Seven Husbands, Two Murders, a Sea of Cocaine and other Tales
By Ann Louise Bardach
IN 1975, LEGAL SECRETARY LANIE GREENBERGER SET OUT TO RE-INVENT HERSELF. SEVEN HUSBANDS, TWO VIOLENT DEATHS, AND ONE EXTREMELY LARGE PILE OF COCAINE LATER, SHE SITS IN JAIL, SERVING A LIFE SENTENCE FOR WHAT BECAME KNOWN AS THE ‘COTTON CLUB’ MURDER. FOR THE FIRST TIME, SHE TELLS HER STORY.
In Miami you could refuse to take drugs. You could refuse to associate with people who did them. But whatever you did, drugs would be a part of your life. However you make your money, you know at least some of it. has to be drug money because in Miami drugs just don't buy Rolexes and Mercedes and condos and automatic pistols. It buys everything. It's on the table when you settle up your bridge scores; it's in the collection plate when you go to church.—T.D. Allman, Miami - City of the Future
For most of her adult life, Karen DeLayne Jacobs, who presently calls herself Lanie Greenberger, punched a time clock day after day, year after year, at a series of Miami law firms. But in 1975, she discovered the city's feverish nightlife. Drenched in its new found drug wealth, Miami had spawned dozens of glittery nightclubs, lighting up every pocket of the city—from gritty Little Havana to chic Coconut Grove. Like Miami, Lanie underwent her own Cinderella transformation. Nightlife now included breakfast, lunch and dinner.
At the time, Lanie's best friend, Bonnie Blake, was dating Luis Somoza, the nephew of the Nicaraguan dictator. "One day, Luis said to us, 'Let's fly to Key West,'" she recalled recently. But the charter plane never landed in Key West; it went straight to Managua, where they were met at the airport by a furious Presidente. "Anastasio had a fit," said Greenberger. "He was in the middle of a civil war—there were machine guns and tanks everywhere—and we were looking for a good time." Following a steamy side conference with his playboy nephew, Somoza ordered the threesome flown to the family ranch in the mountains, where said Lanie, they "partied for days." A.month later, Lanie and Bonnie took off for a vacation in Acapulco, a sojourn paid for by the Somozas. "That was the beginning," Lanie explained, leaning forward to emphasize the epiphanic moment. "It was like, 'why not just have a good time?' I quit my job. Who needs to work when you can party all the time?"
Within the year, Lanie would become the only woman to scale the snowy heights of the cocaine business, previously an exclusive boys club dominated by machista Latin men.
Fifteen years later, in May 1991, Lanie Greenberger is sitting in the second visiting booth in Sybil Brand County Jail. it is her day off from her ongoing trial in L.A. for kidnapping and murder. She is not what I expected.
I've made an "unscheduled" visit to this dreary women's jail perched on the eastern border of Los Angeles County in hopes of meeting one of the most famous women behind bars in America, and I've lucked out. Speaking on telephones and separated by a plexiglas barrier, we have awkwardly introduced ourselves. Her voice is soft and still redolent of her native Alabama. She smiles an easy, winning smile and apologizes for her appearance. She's wearing the regulation shapeless, sleeveless, salmon-colored prison smock and appears to be without makeup. She says she was surprised to learn she had a visitor and didn't have time to fix herself up.
I am startled by her good looks, which have little resemblance, to the tough cookie driver's license photo splashed in the media. Although she's put on some weight since her high-flying days, she's still a knockout. Her silver-gray hair is brushed back off a face of high, flashing cheekbones and a pale, creamy complexion devoid of wrinkles. I've heard she had a face-lift in '83, but such looks as hers are not entirely created with a scalpel. Her eyes peer out from behind metal-rimmed glasses. They are small and dark, almost black, and greet you like a bee sting.
It's hard to reconcile this soft-spoken 44-year old woman with the headlines about her: The ruthless cocaine cowgirl who ordered the 1983 murder of New York vaudeville entrepreneur Roy Radin in revenge for his stealing her drugs and thwarting her ambition to produce Robert Evans's ill-fated movie, The Cotton Club. Then there are whispers of her black widowhood—stories that she murdered her seventh husband, Larry Greenberger, to seize control of his reported $20 million fortune, made in the cocaine trade.
Lanie Greenberger, denied bail, has been sitting in jail for almost three years. Owing to the celebrity of the case, she's in protective custody; she gets a private cell and sees only the fifteen other prisoners. "It's terrible, just awful," she says of prison life, toying with the wedding band she still wears. "The thing I miss the most," she says, "is not being able to go to the chapel with the others." Like so many sinners who have skidded into the slammer, Lanie has discovered God. In fact, the only up side of her ordeal, she says, has been a return to her Christian faith. She says she intends to be a prison chaplain when she gets out.
The following day, Marcia Morrissey, who with Edward Shohat represents Lanie, is yelling at me on the phone. Morrissey, an attractive, brainy attorney, is fit to be tied because I showed up at the prison without her or Shohat's approval. She's even more distressed that Lanie broke her eight year silence and talked with a reporter - smack in the middle of her trial. I try to smoothe things over, saying it couldn't get any worse for Lanie - seeing she's already had worse press than Caligula. Why not let me interview her properly and get her side of the story out? "That's what she'll do in court," snaps Morrissey. Still, she says she'll talk it over with Shohat.
"It couldn't be a worse time to try a drug case," Ed Shohat tells me. Shohat is a top drawer Miami lawyer who's achieved fame and quite a bit of fortune representing dope fiends, most notably Carlos Lehder of Colombia's Medellin drug cartel. "The 90s are a very bad time for drug dealers," says Shohat, shaking his head. "It wasn't such a big moral issue in the 1970s, even the 80s. As far as juries are concerned now, it's better to be a child molester."
Flanked by Shohat and Morrissey in one of the prison's cramped attorney booths, Lanie tells me her story. "My parents were divorced when I was two and a half," she begins, "and I never really knew my dad," a car salesman named Al Jacobs. "We were very, very poor," she says. When she was seven, her mother married a textbook alcoholic brute. "He would come home from work, get drunk, and beat us up." After five years, Lanie went to live with her birth father's parents in Atlanta. Later, she learned her father was illegitimate, born before her grandmother's marriage to a fire-and-brimstone Methodist by the name of John Smith. "I know Jacobs is a Jewish name." She surmises her grandmother was Jewish, but that subject was never discussed, as is not uncommon in Southern homes. Her only regular contact with her father was on Christmas Day. "He died in 1989," she says without emotion. "I was in prison."
Lanie finished high school in 1965 and after a semester at a Methodist junior college, she dropped out. Her mother had finally dumped her drunken spouse and moved with her two sons to Miami. Soon Lanie also headed south and landed her first job, which paid $220 a month. "I thought that was a big deal," she said.
I ask her whether the rumored head count of her six marriages is accurate. She makes a face, then nods.. "When I got to Miami, my mother kept warning me to stay clear of Latin men," she says and laughs. "So I immediately went out and married a Cuban." He was an "insanely jealousrageaholic," she says. "Essentially I married my stepfather." After six months she left him.
