A Little Levity: GuthrieGate and Author’s LAPD Pre Employment Mug Shot

November 20, 2019
Los Angeles, California
Time for a little levity.

Levity No. 1

First, as some readers may know, the great American folk singer/songwriter, Woody Guthrie was (like many other celebrities of his day) whispered to be, “a suspect in the Black Dahlia Murder.”

The “Guthrie investigation” lasted about ten minutes. Just about as long as it took the lead LAPD detective, Sgt. Finis Brown (brother of the Chief of Detectives Thad Brown) to determine and confirm that at the time of the Elizabeth Short murder on January 14/15, 1947,  Woody Guthrie was at his home in the East Coast, some three thousand miles away.  Here is a copy of Detective Finis Brown’s “15.7 Memorandum” dated November 10, 1949.*

  • As a point of interest on the very day that Detective Finis Brown wrote the below memorandum clearing Guthrie of any involvement, the actual killer, Dr. George Hill Hodel had been bound over for trial in DTLA at the Hall of Justice, charging him with two felony counts: Incest and Child Molestation.

Levity No. 2

Steve Hodel (age 21)

Thirteen years after Detective Finis Brown wrote his Memo clearing Guthrie a twenty-one-year-old ex-Navy Corpsman, posed for his “LAPD employee applicant photograph.”  This photo was taken of me to be used during my “background investigation” and provided for use by the assigned detectives in LAPDs Personnel Division.
As I’ve said many times, “The Gods just keep on laughing.”


  1. Patricia O’Neill on November 21, 2019 at 11:39 am

    History repeats itself! Do we not see similarities in headlines & personalities today: Jeffrey Epstein, Prince Andrew, the Clintons, the Trumps, Roger Stone, Rudy etc! And so it goes but in the quagmire innocent victims suffer abuse, debasement, loss of life. The answer(s) lie in those who stop in their tracks, turn and forcefully point to the perpetrators saying “no more flight, now we fight!” 😡

  2. Feather on November 29, 2019 at 1:46 am

    So weird. Why would Woody Guthrie even be a suspect? He’s one of last people I’d suspect.

  3. Dennis Effle on April 5, 2020 at 2:38 pm

    Thanks for this post, Steve. We’re we ever this young? Looks like the prototypical “New Centurion,” of the LAPD. Here’s to our 80’s and beyond.

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