Jim Gordon · Martin Shkreli · Zodiac

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We’ve reached the end! Not of Best Evidence, which we hope to continue with your support…

…for many years to come. But we’re on the final day of the 12 Days Of Best Evidence, in which 12 drummers drum. And that’s how we end up with Jim Gordon, the drummer for Derek and the Dominos.

Derek and the Dominos, the rock supergroup that made its mark with “Layla.” That song was written by problematic musician Eric Clapton and the even more problematic Gordon, who murdered his own mother in 1983.

His is hardly the only troubling tale to come from the Dominos (the Telegraph took on their so-called curse about 10 years ago), but such is the case with 1960s-1970s era bands, I guess. In Gordon’s case, he told a court in 1983 that voices told him to attack 72-year-old Osa Marie Gordon, with a hammer, then stab her to death. It seems like he’d been troubled for years, complaining of an inability to sleep, starving himself, and attacking then-girlfriend Rita Coolidge.

Doctors had told him that his issues were the result of alcoholism, but following his arrest he was diagnosed with schizophrenia. He was sentenced to 16 years to life, and has been incarcerated at the California Medical Facility ever since, a prison hospital just up the road from me in Vacaville (also home to a pretty sweet outlet mall, just saying). He’s been denied parole a few times, mostly because his illness seems unabated. According to California state records, his next parole hearing is expected for March 2021, with he caveat that it might be rescheduled as a result of the pandemic.

As far as I know — and I’d love to be corrected…

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…Gordon’s case hasn’t been the subject of any major true-crime properties, though there’s certainly a rich vein to mine in terms of medical mismanagement that seemed to lead to a woman’s death. There is, however, a great Washington Post longread from 1994 on Gordon’s life in prison. It is well worth a look. — EB


As Sarah noted on Monday, we’re at the point in the Best Evidence budget document where there’s no way we’ll get through everything before the end of the year. So buckle in for a bounty of quick hits and links to new news, as well as stories we’ve been following all year.


  • Tommy Ward, of Netflix’s The Innocent Man, is set for release. Deadline reports that a judge vacated his convictions and sentences Friday (here’s the ruling). Ward has been in prison since 1985.

  • Production on Impeachment: American Crime Story has ceased. Variety says that "multiple” cast and crew tested positive for COVID-19, and that so far, there’s no clue on when shooting might resume.

  • Elizabeth Holmes’s trial has been delayed until July, over public safety concerns. The Bay Area News Group reports that Judge Edward Davila ruled Monday that “a continuance of the trial will cause great inconvenience to victims who would like their day in court, as well as (Holmes), who wishes a speedy opportunity to defend against the charges…but paramount to the court is the safety and health of the community.”

  • President Trump might pardon the founder of the Silk Road. The Daily Beast reports that Trump has expressed sympathy for Ross Ulbricht, and not just because that irritating kid from Jurassic World will play him in the upcoming movie about his life and crimes. According to TDB, “the White House counsel’s office has had documents related to Ulbricht’s case under review.”




Wednesday on Best Evidence: If you remember this song, you won’t want to miss this.


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