A former cop named Steve Hodel has long claimed that hi father was not only the Black Dahlia killer, but has apparently said he was the Zodiac killer as well! Now, on the TV show "Most Evil" hosted by Forensic Psychiatrist Dr Michael Stone, claims that his father was also the "Lipstick Killer", a triple murder spree in the mid 1940`s that had seen William Heirens jailed when he was just 17 and been incarcerated ever since. There has certainly not been a Hollywood whitewash of him, a la "Birdman of Alcatraz". In fact, many believe Heirens is completely innocent of the murders, but he was forced to plead guilty to ensure avoiding a certain trip to the chair. What happened was that in 1945, two women were attacked and murdered in their homes, with throat slashings. Yet, the killer took the time to wash the bodies, and even place tape over their wounds. The killer was not found. In 1946, an eight year old girl was abducted from her home. Soon, her body was found, horrifically dismembered. Shortly, a young burglar named Bill Heirens was arrested and in time confessed to being the triple killer. Yet, shortly afterwards, he withdrew his confession and has stuck by it ever since. He claimed being denied access to a lawyer, starvation, beatings from cops, and constant threats that he WAS going to the chair.
Was he guilty? Me? I think it was a stitch up. No motive was ever given. How could a 17 year old calmly do the body washing of a victim? How did a 17 year old acquire the medical knowledge to perfectly dissect the body of the little girl? What was his motive for such a crime? Why did he switch from women to a child? Why did he decide to dismember the child but not the women, when he actually had the time and privacy to have done so? The killer left a message at one of the house murders in lipstick stating that they must catch him because he cannot help himself. Heirens has never been granted parole, not surprisingly.
Enter Steve Hodel, a former cop who had joined the LAPD in 1963. He did not know about his supposed family connection to the Heirens/ Dahlia case until after his father died in 1991. His father, George Hodel, was a surgeon with an exceptional IQ, but it has been claimed that mentally, he was unravelling. Hodel claims he has proof that his father was in Chicago at the time. He does not give any reason for the murders, apart from his father wanting to show how clever he was. No reason for dismembering the child but not the women. Then came the Dahlia murder of Elizabeth Short in January 1947.
A wannabe actress struggling to exist in Hollywood is found dismembered and displayed in full view to be found easily. Hodel claims a photograph of a woman his father possessed, was that of Elizabeth Short. He has not proved it beyond doubt. Short was cut in half in exactly the same way of the young girl in Chicago. Her body was also washed. A link or a coincidence? Again, what was the motive? Here Hodel enters into speculation, which is not proof of anything. He claims that his father morally degenerated and hosted Hollywood parties, where stars indulged their peculiar vices. He believes George met Short at one of these parties. Belief is not proof. He says that Short posed for pictures taken by his father. That is reasonable to assume, as Short had no money and spent a lot of time scrounging what she could, so posing for photos put a bit of cash in her pocket. His motive for killing her? He believes Short discovered his dark secret about Chicago. Again, assumption. What did she discover and how? No proof. Nothing to corroborate it. He claimed that the letters sent to Police taunting them, would be the work of his father, using headline clippings, not phrases cut out of newspapers like ordinary criminals "would have". This, he said, showed the killer being very clever, just like his father. To top it off, the posing of the body matched a design by a surrealist artist that Hodel knew. Wow!
To finish, Hodel claimed he took his investigation to a former Assistant D.A. who said that on Hodels` evidence he would seek the death penalty. He would prosecute such a case based on certain assumptions and circumstantial claims? Makes you wonder about him. Finally, Hodel claims of George taunting Police with the lipstick message and the paper clippings falls flat, in my view, as on his deathbed, surely such a blatant publicity seeker would say, "Hey son, your lot could never catch me for Chicago and Liz Short could you? I was always too clever!"
As for one other famous suspect, one Ben Siegel, he was supposed to have killed her and put her in the area where L.A. crime boss Jack Dragna lived, as a message to him. Really? What message? A total stranger is killed as a warning to him? Surely killing somebody like Micky Cohen or another top hood and dumping them on Dragna`s doorstep, is a message! Besides, Siegel had just opened the Flamingo in Las Vegas, at great expense to the Mob, and to a spectacular flop. He had more than enough dangerous problems on his mind than a totally unknown woman. Any other theories are welcome.