On April 4, 1958, mobster Johnny Stompanato, 32, arrived at the Beverly Hills home of actress Lana Turner. They had been dating on-and-off for more than a year. During the course of their relationship Stompanato had consistently verbally and physically abused Turner. Shortly after Stompanato’s arrival, Turner’s 14-year-old daughter Cheryl Crane entered the bedroom where the couple was fighting. Cheryl had been watching television in an adjacent room when she heard Stompanato threaten to kill everyone in the house. Crane grabbed a knife from the kitchen and ran to her mother’s defense. Stompanato tried to force the child out of the room before looking down to see that he was bleeding profusely from a wound in his stomach. He collapsed and Turner called for medical help, but he was pronounced dead at the scene.
The coroner’s inquest into the death ruled it was justifiable homicide and Crane faced no criminal charges in the case. Stompanato’s family sued Turner for $750,000. They settled out of court for $20,000.