Beverly Hills, California: Cheryl Crane (left), daughter of Steve
Crane and actress Lana Turner, is escorted
from the jail here to juvenile hall in Los Angeles by policewoman
Margaret Weissberg, April 5th. Cheryl
says she knifed Johnny Stompanato, Miss Turner's gangland boyfriend,
to death when he threatened
to disfigure the actress. (April 5, 1958)
eight-inch knife used in killing Lana Turner's lover, Johnny
by her daughter, 14-year-old Cheryl Crane.
Beverly Hills Police Sgt. Russell Peterson with the knife that
killed Johnny Stompanato.
Photograph by Loren Patty / Los Angeles Times
the morning of April 5, 1958, Cheryl was booked on suspicion of
murder without bail and taken to Juvenile Hall. Lana and Stephen
Crane, Cheryl's father, paid her a visit on Easter Sunday, arriving
and leaving in separate cars. This photo shows Lana leaving after
her visit with Cheryl. "We spent an hour together and didn't cry,"
said Lana, then she ran to her car and wept.
This photo was taken when Lana went to see Cheryl in Juvenile Hall.
Here she is sitting in the car with her mother, Mildred Frances
Cowan. During this time, Mildred stayed with Lana, who was in shock
and hysterical, despite sedatives administered by her doctor.
April 8, 1958 - Mother Consoles Lana at Hearing. Los Angeles,
California: Mrs. Mildred Turner, right, leans over to comfort her
daughter, actress Lana Turner, who was on the verge of tears
awaiting the pre-detention hearing of Lana's daughter, Cheryl Crane,
14. After the closed-door hearing it was announced that Cheryl
remain in the custody of the juvenile authorities until a second
hearing on April 14. She is being held in connection with the
stabbing-death of underworld figure, Johnny Stompanato.
Cheryl's Family at Hearing. Los Angeles, California: Steve Crane
greets his former mother-in-law, Mrs. Mildred Turner, while his
ex-wife, actress Lana Turner, bows her head prior to the closed-door
pre-detention hearing of the couple's daughter, Cheryl Crane, 14.
The girl was ordered retained in custody of juvenile authorities
until a second hearing, on April 12, in connection with the
stabbing-death of Johnny Stompanato.
Los Angeles, California: On their way to the coroner's inquest into
the death of Johnny Stompanato are Mrs. Mildred Turner, mother of
screenstar Lana Turner, famed Hollywood attorney Jerry Giesler, and
Lana Turner. April 11, 1958.
Actress Lana Turner testifying at the murder trial of her daughter,
Cheryl Crane, who she watched knife Johnny Stompanato to death.
Although she testified for 62 minutes, when the Deputy District
Attorney showed her the knife she could not look at it.
Actress Lana Turner weeps on the witness stand as she tells the
story of the killing of Johnny Stompanato. "It happened so fast I
never saw a blade," the actress sobbed; says Stompanato tried to
strangle her only seconds before the stabbing.
Photo date: April 11, 1958.
Los Angeles, California: Showing the strain, actress Lana Turner
appears on the verge of collapse as she testifies at the inquest
into the death of Johnny Stompanato, her gangland boyfriend, here,
April 11th. Deliberating less than half an hour, the coroner's jury
ruled that Stompanato's death, at the hands of Cheryl Crane, Lana's
14-year-old daughter, was "justifiable homicide." April 11, 1958.
Lana, wearing a tailored gray suit, returns to her chair at the
court table after her testimony, followed by her lawyer, Jerry
Geisler. She was on the stand for an hour. She recounted her
argument with Johnny, when she opened the bedroom door for Cheryl,
how they came together so fast that she never saw the blade, and how
Johnny grabbed his abdomen, and fell on his back. She went on to
describe how she and Dr. McDonald tried in vain to revive him.
Lana is followed by her lawyer, Jerry Geisler as she leaves
courtroom after testimony. It took the jury only twenty-five minutes
to come up with a verdict of justifiable homicide. Lana was not in
the courtroom when the jury returned the verdict. When told of the
news, she said, "Thank you, God."