‘Elvis of sex tapes’ cleared of Wonderland Murders in 1st video evidence case

One of the most prolific porn stars of all time was implicated in the brutal murders of four people who were bludgeoned to death on June 29, 1981.

John Holmes, a.k.a the 'Elvis of porn', had legendary status due to his staggeringly large 13inch penis, a status that was torn to pieces in the early 80s following the Wonderland Murders.

Holmes entered porn in the 70s as character Johnny Wadd because, according to former director Bob Chinn: "My partner, when he saw what John had, said: 'God – what a wad that guy has!'"

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The murky world of 70s porn in the US – when it was still illegal to film – saw Holmes morph into his hedonistic Wadd character.

He soon indulged in booze and cannabis, then the cocaine readily available on sets. Then heroin.

Ex-girlfriend Dawn Schiller, only 15 when they met, said: "Slowly cocaine started coming into the picture.

"He would dish out a few lines and we would stay up all night."

The pair would visit Hollywood clubs together to score, where Holmes met dealer and club owner Eddie Nash, dubbed 'The Godfather of Hollywood'.

Holmes' spiralling addiction saw him unable to utilise his legendary appendage, run out of money as a result and turn to theft and forcing Schiller into prostitution to fund his habit.

"He was totally incapable of working," explained Chinn.

The dire situation led Holmes to 8763 Wonderland Avenue in LA, the base of a gang of drug-addicted dealers including Ronnie Launius, David Lind, Joy Miller, Billy DeVerell, and Tracy McCourt – the Wonderland Gang.

He told them about drugs and money in Nash's home and helped orchestrate a robbery by visiting Nash – who had by now cut Holmes' drug supply off – and leaving his back door open.

Scott Thorson, a former friend of the pair, said: "He was very angry and he told me he'd been robbed.

"He sent Diles (his security guard) out because they found out John Holmes had set the robbery up.

"The next think I know, Diles marched in the front door with Holmes by the back of the neck."

Nash had enforcer Gregory Diles batter Holmes. Diles then took Holmes along with two henchmen to 8763 Wonderland Avenue.

For over an hour Holmes allegedly watched on as the men battered the house's five occupants – Launius, Deverell, Miller, Barbara Richardson (Lind's girlfriend) and Launius' wife Susan. Only Susan survived the June 29 attack.

On July 2, after Lind told cops about the robbery and implicated Holmes, he was arrested but released due to a lack of evidence.

Investigating detectives later found his palm print over one victim's headboard and a hunt was launched for Holmes, who had by this point fled LA with Schiller.

He was arrested in Florida in December, eventually given up by Schiller, and charged with personally committing all four murders.

The historic three-week trial was the first time ever in American judicial system that videotape evidence was used, showing the court one of the goriest murder scenes in history.

Reporter Patt Morrison said: "What that videotape showed was this blood-strewn, upscale house in which four people had been beaten to death by steel pipes and baseball bats."

"There was blood all over. I remember I threw up twice," said Al Goldstein, another journalist.

Despite the horrifying footage Holmes was acquitted, his lawyers arguing that the real killers were still at large and survivor Susan being unable to recall anything substantial.

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Holmes returned to porn and got somewhat of a handle on his drugs problems, dying in 1988 from AIDS-related complications aged 44.

To this day no one has been convicted for the massacre.

Nash and Biles were both acquitted in 1991 due to a lack of evidence, with Biles dying in 1997.

Nash, then in his 70s, was charged relation to killings in 2000 in a huge RICO case, which was settled in a plea bargain.

He admitted to sending associates to Wonderland Avenue to forcibly retrieve the stolen goods, but not to ordering the murders.


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