The Underworld Murder of Blondy Hannon
TWO JAILED IN MURDER OF UNDERWORLD CHARACTER
Women Quizzed as Body Found in Bullet-Riddled Room After Night of Wild Revel
(LOS ANGELES TIMES, April 6, 1926)…Two men were arrested on charge of suspicion of murder and two women were questioned by the police last night as they investigated the murder yesterday of Eddie (Blondy) Hannon, 35 years of age, an underworld character that police say has been arrested many times on various charges.
Hannon was found in his apartment at 1328 South Hope street, a bullet through his heart. Bullet holes were also found in the doors and walls, indicating at least five shots fired.
The men under arrest are Jack O’Brien, 27 years of age, a soda fountain worker living at 676 South Rampart Boulevard, and O’Brien’s roommate, Frank C. Clark, 42 years of age, a salesman.
Detective Lieutenants Condaffer and Hickey, who investigated the case, say that O’Brien and Clark were the last two men known to have visited Hannon in his apartment early yesterday morning. Clark was found sleeping off the effects of intoxication in the same apartment house in which Hannon lived.
The women questioned by Detectives Condaffer and Hickey declared they visited Hannon’s apartment at the invitation of [Thomas] McGovern, [a friend of Hannon’s]. One of the women, according to detectives, declared that when she left the place she forgot her coat and returned for it about 1 o’clock yesterday morning. Hannon, she said, handed the coat out without fully opening the door, so that she could not see a man with whom he was conversing.
Taken to Central Police Station, O’Brien and Clark told stories that conflicted on many points, the police says….O’Brien and Clark admitted having visited Hannon, but were vague on details as to how they got there and how O’Brien left without Clark. Both men said they had been drinking heavily and could not remember specific instances.
Hannon was found about 11 o’clock yesterday morning when… McGovern…attempted to arouse him and saw a bullet hole through the door. The dead man was lying fully dressed outstretched upon the bed. Despite the other bullet holes, the detectives think that he was shot in cold blood while lying in a drunken stupor. The fatal shot passed through his heart, the bed, and the bullet lodged in the floor.
GUN FOUND EMPTY
Beside Hannon’s head, under a pillow, Detective Condaffer found a .38 caliber Colt’s revolver. The shell cylinder, however, was empty. A strange coincidence to the investigator, was how five shots from the heavy gun could be fired without anyone else in the apartment house hearing them. The time of the shooting was believed to have been about 3 o’clock yesterday morning.
Various empty bottles that evidently had contained liquor were found in the apartment and other evidences that there had been a party in progress. The manager of the apartment house told the detectives that Hannon rented the place about two months ago. A woman the manager believed was Hannon’s wife visited him on several occasions.
TO QUESTION WIFE
Detectives…declared that Hannon’s wife is known as Angie Hannon, and is employed as a chorus girl at the Burbank Theater. They made plans to find out from her when she had seen her husband last.
According to the police, the dead man has a long police record, was known as an active hijacker, had been arrested on suspicion of robbery and other charges. They believe at the bottom of the murder is probably a bootlegger-hijacker quarrel.
[Hannon’s wife told detectives last night that she] feared for her husband’s safety for some time, ever since he was slightly wounded by a mysterious pistol shot several years ago….She broke down on news of his death, but later went to the police station and submitted to questioning by detectives….While she expressed a willingness to aid the police in any way possible to apprehend the slayer of her husband, Mrs. Hannon was unable to give information of value.
Mrs. Hannon declared she knew nothing of her husband’s business affairs, other than that he had no legitimate occupation and was living by bootlegging. The couple were married ten years ago in Oakland, but Mrs. Hannon declared they lived together but little, as she was unable to win Hannon away from his underworld associates….
“I left him about ten days ago for the last time when I found it was impossible to break him from drinking,” she said.
Mrs. Hannon named Lee Moore, who recently figured in the Walter Hesketh shooting, as one of Hannon’s intimate friends, but did not know either O’Brien or Clarke.
Blondy Hannon’s murder occurred during a bloody gang war between bootleggers and hijackers (those who robbed incoming boats and convoys transporting liquor). Days before Hannon’s murder, fellow hijacker Walter Hesketh was gunned down in a spray of bullets as he walked along Sixth Street. He died in a hospital hours later without naming his murderer.
Police determined that Blondy Hannon had engaged in a gun battle with his attackers inside his apartment room, despite the fact that police could not get any of Hannon’s neighbors to admit hearing gunfire. It also appears as though Hannon may have emptied his pistol first or had it taken from him before he took a fatal bullet to the heart. Detectives arrested a number of alleged hijackers and bootleggers, hoping to find answers about the murder. No one confessed. However, one hijacker allegedly told police that Blondy “went out on the road too much.”
The building address is now the Villa Metropolitano, originally built in 1923.