This story moved me like nothing. I was reading the story on the tube and suddenly it became very dusty.
As the old quote goes, no man should have to bury his child. That would be painful enough. But to have my child murdered? And then to sit through a trial like this? That would require the patience and forbearance of a saint. I wouldn't have been able to do so. My little princess being hurt? Wouldn't disembowelling and then shoving the living carcass into a diving chamber at full blast be an apt response?
Dominick Dunne on His Daughter's Murder | Vanity Fair
Crime and Punishment
A father’s account of the trial of his daughter’s killer.
It was the beginning of a long hot summer. I flew to Los Angeles on July 5, 1983, for an indefinite stay. Throughout the flight from New York I engaged in diligent conversation with the stranger next to me, postponing as long as possible facing the feelings of dread within me. My two sons, Griffin and Alex, had preceded me out from New York. Alex, the younger one, met me at the airport, and we drove into Beverly Hills to the house where my former wife, Ellen Griffin Dunne, called Lenny, lives. Griffin was already there. It is not the house we lived in as a family. It is smaller and on one level. Lenny has multiple sclerosis and is confined to a wheelchair. We were gathering, a family again, for a murder trial.
The first time I saw Lenny she was getting off a train at the railroad station in Hartford, Connecticut. She was ravishing, and I knew that instant that I would marry her if she would have me. We had a large wedding at her family’s ranch in Nogales, Arizona, in 1954, and after living briefly in New York, we moved to Beverly Hills, where I worked for twenty-five years in television and films. We had five children, two of whom died when they were only a few days old. Long divorced, we have, rightly or wrongly, never become unmarried. Often I have felt through the years that our lives might have been better if we had just stuck out the difficult years of our marriage, but I do not know if she would agree with that. We never venture into the realm of what might have been. I refer to her in conversation as my wife, never my ex-wife, and there is not a day in which she does not occupy my thoughts for some period of time. We communicate regularly and mail each other clippings we cut out of newspapers, and I no longer resent, as I once did, addressing her as Mrs. E. Griffin Dunne rather than as Mrs. Dominick Dunne.
When the telephone in my New York apartment woke me up at five o’clock in the morning on October 31, 1982, I sensed as I reached for the receiver that disaster loomed. Detective Harold Johnston of the Los Angeles Homicide Bureau told me that my twenty-two-year-old daughter, Dominique, was near death at the Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. I asked him if he had notified my wife. He said he was calling from her house. Lenny got on the phone and said, “I need you.”
“What happened?” I asked, afraid to hear.
“Sweeney,” she answered.
“I’ll be on the first plane.”