On Feb. 12, 1976, actor Sal Mineo was stabbed to death while returning from rehearsals for an upcoming play in L.A. What was the motive for his murder? Since writing the first article, new information leads to the reason.
First, let’s dispense with the false rumor that Mineo was killed by a gay lover. This is the scenario police were going before Lionel Ray Williams was arrested.
Secondly, we know who did it. Williams spent fourteen years in prison for the crime despite his denials. His ex-wife informed police.
The official modus operandi: that it was a failed robbery attempt. The LAPD’s theory fails. Williams could have overpowered Mineo and taken his wallet. Why stab him, then not take his wallet?
The most likely cause: Sal Mineo was said to have owed the wrong people drug money…and he refused to pay them back. Williams was hired by them to exact street justice. He would never inform on them.
A sad post-script. The year before Sal’s murder, he was set to star as Sirhan Sirhan in “RFK Must Die” (to be directed by Orson Welles.) Unfortunately, Welles would cause the project to fall apart by continually asking the producers for more money.
Another “what if” in a grisly saga.
Text © 2021 – ERN