A Fatal Hollywood Affair
The toxic relationship of Lana Turner and Johnny Stompanato came to a dramatic end on the evening of April 4th, 1958. The hoodlum boyfriend arrived at her Beverly Hills home, and as was their wont, the duo began to argue in the bedroom. Outside the bedroom, Turner’s fourteen-year-old daughter Cheryl stood and eavesdropped. When at some point Stompanato threatened to kill Turner, her daughter, and her mother, Cheryl ran to the kitchen and grabbed a knife. As Turner tried to push Stompanato out of her bedroom, Cheryl fatally stabbed him in the stomach.
The resultant scandal was a media sensation. Hundreds of journalists crowded into a jury inquest over the death of Stompanato. After four hours of testimony and twenty-five minutes of deliberations, it was deemed a justifiable homicide. Cheryl was kept as a ward of the court for over two weeks, and a juvenile court judge expressed concern over her lack of “personal parental supervision”. She was eventually released into the custody of her grandmother, with court-ordered visits to a psychiatrist alongside her parents.