Original content © Larry Harnisch 2003
Much has been made of Dr. George Hodel's comments on the Black Dahlia case, but what did he actually say and what is the significance?
Hodel's remarks ("Supposin' I did kill the Black Dahlia?" on Page 5) come at the beginning of a four-week surveillance period, on Feb. 18, 1950, a few hours after investigators from the Los Angeles County district attorney's office installed two microphones in his home at 5123 Franklin Ave. (note: News reports give the address 5121 Franklin, while the transcripts show Hodel used the address 5123 Franklin) and tapped the telephone. At this point in his life, Hodel had been accused of molesting his 14-year-old daughter Tamar in October 1949, and was found not guilty on Dec. 23, 1949. Although he was released, Hodel was still under suspicion, as he states in his recorded comments. On the previous Wednesday, Feb. 15, 1950, he had been interrogated by investigators and on the same day they stopped his wife on the steps of their home to ask her questions. Under these circumstances, when the Hodel home was clearly under observation, the comment "Ther'e [They're] out to get me" seems quite understandable.
It is also important to note that the pages in the original district attorney's files are in reverse order, so that when Times columnist Steve Lopez read the extracts to me over the phone in preparing a column on Steve Hodel's "Black Dahlia Avenger," they were in reverse order. The transcripts run 120 pages, ending March 21, 1950.
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