Sugar is sweet… and so’s a poker to the skull

September 23, 1947
Arcadia, CA

Those battling Spreckelses are at it again! Last night, sugar heir John D. Spreckels III, 37, brained wife Lou Dell with a fireplace poker during a liquor-fueled argument at their home at 201 Santa Cruz Road. Call it a housewarming gift: they’ve been in the new place for all of two weeks.

Lou Dell ran from the house in a confused state and found herself at the nearby home of Laurie Connor, 215 San Luis Rey Road. Connor is a former relative by marriage of Mrs. Spreckels. John D. followed her, and began pounding on the back door threating to “kill” someone inside. This resulted in a call to police, and a charge of disturbing the peace, later expanded to assault with a deadly weapon and drunkeness.

Interviewed by officers, Lou Dell claimed she recalled raising her arms to prevent being struck by the poker her husband swung, but did not remember being hit. She does not know how she got to the Connor home. Mrs. Connor explained that she discovered Lou Dell on her back stoop after opening the door on her way to Pasadena.

Lou Dell indicated that she was willing to prosecute John D. on an assault charge, and was taken to St. Luke Hospital in Pasadena for stitches and treatment of a possible concussion. John was bailed out by Groves Bonding Co. with a call to appear in Arcadia Police Court at 9:30am. The bent poker remains at the Arcadia Police Station as evidence.

Further reading: Claus Spreckels: The Sugar King in Hawaii