Tomahawk Murder: ‘It Must Have Been the Heat’

July 31, 1943, Comics

July 31, 1943: Los Angeles — and that is Los Angeles before air conditioning — bakes in a heat wave, temperatures so hot that it’s the reason for murder.

“I had a sudden impulse; it must have been the heat,” according to Edna McCabe, who was sitting at breakfast with her aunt  Rovena when she grabbed the head of a tomahawk and struck her aunt on the skull. According to the original investigators, Rovena collapsed on the floor of their apartment at 1328 S. Bronson Ave. and bled to death.

1328 S. Bronson

1328 S. Bronson Ave., via Google Street View.

Edna, meanwhile, took a knife and went into the bathroom, where she stabbed herself in the left breast and slashed her left wrist and elbow. When she didn’t die, Edna went to bed until evening, then called a doctor, who found Rovena’s body and called police.

The neighbors told police that they heard a scream and checked to see if anything was wrong. “No, nothing is wrong,” came the reply.

Further investigation showed that instead of being a daughter as originally reported, Edna McCabe was a niece whom Rovena had adopted and that Rovena had died — not from the blows to the head — but from a heart attack due to the stress of the assault. Edna was found to be insane and committed to   Mendocino State Hospital.

6624 Whitley Terrace, the wedding HQ of Josef von Sternberg, via Google Street View.

Josef von Sternberg marries his former secretary Annette McBride at the home of Dr. and Mrs. Hans Schiff, 6624 Whitley Terrace.

In the theaters: “Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man” and “Captive Wild Woman.”

July 31, 1943, Movies

July 31, 1943, Heat Wave Killing

July 31, 1943, Heat Wave

July 31, 1943, Heat Wave Killing

Aug. 1, 1943, Tomahawk Murder

Oct. 30, 1943, Tomahawk Murder

July 31, 1943, Josef von Sternberg Marries

About lmharnisch

I am retired from the Los Angeles Times
This entry was posted in 1943, Art & Artists, Comics, Crime and Courts, Film, Hollywood, LAPD, San Fernando Valley, Suicide, Theaters and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Tomahawk Murder: ‘It Must Have Been the Heat’

  1. aryedirect says:

    “Did you know that more people are murdered at 92 degrees Fahrenheit than any other temperature? I read an article once. Lower temperatures, people are easy-going, over 92 and it’s too hot to move, but just 92, people get irritable.” – Ray Bradbury in “It Came From Outer Space”.


  2. Mary Mallory says:

    When did Whitley Terrace move to North Hollywood from where it is near the Hollywood Bowl?


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