New York Times Bestselling Author Steve Hodel

Update on Police Informant W. Glenn Martin Letter – Los Angeles Times Article Suggests Letter Written on October 26, 1949 – Lucille Bowen in Martin Letter a New Murder Victim or Natural Death? – Judge for Yourself

November 2, 2018
Los Angeles, California

I originally reported the LAPD police informant W. Glenn Martin Letter appeared to be written on October 25th (written over Oct 26) but I have located the article he referenced in the newspaper and it is apparently from the Los Angeles Times, dated October 26, 1949.

Martin in his letter makes two separate references to the article shown below:

 

…”I saw in paper where a girl had been murdered at 116 E 3rd St. an unidentified body plus other conditions mentioned in paper.

Martin later in his letter then writes:

…Of course people from Okl. were sent word of a Lucille Bowen (Hodges) death I believe that a phoney made by G.H. as he knew all Okla City neighborhood. They would think it Lucille but where is Margaret Ellen Martin & Glenna Jean. G.H. was with Joe when he took her to hotel & knew he would get out of it.

Signed W. Glenn Martin

Here is a copy of the Los Angeles Times article of October 26, 1949:

 

The information contained in the LAT article both answers and raises questions as relates to Glenn Martin’s letter.  Here are some bullet points:

  • Victim was Rena Lucille Hodge, aka Lucille Bowen, age 40.
  • Lucille and an unidentified male checked into the hotel at 115 E. 3rd St by hotel clerk Myers who registered them as “Mr./Mrs. Johnson.” (As presented in BDA I)  I present evidence that a male who I believe was later ID’d as George Hodel, and Elizabeth Short checked into a hotel on East Washington Blvd on January 12, 1947. The hotel owners who checked them in were a Mr./Mrs Johnson, reported to police the male returned the day of Elizabeth Short’s murder and nervously checked out. His photo was identified by the Johnson’s as “a man connected to a foreign government.” As summarized in BDA I believe the photo shown was GHH’s UNRRA photo, where he is seen standing with Chinese government officials. Mr./Mrs. Johnson’s name and photographs were prominently displayed in LA local newspapers in 1947 as important witnesses.
  • An anonymous caller (not Glenn Martin) calls the police and informs them that the victim is at the hotel and “has been murdered and her killer is the same man who killed the Black Dahlia.” (George Hodel made numerous telephone calls to press and police informing them of his crimes in LA, Chicago, and San Francisco, prior to and shortly after the bodies were discovered.)
  • “Courtesy Cards” from both LAPD Central Vice and Administrative Vice were found in her purse indicating she had close connections to both Vice Divisions. (At the time her body was found LAPD Vice detectives were undergoing major scandals which were actively being investigated by Glenn Martin’s “Lt. McCauley.” Major corruption cases were before the courts and the Grand Jury and LAPD Vice officers were on trial for corruption.)
  • The victim, at the time of her death was found “to have heavy bruising about her head and face”, but despite those injuries her cause of death was allegedly found to be “due to alcoholism.” (No apparent follow-up information on either the “tipster” that called in her “murder” or the man “Mr. Johnson” that checked in with her at the hotel were released to the public.

  (SKH Note- Taking into consideration the time and conditions in Los Angeles in October, 1949, and the tremendous pressure that the LAPD and the politicians were undergoing from both the 1949 Grand Jury and the public, it is very conceivable that given the choice of calling a suspicious death a murder or a natural –that is a suspicious death with a beating and trauma, that could or could not have caused death, all things being equal, the coroner would most probably go for the non-homicide. “Natural causes due to alcoholism.” Last thing they would want was another “Lone Woman Murder” on the heels of the Louise Springer killing just months prior that they were looking at as being possibly “Black Dahlia” related. Now a new crime that the “tipster” is saying is “Dahlia connected, I did it.” NO WAY.)

