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Sunday, October 10, 2004

Did you know you were going to shoot off the top of a ...?

On the morning of February 1, 1922 the body of silent film director William Desmond Taylor was found inside his West Lake Park, California residence by his valet. He had been shot in the back.

Taylorology has all the information there is about this case. Their newsletter deals with:
(a) The facts of Taylor's life;
(b) The facts and rumors of Taylor's murder;
(c) The impact of the Taylor murder on Hollywood and the nation;
(d) Taylor's associates and the Hollywood silent film industry in which Taylor worked.

"I Know Who Killed Desmond Taylor" by Ed King, was the best recap of the murder written within a decade of Taylor's death, and is the only substantial magazine article on the case ever written by one of the detectives who was actually involved in the investigation. Some of the information in the article had not been revealed to the public prior to the article's original publication in 1930. The article does contain some errors which are indicated in the notes--unfortunately King relied too much on his memory and newspaper clippings, and spent too little time reviewing the official file on the case prior to doing the article.

I Know Who Killed Desmond Taylor

by Ed. C. King
Special Investigator, District Attorney's Office,
Los Angeles, California as told to Alberta Livingston

Originally published in TRUE DETECTIVE MYSTERIES
October and November 1930

The "bumping off" of a famous person like William Desmond Taylor is the sort of oyster that any detective delights to open, so you can just bet the family jewels that I was pretty much elated when my "Chief," the late Thomas Lee Woolwine, District Attorney of Los Angeles County, called me into his private office on the morning of February 3rd, 1922, and assigned me to represent his office in the investigation of this greatest of all murder mysteries.

And, almost from the very first hour of my investigations, I have KNOWN who committed this murder. Yet, at the present time, the evidence is so limited that were the guilty person to come forward and confess the murder, "he" would have to produce corroborative testimony before "his" confession could be accepted. "He" would be compelled to substantiate "his" confession by other credible testimony in order to prove "his" guilt and secure "his" own conviction!

(read the rest here)

Finally the ever excellent Wikipedia also has some insights.

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