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Liberace’s Ex-Lover Links Hollywood Drug Dealer To Laurel Canyon Murders

September 16, 1988 GMT

LOS ANGELES (AP) _ Liberace’s ex-lover provided some of the new evidence tying a Hollywood drug dealer to the 1981 Laurel Canyon slayings, for which the late sex-film star John Holmes once was tried, the Los Angeles Times reported Friday.

Scott Thorson, 29, who was Liberace’s companion from 1977 to 1982, helped authorities build their case against nightclub owner and convicted cocaine trafficker Adel Nasrallah in the four Laurel Canyon beating deaths, the Times said, citing unidentified sources.

The killings allegedly were in revenge for a cash and drug robbery of Nasrallah, authorities have said, and Holmes admitted bringing the assailants to the Laurel Canyon home.

Holmes, like Liberace, died of acquired immune deficiency syndrome.

Nasrallah, 59, who went by the name Eddie Nash, and former bodyguard Gregory DeWitt Diles, 40, were charged Sept. 8 with four counts of murder and one of attempted murder. They are being held without bail and face possible death penalties if convicted.

Four people were bludgeoned to death during the nighttime attack in the affluent residential neighborhood and a fifth was left for dead. She survived but was unable to identify her attackers.

Deputy District Attorney Dale Davidson, who is prosecuting Nash and Diles, said Friday that authorities have new witnesses in the case, but would neither confirm nor deny Thorson’s involvement.

″And right now I’m most interested in protecting my witnesses and avoiding anything that might prejudice the case against Mr. Nash and Mr. Diles, so I can’t ethically say anything one way or another,″ the prosecutor said.

Nash and Diles were scheduled to name attorneys and enter pleas in a court appearance Monday, at which time the prosecution will provide a list of its witnesses and an outline of its case, he said.

″The names of the witnesses will be out before long, but it would be wrong for me to be the first one to give them out,″ Davidson said.

Thorson, who sued Liberace for more than $12 million and wrote a kiss-and- tell book about their relationship, remained in jail Friday awaiting sentencing for a drug-related armed robbery. Telephone messages left for his lawyer, Deputy Public Defender Cathy Dreyfuss, were not returned.

Holmes, a heavy cocaine user, was the top pornographic film star of the ’70s, often portraying a detective named Johnny Wadd. During his 1982 trial, witnesses testified that Holmes fenced property stolen by the murder victims to Nash, who exchanged them for cocaine.

A police detective testified that Holmes admitted taking killers to the house the night of July 1, 1981, to placate Nash, who allegedly was angry after being robbed of drugs and $10,000 by two of the victims two days before.

The robbery was allegedly Holmes’ idea. And investigators contended the victims allowed the killers inside the house about 10 miles west of downtown Los Angeles because Holmes was with them.

Holmes never took the stand and was acquitted. He was later jailed for 111 days for contempt of court for refusing to talk to a grand jury. He agreed to testify before the secret panel in November 1982 after Nash was sentenced to prison for possessing about two pounds of cocaine valued at $1 million.

Holmes’ grand jury testimony remains sealed, and Davidson said it can’t be used against Nash or Diles.

The sex-film star died of AIDS complications in March, after reportedly granting deathbed interviews to police still investigating the killings. However, his statements apparently yielded little of use to authorities, and Davidson said the evidence used to file the new charges didn’t come from Holmes.

Nash, who ran a chain of strip-joints and punk nightclubs, supplied Thorson with cocaine, the Times said.

In an acknowledgment in his recently published book, ″Behind the Candelabra: My Life With Liberace,″ Thorson named Nash as one of six people who, over the years, offered him ″personal support and understanding.″

Thorson filed two highly publicized lawsuits against Liberace contending the flamboyant entertainer reneged on promises to support him for the rest of his life and libeled him by having relatives publish a magazine article calling him a blackmailer.

The first suit was settled out of court for $95,000, and the other was dismissed shortly after Liberace died of AIDS in 1987.

Bludgeoned to death in the Laurel Canyon slayings were Roy DeVerell, 42, Joy Audrey Miller 46, Barbara Richardson, 22, and Ronald Launius, 37. Launius’ wife Susan, then 25, was badly beaten but survived the attack.