It was St. Patrick’s Day, 1957, and a few customers got rowdy in a bar
at Pico Boulevard and Figueroa Street. Police Officer Leo Wise
separated a couple of men who were fighting and ordered them to leave.
But instead of going home, Marion James Linden, 43, went to his car and
got a gun.
Wise saw Linden lingering outside and tried to arrest him. Instead, Linden shot him to death.
In his last moments, Wise struggled to get to the police call box.
Angel Gutierrez Sahaguez and three others ran to help Wise, but he told
them to follow Linden’s car. Wise’s dying words: "Take the number of
those plates and call police!"
The men followed the killer and flagged down motorcycle Officers
Charles Sturtevant and Lloyd Nelson, who arrested Linden at 11th Street
When newsmen saw Linden the next day, he had a bandage over one eye and
there were marks on his face, The Times said. Detective Sgts. Vance
Brasher and Pat Murphy "explained that he threw a ‘whing-ding’ Sunday
in the police homicide office and struck his face on a desk," The Times
On Aug. 1, 1957, Linden was sentenced to death in the gas chamber. He
filed several appeals, including charges that a "fraudulent tape
recording of a confession" was used in his trial. A judge postponed
Linden’s execution in 1959 and the U.S. Court of Appeals granted him
another stay of execution in 1960.
But on July 12, 1961, Marion James Linden, who had served eight years
in Colorado for killing his wife, was executed in the gas chamber at
San Quentin. It took him six minutes to die, The Times said.
Leo Wise, 34, left a widow, two sons and two daughters, ages 2 to 9. He joined the police force Jan. 5, 1948.