On this day in 1929, the infamous Greystone Mansion Murders occurred in Los Angeles, California. It was during the height of the Teapot Dome scandal, arguably the most significant political scandal in US History. In brief, the scandal involved Secretary of the Interior Albert Fall taking huge bribes from oil companies to acquire drilling leases. President Warren G. Harding, though not indicted, was ruined by the incidents.

One of the principal offenders was Edward Doheny, who was worth more than John D. Rockefeller at the time. Doheny had bribed Fall with lavish gifts, including $100,000, delivered to the secretary by Doheny’s son “Ned” and Ned’s assistant and rumored lover, Hugh Plunkett. All three men were indicted with pending trials at the time. The Doheny family had recently made a desperate plea to have Plunkett institutionalized for his failing sanity, hoping to prevent him from testifying.

On the night of February 16, 1929, Plunkett arrived at Greystone to speak with Ned. The two were heard arguing around 10 pm. The official story states that Ned’s wife heard a shot at around 10:30, and she confronted her husband, who then locked himself in the room. About twenty minutes later, a second shot was heard, where Ned had apparently taken his own life.

Though the family was aware of the incident, the police were not called for more than three hours. Despite conflicting reports and forensic evidence, the case was ruled a murder-suicide. In the aftermath, the nationwide outpouring of support for Doheny was so great that he was acquitted without having to testify and never answered for his part in the Teapot Dome Scandal. Considering the LAPD’s notorious reputation for corruption, Doheny’s incredible wealth, and the desire of high-ranking political figures to downplay the scandal, the case is fertile grounds for speculation.