September 24, 2017
Los Angeles, California
According to a few inquiries from my readers, I am informed that a new Black Dahlia book reportedly to be published on October 10, 2017 (George Hodel’s Birthday) is claiming “a new solution to the Black Dahlia Murder.” The U.K. press has indicated that a British author is claiming a “coverup” and has named “the real killer as, Leslie Dillion,” the once “prime suspect” of Dr. Paul DeRiver, the discredited and fired LAPD “psychiatrist.” DeRiver after offering his services for free then created and self-appointed himself head and of the Department’s, “Sexual Offense Bureau.”
According to transcribed testimony from the 1949 DA Files and Grand Jury questioning some of Dr. DeRiver’s circumstantial evidence that led him to believe Leslie Dillon was the killer was (according to Dr. DeRiver) based on his own findings as follows:
* The fact that when Dillion and DeRiver dined together at a restaurant, Dillion claimed the meat served to him “was too rare and he couldn’t eat it”, which to DeRiver’s mind showed proof of a guilty conscience because it reminded him of the raw carnage of his crime and demonstrated a consciousness of guilt.)
* When DeRiver interrogated Dillon with detectives in his hotel room he asked Dillon to take down his pants and shorts. Dillion complied and DeRiver observed he had “an infantile penis”, more along the size of a teenager rather than a man’s, which in DeRiver’s mind would “make him more inclined to be a rapist or sexual deviant.”
*Dillon provided Dr. DeRiver with a hand-drawn sketch of the man he met and believed might be the Dahlia killer, identifying him as “Jeff Conner”, residing in San Francisco. Dr. DeRiver informed detectives that this individual would not exist as he was nothing more than “Dillon’s alter ego” created as a cover to deflect suspicion away from Dillon.
There are many more examples from the official police files, demonstrating Dr. Deriver’s psycho-babble, but you get the idea. I’ll leave it at that.
I briefly addressed the DeRiver/Dillon Black Dahlia Fiasco in my third book as follows:
Excerpt from Black Dahlia Avenger II Chapter 20, (pages 312-313):
LAPD SGT. FINIS A. BROWN—THE LEAD DAHLIA DETECTIVE
If asked what detective originally led the Black Dahlia murder investigation, most cops and reporters would say, it was Sgt. Harry Hansen. Wrong answer. Another myth.
The real lead detective was Sgt. Finis A. Brown, brother of LAPD’s Chief of Detectives Thad Brown.
By all accounts, Brown did most of the legwork and pretty much all of the thinking in the important first three years of the Dahlia investigation.
Black Dahlia victim, Elizabeth Short, and lead detective Finis Brown shared the same birthday–July 29
In December 1949, the grand jury subpoenaed a number of LAPD detectives to testify about the original investigation. Among them was, Finis Brown and Lt. William Burns, the former commander of LAPD’s Gangster Squad who had loaned some of his men to the Dahlia case. Unfortunately, Gangster Squad detectives were mostly untrained in homicide investigations; they tended to be loose cannons who made messes.
At the behest of the LAPD’s “department psychiatrist,” Dr. J. Paul DeRiver, the Gangster Squad was persuaded to pursue the doctor’s red-herring suspect, Leslie Dillon, who (much to his later regret) had originally contacted Dr. DeRiver from Florida with “some thoughts” on the case.
In January 1949, two years after the murder, Dr. DeRiver and a couple of Gangster Squad detectives lured Dillon to California “to meet and discuss his theories.” After holding him “incommunicado” at various hotels for three days, they arrested him as Elizabeth Short’s killer.
It made headlines after the “three-day detainee” dropped a note out of his downtown L.A. hotel window, begging someone to contact famed criminal defense attorney Jerry Giesler to rescue him.
Dillon was released several days after his arrest, although the Gangster Squad and Dr. DeRiver remained convinced that he was the actual Black Dahlia killer. For the rest of 1949, they continued to build a case against him.
In October 1949, at the request of Lt. Jemison, Sgt. Finis Brown went to San Francisco and was able to verify Leslie Dillon’s alibi that he was in that city in the days before and after Elizabeth Short’s murder.
The entire affair was a huge embarrassment to LAPD Homicide. Both Lt. Burns and Dr. DeRiver were called on the carpet. Burns was taken out of the Gangster Squad and Dr. DeRiver left his position as LAPD’s department psychiatrist six months after the Dillon debacle.
LAPD investigators and Black Dahlia murder suspect Leslie Dillon (wearing overcoat, center) take a break from questioning on January 11, 1949. Flanking the suspect are (left to right) J. Paul de River, Detective Lieutenant William Burns, Chief of Police C. B. Horrall and Captain Francis Kearney.
J. Paul de River (left) and exonerated Black Dahlia suspect Leslie Dillon face reporters outside Highland Park jail on January 12, 1949. (Above photos from http://johnbrianking.com/The-Sexual-Criminal)
(Left) Two years after the Black Dahlia Murder Leslie Dillon is arrested for Dahlia murder based on Dr. DeRiver’s “sleuthing.” (It has been speculated that the doctor gave himself the fictitious name “DeRiver” to indicate “one who Derives” ie. a master detective?
