Murder is a horrible part of our society, and it seems to be commonplace these days. People commit murder for a variety of reasons: some due to mental illness, others over gang turf, even road rage and jealousy have been the cause. But revenge was the supposed motive in one of the most brutal multiple murders in American history.
Leading a life of drug dealing and having acquaintances that are also part of the underworld is never a path that will lead anywhere positive, but most people make it out of that life alive. Most. This was not so for the victims of the Wonderland Murders (sometimes called the Four on the Floor murders or the Laurel Canyon murders). These four people were brutally attacked and the scene of the crime was said to have been even more grisly than the Tate murders committed by Charles Manson’s minions.
In the late 70’s and early 80’s, there was a lot of cocaine being bought and sold in Los Angeles and the Wonderland Gang were no strangers to making their cut. Their ‘base’ was a home on Wonderland Avenue in the Laurel Canyon area of the city. Their small group was comprised of just five members: Ron Launius – the leader, Billy DeVerell – the next in command, Joy Miller – Billy’s girlfriend and the lessee of the house on Wonderland Ave., Tracy McCourt and David Lind.
Two days prior to the attack on the occupants of the Wonderland house, on the 29th of June, 1981, the gang had decided to carry out a home invasion on the home of Eddie Nash – a known underworld figurehead and nightclub owner. The motive for the break-in was no doubt theft, and Nash’s bodyguard, Gregory Diles, was shot and injured during the robbery.
After seeing porn star John Holmes wearing one of Eddie’s rings while walking downtown, Diles brought him to Nash for questioning where he revealed (after being badly beaten) who had been involved in the theft. This information was provided by Scott Larson, who had been at Nash’s home to buy drugs when Holmes was brought in.
At 3:00 am on the 1st of July, Nash allegedly returned the favor and a group of men entered the Wonderland home and beat to death three of the four occupants. Murder weapons found at the scene indicated that hammers and metal pipes were the attackers choice that evening. Billy, Ron, and Joy were declared DOA and only Ron’s wife Susan survived the attack. It is believed that there were orders to kill the entire gang, but Tracy McCourt and David Lind were not present in the home that evening, lucky for them.
Eddie Nash, Gregory Diles, and John Holmes were all arrested and tried and eventually acquitted multiple times for the murders but with no witnesses (Susan retained no memories from the night of the attack) the Wonderland murders remain an unsolved case at the time of this article.