this day in crime history: february 12, 1976


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.

Further reading:

Wikipedia – Sal Mineo – Feb 12, 1976: Actor Sal Mineo is killed in Hollywood

4 thoughts on “this day in crime history: february 12, 1976

      • It was a large crowd. I knew a family member (cousin), who asked me to attend with them. The funeral home was small, a corner location storefront, and that packed people inside and outside. There were police there and I believe they were looking for anyone in the crowd who was acting odd because the killer was on the loose. Rumored stories told of concerns over drugs, or organized crime, it’s always lousy when families have no closure at the funeral and minds speculate. I ended up with one of the female cousins latching onto me, her tears, and perfume, on my jacket. Their family was upset, with sudden death, and news reports bringing up somewhat less than desirable things about him.


  1. John D.:
    Makes you wonder if Mineo’s self-proclaimed “bisexuality” had anything to do with his murder.
    Hollywood wasn’t exactly forthcoming when it came to instances like this, and preferred to cover them up as long as possible.
    He was a good solid actor, though, and I enjoyed his work in various films.
    Good story.

    Stay safe out there.


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