LA Forensics: The Keystone Diamond
Casting a Wider Net
Ramsdell wanted to talk to the ex-wife. She and William had fought over ownership of the house and another piece of property, resulting in an ugly divorce situation. Mrs. Conway was also one of the few people who could have walked past Dante without a fuss. She was given a polygraph test and passed.
Detectives also talked to the nephew, a sister, a stepdaughter and numerous other people. They fingerprinted all of William's relatives and friends to compare with the prints found in the house and on the flashlight. Back in 1983, no computerized fingerprint database existed. Forensic investigators had to manually compare lifted prints with identified suspects. It was a cumbersome process.
Witnesses gave the detectives some valuable information — every night before bed, William took off his pinky ring, Rolex and gold chain. He placed the items on a nightstand next to his bed, not in the jewelry box.
"A normal burglar would have scooped up everything," Ramsdell thought. "You're not going to sit there and appraise the jewelry while you're doing this crime. So whoever went there knew exactly what they were going to pick up."
The detectives still needed to interview two others: Noel Scott, the grandson; and his childhood friend Mario Lombardi, a frequent visitor well known to William. Their fingerprints were already on file because they had committed petty thefts together. It seemed that they were crime partners as well as best friends.