"I was not a suspect," [L.G.] Hollingsworth said as his mother, Linda, sat in on the interview. "When they [the police] talked to me I told them I was happy to help them all I could." [Commercial Appeal, 1/31/94]
Prosecutor Fogleman: Alright, now tell me about the box in your car.
L.G.: No, it's Richard's car.
Fogleman: Alright, tell me about the box. [Interview, L.G. Hollingsworth, September 2, 1993]
L.G. and the Stinky Box
This isn't the name of a fairy tale for dysfunctional families. Along with Mr. Bojangles and the Tattooed Man, the "Stinky Box" became a legend of this case.
L.G. Hollingsworth, Jr., 17 years old in 1993, was the son of L.G. and Linda Gail Hollingsworth. He was the nephew of Narlene Hollingsworth. His initials were not abbreviations, but his name. He gave "L.G." another meaning: he had "Little Gangster" tattooed on his bicep.
He lived in the neighborhood of the victims, nearby the Garners on Holiday Circle, where Mark Byers said he first went to search for Chris on the night of the disappearance. A ninth grade dropout, he spent the day of the fifth looking for a job, finding one at the Big Star grocery store as a bagger.
He was friends of Damien Echols. He had dated Liza McDaniels, described as Domini's best friend, although she moved out of town just prior to the murders. In Damien's May 10th interview he described L.G. as weird. He had a falling out with L.G. after L.G. suggested they swap girlfriends [Blood of Innocents, p. 120] (although this would have been for his cousin, Domini). Damien pointed at L.G. as someone who could have killed the children. When he saw Echols being taken into custody, L.G. said he was the next one they were going to arrest.
L.G. was the target of several tips, although the most incriminating could not be confirmed. In one taken by Detective Mike Allen, the tipster said: "She had overheard that a Domineck and a Damion killed the three little boys and that L.G., last name unknown, took and laundered their clothing. Caller stated that Damien had body parts in a box from the children." [Blood of Innocents, page 121].
Another tip came from someone who claimed L.G.'s aunt Dixie Hufford had said two boys and a girl went to the laundromat on Ingram on May 5th, between 10 and 10:30 pm to clean up. "They had mud and blood on their clothes. Dixie was related to one of them. . . Hollingsworth." [Tip from "Boone," May 20, 1993]
L.G. stated he borrowed the car of his friend Richard Simpson and went to the Flash Market laundromat to get Domini's phone number from his aunt Dixie. His aunt Dixie confirmed he came by for Domini's number wanting to call her to talk about a fight she had with Damien. Dixie recalled he wore a white shirt and a tie. She said he knew Simpson's car and L.G. had used a different one.
Another tip dated May 11th came from the teacher of L.G.'s Mississippi cousin. The teacher stated eight-year-old Sara Hollingsworth said she overheard that L.G. had come home with "blood on him + clothes" and he was carrying something in a box in his car. When the police finally followed up on this lead in the middle of June, Sara Hollingsworth denied she had said this. [Commercial Appeal, May 10, 1994]
His aunt Narlene said L.G. appeared in the Lakeshore neighborhood the evening of the day the victims were discovered. She said her family members told her, L.G. had a box with something smelly inside and he threatened the children if they touched the box: "Don’t touch it, don’t step on it or I’ll hurt you." [Narlene Hollingsworth, May 10th, 1993 interview]
Narlene: The thing that is bothering me is them coming down the street with that box, they claim L. G. had and they didn’t want to open it
Detective Dabbs: But you said smelled horrible? [ibid]
Like the incriminating tips, nothing could be nailed down about the box. When confronted about its contents, L.G. told Fogleman it had nothing more than test papers from a Vo-Tech school.
The muddled timeline
Narlene gave a detailed account of her day. She described taking L.G. to look for a job in the morning, having an accident around noon, returning L.G. to his home about 5 pm, encountering the victims, and then later encountering Damien and Domini along the South Service Road. L.G. filled in a few more details, although his description is sometimes self-contradictory. He described finding a job in the morning, going to a Sonic fast food restaurant for lunch, trying to go home but needing a key after lunch. At this time Narlene and L.G. went to his mother's work at a Nursing Home in the south part of town but had an accident along the way. They next went to the insurance company, sometime after that to Narlene's place in Lakeshore. L.G. says he then went to visit Domini's place "about one." (This encounter would seem to have to be later considering all that occurred. Dian Teer said he came over about 11 am.) He stayed at Lakeshore until about 5 pm, seeing Damien there just before he left. Then Narlene took him to his house.
In notes from his May 26th statement he said he was at Simpson's house from 5:30 to 9:30. In undated notes it says he went to the laundromat at 10 pm. His most extensive interview took place early in September. (In September, L.G. was under house arrest, offense unspecified). In this statement, he says after Narlene took him home, he encountered his mother and a friend of hers. They soon left together for her friend's house. In the same statement, he said he went home and stayed there until his mother arrived at 7:30 or 8:30. In another contradiction in the same statement, he said that he went to his friend Richard Simpson's house. Richard "was tripping out or something." [Hollingsworth interview, September 2, 1993] L.G. said he stayed there until he went to the Flash Market laundry. Simpson at first confirmed L.G. was there and then said L.G. was not there and he had asked him to lie (more below)
Were two days being confused? When did L.G. get his job at the Big Star? This event helped define the day for L.G. and Narlene Hollingsworth. They both agree they were together the rest of the afternoon until five p.m. But, Narlene also describes taking L.G. to and from work the next day. "Cause they were all gathered up there and I didn’t know what was going on, so I went on down there and L. G. was saying, get me on to work. So, anyway I went on and got him on to work, so then later on that day, he got off early. I know he come to my house about 2:40 or a quarter to three and I thought that he would be working a little later than that on Wednesday." [Narlene Hollingsworth interview, May 10, 1993]
Anthony Hollingsworth referred to Wednesday as though L.G. already had the job. "L.G. was supposed to work @ Big Star that nite." [Police notes, Anthony Hollingsworth interview, May 26, 1993]
As has been noted, both Narlene and Anthony had problems defining the day they saw Damien and Domini, at least in relation to when they gave their statements to the police.
