Thursday, January 8, 2009

La Cañada Valley Sun: These Boots Are Made for Walking Part II

Midnight in La Cañada. I was reading about the Frank Sinatra Jr. kidnapping.

On the theory that all roads lead to La Cañada Flintridge, I had immersed myself in an ancient stack of notes and clippings, mostly delivered by the Anonymous Source, an attractive lady in her 40s who has a flair for local history.

I continued reading:

“At the age of 21, Keenan had become the youngest member of the Los Angeles Stock Exchange the next year, at the age of 23, Keenan decided that a kidnaping for ransom would be the solution to his economic problems

“Keenan rationalized that he would be doing the Sinatra family a favor because it would bring the family closer together ”

Barry Worthington Keenan, of course, was one of three men who kidnapped Frank Sinatra Jr. on Dec. 8, 1963, at Harrah’s Lake Tahoe. The victim’s father paid $240,000 in ransom. Frank Jr. was released two days later. The three kidnappers were arrested, prosecuted and convicted. They each served time in prison.

One of the defendants was represented by Gladys Towles Root, one of the great criminal defense attorneys of the last century.

“Get me Gladys!” was the famous rallying cry of the unjustly accused.

Gladys Root did not live in La Cañada. When I knew her, she lived in Marina del Rey.

Gladys represented defendant John Irwin. During the Sinatra trial, Gladys asserted that the victim consented to the kidnapping for publicity. After the Sinatra trial, despite the convictions, Gladys was indicted for conspiracy, suborning perjury, and obstruction of justice. These amazing charges were dropped in 1968.

I continued reading the clippings from the Los Angeles Times:

December 14, 1963. “Text of Official FBI Report on Kidnaping” (The word “kidnapping” used to be spelled with one “p” back in the day.)

Ah! The wonders of the First Amendment. Shades of “Numb3rs” and “NCIS,” all printed up nice and hyphenated in the Los Angeles Times:

“ FBI director J. Edgar Hoover announced Saturday morning that the FBI had taken three men into custody in connection with the kidnaping of Frank Sinatra Jr. on Dec. 8, 1963…Mr. Hoover said FBI agents recovered almost all the ransom money.”
Almost all?

I continued reading.

“ Barry Worthington Keenan, 23, of Los Angeles, Cal., was apprehended by FBI agents in La Cañada, Cal., shortly before 11 p.m. PST, Dec 13, 1963 ” La Cañada? How did Keenan get himself arrested in La Cañada when he lived in Los Angeles, had graduated from University High and had attended Santa Monica City College?

I continued reading.

At last! The answer. “Keenan was apprehended on Oakwood Drive, just south of Georgian.”
Another job for the Anonymous Source.

To be continued

La Cañada Valley Sun: La Cañada Flintridge, California

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