Friend of Albert Marco…Mystery Witness. Those two phrases were always found whenever June Taylor’s name appeared in the papers. Since Lee Francis was covered at length, it’s only fitting that the other prominent Charles Crawford madam needs her own post.
Like Lee Francis, June Taylor’s name came up in connection with the double murder on May 20, 1931 of the fading Los Angeles crime boss Charles Crawford and journalist Herbert Spencer, at Crawford’s “real estate” office on Sunset Boulevard. Also like Lee Francis, June Taylor beat it out of town immediately after that event. And like Lee Francis, June Taylor was not her real name.
She was born Mabel A. Lynch in Beaver Michigan on February 25, 1898, the youngest of five children born to her Canadian immigrant parents. It’s not clear when she came to Los Angeles, but she was not living at home with her parents in 1920.
Albert Marco was working for Crawford in Los Angeles by the mid-1920s, helping Farmer Page with prostitution and liquor operations. Its likely Taylor also began around this time. We know that she was a fixture in the courtroom during his two trials on assault with a deadly weapon changes in 1928. Though the first trial ended with a hung jury, Deputy DA David Clark successfully won a conviction in September 1928.
Marco entered San Quentin to begin serving his time in April 1929. Taylor began handling his business affairs. Of course Marco’s businesses were illegal businesses. She frequently made the trek to Marin County to confer with him at the prison using yet another alias, Mrs. A.M Donovan, which was actually her married sister’s name.
Taylor appears in the 1930 US census under the alias “June Donovan,” living at 731 S. Ardmore Avenue, Los Angeles.
On May 5, 1931, Taylor using the alias Mary Turner, had been was arrested at 554 South Figueroa, a “hotel” aka brothel that she ran for Marco. The charge was a minor one: failing to register guests before they were shown to their room- a violation of the city’s hotel registration ordinance. Nevertheless, Taylor got a lawyer who was able to delay her appearance in court by a month.
If Taylor had enjoyed the protection of Charles Crawford, this arrest on a petty charge was a sign that his status as crime boss and political fixer was on the wane since Marco’s conviction. He’d spent much of 1929 and 1930 embroiled in legal troubles. During the same period, the fortunes of Guy McAfee, rose. A former LAPD vice squad detective, McAfee became a Crawford ally and then a Crawford rival. McAfee also had connections to the brothel business and was married to a madam named Marie Conaty, who operated a “rooming house” at 444 1/2 S. Spring Street among others.
Crawford, however, wasn’t finished. He was said to be planning an underworld comeback when at 4:30 in the afternoon of May 20, 1931, he and Herbert Spencer were gunned down.
McAfee was questioned but had an alibi and not held. Then that evening, someone confessed to the double murder claiming it was self-defense: it was David Clark, the Deputy DA who had convicted Marco in 1928!
DA Fitt’s investigators sought out June Taylor as a key witness. Was she the “mystery blonde” whom Crawford’s brother George had seen in Clark’s car just before the murders?
At the “hotel” aka brothel that Taylor ran at 554 S. Figueroa Street on the NE corner of Sixth, authorities were told she’s left, reportedly to have a tonsil operation at the California Hospital down the street. But she was not a patient there. Then it was learned that she’d visited Albert Marco for two hours on May 22, 1931.
Puffed up with self importance, Marco admitted he’d been visited by a woman, Mrs. A.M. Donovan. And sure, he’d “recently” found out that Mrs. D did sometimes call herself June Taylor. And yeah, sure, she knew Dave Clark. But he insisted that she was not the June Taylor Fitts’ men were looking for. There were two June Taylors, he claimed. The June Taylor he met with hadn’t seen Dave Clark almost a year and she had no information about the double slaying. Marco said he “used to know” the OTHER June Taylor “a long time ago” but hadn’t seen her in months.
Nice try, Marco, but “the” June Taylor was easily recognized from a photo as “Mrs. A.M. Donovan.” She continued to elude the DA investigator’s, however.
She was finally cornered on June 5, 1931 when she appeared in court on the hotel registry charge. Afterward Taylor spoke with special prosecutor Joseph Ford who was leading the case against Clark.Claiming she’d been too sick to speak to authorities before, she said she’d not seen Dave Clark in 3 years- not since Marco’s trial. As for her visits to Marco, they were just business and personal matters and had no connection of any kind to the Spencer and Crawford murders. She told the press afterward that she was nowhere near Crawford’s office that day and not in the company of Clark. Clark, who’d been released on $100,000 bond, echoed this, asserting he’d not heard of June Taylor for more than 3 years.
