Four-time loser



Aug. 12, 1957

Los Angeles

John Gordon Fawcett, 42, had enough. His last three marriages had ended
with his wives getting boyfriends and so when he found his fourth wife
in the bedroom with another man….

"This happens every time," he said. "I got just a little tired of it."

At 28, Janet Fawcett was 14 years younger than her husband. I suppose if she’d been more mature she could have asked John a few
questions before marrying him. Something like, "Have you been married
before?" or more to the point: "Do you keep a loaded .45 semiautomatic
around the apartment?" (The answer to both those questions was: Yes).

But from what she told police about the shooting, she doesn’t sound all that bright–or at least she didn’t think through what might happen if her husband found her with another man in their bedroom.

John and Janet, who had been married six months,  moved out of their old apartment at 12835 Burbank Blvd. and into a new apartment at 13737 Oxnard St.
There was a pool party that night for new residents and their guests, The Times said. During the evening, John discovered that
Janet had disappeared. He went into their apartment and left a note on
his pillow telling her that he was upset because he couldn’t find her
and that he was spending the night at their old apartment.

But John couldn’t get to sleep, The Times said. And so he returned.

With the .45.

John went into the bedroom with his pistol and found Janet with Louis C.
Spichtig, 25, 15635 Colbalt St., so John shot him in left shoulder. John called the police and when two officers arrived, he handed them the .45
and told them what happened.

1957_0812_johnSpichtig was taken to General Hospital after being treated at Van Nuys
Receiving Hospital and apparently recovered as he can’t be found in the
California Death Index. In fact, The Times never published a follow-up
on this case, so we don’t know what happened unless we go to the Mirror for these details:

Spichtig told police: "I didn’t know she was married."

And Janet asked John: "Why did you shoot him? It was all just innocent fun."

As bad as this is, it could have easily turned into a double murder or a double murder and a suicide.  With luck, these three people sorted out their lives and moved on. Maybe all of them learned something. Spichtig, by the way, refused to press charges, the Mirror said.

The real mystery, at least to me, is how
Jerome Voelker, 23, who was lying on the sofa, managed to sleep through the
entire incident. If you have ever been around a .45 when it’s fired,
you’ll know it’s loud.  I suspect, and this in only a hunch, that
alcohol was somehow involved.

Email me

About lmharnisch

I am retired from the Los Angeles Times
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