John Van de Kamp

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Early life

L.A. County District Attorney

California Attorney General

Subsequent career


RFK case investigation

Main article: RFK assassination

Hillside Stranglers

Wonderland Murders

Mariposa County drugs

Kern County ritual abuse

Political connections

See also


External links

Cover-up allegations

  • Los Angeles County District Attorney
    • From p.50 of The Robert F. Kennedy Assassination: New Revelations on the Conspiracy and Cover-Up by Philip Melanson:

          In 1975, then-Los Angeles District Attorney John Van de Kamp sought to refute the mounting public suspicion concerning excess bullets. Court order in hand, the DA's investigators executed what critics would dub "the great pantry raid": searching after the seven-years-cold trail of the missing bullets. Descending upon the crime scene armed with an array of instruments and video cameras and followed by a small army of press, the authorities, including Assistant Chief Daryl Gates, conducted a meticulous search for bullets and bullet holes. The press had to wait outside, which could only have enhanced their sense of drama. The searchers stoically ignored the fact that the most relevant holes had been removed and destroyed seven years before - those in the original door jamb and ceiling tiles. They concluded that one supposedly surviving hole, which in 1968 had allegedly been labeled as a bullet hole, could now be determined to be a nail hole. The day after the raid, an official spokesman dramatically announced that "No other bullets were found last night."
          In subsequent correspondence and press releases, Van de Kamp and his office would tout this bizarre exercise as a manifestation of "our continuing interest in making sure that no significant stone remains unturned in this matter." Rather than focusing its attention on where the destroyed physical evidence used to be, the case would have been better served had Van de Kamp's office conducted a new, thorough investigation of existing files and witnesses - especially FBI and LAPD personnel.
    • In the Hillside Stranglers case (see Programmed to Kill), the more junior of the two suspects Kenneth Bianchi had left Los Angeles after the killings and was arrested early 1979 in Bellingham WA for murdering two female students at Western Washington University. The Los Angeles DA's office worked out a plea agreement with Bianchi to receive life in prison for the Washington murders and testify against Angelo Buono for the Los Angeles murders, allowing the state of Washington to avoid a dubious trial that was likely based on planted evidence. Since Bianchi was guaranteed life in prison at the least and could still face murder charges in Los Angeles, this plea deal gained him nothing, and Bianchi ultimately reneged despite initially agreeing to it. That same month, Buono's home was bulldozed after he signed over the deed to the owner of a glass shop next door, who denied colluding with Buono to destroy evidence and was never charged. Prosecutor Roger Kelly dropped all murder charges against Bianchi, and also attempted to discredit two of the prosecution's witnesses. Following a year-long preliminary trial, Van De Kamp's office in 1981 moved to dismiss all charges against Buono as well. In a rare move, Superior Court Judge Ronald George (with a likely spook background) denied the motion, reassigning the case to the California attorney general's office. The conflict between Van de Kamp's office and Judge George probably does not indicate that one was corrupt and the other was honest, but rather that the two had differing priorities: the local LA power structure was still attempting to protect Buono and Bianchi, while the state of California considered them disposable assets whose time had come to take the fall. As a weird final note, despite the DA's office under Van de Kamp believing they had no case against Buono, Van de Kamp would in 1982 be elected attorney general during the office's ultimately-successful prosecution of Buono.
    • In the Wonderland Murders (also called the "Four on the Floor" murders), which took place in Laurel Canyon on July 1, 1981, Van de Kamp offered porn star and LAPD vice squad informant John Holmes immunity for his testimony, even though it exonerated the prime suspect, nightclub owner Eddie Nash. More on the Wonderland Murders: Salon, "Return to Wonderland", 2000/06/09; LA Weekly, "In Too Deep", 2003/10/02
    • From p.272 of Anything But Mexican: Chicanos in Contemporary Los Angeles by Rodolfo Acuña: "Despite public criticism, [LAPD chief Daryl] Gates refused to give an inch, and was backed by the D.A.'s office, which conspired with Gates to cover up police abuse: John Van de Kamp refused even to release statistical data about police misconduct."
    • Asbury Park Press, "Actress as murder victim rejected", 1982/12/29: "The district attorney rejected allegations yesterday that actress Marilyn Monroe was murdered and said her death in 1962 was either a suicide or resulted from an accidental overdose of barbiturates. "The facts, as we have found them, do not support a finding of foul play," Los Angeles District Attorney John Van de Kamp said in a statement accompanying a 29-page report. Miss Monroe's body was found on a bed at her home Aug. 5, 1962. The county coroner at the time ruled her death a suicide by drug overdose. No further investigation is planned, following a 3-month review of information relating to the death, Van de Kamp's report said. The report said a murder "would have required a massive, in-place conspiracy covering all the principals at the death scene including the actual killer or killers; the chief medical examiner-coroner; the autopsy surgeon to whom the case was fortuitously assigned; and most all of the police officers assigned to the case as well as their superiors in the LAPD." A private detective, who has argued that the actress was murdered, promptly labeled the report "a cover-up." "We know some of the witnesses lied to the district attorney's office," said Milo Speriglio, whose Nick Harris Detective Agency has been investigating the death for 10 years. "I'm very disappointed that the district attorney did not conduct a thorough investigation," he said. "I provided the district attorney with facts and evidence, indicating that Marilyn Monroe was murdered. I gave him the identity of her killers." Speriglio said he gave prosecutors specific names."
  • California Attorney General
    • According to The Last Circle by Cheri Seymour, state attorney general Van de Kamp helped protect a drug trafficking ring in Mariposa County CA that involved corrupt police officers (including Sheriff Paul Paige). When deputy Ron Van Meter went to the California Attorney General to to blow the whistle on police involvement in the trafficking network, Van de Kamp refused to protect him, and reported the complaint back to the sheriff. Sheriff Paige was angry at Van Meter, and Van Meter would soon be found dead under suspicious circumstances. This ties into the Yosemite murders case through Paul Candler.