Murder, Mayhem in Crescenta Valley

The pleasant neighborhoods of the Crescenta Valley offer no hint of the many violent and heinous crimes that have occurred between the San Gabriel and Verdugo Mountains. But ties to such macabre episodes as the Onion Field murder and the search for the Hillside Strangler left lasting scars here. Infamous criminals such as mafia boss Joe “Iron Man” Ardizzone, red-light bandit Caryl Chessman and accused yacht bomber Beulah Overell have left a black eye on La Crescenta’s history – not to mention the “Rattlesnake Murder,” “Female Bluebeard” and “Santa Claus Killer.”

Join historians and authors Gary Keyes and Mike Lawler on Saturday, Oct. 26 at 1 p.m. at the La Crescenta Library when they share stories of crimes and criminals that have inflicted murder and mayhem in Glendale, La Crescenta, Montrose and La Cañada Flintridge.

Gary Keyes taught at Crescenta Valley High School in La Crescenta for 39 years. Currently, he is an adjunct professor of social science at Glendale Community College in Glendale.

Mike Lawler, columnist for the CV Weekly, was born with a passion for history and spent much of his childhood looking for clues to the area’s history. As a teenager, he was a student of Gary Keyes and was fascinated with Keyes’s focus on some of the darker aspects of history. As an adult, he became a community leader in bringing local history to life with the Historical Society of the Crescenta Valley and was thrilled to once again team up with Keyes to air Crescenta Valley’s “dirty laundry.”

La Crescenta Library is located at 2809 Foothill Blvd. in La Crescenta.