Hot Property

Still standing: L.A.-area homes that have survived crimes’ infamy

(Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times)

The City of Angels is home to many of the most glamorous residences in the world — and some of the most notorious. Here at Hot Property, we often put together lists of the most jaw-dropping Malibu mansions or the priciest home sales of the month. This time around, we’re taking a look at some of the most infamous residences that are still standing in the Los Angeles area.

“If a crime is notorious enough, there’s a very real danger that the structure will be demolished or altered to preserve the property value and deter sightseers,” said Kim Cooper, a true-crime historian, mystery novelist and L.A. tour bus operator. “But when a crime passes far enough into memory, there’s something quaint and almost sweet about a crime scene.”

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OJ Simpson

Police tape surrounds the Bundy Drive home of Nicole Brown Simpson, ex-wife of former NFL great O.J. Simpson after she apparently was murdered late Sunday June 12, 1994. The bodies of the 35-year-old woman and a 26-year-old man--apparent stabbing victims--were found shortly after midnight.


Nicole Brown Simpson’s condo

879 S. Bundy Drive, Los Angeles, 90049

This decidedly nondescript condo continues to fascinate the public more than 21 years after Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ron Goldman were brutally murdered just outside its front door, a crime that her ex-husband, O.J. Simpson, was charged with and later acquitted of. (A subsequent civil trial found him responsible for their deaths.) Though the condo’s address has been changed in a feeble attempt at disguising its notoriety, the recent hit TV show “The People v. O.J. Simpson” brought yet another wave of gawkers. Westside real estate values being what they are, the condo’s infamy hasn’t scared buyers away: It went for $525,000 two years after the murders and sold again in 2006 for $1.72 million.

(Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times)


Susan Berman’s rental home

1527 Benedict Canyon Drive, Beverly Hills, 90210

The Benedict Canyon house where real-estate heir Robert Durst allegedly murdered writer and longtime friend Susan Berman has had a tough time finding permanent residents despite its location in one of L.A.'s tonier neighborhoods. The 80-year-old home — featured prominently in the crime-scene photos and dramatic reenactments in the hit HBO show “The Jinx” — has been on and off the market for years. Its latest asking price was $1.3 million, with a listing that touted it as a “beautiful completely remodeled 3 bdrm, 2 bath home w/exquisite upgrades throughout.” With no takers, it went back on the rental market for $5,950 a month.

(Iris Schneider / Los Angeles Times)

Greystone Mansion

905 Loma Vista Drive, Beverly Hills, 90210

Not long after Ned Doheny — the son of oil baron Edward Doheny — and his family moved into the newly constructed estate, the 36-year-old died under mysterious circumstances in one of its opulent guest bedrooms in 1929, one-half of a murder-suicide with his longtime friend and secretary. Yet Ned’s widow and, later, her second husband, continued to live in the home before selling it in 1955. They were the last people to occupy the historic mansion, which functioned mostly as a filming location before becoming a public park in the 1970s. It remains a popular location for weddings and Hollywood productions, having recently appeared in “The Social Network” and the “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” reboot.

Home of the Week – Loz Feliz – Mar. 13 2011

The landmark Sowden House in Los Feliz is listed at $4.2 million.

(Michael McNamara / Michael McNamara)

The Black Dahlia “murder home”

5121 Franklin Ave., Los Angeles, 90027

One of L.A.'s most notorious unsolved murders took place in this classic Lloyd Wright-designed house in Los Feliz — at least according to a former LAPD detective who wrote a book in which he made the sensational allegation that his own father, Dr. George Hodel, murdered and dismembered Elizabeth Short (a.k.a. the Black Dahlia) in a secret room in the home in 1947. The distinctive design of the home, with its exotic Mayan-temple feel and textile-block construction — one of Lloyd Wright’s trademark flourishes — has made it an in-demand location for parties and film crews.

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(BCBob Carey / Los Angeles Times)

The Menendez brothers’ home

722 N. Elm Drive, Beverly Hills, 90210

The genteel home where Lyle and Erik Menendez kicked off a particularly baroque era of high-profile L.A. crime by shotgunning their parents to death in 1989 has a long history as a residence for well-to-do celebrities and entertainment industry execs. The residence played host over the years to renters including Prince and Elton John. The highly publicized trial that followed the murders blew away any remaining veil of privacy the home might have offered, but buyers have continued to line up. The massive 9,000-square-foot home has sold three times since the brothers’ 1990 arrest, with the latest buyer paying $3.7 million in 2001.


(Kevin P. Casey / Los Angeles Times)

Phil Spector’s “Pyrenees castle”

1700 Grand View Drive, Alhambra, 91803

The backstory of the sprawling mansion where Phil Spector murdered actress and model Lana Clarkson in 2003 is a gothic tale befitting a castle with a sad past. Built in 1926 by Sylvester Dupuy, a French immigrant who wanted to recreate in California the feel of the castles he saw as a boy in France, the home eventually fell into disrepair as the family’s fortunes waned. In 1946 the manse was divided into apartments before being renovated in the 1980s by a Chinese investor whose bankruptcy led to Spector’s purchase of the home. While Spector sits in prison, his wife, Rachelle — from whom he recently filed for divorce — still lives on the property.


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