Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

The Ninja Murder Case

Suspects Emerge

Gerald Woodman was rushed to a local hospital, but died before he arrived. He was 67; his wife 63. Detectives learned that they were part of an extensive family living around Brentwood and West Los Angeles, exclusive areas home to many celebrities in the entertainment world, business moguls and members of the fashion industry. Brentwood, Bel Air, Beverly Hills and the other enclaves of this area share a sense of security and peace, permitting the residents to think that their neighborhood is a fortress of sorts against the outside world.

Gerald Woodman
Gerald Woodman

Those who live there feel safe walking their dogs at night or jogging early in the morning. Property crimes happen now and then, but something as gruesome as murder occurred in other parts of Los Angeles, not here. Before this case rocked the neighborhood, neighbors told police that they didn't even lock their doors.

The Woodmans had three sons and two daughters and lived with their youngest son, Wayne. Detectives found that Gerald was retired from running a family business that had at one time employed all his sons. It seemed like quite a cozy arrangement until one of Vera's three sisters, Muriel Jackson, arrived at the condominium at 5 a.m. to talk to detectives.

"You know who did it? It was Stewart and Neil," said Jackson, naming Woodmans' two other sons.

Holder took note, but didn't think his case was solved by a long shot. "People who are in shock say a lot of things, but you can't dismiss it either. You have to remember, we still had this ninja thing."


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