Historic Los Angeles Hall of Justice Renovated and Ready to Open — Historic Courthouse Tried Infamous Criminals: Bugsy Siegel, Charles Manson, George Hodel

October 5, 2014
Los Angeles












Built in 1925 the Los Angeles Hall of Justice has been renovated and will reopen in just a few days.
To name just a few of the historic events that occurred within its walls over the past 90-years.

  • Bugsy Siegel booked and trial
  • Elizabeth “Black Dahlia” autopsy performed in basement
  • Marilyn Monroe autopsy performed in basement
  • Robert Kennedy autopsy performed in basement
  • Charles Manson and his “Family” jailed and trials
  • George Hodel LA County Health Dept Office in building
  • George Hodel booked and trial for child molest and incest
  • DA Lt. Jemison’s office and interview of George Hodel as “Prime Dahlia Suspect”
  • DA Sgt. Walter Morgan office and Hodel Black Dahlia investigation files housed
  • DA Lt. Jemison interview of Black Dahlia witness Mady Comfort conducted


HofJ Renovation Video  ABC News

For those interested in some of the history surrounding the Hall of Justice including:

DA Lt. Frank Jemison and Sgt. Walter Morgan, I have included a PDF containing the complete Chapter 9 as found in Black Dahlia Avenger II. 

Black Dahlia Avenger Chapter 9 (click below link) 

BDA II Chap 9 Hall of Justice



  1. Tracy Meyer on October 15, 2014 at 4:16 pm

    Dear Steve, I had saw the episode of Ghost Hunters in which they came to your childhood home. I noticed they captured the voice of a small girl. Do you think this child was Suzanne Degnan? And do you believe your father committed her murder??

    • Steve Hodel on October 15, 2014 at 4:34 pm

      Hi Tracey: I’m not really into the paranormal/psychic phenomena and tend to be very skeptical regarding “things that go bump in the night.” As to your second question, YES, I am very confident that my father committed the Degnan murder. Suggest your read the three chapters in MOST EVIL that summarize the evidence in that case. Best, Steve

      • Tracy Meyer on October 15, 2014 at 5:09 pm

        Thank you for the reply Steve, I most definitely will be reading it 🙂

  2. Laura on October 24, 2014 at 2:27 am

    Dear Steve,

    I greatly respect your work, and the evidence you have compiled implicating your father in the death of Elizabeth Short and other “missing” L.A. women, appears very solid to me. I am less convinced that he was the Zodiac Killer, but that, too, seems very plausible.

    However, the Degnan murder seems like a stretch- possible, but very unlikely, mainly because your dad would have needed to be extremely familiar with the Edgewater neighborhood of Chicago, and the ordinary people living there, to have known to take the little girl out of her bedroom in the middle of the night, to the basement of a building nearby. As it happens, I live in the neighborhood in which this murder took place, and walk past the corner on which the Degnan family lived rather frequently.

    And while it is not impossible- I guess your dad could have been staying at the magnificent Edgewater Beach Hotel that stood about 5 blocks south on Sheridan Road at that time and that was THE leading resort in the midwest- it doesn’t seem likely that a visitor from CA in town for a brief visit, would be wandering the streets in the area 5 blocks from the hotel, long enough to know the little girl, and to lure her or snatch her from her bedroom in the dead of the night- or know what basement nearby would be a handy place to commit such a crime.While I share your doubts about the guilt of the hapless Heirens, I have to believe that the perp was a local person who lived quietly in the area for a long time and knew every hidden place in it.

    The Edgewater Historical Society has an interesting short article on the crime:

    • Steve Hodel on October 24, 2014 at 11:08 am

      Hi Laura: Thanks for the kind words. Much appreciated.
      Too much to try and detail here re. Degnan and the other two “Lipstick Murders” in Chicago, but just a few points.
      Strongest evidence is that the Degnan bisection was a hemicorpectomy, a skilled surgical procedure taught in the U.S. in the 30s, when GHH was in medical school. The same exact procedure performed on Elizabeth Short. Add to that the placement of the body on what GHH thought was “Degnan Street” plus the Chicago Police badge used by GHH with Elizabeth atthe L.A. radio station, plus the human ear sent to the Degnan residence after the murder which was stolen from a medical clinic. Just too much to be coincidence. Also, the fact that L.A. Sheriffs were investigating a connection between the L.A. Bauerdorf “Bathtub Murder” in 1944 to the other Chicago murders and that GHH committed a “Red Lipstick Murder” in L.A. three weeks after his Dahlia Murder. Whole lot of circumstantial evidence there. Best, Steve

  3. Francois Houle on October 24, 2014 at 10:24 am


    Good point.

    But somewhere on this site, I read that in 1946 George Hodel did show a Chicago Police Officer Badge at least one time. G. Hodel used it to get better seats at a radio show in L.A.. He was with E. Short that day. That is why “Chicago Police Officer” appears in L.A. police’s notes in 1947.

    Personaly I think he used the badge also in Chicago.

