Lana Turner and Johnny Stompanato - Hollywood Homicide
As the inquest concluded, a mysterious man jumped up from the gallery and shouted that he needed to testify. As he was escorted from the room, he shouted, "Lies! All lies! This mother and daughter were both in love with Stompanato! Johnny was a gentleman!" Whether the man was a nutcase, a publicity hound or a Cohen plant was never determined, but regardless, he was taken away and disappeared.
The jurors retreated to deliberate and took less than a half-hour to decide that John Stompanato's death was justifiable homicide. Acting out of fear for her life and for her mother's life, Cheryl Crane was justified in using deadly force to stop Johnny, they ruled. The decision was not unanimous, nor did it have to be.
The inquest verdict was not binding on the prosecutor, but the next day McKesson decided not to pursue charges. He did, however, initiate court proceedings to determine Lana's fitness as a parent.
Mickey Cohen was outraged at the coroner's verdict and immediately went to the press. "It's the first time in my life I've ever seen a dead man convicted of his own murder," he said. "So far as that jury's concerned, Johnny just walked too close to that knife."
Johnny Stompanato's family brought a wrongful death lawsuit against Lana Turner and Stephan Crane. The case was settled out of court.
In 1962, Mickey Cohen was sentenced to 10 years in federal prison for income tax violations. He was released in 1972 and began a campaign for prison reform. In 1974, Mickey made headlines again when he said he had had contact with people holding Patty Hearst for ransom. He died in 1976 of natural causes.
Cheryl Crane eventually went to live with her grandmother, Lana's mother. There were many years of hardship ahead for this young woman, including more alienation from her mother, but overcoming those obstacles, Cheryl went into the restaurant business with her father. Today Cheryl is a successful businesswoman. She recently helped produce a Lana Turner retrospective on cable television.