Lanie tells me that this marriage was in 1969, but in fact it was in 1971. It seems a small oversight until I learn that she was married in 1969, not to the man she says was husband number one, but to another Cuban, named Emilio Calleja. In fact, I've acquired documentation for seven marriages. When I query Marcia Morrissey about marriage number one, she says that Lanie is "very emotional" about it. As far as the Calleja marriage is concerned, Lanie says that she was "under age, and it only lasted a couple of months." Also, she says, she promised him that she would never discuss the marriage. She smiles shyly - utterly convincingly. In fact, the Calleja divorce decree, on file in the Miami Bureau of Vital Statistics, dated April 1, 1970, states that the union lasted almost a year and that she was 21 at the time of the marriage.
Back in Miami, Lanie met and married Scott Goodman, a postal employee. Lanie claims that this marriage broke up because of an ongoing argument over whether or not to have children. "I couldn't trust him anymore," she says crisply, slapping her hands together, leaving no doubt that when things are over for her, they are irrevocably over.
Through the 70s, she said she worked nine to five at a Miami law firm, but the nights were hers. Miami had become the vice playground of the world, dense with the Latin rich, refugee dictators, and a new superclass—cocaine cowboys. Lanie became a fixture at disco clubs like the Mutiny, the Menage, and Spaces in the Coconut Grove. "In the clubs," she says, "the coke was laid out at the bars. Everybody was doing it—lawyers, secretaries, doctors. No one ever talked about it being illegal." Lanie also found herself a new Cuban boyfriend, Guillermo Suquet, a flight attendant for Pan Am, whom she married just weeks after meeting him.
In late 1979, a friend from the club scene asked Lanie if he could use her home phone number as a contact for a pilot bringing in a load of drugs. "I said OK." A few weeks later, he asked if she would do an errand at the airport for him. "I drove out to the Miami Airport, and I picked up a suitcase. That was it. I got $50,000, and that did it for me."
If Lanie's life had previously been a painful series of hurdles, her entry into the drug trade was nothing less than charmed. No street dealing of nickel joints or half grams of coke, no strung-out junkies begging for credit, no messy overdoses in her house. Lanie began at the top, selling five kilos at a pop. It didn't hurt that she was blond and beautiful—the Cubans called her La Rubia, "Blondie"—but what really impressed the drug mafia was her cool, unflappable composure.
For the first couple of months, Lanie would make a trip to the airport every three weeks and pick up a suitcase, each time earning a painless fifty grand. Soon, however, she met the dream customer, Jeff P., a 30-year-old college grad from New York who had transplanted to Miami. Jeff P. needed five kilos a month, no questions asked.
"I never thought I was hurting anybody. I never saw the ravages of it," she said. "There were never any guns or roughness. You didn't even have to count the money. That's how respectable it was." Actually, there was plenty of roughness, but Lanie has a talent for averting her eyes from the unpleasant. By this time, Miami had become the murder capital of the country, a direct result of the dope business. Indeed, Lanie tells me how her new best friend, Cuban-born Silvia Diaz, found her aunt and uncle in their Miami condo with their heads blown off and several kilos of cocaine missing. "Silvia really took it bad," Lanie adds.
The first casualty of her new career was her marriage to Gil Suquet. They divorced less than a year later.
With her newfound riches, Lanie went house shopping. "I bought a house, and a husband came with it," she says, grinning. Adolfo Alfie" Ferreira was selling his house to pay the legal bills for his bust for a couple of kilos of cocaine. She bristles at the rumors that she “married up” in the coke business. “I never got any drugs from any of my husbands," she says with considerable pride. "That's a myth." In fact, she says, her fifth marriage collapsed in a matter of months because "Alfie was finished and wanted out of the business. I was on my way up, and he was on his way down."
Another cause of marital stress was that she had fallen in love with a friend of Silvia's, a good looking, affable Honduran named Joe Amer. Lanie claims that initially Amer was keen to marry her, but that when she became pregnant, his interest waned. It wasn't long before Amer, whom Lanie describes dismissively as "a one-kilo dealer," was running around with Jackie Silva, a svelte beauty. Silva would later marry Frank Rubino, the attorney of choice in Miami's drug world, who represented Lanie for years and who is currently handling the Manuel Noriega case.
"I was heartbroken," Lanie tells me, "and I was embarrassed. They went to all the same places—clubs, parties—I went to. I felt humiliated. I was pregnant, and my mother begged me to marry—just get a piece of paper—for the sake of the child." Six months pregnant, Lanie moved into her sixth marriage. Her son, Dax, was born on May 15, 1982, named after her favorite character in Harold Robbins's novel The Adventurers, a fictional portrait of the Dominican playboy Porfirio Rubirosa.
For consolation, Lanie found a new Cuban smuggler, one of considerably more stature than any of her previous liaisons. Millan Bellechasses wasn't particularly good-looking, but he compensated with charm and cool savvy. "Millan was the type who wore loafers without socks, gold chains,. and Italian shoes," says Tim Whitehead, who was a drug courier for both Lanie and Jeff P. "I think he saw Scarface and modeled himself after Al Pacino." Bellechasses had a contracting company, which Lanie engaged to remodel her new home in the Kendall, a suburb of Miami. Soon they decided to become partners in a much bigger venture.
In mid-1982, Jeff P., Lanie's primary client, wanted out of the coke business and was looking to sell his client list for $300,000, according to Tim Whitehead. Bellechasses and Lanie came up with $150,000 each and a plan whereby Lanie would set up in Los Angeles and handle the western clients while Bellechasses took care of the other half from his villa in Miami. Three months after Dax was born, Lanie flew to Los Angeles, found herself a roomy house in suburban Sherman Oaks, and hired a Costa Rican named Myriam Arias as Dax's nanny. She also hired a new drug courier, a good looking Mississippi boy who worked hard and partied hard. His name was Tally Rogers.
Tim Whitehead, a tall Southerner with a mustache and sandy brown hair that's losing ground, grew up with Tally Rogers in the backwoods of Mississippi. Both of them chose to be outlaws, but the careful, taciturn Whitehead never did any time during his long career as a drug trafficker. The flamboyant Tally, who worked for a car theft and robbery ring, was often in trouble with the law, eventually doing seven years in a Mississippi penitentiary. According to Whitehead, Rogers bragged that one prison psychiatrist diagnosed him as a "paranoid schizophrenic" and put him on daily doses of Tranxene and Thorazine. Upon his release, Rogers began adding coke, downers and booze to his medication. He had long wanted to get into the drug trade, and he hounded Whitehead for a job. "I didn't bring him in for a long time because of his past," says Whitehead. "You know, once a thief, always a thief."
However, after Lanie made the move to California, "we needed someone to drive the coke for us," says Whitehead. Moreover, Rogers had some handy skills. "He was a top-notch Golden Gloves boxer and was an ace with his hands," says Whitehead, "and in this particular business, you may need someone who can knock [someone's] head off."