  4. Laura on October 24, 2014 at 12:14 pm

    Steve, the evidence you present is very disquieting, and, as I say, it’s possible. However, it would be more convincing if it could be established that he was indeed in Chicago, AND was staying at either the Edgewater Beach or one of the nearby smaller hotels on Kenmore or Winthrop, at the time of Degnan’s murder, or those of the other adult women in the same neighborhood..

    Even so, it’s hard to see how he could have known this little girl well enough to know what house contained her, or where her bedroom window was. The Degnans were ordinary middle-income people, no relation to the socially prominent Degnan family of Lake Forest. Maybe your dad spotted the child in a nearby restaurant at one point? But, then, how would he know to use the basement at 5901 N Winthrop, and why would he be wandering around Chicago in the middle of the night in winter in search of a little girl who was closely guarded (especially after someone tried to snatch her out of her front yard in 1945). Was your dad in the city at the time of that attempted abduction? It would seem to me that there would have been a lot of attractive young women roaming that neighborhood at the time, with its glossy hotels and hot nightlife, that would have made much easier victims. Breaking and entering simply doesn’t seem to have been your Dad’s style?

    Or, could your Dad have been imitating that killer, whoever he was?

    Yet, there DOES remain the unsettling evidence you have uncovered, so your dad cannot be ruled out.

    Again, thanks for all the great work you have done on the Dahlia case and others related to it. I look forward to reading the rest of your books.

  5. Francois Houle on October 24, 2014 at 1:05 pm

    There is also another link between the “lipstick murders” and E. Short.
    We know that in 1946 E. Short went to Chicago to investigate the “lipstick murders”.

    My personal opinion is that with a police badge you don’t need to know people to make them do things. For example they will let you enter their apartment.

    • Steve Hodel on October 24, 2014 at 1:08 pm

      FH: Exactly so. That’s what pulled me into that rabbit hole to begin with. s.

  6. Laura on October 24, 2014 at 10:01 pm

    Yes, Francois, that is an interesting point. An authoritative man with a CPD badge could open many doors, couldn’t he?

    He could also have teamed up with another like-minded man in Chicago, as he did with the Baron and other creepy men he made friendships with. These people have a way of finding each other- they can almost pick each other out of a crowd.

  7. R. Rowley on November 24, 2014 at 8:16 pm

    Steve et alia,

    I too am a fan of BDA and the subsequent books, but am very doubtful that the full panoply of murders could have been committed by one man, especially a man who in 1945-6 lived in L.A. and post-1950 lived in Hawaii and the Far East. Of all the ‘extra’ murders (ie those which weren’t Southern California lone-woman murders of the 1940s), the most plausible one is the one in the 1960s committed in Manila, precisely because George Hodel lived there.

    I think the all-too-real correspondences between/among the murder cases post-1950 (and the Lipstick murders too) that Steve has noticed and adduced are attributable to a hitherto undocumented neurological condition. My take, but I’ve developed this idea for some time.

    • Steve Hodel on November 24, 2014 at 9:02 pm

      Richard: Thank you for your comments. What is deceptive about the non-L.A. killings is the fact that when one breaks it down by actual crime locations and dates here is what we discover. Assuming I am correct and George Hodel was the actual killer of these victims it would only require his presence in the separate cities during the individual full calendar year, as follows: 1945- Chicago on 2 separate days; 1946- Chicago on 1 day; 1966- Riverside 1 day, 1967- Manila 1 day;1968-San Francisco 2 days; 1969-San Francisco 2 days. My point being that in each specific crime the opportunity clearly existed.

      Not sure you’re meaning re. your reference to “neurological condition”?

      • R.Rowley on November 25, 2014 at 8:14 pm


        The neurological condition, as I see it, is likely congenital, and centered on the temporal lobe. This is indicated by a number of the symptoms, but I’ll only touch on one of the most salient ones.

        I’ve studied in considerable detail 6 ‘major cases’ (serial murders, usually thought of as separate clusters, usually attributed to 6 different perpetrators), but since I’m no detective and couldn’t contribute anything there, I’ve mostly concentrated on the psycholinguistic elements.

        Of those 6, two of the likely perpetrators were known to have a photographic memory (George Hodel and one other). Of the other 4, all showed signs of either a startlingly good memory or academic excellence consistent with same. If you think about it, can you imagine how easy most school work would be if you never forgot anything you read? Or any class lecture you ever listened to?

        The brain subcomponent that turns temporary memory into permanent memory is the hippocampus. The hippocampus is located in the temporal lobe.

        So, this is a part, but only a part, of the neurological condition, as I see it. Naturally, having the posited neurological condition doesn’t automatically produce even a single rape or murder, but it likely makes the individual more prone to such behaviours. And I would include not just the overtly harmful behaviours but the taunting notes and letters to police and/or the news media, which are, in a strict M.O. sense, superfluous and unnecessary.

        Just as an observant handwriting expert can pick out signs of schizophrenia, Parkinson’s Syndrome etc. I think there are going to be graphological clusters, features that future graphologists will see as signs of this particular neurological condition…….

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