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Prominent Hollywood Screenwriter Murders Wife

Feb. 22, 1963 - “I had a dream…I was acting out the dream.” Leonard M. Heideman (pictured), a leading television writer in Hollywood, mumbled these words today as he sought to explain the savage slaying of his wife. Heideman, 35, of Tarzana, L.A., was arrested on suspicion of murder early today after his wife Dolores, 32, was found dead in their blood-spattered home. Police went to the house after the Heideman’s 5-year-old son, Richard, ran to a neighbor’s home shortly before 6 a.m. and said: “There’s blood all over, and daddy is hurting mommy.” The neighbors, who had already been wakened by screams, phoned police. Police officers found Mrs. Heideman semi-nude on her back in the threshold between the kitchen and dining room. The double handle of a pair of kitchen shears protruded from her chest. Heideman, writer for such TV shows as “Bonanza” and “Have Gun — Will Travel,” emerged from a rear room. He was nude and covered with blood, and his hands bled profusely from cuts, police said. Heideman was nearly incoherent, but he managed to explain that he had gulped pills before the slaying. He was taken to Northridge Hospital where his stomach was pumped, and 22 stitches were taken in his hands and fingers. Detectives at the murder scene found a long carving knife with the blade snapped off, a steak knife with its 5-in. blade bent into a semicircle, and a sharp-bladed kitchen chopper. Mrs. Heideman, a second-grade teacher, had been stabbed and slashed a dozen times, officers said. “I lost my head,” Heideman told Detective O.D. de Ryk. “I went out of my mind. If only I could turn back the clock. We have to go on a trip today.” As the questioning continued, Heideman observed his surroundings in the West Valley Police Station and said: “I’ve written this scene before.” The Heidemans’ two young children did not appear to comprehend what had happened today. Officers investigating the murder found Kenneth, 4, asleep in his bed. The housekeepers said the children would probably be turned over to the late Mrs. Heideman’s parents.


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