Items confiscated from LG Hollingsworth, May 10, 1993:
A knife and four pairs of tennis shoes.
Richard Simpson and the Hungarian Architect
One of the prime reasons L.G. aroused suspicion in this case are the contradictory statements from him and his alibis. Richard Simpson worked for the city of West Memphis as a building inspector. At forty nine, he spent his free time as a nondenominational preacher. He said he met L.G. through his ministry. L.G. spent a lot of time with Simpson. At the time of his September statement to police, L.G. had moved out of his parents' house and was temporarily staying with Simpson.
Simpson's relation with L.G. raised the suspicions of the police. On the weekend after the murders, they went to Memphis together with Simpson buying drinks for the underage L.G. When Simpson was brought in to talk with the police on May 13th, he told them L.G. was at his place on the night of the fifth.
Shortly after that interview, Simpson and L.G. took a trip to Princeton, Kentucky. They rented two rooms in a motel and L.G. met up with his girlfriend who recently moved there. His girlfriend's uncle and aunt called the police on the underage pair. Sheriff Jim Dorrah intervened and soon L.G. was brought back to West Memphis.
Richard Simpson came in for a second interview with the police. This time Simpson was polygraphed about L.G.'s alibi. He failed the polygraph and then told police that L.G. had asked him to lie; L.G. had not been at his home that night. The new story was that L.G. had come over Thursday and they were together through the weekend. [as presented by Fogleman, L.G. Hollingsworth statement, September 2, 1993].
At the time of the murders, Richard Simpson was hosting a visit from the Hungarian architect, Laszlo Benyo. Benyo was in America for seven weeks as part of a Sorows foundation program that enabled him to learn American culture and architectural traditions. According to police notes:
When asked about the date of Wednesday 5-5-93. He [Benyo] stated he was living with Richard Simpson during the time and that he is certain that he was at home during that evening. He knows L.G. and another young Black/Male who used to come over. He didn't remember L.G. coming over on that Wednesday. [snip] He stated again. . . L.G. didn't come over. . . [Det. Ridge notes, Laszlo Benyo, 5/27/93]
As with many of the seemingly minor characters in this story, other parts of his story had disturbing contradictions.
He stated he heard about the Murder on Thursday evening when he was discussing with Richard his travelling plans and Richard brought up the murder of the three boys. He remembered that on Friday Morning Richard took him to the Airport for a flight he made to New Orleans. [ibid, 5/27/93]
This contrasts with a profile of him in the May 20th, West Memphis Evening Times.
Benyo was out of town when he heard about the recent murder of the three youngs boys in West Memphis. He said it made him very sad, and he hopes it is a rare crime.
45-year-old Laszlo Benyo, Hungarian architect
On February 10th of 1994, the day after the preliminary hearing wherein it was revealed Damien Echols had named L.G. as someone who could have killed the children, the Memphis Commercial Appeal ran a story about him. The story, "Inquiry, trials haunt L.G. Hollingsworth," described him as a target of the investigation and included some of the allegations surrounding him. That night L.G. called Domini to discuss this. The police taped the call. L.G. seemed to believe Jason was claiming he did it, but as had others, he had trouble recalling who Jason was.
L.G.: My name's in the paper.
Domini: Oh really, about what?
L.G.: What's, what's that guy uh with Damien? Michael or somebody. . . Jason, that's the name. . . Jason, Jason is trying to say I killed them kids.
L.G.: Now you know I didn't do it, don't you?
Domini: Little Jason?
Domini: Don't worry about it. [transcription, phone call, February 10, 1994]
Again L.G. asks Domini to confirm his innocence.
L.G.: Now you know I didn't do it, now don't you?
Domini: I don't know. I ain't saying nothing.I don't know who did it. I don't have no idea what's going on or what. [ibid]
The allegations against L.G. continued. In March 1994 with the Echols/Baldwin trial underway L.G. sat in jail, charged with forgery and burglary. Fellow inmate Timothy Cotten said Hollingsworth had confessed to him, saying Damien and LG killed the children in retaliation against Mark Byers for a drug deal gone bad. The police dismissed Cotten's statement, saying he was looking for a deal. [Commercial Appeal, July 17, 1994] This is discussed further, here.
LG Hollingsworth, Jr. died in an automobile accident on October 26, 2001 at the age of 25.
Perhaps other, more significant evidence will appear that ties L.G. to the murders. As of this writing, in the opinion of this author, L.G. is "Damien-lite." The most sensational evidence against him is unsubstantiated rumors and the overactive imagination of his aunt. This is not to say there is not possible troubling evidence: the jailhouse snitch who gave a scenario very different from that of the prosecution, the contradictory stories of his alibi and the unresolved question of where he was on the night of the fifth, and his unexplained relationship with Richard Simpson.
Hollingsworth family tree
Copyright © 2008 Martin David Hill