The enthusiastic Rogers won Bellechasses's confidence. Despite Whitehead's warnings, Bellechasses entrusted his new courier with increasingly larger loads and instructed Rogers to install a safe in Lanie's closet. Each week, Lanie would take a stack of kilos out of the safe and give them to the clients. "Lanie was just a high priced storage facility," says Whitehead. "Tally drove the coke in from Miami, I made the deliveries, and Lanie made a lot of money."
Ana Montenegro, 34, is sitting at an outdoor cafe in the Coconut Grove, just a stone's throw from the nightclubs she's haunted for more than a decade. She's a petite, pretty woman with the sensual quietude of a cat. Once a moll to Miami's hottest cocaine cowboys, today she leads a quiet life working for a downtown designer. "I haven't gotten high in more than six months," she tells me in her softly accented English.
Ana never dealt coke, but she-did odd jobs for her friends in the business, like stashing large amounts of money. In 1980, Ana moved to Los Angeles, where she continued dating dealers and assisting them with their cash overflows. Her main beau at the time was Frank Diaz, an attorney who allegedly specialized in setting up offshore companies for drug dealers—Lanie was one—to launder their money.
In 1982, Diaz introduced Ana to Lanie, his longtime client, and the two became fast friends in a very fast world. Although they had never met in Miami, Ana had heard about the blond gringa who moved in the highest circles of the dope world. The two women shared many friends, and a few lovers. At the time Lanie was seeing Bellechasses. "I had dated Millan once when I was 20," says Ana. "He wasn't big time yet, but he was always well put together. Very suave. We went to Alfie's [Adolfo Ferreira, Lanie's fifth husband]. Somehow he ended up dating Alfie's girl and I ended up dating Alfie."
Ana describes Lanie and Bellechasses's relationship as "very nice and loving," even though they lived on opposite coasts. She heard them talk about marriage, but she never took it seriously. "Oh, they said they were in love," she says with a grin, "but they were just playing. The minute he left town, she was out and about with other people and, of course, he was too." Most nights, the girls would dine at hot spots like Spago or Le Dome. On weekends they frequented a Palm Springs nightclub called Cecil’s.
At Cecil's, Lanie met Sol Besharat, a young Iranian who was working as a clerk in an L.A. law firm. Lanie took an instant fancy to him and soon hired him to handle some of her affairs. According to Ana, "if Lanie is spending any time with somebody, she is probably sleeping with him. "Lanie is always in control," said Ana,"no matter how much partying and drugs she's done." She finds it hard to believe that Lanie was ever distraught over any man. "Lanie was never heartbroken. When Lanie wants something, she goes after it. I have seen her go to Palm Springs with Sol, pick up another guy in a bar, bring him home, and make love to him in my bed—a big bed—with me sleeping there. The only person I think she really, really loved in her life was Dax."
Though Lanie had several flashy cars, most of the time she was chauffeured by Gary Keys, a former dancer on the TV show Soul Train. "She would always ask me to bring two bottles of Tattinger champagne," says Keys, who says he never saw her tipsy. "Some of my clients I've had to carry to the car. They were on all kinds of stuff. Not this lady." Keys says he took on the role of Lanie's social secretary, making her appointments and introducing her to L.A. clubs and restaurants. "I told her that I drove a lot of people in the movie industry, and she said, `It would be nice to meet some.'" Later he mentioned that Robert Evans was looking for financing for his new movie. Was she interested? Absolutely, she told him. As she told me later, "Only a fool thinks you can stay in the cocaine business forever."
“I never took one dime from anyone involved with this!” Robert Evans is saying over the phone during the trial. His voice is painfully pitched, almost a wail. "Not one dime. I had no part of this. I don't want to be involved with this! If you could write something in your article to say that, I'd appreciate that. I'm a victim of being a personality, a celebrity. I'm a victim of the fucking press. Seriously." I ask him why the district attorney's office has been whispering about his connection to the Roy Radin murder case for years. "My name is Robert Evans, period!" he hollers. "Have you ever heard of anyone getting murdered over the profits of a movie? It's ludicrous! They were looking for headlines and they got it. Let's face it. Without me, this is just a tenth-rate drug case that would have ended up in the back pages of the Long Beach Courier."
A week later, I'm sitting with Evans in his office cum screening room, the very room, he tells me, where he met Lanie eight and a half years ago. Protected by electronic gates, Evans's sixteen room French Regency house sits on two lush Beverly Hills acres, replete with tennis court and a pool with cascading fountains. However grand, it seems frozen in time. If there's any decorating style, it's Seventies Mogul.
Evans is sporting his trademark tan and tinted glasses and is dressed almost entirely in white. "I wanna be clean," he says, with a broad grin. "That's why I wear white." His skin has the tautness of a face lift, his hair is slicked back, and he is no longer a pretty boy. At 60, Evans seems more restless than weary. Often he's on his feet, pacing. Joining us is his longtime friend and attorney Alan Schwartz. We spend a half hour haggling over ground rules of the interview, eventually agreeing on Evans' insistence that he be able to review his quotes before publication. "Look, I'm trying to fight my way back," he explains.
In 1983, Evans was still ensconced in decorator offices at Paramount Pictures, where he had ruled the roost from 1965 to 1975, supervising the production of such hits as Love Story, The Godfather, Rosemary's Baby, Chinatown, and The Odd Couple. Although he was no longer king, owing to a well-publicized bust and conviction for cocaine possession in 1980, Evans was still a prince. In 1979, he had bought the rights to a book called The Cotton Club, a chronicle about the famous Harlem nightclub, which he described to friends as a sure-fire blockbuster about "gangsters, music and pussy."
Evans was so sure of his project that he didn't want Paramount to produce it. "That was my first big mistake," he says. "I wanted to own the film. The second big mistake was not taking Adnan Khashoggi's money," he says, referring to the then billionaire arms dealer, who wanted to finance the movie. "He was too hard a negotiator. I walked out of the meeting and said, `I don't want to take your money.' My lawyer, Kenny Ziffren, thought I was crazy and fired me. If ever I was wrong, I was wrong." Evans then turned to Ed and Fred Doumani, brothers of Lebanese descent who own hotels and casinos in Las Vegas. All was fine until the Doumanis read a draft of Mario Puzo's original script, and, hating it, unceremoniously pulled the plug on the project.
Evans then began a furious hunt for funds to keep his pet project going, even selling his Paramount stock to pay his bills. His quest became an obsession, according to a former production assistant, and he mentioned it to everyone, including his chauffeur, Gary Keys. A week later, in March 1983, Keys drove Lanie Jacobs, accompanied by Ana Montenegro, through the electronic gates to Evans's house. Evans denies being desperate to raise money, insisting that he met Lanie "almost as a favor to [Keys]." "I'm very incident prone," says Evans. "I've had a great deal of things happen to me. Unfortunately, this was a disaster for me."