(Right) Within one day of Dillon’s arrest, the real Jeff Connors was located in San Francisco and brought to LA for questioning proving that DeRiver’s theory of an “alter ego” for Dillion was incorrect and Dillion was released from custody. A Later investigation by DA investigators confirmed Dillon’s alibi and established that Dilllon was in fact in San Franciso at the time of the murder of Elizabeth “Black Dahlia” Short (January 15, 1947) and could not have committed the crime. Leslie Dillon would later sue the LAPD and Dr. DeRiver for unlawful detention and false arrest and it is my understanding he won his claim and received monetary damages paid by LA City.
Dr. Paul De River, LAPD S.O.B.
(Sexual Offense Bureau)
SKH Note-Full Disclosure: Let m state out front that I am no fan of Dr. Paul De River (true name, Joseph L. Israel) This is based on seventeen years of research into the history of Los Angeles, and those, including Dr. Paul DeRivers, involved in its high-profile criminal cases in the Thirties, Forties and Fifties.)
In 1937, offering to work for free, DeRiver approached LAPD informing them “he was a psychiatrist, skilled in criminology” and was accepted (without any background check or questions.) LAPD jumped at the “free service” figuring they had nothing to lose. (Except as later years would prove, their reputation.)
DeRiver declared himself to be the LAPDs self-appointed “sex expert” and he named his assigned office, “The SOB.” (Sexual Offense Bureau.) He remained in this position for thirteen years until wrongfully accusing one Leslie Dillion of being the Black Dahlia killer. DeRiver did this in secret and in concert with several other Gangster Squad detectives (on loan to homicide to “assist” in the Dahlia investigation.)
Dillon residing in Florida, contacted Dr. DeRiver regarding someone he believed was “a hot suspect” and DeRiver arranged for LAPD to pay for Dillon’s travel from Florida. DeRiver secretly believed that Dillion himself was the killer and lured him to California, ostensibly to help the doctor solve “whodunit. ” Dr. DeRiver along with a few detectives from the Gangster Squad then unlawfully detained Dillon for more than a week, driving him to various locations throughout Southern California.
In January, 1949, after extensive around the clock interrogations while being held in the downtown LA Strand Hotel, Dillon secretly dropped a handwritten note out of the hotel window asking for someone “to notify and get him Defense attorney Jerry Giesler, as he was being held unlawfully by the police.” The note was found turned over to LAPD who then promptly booked Dillon for the suspected murder of Elizabeth “Black Dahlia” Short.
Leslie Dillon’s handwritten note dropped out Strand Hotel window addressed to Attorney Jerry Geisler. (sic)
“I am being held in room 219 & 21 Strand Hotel. Phone Fe 3101 in conversation with Black Dahlia murder by Dr. J.P.de River as far as I can tell. I would like legal counsel.”
Mr. Leslie Dillon
In June 1950 Dr. DeRiver’s Tried for Drug Charges, found guilty and Fired from LAPD by Chief Worton and Police Commission in August (Chief William H. Parker took over command of LAPD at this same time.)
For those interested on a deeper dive background of Dr. Paul De Rivers check out the below link:
As a P.S. sideline to Sgt. Finis Brown’s testimony to the Grand Jury in 1949 we discover additional information on the “Unknown Elizabeth Short Downtown Doctor” suspect, which is consistent with George Hodel’s actions/crime signatures in his murders in: Chicago, LA, Riverside, and San Francisco Bay Area.
From BDA II:
My review of the DA files included Sgt. Finis Brown’s testimony before the 1949 grand jury. The transcript covered various aspects of his then three-year-old investigation; however, what I found most revealing were several questions asked of him by the grand jury foreman, Mr. Harry Lawson. These were made in the presence of Deputy District Attorney Arthur Veitch and Lt. Frank Jemison.
Here is the verbatim excerpt:
Testimony of LAPD Sgt. Finis Brown Date: December 6, 1949
Questioned by: DDA Arthur L. Veitch and GJ
Present: 1949 grand jury members and DA investigator Lt. Frank B. Jemison
(Excerpt from page 30 of 1949 Secret Grand Jury Transcript):
Grand Jury Foreman, Mr. Harry Lawson asks Sgt. Brown
Q: Do you care to express an opinion to this Jury as to who you think killed Elizabeth Short?
Sgt. Finis Brown:
A: I can’t express an opinion. I don’t know. I can this: That there is over 100 pages of names cut out of this address book; also, it is known that she was in care of some doctor. We don’t know who that doctor is yet. We have never been able to find out. We do know this; that on two or three occasions a doctor identifying himself as a doctor, but refusing to give his name called the Hollywood Station and gave some information of where the information—some information might be picked up on her around Hollywood Boulevard.