Monday, June 27, 2016

Follow Up on Laurence Merrick's Killer, Dennis Mignano

The Col asked in his debut post at this blog if Laurence Merrick's killer, Dennis Mignano, was still living.  The answer to that question is, yes.  He is 68 years old and lives in his deceased parents home in San Jose CA.  I did a little fact checking primarily on the three things that the article seemed to say contributed to Mignano killing Laurence Merrick.  The three things were the Mignano home burning down while he was in high school, the murder of a cousin and the murder of his sister.   This is what I found.......

Dennis Mignano was born September 30, 1947 in Santa Clara County CA.

His parents were Peter (Pete) Mignano and Rose Marie (nee Campagna) Mignano.   The family was living on N. 14th Street in San Jose in 1947 when Dennis was born.  They continued to live there until 1956 when they moved to Linda Vista Street in San Jose the year that Dennis's sister was born.  Dennis still lives in this home.  It's the home he lived in while going to high school.  When looking up the home on the real estate sites they all say the home was built in 1955.  While there may have been a fire in the home, it's doubtful that it "burned down" because if it was a total rebuild the year it was rebuilt would be reflected in the home's history on the real estate sites.
Here are two screen captures of the San Jose City Directory.  It looks like originally the homes on Linda Vista Street were given house numbers with five numbers.  The 1963 image, when Dennis would have been in high school, shows this.  In 1972 all of the homes on Linda Vista began to be re-numbered from five digits to three digits.  Looking at the available years of directories it seems that the Mignano's and one other family, the Autry's, were holdouts until 1976.  By then all of the homes had three digit house numbers.  Not only that the cross streets were re-named.  This was confusing and I wanted to be certain that the Mignano's were definitely in the same home so I went over each householder name and found quite a few of the same names in the 1963 and 1976 directories.  I put green tick marks beside the names of residents on the 1963 directory screen cap who also were listed in the 1976 directory.  This anomaly could make it appear that the Mignano's moved to a different home by the time Dennis murdered Laurence Merrick when in fact they did not.
I used censuses and family trees at Ancestry to determine who Dennis's cousins were, there were plenty and I stuck to first cousins when trying to figure out which cousin could have been murdered.  I could come up with only one cousin who had died in the years before Laurence Merrick was murdered.  His name was Gerald James Campagna, his father and Dennis's mother were brother and sister.  I was able to find a newspaper article published at the time of his death.  The article gives the boy's name as Terry Campagna but I believe this is a typo and should read Gerry.  The age of the boy in the article matches the age of Dennis's cousin and the date of death is the same in the article and the California death record.
The trouble with this is that Gerry was not murdered, he was killed in a car accident.  The words killed and murdered are interchangeable in some instances but they should not have been in this instance.  However, the cousin did die at 15 years old in a rather grim way when Dennis was just shy of 9 years old.  It could have been traumatic for him.  
The death of Dennis's sister was a straight up murder and she did hang out with bikers and even danced topless at a bar.  While her murder was certainly tragic it did not happen until six months AFTER Laurence Merrick was murdered.  The murder was never solved.  To my knowledge no one was even arrested though a couple of Hells Angel's were looked at.  Given Dennis's mental state during that time, if I were law enforcement, I would have gone back and looked at him for killing his own sister.  Maybe they did, who knows?

No matter what I tried I could not get this image larger

I was not able to find any pictures of Dennis Mignano, no high school pictures or pictures taken at the time of his arrest.  I was able to find a high school picture of his sister Michele though.  She went to Piedmont Hills High School, it's a 10th grade picture from the 1972 yearbook.

On to more current information.  I did a background check on Mignano and was surprised that his arrest for murder in LA County shows up.

There were also two other cases involving Mignano on the report but other than providing a date and case number for each event there was no other information.  Both of the cases were in Santa Clara County.  I tried going to the Santa Clara County Superior Court website but their criminal online information only goes back to 2004.  One of the cases had a date of January 9, 1998, the other October 2, 1998 and they had two different case numbers which leads me to believe they were separate cases.

I was able to find one civil case for harassment against Mignano.  This was initiated in 1997 and disposed in 2007.  I have redacted the woman's name.

I could find no indication of what Mignano does or did in the way of employment.  I could not find any email address or social websites connected to him.  He has no online presence as near as I can tell.  He is not connected to any addresses other than the one family address that has been his since he was nine years old in 1956. 

