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Today in LA history: the Doheny murder

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77 years ago today news hit the papers that Ned Doheny, the son of oil tycoon Edward Doheny, had been killed in his Beverly Hills home by Hugh Plunkett, his friend and assistant, in what was apparently a murder-suicide. Plunkett is in the hallway in the above photo; those are Doheny's feet in the foreground. The somewhat grisly complete photo is on our Flickr page.

Ned's wife Lucy and their five children were in the house at the time, and when Lucy heard gunshots she ran downstairs and discovered the bodies. Exactly what happened, though, was quickly obscured as the case was opened-and-shut in 36 hours. There wasn't even any time for it to blow up into a scandal; the LA Times ran this paragraph on the 16th and then the story disappeared.

So what happened?