At the time, however, Evans found Lanie to be "a very sweet, fun girl...woman, whatever you want to call her. She couldn't have been nicer, and she was very positive." Evans was impressed with her cool competence and the graceful way she conducted business. '"I must tell you what attracted me to her," he says. "Her son was named Dax, and I made the movie of The Adventurers. I found that fascinating. I'll go one step further. I was so charmed by her that [after] she had her eyes done, I wanted to introduce her to my ex-wife to see if Ali [McGraw] wanted to have her eyes done—go to the same doctor, because he did such a good job."
According to court testimony, Evans laid out his plan for a $35 million production company to finance his three pet film projects: The Cotton Club, The Two Jakes, and the second sequel to The Godfather. Lanie said she might know someone who'd be interested. "She called a few days later and set up a meeting, and this man came out," Evans says, referring to Roy Radin. "And he didn't cut the most dapper appearance."
Radin was close to 300 pounds and his weight made him seem much older than his thirty-three years. According to Ana Montenegro, he was a man with superhuman appetites. "He would do five grams of coke in a day," she says, "then order Chinese food, asking for everything on the menu. And he'd eat it." Radin had made his fortune producing variety shows featuring such aging stars as Milton Berle, Georgie Jessel, and Johnnie Ray. His sister Kate says that from age 17 on, he supported his mother and three sisters in "fairy-tale style," buying them a home in Hampton Bays on Long Island. For himself, he purchased a seventy-seven-room castle in nearby Southampton. In 1980, Radin's name was splattered across the tabloids when a young actress-model named Melanie Haller claimed she had been raped and beaten during a weekend orgy at his mansion. Eventually, Radin was acquitted of all charges except carrying a concealed weapon, but the damage to his reputation was irreparable.
"Now, my naivete was not checking him out and not checking her out," Evans tells me. "It was the only time in twenty-five years I didn't have a lawyer." Evans claims to have been blindsided by not having someone run references on the two, but he doesn't mention that he must have been equally snowblinded by his own drug use. Evans had landed a year's probation for his 1980 conviction for cocaine possession, and promised the judge that he had "learned" from his mistakes. However, several of his friends and former staffers insist that his use of drugs, if anything, escalated.
"If I had known Radin was involved in this [Melanie Haller] thing in Long Island," says Evans, shaking his head, "I would never have met him." I ask him if at any time he knew that Lanie Jacobs was a drug dealer. "No! If I had heard about it, I would have ran. I would have ran. I would have ran."
Radin had met Lanie Jacobs at a Beverly Hills party and the two had hit it off. Radin was keen to move to Los Angeles and desperate to get into the movie business. Days after meeting Evans, Lanie, limoed by Gary Keys, picked up Radin at LAX. According to Lanie, Radin was jubilant, and later that night he produced a two-page, typed agreement that guaranteed that she would be a fifty-fifty partner in any venture he entered into with Evans. She claims they both signed it but that her copy has mysteriously disappeared. Lanie also claims that Ana Montenegro was in the car that night. Montenegro, when pressed, says she was not in the car and has no memory of a contract but adds, "Roy would have promised her anything to meet with Robert Evans."
Over the next week, negotiations to form a film company moved along smoothly and quickly. Lanie says that the threesome never did cocaine in front of each other during business meetings at Evans's home, but that "each of us took long trips to the bathroom." Radin had found a banker friend named Jose Alegria, who had devised a plan for raising $35 million in Puerto Rico. Radin phoned Alegria at three in the morning to tell him, "I've found the chance of a lifetime." However, Alegria testified that Radin never mentioned Lanie. "He said he ran into Robert Evans in the Polo Lounge," as if the two were old friends.
Unaware of Radin's dismissal of her, Lanie left the day to day business to the two men. She began sleeping with Evans, to whom she, no doubt, must have seemed like the sugar plum fairy. In one hand, she held a multi-million dollar production deal, in the other, an unlimited supply of fresh-off-the-boat Colombian cocaine. Bouquets of flowers from Evans arrived regularly at Lanie's door.
Radin, meanwhile, became quite friendly with Tally Rogers, Lanie's courier. Rogers, in fact, had moved into a room next to Radin's at the Hollywood Regency Hotel, where the two men shared coke and call girls. Several weeks earlier, Lanie had fought bitterly with Tally. Although the prosecution claims the fight was about Rogers wanting more than $20,000 a trip for driving drugs cross-country, Lanie says it had nothing to do with money. Her outrage concerned Rogers's partying with a call girl at Ana Montenegro's Beverly Hills apartment, which had resulted in a neighbor's calling the police. Tim Whitehead says Rogers was free-basing during this time, and what little caution he had, went out the window.
Ana Montenegro; who was sitting by the pool with Sol Besharat the day of the fight, described Lanie's anger as fierce, even frightening. "She made mincemeat out of him." After it was over, Ana says, Lanie came outside like nothing had happened, as if we hadn't heard all the screaming." Lanie fired Rogers and threw him out of the apartment. Within days, however, Betty Rogers, Tally's wife, began calling Lanie, begging her to give Tally one more chance. "And I did," says Lanie. "The biggest mistake I ever made."
On April 19, 1983, Lanie discovered that her garage safe had been emptied of its contents: eleven kilos of cocaine and $270,000 in cash. Only three people knew the combination: Lanie, Bellechasses, and Tally Rogers. Lanie had just returned from a trip to Las Vegas with Besharat, Sylvia, and Betty Rogers. She says the purpose of the trip was to cheer up Betty, who claimed to be distraught over the state of her relationship with Tally, who was some twenty years younger than she. Lanie lent her a dress, paid her airfare, and arranged for a "comped" stay at Caesar's Palace.
Sometime in the morning hours, Betty Rogers fled the hotel and returned to Memphis. She has testified that she had received a phone call from Tally, who instructed her to get out of Vegas in thirty minutes, warning, "If you don't get out of there, you are going to be killed."
Lanie returned home in order to give Tim Whitehead, her other courier, a stack of kilos for weekly delivery. When Whitehead arrived, he was met by a "frantic" Lanie. "Tally's ripped us off," she said. "He's cleaned out the safe."
Her first call was to Millan Bellechasses, who had acquired the coke from his Colombian sources "on the come," meaning he would pay for it when it was sold. According to Whitehead and Lanie, Bellechasses was livid, telling Lanie that if she didn't cover the loss, "there's gonna be Colombians sitting in your living room." Next they phoned Betty Rogers, who claimed to be completely in the dark about the theft and Tally's whereabouts. "Just tell him to return the kilos," Lanie said, "and he can keep the cash."