Mignano's father Pete died July 30, 1989.  His mother Rose died May 23, 2011, her obituary is brief.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Debra Tate Protesting Leslie Van Houten's Release

This video stream isn't very strong. If it won't play for you here, go to INSIDE EDITION.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Debra Tate Is Outraged

Debra Tate is upset that NBC Television included a graphic recreation of her sister Sharon's murdered corpse as a prop in its fictional program Aquarius. In calling for a boycott of the show, Tate said of the "body" and the recreation of the murders, “Do it tastefully, or at least give us courtesy of knowing what you guys are doing. It’s extremely insensitive to be portraying people in an untruthful manner.”

Sharon Tate's Sister Calls for "Aquarius" Boycott: "It's Extremely Insensitive"

"Aquarius," starring David Duchovny, returned to NBC for a second season earlier this week. But Sharon Tate's sister, Debra Tate, is unhappy with the way the series depicts the her sister's brutal murder, which takes place in this season of "Aquarius." She is calling for a boycott of the show to raise awareness of how victims of real-life crimes are depicted onscreen.

One of the teaser trailers for the show, for example, shows a dead Sharon Tate on the ground and a close-up of her face as Manson walks over her. Debra Tate was given no warning of the trailer's explicit nature and was very distraught.

"If it were our dead bodies lying on the floor, you don't want the world witnessing that," she added.

Tate said she requested a sit-down with NBC but was "completely ignored." So although it seems unlikely the network would take the show off the air as she would prefer, she would like NBC to at least apologize.

"Do it tastefully, or at least give us courtesy of knowing what you guys are doing," she asked. "It's extremely insensitive to be portraying people in an untruthful manner."

Tate has also been gathering signatures on a petition objecting to the potential parole of Leslie Van Houten, the  Manson family member who was convicted for the murders of Leno and Rosemary LaBianca. On Monday, without an appointment, Tate is going to deliver just short of 140,000 signatures to Governor Jerry Brown.

Van Houten has been denied parole 19 times but this time around a California review board recommended her for parole. If the ruling is upheld, it will be forwarded to Gov. Brown, who then has the option to block her parole.

"These people will be free to move around the country if we don't do anything about it," said Tate.

"Governor Jerry Brown must know that society cannot trust someone who committed such a heinous murder without showing any remorse for years," wrote Tate on her petition website.

Tate feels that the entertainment industry goes way too far in its dramatization of true crime. She has been trying to bring awareness by speaking out with her friend Kim Goldman, sister of Ron Goldman, who felt similarly about "American Crime Story" and the way the events were portrayed on the FX anthology.

"I would like to see the industry take a different attitude. At the very least they could apologize," Tate said.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Manson 2 Night Special on Dateline

The first face in the video is Jeff Guinn, so I don't have high hopes for this. We'll see. Thursday and Friday Night at 8:00 EDT. Watch video on the Dateline site.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Laurence Merrick and the Crazy Person

Look - my first guest post and my first blog post in God knows how long !!!

Back in the day I would buy like 20 magazines a week. Now in our fast internet world I maybe buy 20 in a year.

FilmFax is a pretty obscure film magazine that comes out 3 or 4 times a year. This article is from the latest issue.

They don't really address the Manson Doc very much at all.  They do call Watkins an "actor" in one pic.  

We learn more about the murder of Laurence Merrick than I ever knew. We learn that the insanity defense actually used to work- this crazy fucker did only 4 years for murder. If only the girls had tried it!

We see very little about the documentary, no mention of our esteemed friend Robert and lots of words from Merrick’s widow. I hope Deb S can tell us what happened to the killer after release, is he still with us?

The Col is pleased to share it with the readership of the best remaining active, if Unofficial, TLB Blog.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

The Mystery of the Booking Numbers

 While composing my post on Stephanie Rowe I discovered something that left me confused and curious.  Initially I was trying to find out what arrests Stephanie's two mug shots were from.  I am assuming one of them is from the Mendocino arrest but I was unclear where the other mug shot was from.

I consulted Deemer's List of Family members and associates.   This list was compiled by Lt. Earl Deemer in the days leading up to the arrests for the TLB murders.  Notable on the list is an entry for Charles Montgomery who we know was an alias that was used by Tex Watson.  This pretty much dates when Deemer created the list as it wasn't until late November that the Los Angeles Sheriff's Office finally figured out Tex's true name and put out a warrant for his arrest.

Deemer's List as well as some of the police reports can be viewed at Michael Channel's website.  You will need to refer to the list as well as two of the police reports in order to follow along with this post.  The reports start about 3/4 of the way down the page.

