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Black Dahlia

November 7, 2008 |  7:45 am


Steve Hodel's "Black Dahlia Avenger," inscribed to James Ellroy,
as listed on EBay for $19.99, in 2006.
Steve Hodel is bringing his "Black Dahlia Avenger" presentation to the South Pasadena Public Library at 7 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 7, 2008, with a theory that is more battered and dismissed than ever.

Since the hardback came out in 2003, it has taken some well-deserved lumps: James Ellroy, who wrote a laudatory introduction, abandoned the idea that George Hodel was the killer and his inscribed copies were sold on EBay; a character actress from the 1940s and '50s named Marya Marco has surfaced as one of the women whose photos (found in George Hodel's belongings after his death) were presented as being Elizabeth Short; and Short's family has announced that Hodel's photographs aren't of Elizabeth Short.   

The latest blow comes from Gary Ingemunson, an attorney who works with the Los Angeles Police Protective League and represents LAPD officers. Ingemunson has taken on the complicated task of defending 1940s police officers, most of them dead, against "Dahlia Avenger's" accusations of a cover-up, just as if they had been charged with misconduct today. His presentation, or Skelly Response,  is thorough, elaborate and even exhaustive. I would recommend it to anyone who is deeply interested in the case or thinks there is any validity whatsoever to "Dahlia Avenger."

Ingemunson also takes on some of the accusations in Charles Stoker's alleged LAPD expose "Thicker 'n' Thieves," the basis for "Avenger's" claims. Although it was rightly dismissed as a crackpot book when it came out, "Thieves" has gained some acceptance in the last few years and sells for far too much money if you can find a copy. Debunking it would be a life's work and I would invite anyone with several idle years to fact-check it.

Here's Ingemunson's lengthy rebuttal to "Dahlia Avenger's" charges that the Gangster Squad tried to protect abortion rings in Los Angeles, based on "Thieves."