On this date in 1976, actor Sal Mineo was stabbed to death after parking his car in Los Angeles. Mineo, 37, had been nominated for two Academy Awards for Best Supporting Actor. He had just returned home from rehearsing a play when he was attacked.
Police had little to go on, other than a vague description of the attacker given by witnesses who saw the man fleeing the seen. After two years of dead ends, detectives received a call from Michigan police about a man named Lionel Williams. Williams, who had been arrested on bad check charges, was heard bragging that he was the one who killed Mineo. An interview with Williams’s wife revealed that he came home covered in blood on the night of the murder. She also provided police with a description of a knife that belonged to Williams. Her description matched the cast of Mineo’s knife wound that was made by the coroner.
Lionel Williams was tried and convicted of murder in 1979. He received a prison sentence and was paroled in 1990.
Crime Library – The Switchblade Kid: The Life and Death of Sal Mineo
Wikipedia – Sal Mineo
History.com – Feb 12, 1976: Actor Sal Mineo is killed in Hollywood