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Stanley IndictedThe Lou Stanley Murder Case [As previously reported here on 22 February 2006]
A Chance Visit with an Accused Murderer
It seems like every major TV channel is running some type of crime drama or who-done-it murder mystery involving an old or cold case as such cases are known. Occasionally, the viewer is even left to wonder at the end, "did she" or "didn't she" commit the crime. What we forget is that those crimes take place in real places and involve real people, even, as we have learned, people who are residing in Sun City. In this case I am about to describe, the alleged crime took place in Santa Ana, CA 32 years ago, while the alleged perpetrator lives right here in restful retirement, loved and respected by his friends and neighbors.
Among those in attendance to greet Senator Reid on this 20th day of February was Lou Stanley, that quiet, soft spoken, well mannered but passionate tournament bridge player and former Sun City bridge teacher, and, accounting for his presence this morning, an active Carey/Reid supporter in the last presidential election. What Lou, with his uncomfortable ankle bracelet in tow, is not too passionate about was his upcoming court appearance in March in Orange County, CA for the alleged murder of his then close girl friend, Linda Cummings, in 1974. [Note: The March preliminary hearing has been rescheduled for 16 June.]
Back in 1974, Lou Stanley was known as Louis 'Louie' Wiechecki and he was the manager at the Santa Ana apartment complex, The Aladdin. Originally, Linda's death by hanging nude in her Aladdin apartment was declared a suicide. But following the strangulation death about a month later of another Aladdin renter, the 78 year old Marion Camilla Morgan, whose politically connected son-in-law was part owner of The Aladdin apartment complex, Linda's death was officially changed from suicide to undetermined. Attention was again focused on Wiechecki, who had reported Linda's death a month earlier and who now had reported to authorities about Morgan's alleged kidnapping. As relayed by the new account, Wiechecki had been terminated a month earlier as the manager as a result of Morgan's complaint against him. Following a police investigation, Wiechecki was arrested, charged with Morgan's murder, was found guilty of (surprisingly) the lesser charge manslaughter in her death, and served minimal time (4 years) at San Quentin prison.
So what does Lou Stanley, a truly reformed individual, have to say about his current circumstances? I gathered from our conversation that Lou is hopeful that the passage of time, the absence of DNA evidence, the slim nature of the circumstantial evidence, the efforts of his first class attorney will all work to his benefit, resulting in the DA's decision to dismiss the charges in the interest of justice at the upcoming preliminary hearing. But did he murder Linda Cummings? Lou said that Linda was depressed and that she had committed suicide.
But a troubling and potentially disturbing circumstance reported by the Orange County Register was that both strangulation deaths allegedly employed a similar but unusual knot known as a fireman's knot (also known as a bowline knot). According to Wiechecki's former wife in 1974, Sandy, who was interviewed in 1998, her husband was reportedly an expert in knots and she said that his favorite knot was called a fireman's knot.
This story has been followed since 1974 by Larry Welborn, a reporter for The Orange County Resister. Welborn has recently written a series of 8 articles on this case that appear on the Register's website at http://www.ocregister.com/news/2005/linda/. If you are unable to log on to that page, you may be redirected to another page to register, or you may click here http://www.ocregister.com and complete a free registration form, that will allow you future access to all pages on their website. Register staff writer Larry Welborn talked with more than 60 people and traveled to three states during 31 years of reporting this story. He accumulated more than 1,000 pages of documents, including death certificates, court transcripts, police reports, correspondence, and legal motions and opinions. He attended Louis Wiechecki’s first trial in 1974, the exhumation and re-autopsy of Linda Cummings in 2004, and the arrest of Lou Stanley in 2005.
22 February 2006