Ewing Scott

March 4, 1958

Los Angeles


Late one night in his cell at the County Jail, in fitful sleep,
convicted killer L. Ewing Scott had a dream: An arm … his missing
wife’s arm … bloody … wrapped in newspapers … her wedding ring
still on her finger … Where? … beach…. Corona … Corona del Mar.
Yes! Near the beach home of William H. Brawner, one of his wife’s
friends. That’s where the arm was. Go there, find the arm and get me
out of this murder rap.

And like a half-remembered dream that evaporates upon awakening, the
details in this footnote to the Scott case are foggy and indistinct,
grisly and contradictory. Impossible, but somehow true.

Some characters in our absurd, macabre drama tell the truth. Some of
them lie. Some of them lie and change their stories to other lies–or
maybe the truth. Dreams are like that.

In addition to Scott, there are two private investigators named Richard
Mowery and Frank Massad, defense attorney P. Basil Lambros, two
chiropractors named Victor L. Hite and Rudy Salomons, several police
officers and, hot off the Confidential Magazine trial, private
investigator Fred Otash. Then there’s guest star Leo Carrillo, who
played Pancho in "The Cisco Kid" TV show.

Oh, I almost forgot Lambros’ $5,000 reward for proof that Evelyn Scott was still alive.


The plot, based on The Times’ stories, went something like this:
Lambros apparently told homicide detectives that they should search
Brawner’s home for "evidence."  In the meantime, Massad, who worked for
Lambros as a private detective, was promised half of everything Scott
owned in return for coming up with a woman’s arm. Scott also told
Massad where he had hidden his missing wife’s wedding ring to support
the claim that these were his wife’s remains. The fingerprints would be
taken care of … somehow.

To complicate things, Mowery, a freelance private investigator who said he had worked on the Sam Sheppard
case, approached Lambros with the idea of helping exonerate Scott by
showing that his wife was living in Mexico. Mowery was given permission
to proceed on his own, which he did.

According to testimony, finding a woman’s arm was more difficult than
expected. Mowery mentioned to Salomons, his chiropractor, that he was
about to cash in on a big deal and wanted Salomons to help him find an
arm and some blood. Salomons and his partner, Hite, pretended to go
along with the scheme but didn’t believe it for a minute.

When that fell through, Mowery thought of approaching a TV actor he
knew from Cincinnati, Duncan Renaldo of "The Cisco Kid," in hopes of
persuading him to testify that he had seen Evelyn Scott in Mexico. When
he couldn’t get in touch with Renaldo, he decided to approach Renaldo’s
TV sidekick, Leo Carrillo.

Mowery and Frank Stuckel, a probationary police officer from Santa
Monica, called on Carrillo. They showed him Evelyn Scott’s wedding ring
and tried to persuade him to testify that he had seen her in Rio de
Janeiro. The only problem was that Carrillo had never been to Rio.

actor said: "Do you realize what you are doing? Do you want me to
perjure myself?"

They said: "That’s about it."

Instead of gaining Carrillo as a conspirator, he reported them to the
district attorney’s office, which took the case to the grand jury.

Somewhere along the line, two Newport Beach police officers caught
Massad and Mowery prowling around Brawner’s home at 3:30 a.m. in Ewing
Scott’s car. The private investigators were released after claiming
that they were working for Lambros on the Scott case, the officers

The bizarre drama ended up before the grand jury, which indicted Massad
and Mowery on charges of preparing false evidence and obstructing
justice. Massad was found not guilty. Mowery pleaded guilty and
sentenced to 166 days in jail, the exact amount of time he had been
held because he couldn’t make bail.

He promised to leave town, The Times said.

You’re wondering how Otash figured into this crazy mess. Here’s the
answer: Mowery and Massad borrowed a small wire recorder from Otash to
interview jurors after Scott’s conviction. But instead,
Otash said, Massad recorded an enraged Scott complaining that Mowery
and Lambros had gone to Carrillo. No, Otash didn’t have the recording any longer. He said he erased when the private detectives said they didn’t need it. 

And if L. Ewing Scott had any more dreams, he apparently kept them to himself.

Email me

About lmharnisch

I am retired from the Los Angeles Times
This entry was posted in #courts, Homicide and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

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