Black Dahlia Star Secret Witness & Hodel Paramour Madi Comfort – Degrees of Separation to Madams and Mobsters

April 26, 2022
Birch Bay, Washington
“We all knew that he (Dr. George Hill Hodel) had done it. (Killed Elizabeth Short, the Black Dahlia). There was no doubt.”
Mady Comfort, June 2003
(Graphic by Robert J. Sadler)
The above graphic shows Madi Comfort was at most only 2′ of separation from all individuals pictured. The inner-circle shows she was in direct contact and personally associated with: Dr. George Hill Hodel and his wife, Dorothy “Dorero” Hodel. (The three were sexual partners per Madi’s written diary.) Madi was a call girl for Madam Berrie Lazes Benson and friend of fellow call girl, Shelia McDonald.  She was also acquainted with Sam Lazes, the former bodyguard to Mickey Cohen, and ex-husband of Madam Berrie Lazes Benson. The outer circle (dotted line) shows that Madi was just 2′ of separation from Mob Boss Mickey Cohen and admitted gunman and killer, James “The Weasel” Fratianno.
SKH Note: These degrees of separation are what we KNOWand can PROVE.  Obviously, there exists a high probability that all of these individuals were friendly and associated directly with one another (1′ of separation) during and in Los Angeles in the 1940s. 
We learn from my earlier post (Purple Palace Raid link below) that Madi Comfort, Sam Lazes, Shelia McDonald, and “Madam” Barrie Lazes Benson were all arrested in the raid.
April 6, 1951, Purple Palace Raid (Click to read)
Typical of the times Sam Lazes (aka Sam Farkas) Mickey Cohen’s bodyguard got a slap on the wrist and a $25.00 fine. His ex-wife Barrie and her stable girl, Shelia were charged with seven counts of pandering and would later that year both be convicted as “Hollywood Vice Queens” and sent to prison for 1-10 years. I was unable to locate a fine or sentence on Madi Comfort.


From Sex Play to  Gangland Slayings in just three months:
The “Two Tonys” gunned down in Hollywood

August 6, 1951

Brancato and Trombino murders
Herald-Examiner Collection August 7, 1951
Photograph caption dated August 7, 1951 reads “This was the grim scene in front of 1648 North Ogden drive following the rub-out of Tony Brancato (left), 26 and Tony Trombino, 31 (right) whose bodies are shown upright in front of their sedan. Three slugs, apparently from a .38 pistol, had pierced the windshield (arrows) of the car, which carried Missouri license plates. The car radio was still playing when the police arrived. At left, Deputy Chief Thad Brown and Detective Lieut. George Stoner point in the direction which the killer is believed to have fled.”
SKH Note- Deputy Chief Thad Brown* (wearing the hat in the above photo ) , as detailed in my twenty years of ongoing investigations) was the primary LAPD law enforcement official responsible along with  DA William Simpson for the cover-up and locking away of the secret files and tapes proving Dr. George Hodel committed the Black Dahlia murder.
(George Hodel was allowed to flee the country the previous year in late 1950.)
Historical Data:
Born in Kansas City, Missouri, Tony Brancato moved to Los Angeles and became involved in the organized crime scene, including illegal gambling, narcotics, and bootlegging. He was a suspect in many mob murders, including that of New York mobster Bugsy Siegel, and in a botched attempt to kill Mickey Cohen. Anthony Trombino, also from Kansas City, became Brancato’s partner in crime and they became known as “the two Tonys.” After robbing the Flamingo Hotel in Las Vegas, the men became wanted by the mob and the FBI. Jimmy “the weasel” Fratianno set up a meeting with the two to discuss a bank robbery. On August 6, 1951, Brancato and Trombino were found shot to death in the front seat of a car on Ogden Drive near Hollywood Boulevard. Though many mobsters were arrested, phony alibis allowed all of them to escape punishment. Over 25 years later, after entering the federal Witness Protection Program, Fratianno confessed to murdering the pair.


August 8, 1951
Jimmy (The Weasel) Fratianno and Sam Lazes were two of the four men arrested the day after the execution-style double gangland homicide. All four were ultimately released in 1951 due to “insufficient evidence” after they each provided an alibi. Frantianno twenty-five years later admitted to committing the murder after being placed in the Federal Witness Protection Program.
*Officer Steve Hodel and Dep.Chief Thad Brown in 1966. The photo was taken after Chief Brown had his photographer call me over for a photo after the Chief’s swearing-in ceremony to replace the recently deceased Chief William H. Parker.
While I was “clueless” apparently Chief Brown knowing my father was the killer of Elizabeth”Black Dahlia” Short, and that I had unknowingly joined the LAPD, simply could not resist the “photo op.”





July 21, 1966


For those desiring additional information on Mattie (Madi) Comfort I am attaching the complete Chapter 1 from Black Dahlia Avenger II (Thoughtprint Press 2014).  Click on the below link.

 Chap 1 BDA II-“Madi Comfort, Duke Ellington’s Original ‘Satin Doll’





  1. Joakim on May 2, 2022 at 12:01 pm

    The letters from Zodiac seem to divide opinions. Some think they were sent from someone with dyslexia. Others think they were designed to sound like Jack the Ripper letters. And a few think they may have been intended as mockery of ordinary serial killers (by someone who did not see himself as ordinary). What´s the most likely truth?

  2. Steve Hodel on May 2, 2022 at 12:32 pm

    The second opinion is closest to the truth of it. George Hodel was a JtR scholar and had most probably read all of the descriptions of his crimes and his M.O. I document many of these “copycat” crime signatures. One of the most obvious is GHH’s use of a drawing of a knife dripping blood in both Zodiac and Black Dahlia murders. Sent to the press and police. Direct copy of JtR Also, JtR in his Dear Boss letter mentions cutting off the next victim’s ear. GHH in the Chicago Lipstick Murder of Suzanne Degnan actually mails a human ear to her parents. Also, JtR in one letter indicates he wrote it with red ink, “but a drop of the real in it.” A zodiac letter was found to contain real blood where suspect wrote a cross in the taunt.

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