Monsue reached the rank of lieutenant, overseeing 45 detectives in the LAPD's Central Division, a position he still holds.
One day in 2000, Lisker was searching his prison file when he came across a letter Monsue had written to the parole board two years earlier.
In the letter, Monsue said that a final nagging question about the case — what happened to the cash missing from Dorka Lisker's purse? — had been resolved. New owners of the house on Huston Street had discovered the money in an attic above Bruce's old bedroom.
"This revelation confirmed our initial theory that Mr. Lisker had in fact robbed his mother," the detective wrote. "He has clearly demonstrated what he is capable of and should never be released to prey on anyone else in the future." [ DOCUMENT: Det. Monsue's Letter to Parole Board. ]
Lisker thought there was something suspicious about Monsue's claim. He asked his private investigator, Paul Ingels, to look into it.
Ingels searched real estate records and located the owner Monsue had referred to. His name was Morton P. Borenstein, and he was a lawyer.
Borenstein told Ingels that he and his wife, Beatrice, had never found any money in the attic. Nor, he said, had they ever discussed the issue with Monsue or anyone else from the LAPD. At Ingels' request, Borenstein signed a sworn statement to this effect. [ DOCUMENT: Borenstein's Declaration (Page 2) ]
Lisker believed he now had hard evidence that Monsue was dishonest. Energized, he and his defense team pressed on.
A year later, Lisker made what he considered a major breakthrough.
He had always been curious about a phone call made from his parents' home around the time of the murder. At 10:22 a.m., billing records showed, someone dialed a number that neither Bruce nor his father could recognize.
Lisker was reviewing his copy of the LAPD case file on a spring day in 2001 when he made a connection. The mystery number was nearly identical to the number for Mike Ryan's mother in Ventura County. Her number was in the file because Monsue had called to interview her about her son in the early days of the investigation.
The two seven-digit numbers were the same except for the final digit. The Ventura County area code had not been dialed. Nevertheless, it appeared that someone had tried to call Ryan's mother around the time of the murder.
"I finally found it," Lisker wrote to one of his lawyers. "It just fits."
Lisker spent the next two years working on another legal appeal — the longest of long shots. In 2003, he filed a habeas corpus petition, contending that he was wrongfully convicted. He included the new information about the phone call and Monsue's letter. The petition is now before a federal magistrate.
Bruce also filed a complaint against Monsue with the LAPD. He accused the detective of lying to the parole board, failing to investigate Ryan's potential culpability and soliciting perjured testimony from Hughes. [ DOCUMENT: Lisker's Complaint. ]
"I was pretty sure they'd blow it off," he said.
Lisker's complaint landed on the desk of Sgt. Jim Gavin, a barrel-chested Irishman with a ruddy complexion and thinning reddish hair. He was skeptical at first. But he was not the sort to ignore a complaint, even one from a prisoner.