What I started looking at specifically are the LASO#'s on Deemer's List.  Not everyone has an LASO#.   What I noticed is that the numbers seem to correspond to various specific arrests.  There are two sets of three numbers, the first three numbers in the set seem to reference a specific arrest and the last three numbers are a particular person.

If you looks at the Summit Trail arrest report (labeled as LASD Arrest Report May 2, 1968 at Channel's website) all of the people booked have 702 XXX as a booking number.  You can go back to Deemer's List and find that Louis Covell, Sandra Collins, Bruce Van Hall, Diane Lake, Robert Murray and Paul Watkins all have an LASO# that begins with 702. 

While Manson and Bruce Davis were also arrested on Summit Trail and were given 702 XXX booking numbers on the arrest report they have lower LASO#s on Deemer's List which leads me to think that the LASO# assigned to them by Deemer was from an earlier arrest by the LASO.   As a matter of fact I checked Charles Manson's rap sheet and see that the LASO# 386 798 on Deemer's List was from a 1955 arrest with a Dyer Act charge.  That same number is also on the rap sheet for arrests in 1957, 1959 and 1960.  However later arrests on Charlie's rap sheet, in 1968 and 1969 do not reference that number.

What is curious about the Summit Trail arrest is that Paul Watkins was given LASO# 702 040 on Deemer's List but he does not appear on the arrest report.  Also, whoever was LASO# 702 041 does not appear on Deemer's List or the Summit Trail arrest report.  The booking numbers on the arrest report begin with 702 042.  It cannot be a coincidence that Watkins, out of the blue was assigned LASO# 702 040  by Deemer.  And who is the missing person????

When I got to the Spahn Ranch Raid arrest report of August 16, 1969  I saw that all of those arrested were given booking numbers beginning with 892 XXX with the exception of those who might have been arrested previous by LASO the LASO#s pretty well match up between the people listed on the arrest report and on Deemer's list. 

The newspaper article on the arrest differs somewhat from what is written in the arrest report as far as naming the arrested.  Also, the newspaper says there were seven juveniles taken into custody but the arrest report lists five children plus one juvenile, Herbert Townsend Jr., who was charged.

So, the above leads to my original quest, what was Stephanie Rowe's other arrest?  When I looked up Stephanie on Deemer's List I saw that she had LASO# 850 544.

What I noticed was that there were a number of people who had an LASO# beginning with 850 XXX.  Stephanie Rowe, Sherry Cooper, Madaline Cottage, William Feeny, Barbara Hoyt, David Lipsett, Nancy Pitman, Barbara Rosenberg, Catherine Share and Leslie Van Houten.

Stephanie must have been arrested along with nine other people, possibly more considering that Deemer was known to use older booking numbers for some people.  But when was the arrest made and what was it for?  I am absolutely clueless.

Barbara Hoyt was one of those arrested and the date I have for her hooking up with the Family was April 1, 1969.  That gives us a date to begin with, it couldn't have been before then.

I even emailed Grim to ask if he was aware of a group arrest before the Spahn Ranch Raid of August 16, 1969.  He did not know of one. 

One of the 10 names stands out to me, William Feeny.  He's not particularly well known and I wasn't aware that he ever went down to Southern California much less was arrested with a bunch of Family members in LA .  The last name is actually spelled Feeney and he is the person who was the official renter of the 636 Cole St address that Manson was associated with in San Francisco.  Feeney was also the brother of Patricia Friedman who along with her husband Irwin "Partee" Friedman raised Sandra Good's son Ivan.

So, what gives?  How can there be another large arrest of Family members and no one to my knowledge has ever talked about it?  There do not seem to be any police reports with an 850 XXX booking number for those arrested.  If you know something, give it up!!!  I'd hate it if it turned out I've gone completely brain dead and just blanked this arrest from my mind........

Monday, June 6, 2016

Stephanie Rowe then and now....

Stephanie Gale Rowe was born in Los Angeles March 23, 1950.  Paul Watkin's asserts in his book that Stephanie was Jewish and going by her mother's maiden name, I think he was right about that.

While with the Family she used the alias Suzanne Scott.  Stephanie was one of the Witches of Mendocino where she was arrested using her alias. 

She was also arrested with the Family at another time as there are two different mug shots of her.

Recently we were made aware of Stephanie's current photo and thought we would share it with you.  Though some don't like us doing it, it is one of our "trademark" practices.