One-time nightclub owner Adel (Eddie Nash) Nasrallah and his former bodyguard were charged today with the notorious 1981 Laurel Canyon murders in which four people were bludgeoned to death.
The District Attorney's Office charged Nash, 59, and Gregory DeWitt Diles, 40, with four counts of murder plus special circumstance allegations that will qualify them for a possible death penalty on conviction.
The two men also were charged with one count of attempted murder in the attack on a woman who survived the July 1, 1981, killings. Both were being held in custody without bail pending arraignment later today in Municipal Court.
The investigation of the slayings in a home on Wonderland Avenue in rustic Laurel Canyon, just down the road from a home owned by then-Gov. Edmund G. (Jerry) Brown Jr., was suddenly reactivated earlier this year, when a new witness reportedly surfaced out-of-state.
Detectives then conducted a death-bed interview with pornographic film star John C. Holmes who was acquitted of the murders in 1982. Holmes died on March 13 of complications arising from his infection with AIDS.
Long Viewed as Suspects
Nash and Diles had long been identified by investigators as suspects in the murders of William DeVerell, 42; Joy Audrey Miller, 46; Barbara Richardson, 22, and Ronald Launius, 37. Launius' estranged wife, Susan, survived the assault but suffered severe head injuries. She was later unable to identify her attackers.
Prosecutors have alleged that the fatal beatings were intended to avenge a humiliating armed robbery at Nash's Studio City home several weeks earlier.
But Nash has denied any involvement in the Wonderland Avenue killings, although he was separately convicted of possessing two pounds of cocaine valued at an estimated $1 million and served about two years in state prison.
After his acquittal, Holmes spent 110 days in Los Angeles County Jail for refusing to testify about the case before a grand jury. He finally relented on the day that Nash was sentenced to prison on the drug conviction. What Holmes told the grand jury has never been made public, but until today no one else had ever been charged with the grisly murders.