Forwarded by Jeremy Butler.
The sad story of the murder of silent movie archivist and impresario Larry
Austin continues...from the Silents Majority homepage....
Two Arrested in Austin Murder Case
The police have made two arrests in the brutal murder of Laurence Austin
and the attempted murder of a young woman working at the concession
counter the night of the murder, January 17, 1997. The two men arrested
were identified as 21 year Christian Rodriguez, whom police suspect as
having pulled the trigger, and James Leslie Van Sickle, alias Bobby Lynn
Harland, the former business partner of Mr. Austin who is suspected of
arranging the murder. The two have been charged with one felony count of
murder, one felony count of attempted murder and special circumstances,
including: murder for hire, lying in wait and armed with a deadly weapon
in the act of a felony. If convicted for these heinous acts, both suspects
face the death penalty. The two suspects are scheduled to be arraigned on
25, 1997. No bail is expected.
A press conference was held at 2:00 p.m. PST, at the Hollywood division of
the L.A.P.D., on Wilcox Ave. According to Detective Alan Hamilton, Van
Sicklehired Rodriguez to kill Mr. Austin because he was designated sole
heir to the Austin estate valued at an estimated one million dollars.
Rodriguez was hired to kill Austin for $25,000.00. According to the police
this agreed upon amount was never paid in full. Also according to the
police their, "investigation revealed that the sole reason for the
attempted murder of the female victim was to bolster the illusion of the
There were two tips that led to the arrests. The first one came from an
associate of Van Sickle's, suggesting that he was somehow involved in the
case. The second tip came for someone who saw the composite sketch in a
newspaper. After heavy surveillance since Thursday (3-6-97), Van Sickle
was arrested on Saturday morning and Rodriguez arrested on Sunday. Both
informants are eligible for the part of the $25,000 reward offered by the
Los Angeles City Council.
According to Detective Hamilton, Van Sickle assaulted and robbed Mr.
Austin in April of 1996, but charges in this case were not pursued. It was
also revealed that the police in Texas want to question Van Sickle in the
1984 death of a 69 year old man in Lubbock.
John J. Flynn -- [log in to unmask]
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Telecommunication & Film/University of Alabama/Tuscaloosa
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