Lanie's immediate concerns were finding Rogers and getting protection for herself. She hired a self-described private investigator named Bill Mentzer, who assembled a cadre of heavies that included a private eye named Mike Pascal, who told Lanie he had worked as a CIA operative to free the U.S. hostages in Iran; Bob Lowe, a sleepy-looking vet who was rarely sober; a huge bodybuilder named Carl Plzak; and Alex Marti, a 23-yearold Argentine who had worked with Mentzer as a bodyguard for Hustler's Larry Flynt. Whitehead, who was with the troop on a hunt for Rogers through the South, remembers a restless Marti passing the time in hotels by repeatedly stabbing his pillow with a knife. "He said he'd like a job where he could ride around and shoot niggers," remembers Whitehead. "But he would kill Jews for free."
While her bodyguards hunted for Tally, Lanie turned her attention to Roy Radin, who she thought might know where Rogers was staying. Radin, according to his secretary Jonathan Lawson, knew nothing about the theft, but as the days went by without any sign of Rogers, Lanie became more and more convinced that Radin knew more than he was saying. "You put him up to it!" she accused Radin in one phone call, according to Lawson.
Nevertheless, a few days later Lanie showed up at Radin's hotel with Ana Montenegro in tow, more than willing to bury the hatchet. Radin made another $2,500 purchase of cocaine from Lanie, who sold it to him at cost. He also made a deep connection with Ana Montenegro. "He was a wonderful, caring man," says Montenegro, her eyes welling up, "and I loved him dearly."
Radin's tender feelings for Ana, however, never extended to Lanie. In fact, it seemed to Lanie that Radin had no gratitude, either for her introducing him to Evans and Ana or for all the good cocaine. He had even stiffed her on a $5,000 check. Now, she was hearing from Evans that Radin was cutting her out of the movie deal, drafting an agreement that would split the company between Evans and Radin, with ten percent going to Jose Alegria. Radin rarely returned Lanie's phone calls, and when he did speak to her, he would guarantee her only a finder's fee. She was furious.
"I don't know what Roy saw in her that he didn't like, but he was very nasty to Lanie," says Ana. "He got very greedy and wanted to con her out of the deal, so she thought he stole the cocaine, and that's how the whole thing came about."
At Evans's invitation, Lanie flew to Manhattan on April 25th to spend time with him and to try to work out the movie deal with Radin. Evans had rented a sumptuous town house on East 61st Street. A former staffer remembers being shocked when Lanie's limo pulled up there. "She was so much older than most of Bob's girlfriends," she says, referring to the procession of models and actresses in their early 20s that surrounded Evans. "The girls in L.A. told me she was a big coke monger," says the staffer, who was surprised that Evans was doing business with Radin and Lanie. "Khashoggi was bad enough," she says. "No one in Hollywood did business with these types. It just wasn't kosher." She says that Evans was a staunch ally of Lanie's. "I remember them rehearsing how they were going to maneuver Radin into giving her a cut of the deal."
According to Lanie, Evans knew that she was a drug dealer and had a lot of woes. "I told him about the stolen coke when I got to New York and that I was under a lot of pressure," she says, explaining that she hoped to repay Bellechasses out of the money she'd make on the movie deal. "He didn't want to know the details of my business," she adds.
The following day, Lanie steered Radin outside to the patio before the meeting and made clear her insistence on being a partner in the movie company. Radin exploded. "He cursed me out and stormed off, [saying] that no damn broad was going to tell him what to do. I was crying," she testified. Evans intervened on Lanie's behalf. "He was adamant about cutting her out of this deal except to give her a finder's fee," remembers Evans. "And I didn't think that was fair." Radin announced to Jose Alegria, "We're leaving," and stalked out.
Two days later, Evans and Lanie headed for Miami "for sun and rest." Lanie claims there were daily calls back and forth with Radin to salvage the deal. Evans and his attorney also called Alegria and offered $3 million to buy out Radin. "Frankly, I thought he should have taken it," Alegria testified. But Radin had his eyes on one prize only, the chance to legitimize himself as a movie producer.
Before leaving Miami, Lanie drove Evans to Millan Bellechasses's mansion. She had told Evans that Bellechasses was a successful builder. "She wanted to impress [him] that she was going into the movie business" is Evans's explanation for the visit. However, prosecutors express puzzlement as to why she would be paying a social call on Bellechasses while claiming to fear for her life because of him. Evans and Lanie parted company in Miami on May 3. Evans returned to New York, and Lanie headed back to Los Angeles.
On May 12, Ana Montenegro started crying and couldn't stop. Radin had made a dinner date with Lanie for that evening so they could finally sort things out. "I get the feeling that something is wrong, and I start crying," she explains. Worried about her, Radin postponed his dinner to the following night, she says, "because he didn't want to leave me alone."
Ana knew a whole lot about the cocaine business, which she tried to convey to Radin. For instance, one way to appease Colombians after a drug theft is to "show them a newspaper that you killed someone, and they write it off as a business loss." If Tally Rogers kept eluding his hunters, who would take the fall for the robbery at Lanie's?
"Roy had gotten a threatening phone call a few days before," remembers Ana. "He was scared [to be alone] in the underground parking lot, looking to see if someone was going to do something to him." Still, Radin felt that if Lanie was so anxious to see him, it might mean that she was ready to make the concessions necessary to put the project back together. Both Ana and Lawson, Radin's secretary, begged him to stall the dinner date. Ana next pleaded to go along, but "Lanie said no." Radin told Lawson and Ana he was having his friend Demond. Wilson, a former television actor from Sanford and Son, tail Lanie's car when they left for the restaurant in Beverly Hills. Radin also decided to carry a small .22 with him.
On the afternoon of May 13, Lanie met with a realtor to sell her Sherman Oaks house, having decided, she says, to move to New York in order to be closer to the film company. Evans, she said, offered her a job with his production company. She had also sent Dax back to Miami with Myriam Arias for his first birthday party.
Wearing a silver spaghetti-strap dress, Lanie arrived promptly at 8 p.m. at the Hollywood Regency in a black Cadillac limo driven by "bodyguard" Robert Lowe, who was dressed in full chauffeur regalia. She announced herself at the front desk before going to Radin's suite. The mood was conciliatory and upbeat, according to Lawson, and Radin snorted some coke. Before leaving, Lanie asked Lawson to drive to her apartment, get some coke she had left in her car, and bring it back to the hotel so that they would have some coke when they returned from their dinner at La Scala. Lawson refused, having decided he should stay in the hotel in case of trouble. Lanie persisted. "Make him go," she said to Radin, who declined to press his secretary.
The limousine pulled into heavy traffic with Demond Wilson following, but somewhere on Sunset Boulevard he lost track of it. Roy Radin never made it to dinner.
By July 1991, The Cotton Club trial had crawled into its eleventh month in the Criminal Court Building in downtown L.A., destined to be among the longest and most expensive murder trials in California history. More than eight years had passed since the actual murder on May 13, 1983. Charges were not even filed until late 1988. Jury selection alone took more than three months.
