this day in crime history: october 12, 1978

On this date in 1978, 20 year old Nancy Spungen, girlfriend of former Sex Pistols bassist Sid Vicious, was found dead in the bathroom of her room at the Chelsea Hotel in Manhattan. Spungen had been stabbed in the lower abdomen.  The murder weapon was a knife that belonged to Vicious (real name John Simon Ritchie).

Police arrested Vicious, who gave conflicting accounts of what happened.  Some versions pointed to his innocence, others implicated him in the murder.  There were numerous theories as to who else may have killed Nancy, with most theories involving a drug deal gone bad.

The case never went to trial.  On February 2, 1979, while out on bail, Sid Vicious died of a heroin overdose.  He was 21 years old at the time.

Further reading:

Find A Grave – Nancy Spungen

Wikipedia – Nancy Spungen

Daily MailDid Sid really kill Nancy? Explosive new evidence suggests the punk rocker may have been innocent

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this day in crime history: june 29, 1978

Hogan

On this date in 1978, actor Bob Crane (Hogan’s Heroes) was found murdered in a hotel room in Scottsdale, AZ. His head had been bashed in and a VCR cord was tied around his neck. Cause of death was blunt force trauma to the head. Police suspected Crane’s friend John Carpenter (no relation to the film director). He was finally arrested and tried for Crane’s murder in 1992. The jury found him not guilty. He died of a heart attack in 1998, so whatever secrets Carpenter knew about the murder went to the grave with him.

Further reading:

Wikipedia – Bob Crane

findadeath.com – Bob’s Cranium

this day in crime history: november 18, 1978

Photo: The Jonestown Institute
Photo: The Jonestown Institute

On this date in 1978, members of the People’s Temple cult in Guyana assassinated Congressman Leo Ryan, who had traveled to the South American country to investigate allegations of abuse made against the cult.  While he was at an airstrip waiting to fly home, Temple gunmen opened fire, killing Ryan, three journalists, and a Temple defector.

Shortly after the murder of Ryan, People’s Temple leader Jim Jones led the group in a mass murder-suicide.  Over 900 men, women, and children died.  It is believed to be the largest murder suicide in history.

Further reading:

PBS – Jonestown: The Life and death of the People’s Temple

Wikipedia – Jonestown

SDSU – The Jonestown Institute

this day in crime history: october 12, 1978

On this date in 1978, 20 year old Nancy Spungen, girlfriend of former Sex Pistols bassist Sid Vicious, was found dead in the bathroom of her room at the Chelsea Hotel in Manhattan. Spungen had been stabbed in the lower abdomen.  The murder weapon was a knife that belonged to Vicious (real name John Simon Ritchie).

Police arrested Vicious, who gave conflicting accounts of what happened.  Some versions pointed to his innocence, others implicated him in the murder.  There were numerous theories as to who else may have killed Nancy, with most theories involving a drug deal gone bad.

The case never went to trial.  On February 2, 1979, while out on bail, Sid Vicious died of a heroin overdose.  He was 21 years old at the time.

Further reading:

Find A Grave – Nancy Spungen

Wikipedia – Nancy Spungen

Daily MailDid Sid really kill Nancy? Explosive new evidence suggests the punk rocker may have been innocent

this day in crime history: june 29, 1978

Hogan

On this date in 1978, actor Bob Crane (Hogan’s Heroes) was found murdered in a hotel room in Scottsdale, AZ. His head had been bashed in and a VCR cord was tied around his neck. Cause of death was blunt force trauma to the head. Police suspected Crane’s friend John Carpenter (no relation to the film director). He was finally arrested and tried for Crane’s murder in 1992. The jury found him not guilty. He died of a heart attack in 1998, so whatever secrets Carpenter knew about the murder went to the grave with him.

Further reading:

Wikipedia – Bob Crane

findadeath.com – Bob’s Cranium

this day in crime history: november 18, 1978

Photo: The Jonestown Institute
Photo: The Jonestown Institute

On this date in 1978, members of the People’s Temple cult in Guyana assassinated Congressman Leo Ryan, who had traveled to the South American country to investigate allegations of abuse made against the cult.  While he was at an airstrip waiting to fly home, Temple gunmen opened fire, killing Ryan, three journalists, and a Temple defector.

Shortly after the murder of Ryan, People’s Temple leader Jim Jones led the group in a mass murder-suicide.  Over 900 men, women, and children died.  It is believed to be the largest murder suicide in history.

Further reading:

PBS – Jonestown: The Life and death of the People’s Temple

Wikipedia – Jonestown

SDSU – The Jonestown Institute

this day in crime history: october 12, 1978

On this date in 1978, 20 year old Nancy Spungen, girlfriend of former Sex Pistols bassist Sid Vicious, was found dead in the bathroom of her room at the Chelsea Hotel in Manhattan. Spungen had been stabbed in the lower abdomen.  The murder weapon was a knife that belonged to Vicious (real name John Simon Ritchie).

Police arrested Vicious, who gave conflicting accounts of what happened.  Some versions pointed to his innocence, others implicated him in the murder.  There were numerous theories as to who else may have killed Nancy, with most theories involving a drug deal gone bad.

The case never went to trial.  On February 2, 1979, while out on bail, Sid Vicious died of a heroin overdose.  He was 21 years old at the time.

Further reading:

Find A Grave – Nancy Spungen

Wikipedia – Nancy Spungen

Daily MailDid Sid really kill Nancy? Explosive new evidence suggests the punk rocker may have been innocent