Eddie Nash

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Eddie Nash
Born 1929 (age 84–85)
Palestine
Occupation Gangster, drug dealer, nightclub owner

Eddie Nash (born 1929) is a former nightclub and restaurant manager in Los Angeles, as well as a convicted gangster and drug dealer; he is best known as the alleged mastermind of the Wonderland Murders.[1]

Early life[edit]

Born Adel Gharib Nasrallah in Palestine, Nash left the country after he claimed Israel Defense Forces soldiers gunned down his brother-in-law in the street for unknown reasons and narrowly missed him. His family are Orthodox Christian Palestinians from the city of Ramallah, just outside Jerusalem.

In the nonfiction book by John Gilmore, L.A. Despair: A Landscape of Crimes & Bad Times, Gilmore states that Nash told his lawyer he had dreams filled with muzzle flashes and bullets soaring over his head. Nash said he owned several hotels until 1948 at age 19. He emigrated to the United States in the early 1950s and developed a limp. Nash acted in the television series The Cisco Kid in 1952, in "The Quarter Horse" episode as the character "Nash." He went on to own several nightclubs in Los Angeles, such as the Starwood Club in West Hollywood, the Soul'd Out club in Hollywood, the Odyssey disco,[2] Paradise Ballroom, the Seven Seas, Ali Baba’s and The Kit Kat strip club. Nash's clubs attracted many groups, as he operated clubs marketed towards gays, straights, blacks, whites and others.

For several decades, Eddie Nash was the wealthiest and most dangerous drug dealer/gangster operating on the West Coast (MacDonell 2003).

Wonderland murders[edit]

Main article: Wonderland Murders

Nash is most notorious for his involvement in the quadruple Wonderland Murders in 1981, the possible retaliation for a robbery of Nash's home perpetrated two days earlier by three to five men. A key player in the incident, porn performer John C. Holmes, was later acquitted of the murders.[1] Nash and Holmes were close friends; Nash enjoyed introducing his countless houseguests to Holmes, who was infamous for playing the X-rated movie character "Johnny Wadd."

However, by 1981, Holmes had become desperately addicted to freebasing cocaine, and his career had declined due to chronic impotence. In order to settle a substantial debt to drug kingpin Ron Launius, leader of the widely feared Wonderland Gang which dominated the LA cocaine trade in 1981, he conspired to invade Nash's home and commit a robbery in which Nash and his bodyguard were brutalized and humiliated. Two days later Launius and three other people were found bludgeoned to death at their home at 8763 Wonderland Avenue in Laurel Canyon, Los Angeles. Though Nash had planned to have Holmes killed alongside his Wonderland associates, he later decided to spare Holmes' life and use the Wonderland murders to "teach Holmes a lesson" by having him forcibly witness and allegedly partake, albeit against his will, in the quadruple murders.[citation needed]

Launius, Billy Deverell, Joy Audrey Gold Miller, and Barbara Richardson were murdered and Susan Launius, Ron's wife, was critically injured. Officials from the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) remarked that the scene was bloodier than the Tate/LaBianca murders.[3]

A police search of Nash's home days after the murders revealed a large amount of cocaine. Nash was sentenced to eight years in prison, but a judge released him after just two, purportedly for health reasons. An associate of Nash's later admitted that they had bribed the judge with about $100,000 (Goldsmith 2001).

In 1990, Nash was tried in state court for having planned the murders; the trial resulted in an 11-1 hung jury. Nash would later admit that he had bribed the lone holdout, a young woman, with $50,000. The retrial ended in an acquittal.[citation needed]

According to John C. Holmes' second wife Laurie (porn name Misty Dawn) in a Playboy magazine interview : "He [Eddie Nash] was an awful man... John told me he used to leave the bathrooms without toilet paper, then offer the young women cocaine if they'd lick his ass clean." [4] In addition, he required his dancers at the Kit Kat Club to fellate him, to screen for undercover police officers.[citation needed]

Throughout the 1990s, law enforcement figures continued to hound Nash, who had been referred to in various print media as "the one who got away." In 1995, in a broad series of raids targeting alleged organized crime figures, federal agents armed with search warrants raided his house and confiscated what was thought to be a cache of methamphetamine. To the chagrin of law enforcement, the "meth" turned out to be a cache of mothballs and no charges were filed against Nash.

In 2000, after a four-year joint investigation involving local and federal authorities, Nash was arrested and indicted on federal charges under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) for running a drug trafficking and money laundering operation, conspiring to carry out the Wonderland Murders, and bribing one of the jurors of his first trial. Nash, already in his seventies and suffering from emphysema and several other ailments, agreed to a plea bargain agreement in September 2001, pleading guilty to RICO charges and to money laundering. He also admitted to jury tampering (for which the statute of limitations had run out) and to having ordered his associates to retrieve stolen property from the Wonderland house, which might have resulted in violence including murder, but he denied having planned the murders that took place. He also agreed to cooperate with law enforcement authorities. He received a four-and-a-half year prison sentence (including the time already served) and a $250,000 fine.

Bautista murders[edit]

On September 6 or 7, 1984, a personal tragedy struck Nash. A former lover of his, Maureen Bautista, and her son Telesforo were stabbed to death, by Hells Angels biker Robert Frederick Garceau.[5]

Garceau was turned in to the police after he murdered Greg Rambo, who had helped him dispose of the Bautistas' bodies. Rambo's wife, Susan, knew of the Bautista murders and talked to the police (under an agreement of immunity). During the trial, Susan Rambo testified that Harlyn Codd had told her Nash was Telesforo's father; also, that Nash once had paid Garceau to fulfill a contract but that Garceau had failed to perform and, as a result, Nash was "looking for" Garceau.[5] At trial, evidence was presented that Garceau murdered Ms. Bautista because she threatened to expose Garceau's drug operations to Nash. Garceau killed Telesforo because he had witnessed Maureen's murder. Garceau was convicted of all three murders and sentenced to death.[5]

A lengthy court appeal was launched to vacate Garceau's death penalty, but in 1993 the California Supreme Court upheld the legality of what became known as "The Nash testimony." [5] Garceau died in San Quentin prison on Death Row of cancer on December 29, 2004.[6]

In culture[edit]

  • Mike Sager's book Scary Monsters and Super Freaks (2003, ISBN 1560255633) contains a chapter titled "The Devil and John Holmes", about Nash and the Wonderland Murders.[citation needed]
  • Rodger Jacobs' book Long Time Money and Lots of Cocaine (2005) contains a transcript of Holmes' preliminary hearing in criminal court, regarding the Wonderland murder case.[citation needed]
  • Nash is featured prominently in the nonfiction book Underworld Secrets (2006, ISBN 0932438474) by Jerry Van Hoorelbeke, an associate of Nash's in the late 1970s.[citation needed]
  • "Bad Eddie & Other No Good People", the nonfiction centerpiece of John Gilmore's book L.A. Despair: A Landscape of Crimes & Bad Times (ISBN 1878923161), spotlights Nash, Holmes, L.A.'s drug dealing, and the porn business.[citation needed]

References[edit]

External links[edit]