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A century of crime

January 01, 2000|By Leslie Simmons

a baby boy. Along with Santo Perkins, Graham was convicted and executed

at San Quentin. True testified against the others and was not prosecuted.

Shorter disappeared after speaking to police officers. He was never


"They were a hard bunch," said retired Det. Harry Strickland, who

interviewed Shorter before his disappearance. "Apparently, [Monohan]

didn't have a chance."


The murder inspired the 1958 movie, "I Want to Live!" in which Susan

Hayward won a best actress Oscar for her portrayal of Graham.


In the late 40s and early 50s, gangster Mickey Cohen ran several

illegal gambling halls in Burbank, including one out of an old farm on

Dincara Road.

In May 1948, Strickland and his partner, Sandy McDonald, received

instructions from then-Police Chief Elmer Adams to check out the farm and

raid it if they found evidence of gambling.

Strickland said they coerced a lookout to bring them to the entrance

-- a door with a large peephole.

"We heard a lot of movement," Strickland said. "Inside, there were

about 50 people and gambling paraphernalia."

After more raids and further investigation, Chief Adams and several

city politicians were forced to resign when they were linked to the

illegal operations.

Cohen was never prosecuted in Burbank.


On April 22, 1968, 22-year-old Cheryl Perveler was gunned down as she

parked her convertible in the carport of her Grismer Avenue apartment.

Paul Perveler, a former Los Angeles Police officer, was convicted of

shooting his bride of seven weeks for her $25,000 double indemnity

insurance policy.

Perveler and his girlfriend, Kristiana Cromwell, were also convicted

of killing Cromwell's husband, a department store stock clerk whose badly

burned body was found in the couple's home in 1966. The motive once again

was insurance money.

Though the evidence against Perveler and Cromwell was mostly

circumstantial, the prosecution -- led by Vincent Bugliosi who later

prosecuted the Manson Family -- prevailed. Bugliosi accused the Perveler

and Cromwell of acting out the plot of the 1944 movie "Double Indemnity."

Cromwell was sentenced to life in prison and paroled in 1979. Perveler

was sentenced to death for his wife's murder and the attempted murder of

his ex-wife, Lela Halverson.

In 1972, the state banned the death penalty and Perveler remains in


An NBC-TV movie based on Bugliosi's book about the murders, "Till

Death Us Do Part," aired in 1992.

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