October 19, 1970
Santa Cruz, California
John Linley Frazier murders a doctor, his wife, their children, and the doctor’s secretary
Frazier entered the home of Dr. and Mrs. Ohta, finding Mrs. Ohta first and shooting her execution-style with her own gun. He then bound and shot the rest of the members of the household in a similar style as they came to the home, as well as Dr. Ohta’s secretary Dorothy Cadwallader and the Ohta’s family cat. Among the victims were the Ohta’s sons, Taggart (11) and Derrick (12). All had been killed with a single gunshot except the doctor who was shot 4 times. Frazier then dumped their bodies in the swimming pool and set fire to their home.
Firefighters responding to a call about the house fire found a car blocking the driveway. On its windshield was a note typed on the doctor’s typewriter reading:
today world war 3 will begin as brought to you by the people of free universe. From this day forward, anyone or company of persons who misuses the natural environment or destroys same will suffer the penalty of death by the people of the free universe. I and my comrades from this day forth will fight until death or freedom against any single anyone who does not support natural life on this planet, materialism must die or mankind will.
Knight of Wands, Knight of Cups, Night [sic] of Pentacles and Knight of Swords.
Frazier was apprehended quickly after the murder after fellow hippies living in a nearby commune turned him in. Further evidence against him included witnesses seeing him Frazier driving the Ohta’s stolen car and fingerprints in the car which blocked the Ohta’s driveway. On the first day of trial, he sported hairstyles that reflected the two sides of hippies, one half with a beard and long hair, the other side bald with no facial hair.
He was found guilty and sentenced to death, though the state of California abolished capital punishment in 1972 and his sentence was commuted to life. He hanged himself in his cell on August 13, 2009.