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Published:March 11th, 2014 11:22 EST
Why Did Gabriel Campos Martinez Toss Head, Hands, and Feet of Hervey Medellin Near the Hollywood Sign?

Why Did Gabriel Campos Martinez Toss Head, Hands, and Feet of Hervey Medellin Near the Hollywood Sign?

By John G. Kays

I must confess, the first thought that ran through my mind, when I heard the news about the Hollywood Sign Head Horror (with hands and feet discovered too), back on January 17, 2012 (severed head was found in Griffith Park, which is in Bronson Canyon, not too terribly far from the famous Hollywood sign [Hollywoodland morphs to simply Hollywood by 1978]), was the most notorious unsolved cold case for Los Angeles to ever come along, The Black Dahlia (Leimert Park)

 Well, I might emphasize, the current case of victim Hervey Medellin, 66, and that of Elizabeth Short, 22, (born July 29, 1924, died January 15, 1947) have a few similarities, but many more differences. The largest distinction between the two, is Medellin`s murder is solved, his roommate, Gabriel Campos Martinez, 38, strangled him to death, probably on December 27, 2011; he`s since been arrested in San Antonio, where he created a whole new life. On the other hand,  Short`s still baffles profoundly! 

On the similarities side of the coin, we have multiple body parts found, as well as an elusive Hollywood connection, which in both cases, was fueled by fashionable, frenzied, Yellow Journalism. Well, I need to qualify that; perhaps with Medellin, the press was just reporting some of the rumors making the rounds, such as attributing the gruesome homicide to that crazy porno star and latent serial killer, Luca Magnotta.

I might interject, these were the Golden Days for tabloid reporting; be sure to see Hollywood Confidential one more time as a reference for how things were done in those days. In Elizabeth Short`s time, the press in LA was controlled by William Randolph Hearst`s rags, the Los Angeles Herald-Express and the Los Angeles Examiner, who falsely characterized Ms. Short as a floozie, practically as a street walker or a common prostitute, which was as far from the mark as is possible. (an adventuress who prowled Hollywood Boulevard). 

Oh certainly, it should be pointed out, Martinez`s crime is of a much lower, less important caliber than The Black Dahlia`s (named after the movie, The Blue Dahlia, starring Veronica Lake and Alan Ladd - screenplay by Raymond Chandler - released April 19, 1946).

I don`t want you to meander off and begin a thorough study of the BD case (if you can`t resist, however, you may want to start with James Elroy`s 1987 novel), just because I thought of this silly parallel, but the actual reason I brought it up, is I was wondering why Martinez committed the crime in just this way; I mean, was he thinking that if he spread the body parts up on those hiking paths near the Hollywood sign, it would throw the cops off his trail?

Did Gabriel Campos believe the LAPD would suspect the drug cartels, since Medellin was a Mexican, and since this is the MO utilized by the cartels to spread fear in the community, namely, cutting off the head, hands, and feet of their victims? And why did Martinez send an email (Medellin was in Mexico and had not returned) to Crime Stoppers from Medellin`s personal email account? How stupid is this? Remember, the Black Dahlia Avenger had written letters to Los Angeles newspapers wanting more publicity; did GCM want more press? Was this a copycat killing? 

Why did Martinez believe he could flee to San Antonio and start a new life? The cops already knew he`d done it just a few days after the head was discovered (by a woman`s snoopy dog), and he`d horribly mutilated a lie detector test. I suspect he took this polygraph on the very day he`d distributed the incriminating evidence. In any case, the news said he was crying profusely when he went over for a sit-down with the LA Homicide Division.

Oh, before I forget (Columbo would say this, then take a drag off his cigar, consumed in deep thought), a news reporter, Christine Pelisek, writing for The Daily Beast, had completely scooped (pegged, solved, pinpointed) Martinez as the murderer in an article (Hollywood Hills Severed Head Case Looks at Victim`s Ex) that was published on August 3, 2012, fully 18 months before LAPD got around to arresting the crazy copycat killer. Black Dahlia wasn`t solved, unless you can come-up with something; I think Bugsy Siegel did it.