Adel Gharib Nasrallah
April 3, 1929
|Died||August 9, 2014 (aged 85)|
|Resting place||Holy Cross Cemetery|
|Occupation||Nightclub owner, restaurateur, drug dealer|
Eddie Nash (April 3, 1929 – August 9, 2014) was an American nightclub owner and restaurateur in Los Angeles, as well as a convicted money launderer and drug dealer. Nash is best known as the alleged mastermind of the Wonderland Murders.
Nash was born Adel Gharib Nasrallah in British Palestine. His family were Orthodox Christian Palestinians from the city of Ramallah, just outside Jerusalem. Before the creation of Israel in 1948, Nash's family owned 48 hotels. He later told a friend he spent time in a refugee camp and fled the country after Israel Defense Forces soldiers gunned down his brother-in-law. In the early 1950s, Nash emigrated to the United States with only $7. He briefly found work as an actor and stuntman, and was an expert horseman. In 1952, he appeared in a small role as a character named "Nash" in an episode of the Western series The Cisco Kid.
In the 1960s, Nash opened a hot dog stand called Beef's Chuck on Hollywood Boulevard. By the 1970s, Nash owned several nightclubs and restaurants in Los Angeles, such as the P.J.'s club (shortly afterward renamed Starwood) in West Hollywood, the Soul'd Out club in Hollywood, the Odyssey disco, the Paradise Ballroom, the Seven Seas, Ali Baba's, and The Kit Kat strip club. Nash's clubs attracted diverse groups, as he operated clubs marketed towards gays, heterosexuals, teenagers, African Americans, and other target audiences.
Nash was most notorious for his alleged 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, adult film performer John C. Holmes, was later acquitted of the murders. Nash and Holmes were well acquainted with each other; 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 as a result, 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 Los Angeles cocaine trade, Holmes helped the group plan the invasion. Holmes went to Nash's home on the morning of the attack to leave a sliding door unlocked so the Gang could enter the home. On June 29, 1981, the Wonderland Gang entered into Nash's home via the unlocked sliding door, held Nash and his bodyguard at gunpoint, and stole Nash's drugs, jewelry and money. At one point, one of the Wonderland Gang's member's guns went off, grazing Nash's bodyguard's face. Nash was then made to beg for life on his knees, an act that he found humiliating. Nash quickly suspected John Holmes was involved in the robbery as he had been at Nash's home the morning of the robbery. The following day, a friend of Nash's confirmed his suspicions after telling him he had seen Holmes wearing some of his stolen jewelry.
On July 1, two days after Nash was robbed, Ron Launius, Billy Deverell, Joy Audrey Gold Miller, and Barbara Richardson were found bludgeoned to death at their home at 8763 Wonderland Avenue in Laurel Canyon, Los Angeles. Susan Launius, Ron's wife, was critically injured but survived. Officials from the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) remarked that the Wonderland Murders were particularly brutal, noting that the crime scene was bloodier than the Tate-LaBianca murders.
Nash was believed to have planned the murders that were committed by three of his henchmen. Nash planned to kill John Holmes but later decided to spare Holmes' life and use the Wonderland murders to "teach Holmes a lesson". Holmes later told his first wife, Sharon, he was forced to accompany three gunmen to the Wonderland Avenue home. He claimed he was then held at gunpoint and forced to watch the quadruple murders. While police believe Holmes likely took part in the murders, Holmes would maintain that he never killed anyone.
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 due to Nash's poor health. An associate of Nash later admitted that they had bribed the judge with about $100,000.
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.
According to John Holmes' second wife Laurie (known as 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."
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 Nash's 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, by this point 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 occurred. He also agreed to cooperate with law enforcement authorities. In exchange, he received a four-and-a-half year prison sentence (including time already served) and a $250,000 fine.
On September 6 or 7, 1984, Nash's former lover Maureen Bautista and her son Telesforo were stabbed to death by Hells Angels biker Robert Frederick Garceau. 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, and 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. At trial, evidence was presented that Garceau murdered Bautista because she threatened to expose Garceau's drug operations to Nash, and Garceau killed her son because Telesforo had witnessed Bautista's murder. Garceau was convicted of all three murders and sentenced to death.
