know him. Florentine Gardens was just a few blocks from the Franklin House and one of my father’s favorite pastimes was nightclubbing at “Girly Revues” like the floor shows at that club.
3: What do you think of the possibility, that Beth Short was murdered as a result of a perfect storm as I call it, of a convergence of interests in getting her killed, which itself at some point centers on George Hodel? On the yahoo e-group BlackDahliaBethShort there is such a lot of serious suspects, some of whom were very likely to have known George Hodel, because of their party lifestyles, interests, and geographic proximity (that link of the parties, and people incl. picked up girls who might turn someone on to Hodel‘s party scene, could be important, and probably is to a lot of other matters, not Hodel related of course, but is the dark side of networking, think of this in relationship to other matters, legitimate and criminal) that I have come up with this theory. It would explain how George Hodel is so central and certain, yet some few others can’t really be eliminated either.
For the most part my father was a loner, not a joiner. Hard for me to imagine he did this crime in connection with anybody else, with the possible exception of having someone like Fred Sexton or “Baron Harringa” there? I do believe that an “inner circle” of people KNEW like Man Ray and others knew he was the prime suspect AFTER THE FACT. But, to my mind, before, or during, doubtful.
4: Was the Franklin House ever searched for bone granules?
No, no forensic evidence was ever performed at any time. In fact there was no follow-up investigation to the Franklin House after my father’s tape-recorded confession to the several murders and payoffs to police. Incredibly, he was never talked to again. The Franklin/Sowden House has now be completely remodeled and retrofitted, including the basement, so the doubtful any forensics could be found now.
5: Has any of the Hodel ex-wives ever commented on the book?
Both Hortensia, his Filipina wife and June have never spoken to me since publication. Both do not believe that George could have done such a crime(s).
Hortensia read my book in its early printing, but don’t think she read the new chapters which include the DA Files and confessions? I doubt June has read any edition of BDA. No contact with June since a pre-publication call I made on Jan 15, 2003 some three months before publication
6: Have you ever heard back from anyone who served with George Hodel while in China?
Yes, one man who served with him in UNRRA. But, he was not able to give anything specific about why dad left. He knew him slightly and made some references to George being “strange” and intimated that George may have been romantically involved with someone’s wife. But, no hard info.
7: Maybe a weird questions but … did the cops ever find out what brand lipstick was used on Jeanne French’s body?
Don’t know, but very doubtful. All the investigative reports and physical evidence have apparently “disappeared” on the Jeanne French case too.
8: Any reactions from William Ritzi to the book?
No. But, if he’s still around L.A. would love to hear from him. If he’s still with us he would have to be in his 90s??
9: Aside from the cases of French and Kern, were there any others where white handkerchiefs were found?
Yes, the San Diego dance hall abduction and the Suzanne Degnan case in Chicago which I reference in the sequel, MOST EVIL. Probably others too, but likely they were not mentioned to the public. That kind of information should have been kept secret, and probably was in some of the cases.
10: Has the Donahoe family ever contacted you with what they think happened to Capt. Jack Donahoe? Have they responded to the book or ever made a public statement?
No, no contact from any of Jack Donahoe’s relatives.
11: How many people are innocent behind bars for crimes committed by George Hodel?
I have no idea other than the one case I am confidant of, which is the William Heirens arrest in ’46. Whether my father killed Suzanne Degnan or not (I think the evidence strongly suggests he DID) I do know that Heirens did not commit that crime. As far as other cases, stay tuned. More to come.
12: what do you do to break away from all this?
Read, watch classic films, short trips, but it has been all-consuming for many years. Looking forward to getting out of this Black Hole. One more book to go on “The Early Years” then maybe I get my life back?
13: The suspect this site http://blackdahliasolution.org/index.htm offers up, Ed Burns, is the unidentified man in the photo booth pix found in Elizabeth Short’s luggage. According to the site, he committed suicide & confessed to the murder in his suicide note. Was he a real suspect?
No, “Ed Burns” had nothing to do with the Black Dahlia murder. The photo is addressed in my updated chapter. I identified and spoke with the person in the photograph who for his privacy sake, I call, “Gerald Moss.” He was with Elizabeth for a few hours and they took that picture in a dime machine. LAPD knows his real name and eliminated him in ’47. The DA Files also know his true name a reference him in their files. The man was never in Los Angeles and met Elizabeth on her travels through Indianapolis after the war.
The “Ed Burns” was never a real suspect and never referenced in any official report.
The suicide note was REAL and could have been my father “staging a suicide” or could have been just a crackpot, seeking publicity. The real note was never published so unable to compare handwriting. Just the wording was printed in the press.
Find my book reviews here.