Three Double Lives
August 3, 2012 7:19 AM   Subscribe

From Vanity Fair, The Murder Hustle: In 1988, 'When businessman Gene Hanson died in a California doctor's office, his partner, John Hawkins, a former Studio 54 bartender, got $1 million in insurance. Nine months later, Hanson was caught in Texas with a new face and a new name, Wolfgang Von Snowden. He and the doctor are awaiting trial for murder. Hawkins, a scam artist and sex addict, has disappeared with the money. Ann Louise Bardach investigates three double lives in the business community of Columbus, Ohio, the Genet underground of West Hollywood, and the luxury condos of Miami's Biscayne Bay.' Part 1.

Part 2: 'How an international manhunt finally brought down John Hawkins, the former Studio 54 party boy who now faces trial in the U.S. for murder one.'

Part 3: 'A Harvard-educated neurologist, a courtly southerner, and a Hollywood hustler have all been convicted in a bizarre murder/insurance scam. Their crime was the same, but they had three very different motives.'

John Hawkins was the subject of the made-for-TV-movie (based on an 'America's Most Wanted' episode) If Looks Could Kill, which featured Brad Dourif as Gene Hanson.

via Longform
posted by the man of twists and turns (18 comments total) 21 users marked this as a favorite
Truly eponysterical.
posted by Skeptic at 7:22 AM on August 3, 2012 [3 favorites]

So a man commits murder for the insurance, gets plastic surgery to change his appearance and changes his name to Wolfgang Von Snowden?

Why not Fakey McFakeName ?
posted by Bonzai at 7:47 AM on August 3, 2012 [11 favorites]

If he'd changed his name to Max Power he would have gotten away with it.
posted by dortmunder at 7:52 AM on August 3, 2012 [2 favorites]

Snowden, at least, was his biological father's surname.
posted by endless_forms at 7:56 AM on August 3, 2012

He requested that he be placed in the homosexual section of the Tarrant County Jail in Fort Worth

Do jails still have separate sections for homosexuals? I never knew this was a thing.
posted by dortmunder at 7:57 AM on August 3, 2012

Do jails still have separate sections for homosexuals? I never knew this was a thing.

Keep in mind, the article's from 1989.
posted by endless_forms at 8:00 AM on August 3, 2012

NYTimes reported that NYC was 'set to close jail unit for gays' in 2005. The Guardian ran The grim truth of being gay in prison in March of 2012.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 8:02 AM on August 3, 2012

Sex addict?

posted by mule98J at 9:02 AM on August 3, 2012

Buried in this awesomely tawdry tale is the sad fact the LAPD could have prevented a murder if they hadn't dismissed the first intended victim's story as a "fag-versus-fag case."
posted by roger ackroyd at 9:43 AM on August 3, 2012 [3 favorites]

On a lighter note: if I ever start a street gang, we're calling ourselves the Genet Underground.
posted by roger ackroyd at 9:55 AM on August 3, 2012

the Genet underground

You mean these things?
posted by Nomyte at 10:20 AM on August 3, 2012

The fossilized homophobia and biphobia in the piece -- both attributed to others and by the journalist -- is just breathtaking.
posted by endless_forms at 10:38 AM on August 3, 2012

Wolfgang Von Snowden Joey Joe Joe Jr. Shabadoo

Fixed that for him.
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 10:48 AM on August 3, 2012

Forex: With Rubell as his doting mentor, there was no one Hawkins couldn't meet. Although he said he was engaged to TV soap star Ilanna Hughes, Hawkins continued his double life as a hustler. While a dozen women interviewed for this story refused to believe that Hawkins is gay, an equal number of men laugh at the idea that he isn't. Though the claim of bisexuality is usually a bogus one -- most women who say they're bisexual turn out to be straight, while almost all men who claim they are are actually gay -- Hawkins may be one of the few authentic bisexuals.
posted by endless_forms at 11:13 AM on August 3, 2012

Love the post title.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:01 PM on August 3, 2012

Check out these articles on 'Just Sweats'
posted by k8t at 8:53 AM on August 4, 2012

Wow, that was bizarre and fascinating. I was still in the U.S. at that time, but don't remember hearing about this, which I suspect is because of the concurrent OJ Simpson trial that dominated every bit of "news."

From this series, Boggs seems most like a cipher to me, which I suppose is because he is the one who wouldn't talk to the author. He just basically comes off as a seedy quack, which I guess he was by that point, but this LA Times article has a bit more info. It's so difficult to understand any of these men crossing over to "well, we need to kill a guy to make this work."

I know that Boggs died in prison in 2003, but I'm incredibly curious about the current status of Hawkins and Hanson... which quite a bit of Googling has failed to uncover.
posted by taz at 4:18 AM on August 5, 2012

Oh, hm; it looks likes Hawkins wrote some books.
posted by taz at 5:10 AM on August 5, 2012

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