Feb. 1, 1964: Police Sgt. Charles Paul Monaghan and Officer Robert M. Endler of the Wilshire Division are shot to death while investigating a man passing a bad check at the Sears store, 4550 W. Pico Blvd. He was arrested in Chicago a few days later.
In June 1964, gunman Leaman Russell Smith, and Barbara Walker and Donald Castner, Smith’s partners in the forgery ring, were found guilty of first-degree murder. Smith’s death sentence was later commuted to life in prison in 1972, when California’s capital punishment was ruled unconstitutional.
In July 1977, Smith walked away from a minimum-security facility in Vacaville, where he had been assigned as a firefighter. He was captured by the FBI after an eight-month search. Opponents of his parole noted bitterly that his escape did not affect his eligibility for release.
In August 1982, officials learned that Smith was scheduled to be paroled in March 1983, provoking a firestorm of controversy. Endler’s widow and daughter, and Monaghan’s widow testified before the parole board against Smith’s release and his parole was rejected.
According to California death records, a Leaman R. Smith died in Solano County, Calif., on Nov. 23, 1996. He was 66.
Retired LAPD Capt. Ed Jokisch discusses the case here.