May 30, 1927
The troubled love affair between New York showgirl Evelyn Tatum and her estranged husband, artist Lawrence Mueller came to a violent end this morning at the Rosegrove Hotel at 532 S. Flower St. Reunited for "one last week of happiness" before separating, Mueller strangled his bride while "All for Love" played on the phonograph, then hung himself with the hotel bedspread. The events leading up to the tragedy were revealed through the stack of correspondence found alongside their bodies in the hotel room.
The couple met in Denver, quickly wed, and moved to El Centro where Mueller was employed as an artist for a sign company. Tatum found life in El Centro stifling, and left Mueller for Los Angeles after two months of married life. She was immediately cast as the lead in a Shelly Players Theater in Huntington Park, and was set to begin work ten days later. Upon hearing Tatum’s news, Mueller sent a wire addressed to "My Golden Girl" that read, "Received you wire and at first I rejoiced with you. It seemed that the solution to all our troubles was found and that at last we could be happy together."
However, Mueller began to overanalyze the situation, and concluded that since he would work days, and she nights, it was only a matter of time before another man seduced her. "The first one that did, there would be another murder," he concluded, and wired that it would be best to "take myself out of the picture."
Tatum apparently agreed wholeheartedly, writing back: "It is best you forget the past two months and me. Go alone to Chicago. Have new friends and work. We both realize for the present we cannot have happiness together. We tried and I alone failed… Sorry." Upon receiving this missive, the passionate Mueller raced to Los Angeles where he and Tatum were briefly reunited. However, when it became clear that a reconciliation was not in the cards, Mueller killed her.
The hotel maid found Tatum sprawled across the bed in a filmy pink nightgown, and Mueller’s nude body hanging from the closet door lintel. Their parents later claimed the bodies.