For those that think I have “an active imagination” Let me quote directly from LAPD Vice Sgt. Charles Stoker’s book, Thicker’N Thieves, written at the exact same time LAPD undercover informant, Glenn Martin was working for Inspector William H. Parker and Sgt. Kenneth McCauley in their newly established Internal Affairs Divison.  October 1949. (Sgt. Stoker has just finished testifying in secret before the 1949 Grand Jury on LAPD Vice corruption and has named names resulting in multiple police officers indictments. He was Serpico twenty-years before Serpico.) SKH Note- Stoker’s book was virtually unattainable and so scarce that copies of his original 1950 edition were selling for $300-$500 a copy on Ebay. Because of his books historical importance I republished it verbatim, as he wrote it, in 2011 and only added an Introductory Chapter and photographs to introduce Sgt. Stoker to Angelenos some five decades later.  It is now available on line for $8.00.

Thicker’N Thieves Page 162– (Inspector Parker has called Sgt. Stoker in to his suite at the Biltmore Hotel and wants him to join his newly formed Internal Affairs Division.)

After these pleasantries, Parker asked what I knew about the Brenda Allen investigation in Hollywood. When I related the story as I had told
it to the grand jury, he indicated that it was as he had suspected, since he knew positively that there were two sources of corruption in the
police administration.

According to Parker, one source was controlled by Chief of Police Clemence B. Horrall. Aligned with him as a lieutenant was Sergeant Guy Rudolph, his confidential aide. He then related this story concerning Rudolph, which I have never verified.

For years, while Bowron was in office, Rudolph had controlled the vice pay-offs in Los Angeles, and when Horrall held the chief’s job,Rudolph was under his wing. At one time, Rudolph had kicked a colored prostitute to death on Central Avenue; and during the investigation of that incident, he and his partner had gone to a local downtown hotel where they engaged in a drunken brawl with two women. Then, while Rudolph was out of the room buying a bottle of whiskey, one of the prostitutes had been killed.

He asked me if I had heard the story. When I replied that I hadn’t, Parker told me that he could prove what he had related to me. He  added that Rudolph also controlled the lottery and numbers rackets operated by Chinese and Negroes, and that he had a Chinese as a partner, and maintained a business office on San Pedro Street.

Armed with this additional information, to my mind it sheds a slightly different light on the writing/reading of W. Glenn Martin’s letter.

It sounds to me that Martin may be concerned that the initially “unidentified female victim at the hotel room” just might be one of his daughters, either Margaret Ellen or Glenna Jeans?  He writes, “They would think it Lucille but where is Margaret Ellen Martin & Glenna Jean.” He’s clearly worried.

Worried enough to immediately, that same day, write out his “In Case of the Death of Margaret Ellen or Glenna Jean’s” letter. Clearly, fearful that if “GH” hasn’t already harmed one of them he may do so in the future to get revenge on Martin for connecting him to the Springer and Dahlia crimes.

Ironically,  the hotel where “Mr. and Mrs. Johnson” registered at and where the victim’s beaten and bruised body was found the following morning was- THE ST. GEORGE HOTEL.

 

INVESTIGATION CONTINUED.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2 Comments

  1. Dennis Effle on November 3, 2018 at 5:18 pm

    An essential up-date from the case that just won’t be ignored. (Thanks to your efforts of keeping it alive and relevant in todays topsy-turvy world) With each new revelation I can understand the reality of this case in greater detail and a fuller understanding of the city politics that helped obscure it’s truthful conclusion. You not only keep digging but you continually mine gold from unknown archives whose pieces of the puzzle you fit into an articulate argument for George Hill Hodel’s quilt. Well Done!

    • Steve Hodel on November 3, 2018 at 7:03 pm

      Dennis E: Thanks Dennis. As you know, being an LA Historian, understanding the time and place is critical to seeing how the pieces fit into place. Sgt. Charles Stoker’s book really helps us understand and separate fact from fiction back in the true-life L.A. Confidential of the late Forties, early Fifties. Thanks for you continued support. Steve

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