Lanie's co-conspirators included William Mentzer, 42, accused of organizing Radin's kidnapping and murder; Robert Lowe, 45, who allegedly drove the limo that took Radin on his last ride; and Alex Marti, 31, said to have poured thirteen .22-magnum bullets into Radin, "because it was Friday the thirteenth," then planted a bomb in Radin's mouth to prevent identification. William Rider, an informant under protective custody, turned in Mentzer, Marti, and Lowe after wiretapping his conversations with them. However, the star of the trial, though he had never been charged, was former Hollywood golden boy, Robert Evans. Even as the case went to trial, district attorney David Conn refused to rule out Evans as a suspect.
Each of the four co-defendants sat sandwiched between two lawyers. Lanie, flanked by Morrissey and Shohat, took the front table, which put her face to face with the jury. Behind her was Mentzer, a handsome, intense-looking man always carefully groomed, his thick dark hair parted down the center. According to court sources, Mentzer was being maintained on prescription drugs. At the next table was baby-faced Robert Lowe, a round man invariably wearing a V-neck sweater. Lowe's counsel put up a spirited defense, producing Lowe's entire family to testify that Lowe was in his Maryland hometown the weekend of the murder. The rear table was taken by the Argentine-born Alex Marti, a balding man who visibly fidgeted and bristled with wayward energy. Police reports describe him as a thrill seeking, sadistic killer who had a lucrative cocaine business of his own.
In late April, Lanie Greenberger took the stand. Dressed for success, in a blue calico-print dress with a broad cotton lace collar, she had her white-gray hair demurely coiffed. On the stand, she explained that normally her hair is brown or blond, but that the prison forbids hair coloring. A week later, a deputy from Sybil Brand testified that there is a full service hair salon available to all inmates. Lanie later responded by noting that the beauticians were inmates. "I wouldn't let them near my hair," she huffed, struggling to reframe the issue. Clearly, she had made the calculated decision that a short gray bob would make a better impression on the mostly female jury, just like the plain, plastic eyeglasses she wore to court instead of her attractive metal frames.
Lanie knows a good deal about deception—ranging from doper discretion to white lies to lies of omission, straight through to stone cold lying. There were the silly lies, like telling the jury that she rented the Beverly Hills apartment so that Myriam would have flat streets on which to push Dax's stroller, when all previous evidence indicated it was a parry pad and her place to stash out-of-town friends. And there were the lies of vanity, such as lying about the number of marriages- to prettify her life. It became evident that she used all the lies and wiles, as needed. While personally she may have been a boy-crazy Cosmo girl, professionally she was something of a feminist gangster.
On the stand, Lanie invoked her best Southern manners, referred to all the men involved in the case as Mister—Mr. Bellechasses, Mr. Evans, Mr. Mentzer, and so on—even though she had slept with most of them. Mentzer and Lowe declined to take the stand. Their lawyers' strategy was simply to discredit the witnesses who placed them at the scene of the crime. Lanie, however, put the final nail in their coffin by testifying that she hired the three as bodyguards, who regrettably and unbeknownst to her ran amok and killed Roy Radin.
"I wasn't in charge," she testified over and over again, struggling to clear herself of Radin's murder by laying the blame on Bellechasses for ordering the killing and on Mentzer for executing it with Lowe and Marti. She depicted herself as an unwilling, bewildered pawn, who had no prior knowledge that Radin would be murdered after she left him in the limousine with the three men in her employ.
Lanie's primary support came from faithful courier Tim Whitehead, who told the jury that he was present at Bellechasses's Miami house on May 9 or 10 when Bill Mentzer was talking on the phone with another of Lanie's operatives. "Mentzer hung up the phone all excited, and it was, like, bingo!" Mentzer had learned that Radin had been in daily contact with Tally Rogers, who was hiding out in St. Thomas [information never corroborated by police]. Instantly, the group came to believe that their alleged friend Radin was a party to the rip off. After a long, heated discussion, Whitehead said, Bellechasses "ordered" Mentzer and Marti to Los Angeles to straighten things out with Radin. "I wanted to help Lanie," Whitehead told me later, testifying against the advice of his own lawyer. "I knew she was getting a very raw deal. I mean, Lanie is guilty of a lot of things...that she’s paying the price for now. But as far as this, no. There's too many people who ripped off Lanie in the past [for] over $100,000, and she didn't take any actions. She wrote it off."
"Mr. Radin and I were talking about the movie. He was in a boisterous, belligerent mood," Lanie testified, describing her last ride with Roy Radin. "He was telling me I ought to get on his side, that he was going to take over the company, not Mr. Evans.” Radin was so rambunctious, according to her, that he knocked over the champagne bucket filled with ice and an open bottle. "I was in the process of leaning over to pick it up, and all of a sudden the limo turned up a side street very quickly." Suddenly, "the two back doors opened, and Mr. Mentzer told me to get out and get into the other car." Why did she listen? "I didn't know what else to do."
Later, outside of her apartment, Lanie talked with Carl Plzak, one of her hired hands. "They grabbed the fat pig," is what Plzak claims Lanie told him then, adding: "They were taking him to the desert." And when she left Plzak that evening outside the Westwood Marquis Hotel, she told him, "You haven't seen me all night."
At the Marquis bar, Lanie kept a date to see her old pal Sol Besharat at 10:30. After a few drinks, the two walked over to Besharat's house around the corner, where Lanie made a half dozen phone calls. At 3:21 A.M. New York time, she called Robert Evans in Manhattan and talked for almost fifteen minutes. She had also called him before her date with Radin. "At this point, I was talking to him at least once a day," Lanie explains. "I told him that we had an argument in the limo, and that I had been put out of the car." It was this last phone call that convinced prosecutors Evans knew more than he said he did.
And what did Lanie think Mentzer and Marti were going to do with Radin? "I thought Mentzer was going to talk to him," she said softly, "about where Tally was." She claimed that she didn't have a clue that Radin was dead until Mentzer phoned her to come meet him at 5 A.M. "I got very upset," she said, but didn't call the police because "I was involved in drug dealing." However, the next day she was able to put aside her shock and grief and board a charter plane to Miami with Radin's murderers. Why a charter plane? Why Miami? "Mr. Bellechasses told me to."
Two days after Radin's murder. Dax's birthday party went off as planned at Lanie's Miami home. In attendance were some children, Mentzer, Marti, and the allegedly fearsome Bellechasses. Lanie claims that she gave Bellechasses another payment, totaling $200,000, to pay for the stolen coke.
Following the party, according to one source, Lanie visited Bellechasses's mansion with Mentzer and her attorney Frank Rubino. It was then, the source claims, that Bellechasses first learned of Radin's death. "He went nuts, just screaming," said the source. He said, "The last thing I need right now is a murder." Rubino did not return my calls, while Bellechasses has also stoically maintained his silence in a federal penitentiary in Tallahassee, where he's doing twenty years for narcotics. However, throughout Lanie's testimony, William Mentzer was visibly agitated, furiously scribbling notes without ever looking at her.
