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Liberace’s Ex-Lover Reportedly Tied Nash to Deaths

Times Staff Writer

The decision last week to charge convicted cocaine trafficker Adel (Eddie Nash) Nasrallah in the 7-year-old Laurel Canyon bludgeon murders was based in part on significant new evidence provided by Scott Thorson, the former lover of the late pianist Liberace, The Times has learned.

Thorson, 29, is being protected in a tightly secured section of County Jail while he awaits sentencing for a drug-related armed robbery in which he pleaded guilty last July 11.

Information Offered

Thorson approached authorities sometime after entering the plea and offered to give them information linking Nash, who once owned a chain of strip joints and punk-oriented nightclubs, to the July 1, 1981, Laurel Canyon slayings, according to two sources familiar with the developments.

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Nash, 59, and his former bodyguard, Gregory DeWitt Diles, 40, were each charged Sept. 8 by the district attorney’s office with four counts of murder and one count of attempted murder. Neither has yet entered a plea to the charges. Both are being held without bail. If convicted, they could face the gas chamber.

The late John C. Holmes, the premier male pornographic film star of the 1970s, was unsuccessfully prosecuted for the brutal murders in 1982.

When the charges were filed against Nash and Diles, Deputy Dist. Atty. Dale A. Davidson, who is prosecuting the case, said new witnesses had come forward, but he refused to name them or discuss the information they had provided.

Davidson on Thursday refused to say whether Thorson provided information that led to Nash’s arrest. “I have to be concerned that Mr. Nash and Mr. Diles get a fair trial. I also have to be concerned about the safety of my witnesses in this case, and on that basis I can’t comment,” Davidson said.

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Thorson’s attorney in the robbery case, Deputy Public Defender Cathy Dreyfuss, said, “For now, I prefer not to comment on anything.” Attempts to contact Thorson were unsuccessful.

According to testimony at Holmes’ 1982 trial, the porn actor once told Los Angeles police that he had led killers to a home on Wonderland Avenue in Laurel Canyon at the behest of a revenge-crazed Nash, who two days earlier had been robbed of cocaine and $10,000 by two of the murder victims.

Ferried Stolen Property

A heavy cocaine user, Holmes ferried stolen property from the Wonderland Avenue gang to Nash, who exchanged the goods for cocaine, witnesses at Holmes’ trial testified. The robbery was said to have been Holmes’ idea. Holmes did not testify during his trial.

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Holmes died in March of complications arising from infection with the AIDS virus. Liberace died in February, 1987, also as a result of AIDS infection.

Details of the evidence provided by Thorson remain secret. However, sources familiar with the case said Thorson, who lived with Liberace and served as his chauffeur, secretary and lover from 1977 until 1982, maintained a close relationship with Nash during much of that period.

“Eddie was Scott’s cocaine connection,” one source said.

In an acknowledgment in his recently published book, “Behind the Candelabra: My Life With Liberace,” Thorson names Nash as one of six people who, over the years, offered him “personal support and understanding.”

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Introduction to Cocaine

In the book, Thorson describes his introduction to cocaine through a plastic surgeon who was hired by Liberace to remake Thorson’s face in Liberace’s image. Subsequently, Thorson wrote, he met a Hollywood nightclub owner, identified only as Mr. Y, who supplied him with cocaine and who hid out at one of Liberace’s properties after “a much publicized gangland-style killing.”

Thorson wrote that Mr. Y came to his aid in 1982 when Liberace’s security personnel were attempting to evict him from the entertainer’s Los Angeles penthouse. At Thorson’s request, Mr. Y dispatched his own thugs to the Liberace apartment to ensure that Thorson would not be beaten, the book states.

Sources familiar with Thorson said the Mr. Y described in the book is a composite figure of Nash and another nightclub owner who was more directly acquainted with Liberace.

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Thorson filed a highly publicized lawsuit against Liberace in 1982, in which he contended that Liberace had reneged on promises to support him for the rest of his life. The suit was settled out of court shortly before Liberace’s death.

Nash served two years of an eight-year prison sentence handed down after he was convicted in 1982 of possessing for sale about 2 pounds of cocaine, valued at $1 million. Diles was convicted of drug charges in a separate case.

After his acquittal on the murder charges, Holmes spent 110 days in County Jail for refusing a judge’s order to tell a grand jury what he knew about the Laurel Canyon killings. He finally agreed to testify on the same day that Nash was sentenced to prison. Holmes’ grand jury testimony remains sealed.

Times staff writer Dan Morain contributed to this article.

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