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Two Indicted In Grisly, 7-Year-Old Murder Case

September 9, 1988

LOS ANGELES (AP) _ A former nightclub owner and his ex-bodyguard have been arrested in a gruesome, 7-year-old set of slayings for which authorities unsuccessfully prosecuted the late porn star John ″Johnny Wadd″ Holmes.

The 1981 bludgeoning deaths of four people in a home in rustic, upscale Laurel Canyon, down the road from a home owned by then-Gov. Edmund G. Brown Jr., have been one of the city’s most notorious unsolved murder cases.

Adel Nasrallah, known as Eddie Nash, 59, of Tarzana, and Gregory DeWitt Diles, 40, were charged Thursday with four counts of murder and one of attempted murder. The charges carry the possibility of the death penalty.

They were arrested Wednesday and held without bail for a court appearance Sept. 19.

Holmes, a film star who claimed thousands of sexual conquests on and off screen, was the only person tried in the slayings. He was acquitted. Holmes died of AIDS in March.

He never took the witness stand, and his subsequent testimony before a grand jury remains sealed. But his former wife, Sharon, told The Los Angeles Times earlier this year that Holmes had confessed his role in the killings to her less than three weeks after the crimes.

Shortly before his death, Holmes was questioned again by authorities, but Deputy District Attorney Dale Davidson said the actor did not lead prosecutors to the unspecified new evidence that he said resulted in Thursday’s charges.

″We are going on the same theory as we did then, that the murders were a retaliation for a drug robbery some 48 hours before the murders,″ he said.

Prosecutor Ronald S. Coen alleged at Holmes’ trial that Nash, who owned several nightclubs, ordered the killings in revenge for a robbery at his home.

Coen said Holmes led the killers to the Laurel Canyon house on orders from Nash, who supplied drugs to Holmes.

Nash wasn’t tried at the time because of insufficient evidence, said police investigator Tom Lange. Diles was arrested in 1981 but released for lack of evidence.

Nash’s attorney, Paul Caruso, speculated that authorities probably were pressured to bring charges and that the political ambitions of District Attorney Ira Reiner played a part.

″I think Mr. Reiner has his eyes set on higher goals. I think we’ll see him declare for attorney general,″ Caruso said.

Slain were William DeVerell, 42; Joy Audrey Miller, 46; Barbara Richardson, 22, and Ronald Launius, 37. His wife, Susan Launius, survived a severe beating but was unable to identify her attackers.

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