On April 25, 1991, there was some very good news for Robert Evans. "Are you aware of any fact that would link Mr. Evans to Mr. Radin's death?" Marcia Morrissey queried Lanie. Finally, someone had asked the $64,000 question, and for a moment no one in the courtroom breathed. Lanie answered with finality. "No, I am not." Unfortunately for Evans, bad news came right on the heels of the good tidings. Evans had told the police—and me, only a week earlier—that he first learned of Radin's murder a month later, when he read about it in a newspaper.
However, Lanie testified that she and Mentzer met with Evans in New York just three days after the murder, at which time she told him that Radin was dead. "I thought he should know," she explained. "He got very, very upset, almost panic stricken," she told me later. "He kept saying, `Why? Why? I don't understand." I had asked Evans if he ever heard from Lanie again. "I think she called once. I don't know what I said, but I knew one thing," he said with a laugh. "She wasn't going to be the next Mrs. Evans." Evans's memory, it turns out, is selective. Phone records at New York's Hilton Hotel corroborate Lanie's version and show that two calls were made from Lanie's room on May 17—the day, according to her testimony, that Evans came to her room to see her—to Ed Hookstratten, Evans's agent and attorney at the time. Lanie says that Evans made the calls after she told him that Radin was dead.
It is not a prosecutable crime to fail to report a murder. However, in this case, it may have delayed prosecution by some eight years, according to the D.A.'s office. Another bombshell for Evans was the issue of Lanie's career. Contradicting him again, Lanie testified that she had told Evans early in their relationship that she was a drug dealer, and that he was unfazed. Her testimony reveals Evans's dilemma and folly. While most insiders believed Evans had nothing to do with Radin's murder, the fact that he lied about small things - Lanie's drug dealing, his personal use - led many to think he might be lying about the big things.
After Roy Radin's desiccated body was discovered in Caswell Canyon on June 10, 1983, Frank Rubino waged a successful fight to prevent the L.A. police from interviewing Lanie. For the next few months, she kept a low profile, always traveling with Mentzer, who by then had become her lover. After a stint in the Florida Keys and Islamorada, the couple went to Mexico. For almost a month, she says, they holed up in a mountainside cabin an hour's drive from Puerto Vallarta. From there, they moved to Palm Springs with Dax and Myriam, followed by stints in Maui and Las Vegas. Asked by prosecutor David Conn why she broke up with Mentzer, Lanie answered poker-faced, "[He] was not ready to have a family, I guess."
Lanie returned to Miami, and six months after Radin's grisly murder she met Larry Greenberger on a blind date arranged by their mutual attorney, Frank Rubino. "Lar was the love of my life," she says, her voice almost a sigh, and she made Greenberger her seventh husband in September 1984. "We were together every day, seven days a week, twenty-four hours a day."
Larry Greenberger was a handsome Southern hunk. He was also, according to the Drug Enforcement Agency, "one of the main distributors of cocaine in the United States since 1977" and was widely believed to be Carlos Lehder's second-in-command. Despite two arrests, Greenberger avoided doing any hard time. When he met Lanie, he was living on a "cocaine pension" of stashed drug money that some DEA officials estimate around $20 million. His charm and cunning were such that he convinced his family and many of his friends that his expensive homes, cars, and boats were all the rewards of being a successful real-estate developer "somewhere out West."
A complex, charismatic man, Greenberger lived on two tracks for most of his adult life: as a respected and feared player in the highest echelon of the Medellin drug cartel and as an all-American good 'ole boy. Apparently, he saw little conflict between his two lives, once telling his kid sister, Janis, "You just don't get ahead in this world without breaking the rules." After an uncle was found dead from an apparent suicide, he told Janis, "If anything like that ever happens to me, come looking for who killed me."
"When Lanie married Larry, her life changed completely," Myriam Arias, Dax's former nanny, is saying, struggling with her imperfect English. "She became another Larry. She lived his life. She did everything just to please him. She said he was everything she wanted in a man. He had his own life, his own money. She don't have to do nothing for him."
Lanie insists that she and Larry had both retired from the drug trade and lived on "interest income," a statement which at best is a half-truth. Tim Whitehead says that Lanie sold him a $52,000 kilo of coke during .a social visit she and Larry made to his Mississippi home in late 1984, and the DEA reports that Greenberger transported boxes of hand guns, Uzis, and a machine gun to Norman's Cay in the Bahamas, the stomping ground for Carlos Lehder, in July 1987. Lanie doesn't deny, however, that both of them continued to take drugs, particularly Greenberger, whose use escalated perilously despite periodic "dry outs." A year after the marriage, Greenberger adopted Dax, a move that surprised many.
Amazingly, Lanie had no problem packing up her jet set lifestyle and moving to Okeechobee, population 9,000, where bingo is the most popular cultural activity. In time, she leased space in the local mall and set up the Center for Plastic Surgery, a referral service for her friend and former boyfriend, Dr. Alejandro Quiroz. The center would arrange for patients to fly to Mexico City, where surgery cost roughly half of what it did in the States. Several locals went on the junket, and Lanie herself was the recruitment model. She told anyone one and all about her own surgeries: a facelift, breast implants and liposuction on her hips, thighs, tummy, and butt.
"See how big plastic surgery is now?" Lanie comments proudly during my first visit in jail. She also says that the handsome Greenberger was even more of an enthusiast than she was. "Larry had a facelift, a coronal hairline done for his receding hair, a nose job and cheek implants," she says. "He thought cosmetic surgery was great."
Myriam Arias didn't think it was great. In August 1988, Greenberger flew to L.A. to have cheek implants. The surgery, she remembers, was a failure. "It pulled his left eye downward, and all the white in his eye was showing, and the skin was loose and bagged over," she told me. Greenberger was in continual pain as a result of the surgery. He could have the operation redone, but not for three months. Miserable, he wore oversized sunglasses day and night to conceal his deformity and doubled his already hefty drug and alcohol intake. When Myriam asked why he kept going under the scalpel, he told her that he "wanted a new face, he wanted to look different, and that next he wanted to do his lips. Like he wanted to hide from somebody or something," she says. "He was obsessed and sick about it. I never knew why."
What Greenberger never told Myriam was that he was about to be indicted in what have come to be called the Sons-of-Lehder trials, some fifty cases stemming from the conviction of Carlos Lehder. Greenberger was almost certainly considering disappearing with a cosmetically rearranged face. Moreover, the impending indictment was not the only stress in his life. He and Lanie were arguing more and more, sometimes in front of friends. There were even rumors that he had a girlfriend. And then there was a big blowout with Frank Rubino.
Frank, Rubino was not a lawyer who felt uncomfortable about socializing with his drug trafficking clients, or even going into business with them, as he did with Larry Greenberger. For several years, the two co-owned a luxury yacht, which they chartered out. That is until Greenberger became troubled about the boat's expenses. "After I sat down with Larry and showed him the bills," Rubino said in a deposition taken four years later, Greenberger apologized, saying, "Gee, I'm really sorry, but Lanie got me all excited and made me come over here and ream you out." During the same meeting, Greenberger referred to Lanie as "that white-haired bitch."
