Tragic past haunts so-called ‘Murder House’ in Los Feliz

It’s a story right out of a Hollywood murder mystery. An affluent doctor, a brutal homicide and a Los Angeles residence that has sat dormant for more than half a century.

Set up from the street in Los Feliz, on a hillside overlooking downtown L.A., the infamous home known as the “Murder Mansion” is for sale at $2.75 million.

The Spanish Colonial Revival gained notoriety on the night of Dec. 6, 1959, when then-owner Dr. Harold Perelson used a ball-peen hammer to bludgeon his sleeping wife to death in their bedroom, according to Los Angeles Times archives. The 50-year-old cardiologist then turned on their teenage daughter, striking her with the hammer, before committing suicide by drinking a glass of acid.

The following year, the three-story home was sold through probate to Emily and Julian Enriquez. The Lincoln Heights couple furnished parts of the property, but never moved in, neighbors told The Times in 2009.


Three decades later, Mount Washington resident Rudolph Enriquez inherited the property following his mother’s death. He, too, declined to move in, and the house fell into disrepair.

Through the years, the property has garnered a cult following of sorts, attracting thrill-seekers, ghost hunters and the occasional lady of the night. Neighbors, in turn, have taken it upon themselves to help maintain the property. And in true Hollywood fashion, a film is being developed about the home.

Now up for sale, following Enriquez’s death last year, the home manages to retain notes of its original grandeur despite its tragic past.

Designed by architect Harry E. Weiner in 1925 for Harry Schumacher of the Schumacher Distributing Co., the four-bedroom, three-bathroom estate was later owned by German silent film director-producer Frederic Zelnik. Arched doors and windows grace the front facade, while listing details note a grand entrance that opens to a step-down living room.

A formal dining room, a library/study and a ballroom with a bar are within the 5,050 square feet of living space. Separate three-car and two-car garages are within the grounds.

The Sanborn Team of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices has the listing.

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