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Leon and Lois Benon
Alternative Title
Los Angeles Herald Examiner Photo Collection
Date Created and/or Issued
[ca. 1945]
Contributing Institution
Los Angeles Public Library
Los Angeles Public Library Photo Collection
Rights Information
Images available for reproduction and use. Please see the Ordering & Use page at http://tessa.lapl.org/OrderingUse.html for additional information.
Photograph was edited for publication purposes.
Leon, 17, and Lois Benon, 16, marked their first wedding anniversary on July 26, 1945 by having dinner at home with another couple, thirty-one year-old Harold Young and his wife Zelpha. During the course of the get-together Harold, whose real name was William Douglas "Dee" Owens, finally persuaded Lois to run off to Texas with him. Owens was the father of a five year-old, but having a family had done nothing to cool his ardor for Lois. He had been pursuing the newlywed for months and had finally succeeded in winning her over with promises of a convertible coupe and "all the clothes she wanted." Lois waited until everyone had finished their dinner and then told Leon that she was running away with Dee. She went into the bedroom and began to pack her bag. Leon seemed to have taken the dissolution of his marriage in stride. He told Lois that if she wanted to leave it was okay with him, "if that's the way you want it." But losing Lois wasn't okay with Leon no matter what he'd said. He went to a bureau drawer and got out his disassembled .22 automatic rifle and began putting it together. Suddenly he had Lois's full attention. "What are you going to do?" Leon loaded the weapon and told her he was going to go into the backyard and practice shooting. Dee saw what was happening and tried to get the gun away from Leon, but he wouldn't give it up. Just as Lois and Dee were about to leave, Leon announced, "Well, Dee, you asked for it" and started firing. He didn't stop until his rival hit the floor. The police were called and Leon admitted to them that he had known about Lois and Dee for two months, and it was then that he had made up his mind to kill Dee. Leon, still a juvenile, was to be tried as an adult. His future looked grim. His defense was that he had been defending the sanctity of his home. The jury of 11 women and 1 man deliberated for little more than 24 hours before acquitting the teenager. On August 9, 1946, Leon was granted an annulment.
Photograph was used for an article dated July 26, 1945; it reads, "Benon and wife shown in happier days."
1 photographic print :b&w ;26 x 21 cm.
Photographic prints
Herald Examiner Collection
HE box 10962
Couples--California--Los Angeles
Young men--California--Los Angeles
Young women--California--Los Angeles
Murderers--California--Los Angeles
Dwellings--California--Los Angeles
Lawns--California--Los Angeles
Group portraits
Portrait photographs
Los Angeles Evening Herald and Express photographs
Herald-Examiner Collection photographs
Time Period

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