A week later, on July 25, 1986, Lanie and Greenberger arrived at Rubino's office, accompanied by Bill Mentzer (also a Rubino client) and his cousin Tom Markel. This time, Greenberger was not nearly so reasonable. According to Rubino, "He was in a cold sweat, his pupils were dilated. He seemed to be high on drugs." After ordering Lanie out of the room, Greenberger handed Rubino a note that read, "Sign the boat over to me or they'll kill your wife and you." Within ten minutes, Rubino had deeded his share of the boat to Greenberger and parted company with the gold Rolex on his wrist and the keys to his new Ferrari. Claiming that he feared for his life, he never called the police.
On September 23, 1988, Larry Greenberger died in a white rocking chair on his front porch after a .44-magnum bullet crashed through his brain. When the police arrived, the gun was in his right hand, gingerly resting on his knee. Lanie claims that she was upstairs when she heard the gunshot. After running downstairs, she called the police and reported that her husband had killed himself. Also in the house was Terry Squillante, a handsome 21-year-old whom Lanie had met in a real estate class in Orlando. For the last couple of months, Terry had been visiting the Greenbergers. Lanie told people he was the new nanny, and Larry called him "Dax's older brother."
"I would conclude that this is a homicidal injury which another person contrived to disguise as a suicidal injury," state medical examiner Fred Hobin reported, adding that significant quantities of alcohol, cocaine, marijuana, and valium had been found in Greenberger's body.
"A .44 magnum has enormous force," Hobin told me, "It is inconceivable that he shot him-self at point blank range without leaving any powder burns on his face. At that range, it would have blown off the back of his head."
"We think she killed him," Janis Greenberger says over a turkey sandwich at Okeechobee's Black Angus restaurant. "The night he died, we ran over to the house, and she didn't have a tear in her eye. Not then nor at the funeral. She told my mother that night, 'We were supposed to go tomorrow and change things so if anything happened, I wouldn't have to pay inheritance tax.' Can you believe it?" As far as the Greenberger family is concerned, Terry Squillante was more than just Dax's nanny. They report that Terry and Lanie "hung on each other" at the Okeechobee beauty parlor and other local spots. Claiming she was unable to stay in the house, Lanie took off for Miami with Dax and Terry only hours after her husband's death.
The Greenbergers weren't the only ones harboring suspicions about Lanie. Even such stalwart friends as Tim Whitehead had their doubts. Reluctant to discuss the subject, Whitehead concedes that he also heard that "Lanie and Larry had arguments about business and money." Whitehead says that "Larry had a nasty toot habit—and drink—and I understand he was pretty freaked out about being indicted, but if Larry had committed suicide, it would have been cut and dried. He knew guns. He knew how to kill."
Unbeknownst to Lanie, the Los Angeles district attorney's office had spent much of the summer of 1988 nailing down a prosecutable case in the Radin killing. After learning of Greenberger's death, and fearing that Lanie might finally flee the country; they bolted into action. Florida authorities lured Lanie into the Orlando police station on October 2, 1988, with a guarantee that she would only be questioned, not arrested, for her husband's death. However, upon her arrival, in a show of bicoastal police teamwork worthy of Miami Vice, a joint force pounced on her for the murder of Roy Radin five years earlier.
Florida state attorney Tony Young said he knew that Greenberger's death was a homicide the minute he heard that Greenberger was discovered still clutching his gun. "When you're dead," says Young, "you don't normally hold on to anything." However, despite a two and a half year investigation, Young was pessimistic about ever resolving the case. He knew he had a motive, having heard about Greenberger's missing money. Greenberger's estate was valued at $3.2 million, hardly a pittance, but still a mere fraction of the $20 million plus he had allegedly socked away. Big questions quickly arose. Considering that the estate had not paid out anything, who was paying Lanie's legal bills for the last two and a half years? Who was supporting Terry Squillante and his family who were raising Dax in Pennsylvania? Still, there was not enough evidence. Earlier on the day that Greenberger died, Lanie, Larry, and Terry had been target shooting in the backyard. When the police later powder tested Lanie and Terry, the results were meaningless. "No one has been charged," Young told me glumly earlier this year. "And I don't know if anyone will be."
On the evening of April 26, 1991, the phone rang in Jerry and Dahlis Greenberger's house in Okeechobee. The caller identified himself as. Bill Mentzer, in the county jail in Los Angeles, and said he was trying to track down state attorney Tony Young's home phone number, because he had something very important to tell him about the death of Larry Greenberger. Jerry Greenberger said that he was Larry's father and he'd like to know what Mentzer had to tell. Mentzer then gave vent to his outrage over Lanie's damning testimony concerning him. "She found God, and God told her to tell all of these stories," he said. "She's up there lying through her teeth." Staggered by her betrayal, he had some news of his own: Several days before Larry Greenberger's death, he had had a call from Lanie, asking him to kill Larry. "I told her no, because I liked Larry," Mentzer told Jerry Greenberger. And at Larry's funeral, Mentzer claimed, Lanie sidled up to him and whispered, "I did it myself, and Terry helped me."
On July 22, 1991, after a little more than a week's deliberations, the jury returned their verdicts. All four defendants were found guilty on both charges of murder and kidnapping for financial gain. Marti and Mentzer were found guilty of first degree murder and may very well have to face the gas chamber. Robert Lowe and Lanie were found guilty of second degree murder, which landed them a sixteen year to life sentence.
Tally Rogers is in Louisiana's Angola State Prison, grinding out three consecutive five year stints for molesting his girlfriend's children.
Betty Rogers still lives in Memphis—a very wealthy woman, according to Tim Whitehead.
Tim Whitehead says he's given up drug dealing and is working as a trucker.
Frank Rubino, Lanie's longtime attorney, now represents General Manuel Noriega. In 1989, three years after his robbery, he finally agreed to talk to the police, at which time he allegedly told detectives that Lanie "would have you killed if she didn't like the way you combed your hair. Lanie killed Larry to get his money."
Ana Montenegro still grieves for her lover Roy Radin, but she doesn't condemn Lanie. "I don't think she felt there was any other way out of this problem she was going through. It wasn't personal. It was a business decision."
Terry Squillante is raising Dax in western Pennsylvania. He is in close contact with Lanie.
Robert Evans spent Oscar night entertaining at his home. Evans recently made the front page of Variety, announcing that he's back on track at Paramount, with a multi-picture deal based on The Saint, the old Roger Moore television series, along with several other projects in the hopper. He's also writing his autobiography with Charles Michener. Best of all, he says, he has rebounded from a suicidal depression that seized him almost two years ago. "I was lying in a fetal position for four months," he says. "Finally, I put myself in a loony bin in the Valley, because I really thought I was going to kill myself. Two days later, I walked out of the hospital. It was too boring."
I asked Evans if, in light of his drug history and depression, he ever went into therapy. "No, I don't believe in it," he said. "I'm an eventist. I think events change your life, not therapy. I've been through an eight-year nightmare. I'm a survivor."