A lengthy court appeal of Garceau's death sentence was begun, but in 1993 the California Supreme Court upheld the legality of what became known as "The Nash testimony." Garceau died from cancer on San Quentin's death row on December 29, 2004.
In popular culture
- In the movie Boogie Nights (1997), Alfred Molina plays a character named Rahad Jackson, whose bodyguard, home, and living situation are heavily influenced by Nash's.
- In the movie Wonderland (2003), Nash is portrayed by actor Eric Bogosian.
- Gilmore, John (2005). L.A. Despair: A Landscape of Crimes & Bad Times. Amok. ISBN 1-878-92316-1.
- Jacobs, Rodger (2011). Long Time Money and Lots of Cocaine. Lulu Publishing.
- Van Hoorelbeke, Jerry (2006). Underworld: Hoffa to Las Vegas. Silverpeak Enterprises. ISBN 0-932-43847-4.
- Sager, Mike (2003). Scary Monsters and Super Freaks: Stories of Sex, Drugs, Rock 'N' Roll and Murder. Da Capo Press. ISBN 1-560-25563-3.
- Riccardi, Nicholas (September 26, 1995). "'Drug' Seized in Arrest of Eddie Nash Is a Mothball : Narcotics: No charges are filed against the man who was acquitted of the 1981 killings of four people in Laurel Canyon". The Los Angeles Times. latimes.com. p. 1. Retrieved April 11, 2018.
- Fleming, E. J. (2015). Hollywood Death and Scandal Sites: Seventeen Driving Tours with Directions and the Full Story (2 ed.). McFarland. p. 70. ISBN 978-1-476-61850-0.
- Love, Robert (1993). The Best of Rolling Stone: 25 Years of Journalism On the Edge. Doubleday. p. 437. ISBN 0-385-47051-7.
- William-Ross, Lindsay (August 17, 2012). "LAistory: The Odyssey, The All-Ages Dance Club Owned By a Famed Criminal That Mysteriously Went Up in Flames". LAist. Archived from the original on October 3, 2013.
- MacDonell, Allan (October 2, 2003). "In Too Deep". LA Weekly. laweekly.com. Retrieved April 11, 2018.
- Stewart, Robert W. (April 14, 1988). "Holmes' Confession in Bathtub: Told Wife of Role in 4 Murders". The Los Angeles Times. latimes.com. p. 1. Retrieved April 11, 2018.
- Stewart, Robert W. (April 14, 1988). "Holmes' Confession in Bathtub: Told Wife of Role in 4 Murders". The Los Angeles Times. latimes.com. p. 2. Retrieved April 11, 2018.
- (Goldsmith 2001).
- Rosenzweig, David (October 13, 2001). "Nash Gets 37 Months In 'Wonderland' Murders". The Los Angeles Times. latimes.com. Retrieved April 11, 2018.
- "Bigger Than A Payphone, Smaller Than A Cadillac: The Life, Death and Dick of John C. Holmes" Archived March 19, 2008, at the Wayback Machine
- "People v. Garceau (1993)". Justia. law.justia.com.
- Fimrite, Peter (December 31, 2004). "San Quentin/Death Row Inmate Dies of Cancer". SFGate. sfgate.com. Retrieved April 11, 2018.
- Kehr, Dave (October 8, 2003). "At the Movies; From Elf Queen To Journalist". The New York Times. Retrieved April 11, 2018.
- Eddie Nash at IMDb
- Eddie Nash at Find a Grave
- Lemons, Stephens (June 9, 2000). "Return To Wonderland". Salon. salon.com. Archived from the original on November 7, 2005.
- "Old Los Angeles Drug Kingpin Finally Goes to Prison-Unrelenting LAPD Detective Honored". Los Angeles Police Department. lapdonline.com. February 12, 2002.