In November 1914, City Marshal Luther Colson was shot while clearing a
hobo camp at the Southern Pacific railroad tracks near Victory Place. But
while records indicate suspects were caught who eventually confessed to
the shooting, there is no information about what happened to the killers.
Six years later, on July 30, 1920, Deputy City Marshal Robert Normand
was shot to death after stopping a car with three men at Tujunga Avenue
and Third Street.
Normand died instantly but Constable Henry Purrier, who was shot three
times but survived, identified the killers. All three served lengthy
prison sentences and one died in San Quentin.
When the Burbank Police Department was formed in 1923 it employed fewer than 10 officers. One of those was Chief George Cole, whose
daughter Mary Jane Strickland is a former president of the Burbank
Today, the department has grown to 160 sworn police officers. In 1998,
the department moved into a state-of-the-art $30 million headquarters it
shares with the Burbank Fire Department.
Burbank has seen its share of sensational crime during the 20th
Century, including several cases that made headlines around the country
and a few that inspired Hollywood movies.
Perhaps the most infamous homicide ever in Burbank involved the murder
of Mabel Monohan, a widow who lived in the 1700 block of West Parkside
On March 9, 1953, the 62-year-old Monohan was settling down in her
favorite red leather chair with "The Purple Pony Murders" when someone
knocked at her door.
Outside was 29-year-old Barbara Graham, who lied that her car had
broken down to get into Monohan's home and then pistol-whipped the woman.
Graham's accomplices, Baxter Shorter, Emmett Perkins, John True and
Jack Santo, entered the home. Some searched the residence for money and
jewelry while others tied and strangled Monohan. Monohan's badly beaten
body was dragged into a closet where it was found by her gardener the
next day. Besides its brutality, the Monohan murder made headlines
because Graham, the primary suspect, was young, beautiful and a mother of