On July 10, Taylor was acquitted in the hotel registration case when the prosecution was unable to locate the witnesses. But her victory was short- on the way out of court, she was handed a subpoena to appear before the grand jury about the Crawford – Spencer murder. Taylor appeared but refused to answer any questions on the grounds that it may incriminate her. The press reported that the jury was particularly interested in hearing about a supposed party Clark attended at a downtown club following Albert Marco’s first trial on the assault with a deadly weapon charge, which had ended in a hung jury. Prosecutors had heard a story that Clark was photographed in a compromising position and the photos would be used against him if he pursued the case against Marco. If true, it was a set up not unlike the one Crawford, Marco and others had contrived against the vice crusading City Councilman Carl Jacobson in 1927. Taylor previously told Joseph Ford that she knew nothing about any party. And of course, Marco was ultimately convicted by Clark.
As she left the grand jury rooms, Taylor received a subpoena to appear in Clark’s trial for the murder of Herbert Spencer, which began August 3, 1931. If she was called, however, it wasn’t reported. Like Marco’s, Clark’s trial ended in a hung jury. He was retried and acquitted of Spencer’s murder. Neither he nor anyone else was ever tried for the murder of Charles Crawford.
Albert Marco walked out of San Quentin in April 1933- and right into the custody of federal marshals. He still had to serve his time for a 1927 bootlegging conviction. Also, as a condition of his parole from State prison, he was to “self deport” to his native Italy. While this would be voluntary, federal agents were working on revoking Marco’s naturalized citizenship on the grounds that he’d made false statements in his application. Two men were subsequently accused of trying to bribe a federal agent into dropping the citizenship cancellation suit. Marco, doing his time on the federal charges in the Orange County jail, professed to know nothing of the bribe attempt.
June Taylor testified on Marco’s behalf in the bribe trial in December 1933. It did little good. Marco, having finished his federal sentence, had already set sail for Italy.
In February 1934, the LA Times reported that Taylor, identified as Albert Marco’s “business associate” had applied for a passport under her “maiden name” Mabel Lynch and was planning to travel to Italy on “urgent” business. She did indeed make the trip, returning via New York in September 1934.
McAfee backed Frank Shaw for mayor in 1933 and Los Angeles was said to be wide open. Citizen-led reform groups launched inquiries into protected vice in the city and successfully recalled Shaw in September 1938.
Albert Marco was technically eligible to return to the USA in February 1938 and there were rumors that he was in Los Angeles. Federal agents were still working on revoking his citizenship and successfully did so in June 1938.
Lee Francis was arrested for pandering the first time on record in January 1940. In April 1940, a woman who called herself Ann Forst (real name Forrester) was arrested at 444 S. Spring St. and accused of running a call girl operation. The address was one previously associated with Guy McAfee’s wife. Indeed, Ann told authorities that she had worked for McAfee since 1934 and that it was he who ran a large prostitution ring consisting of 31 houses. She said she collected money for the ring and handed it over to McAfee’s associates Wade Buckwald…and June Taylor, who also used the alias Mrs. Goodwin. Taylor/Goodwin had a house on La Canada Road where Ann would bring her the money.
Authorities sought to call Ann as a witness. Rose “Mumsie” McGongile was also expected to be called. Mumsie ran brothels with Augusto “Chito” Sasso, who since 1931 had been referred to as Albert Marco’s replacement. McAfee, who had relocated to Las Vegas, was not called. Among those she named, Ann alone was convicted.
June Taylor kept a low profile after that. She died in San Diego, California on February 15, 1994 as Mabel A. Goodwin.
Top image from the Los Angeles Record, 6/5/1931.
Her father lists New York as his birthplace in the 1910 and 1920 census and on his older son’s death certificate in 1923. In the 1900 census he lists it as Canada. In the 1871 Canadian census he gives his birthplace as Ontario.
In 1930 June/Mabel’s household included her now widowed mother (her father died in 1927) and surviving brother Alexander. They were likely just visiting as both returned to Michigan, where her mother died in 1933.Mrs. A.M. Donovan was in fact June/Mabel’s older sister’s name.
Susan Lynch was married to a man name Alfonsus Michael Donovan. They had 3 children and lived quietly in Illinois. She was definitely not visiting Albert Marco in San Quentin.
Marco happily gave out Taylor’s address as 750 Mariposa Street.
Guy McAfee’s wife Marie died in 1932.
Wade Buckwald was gunned down in McAfree’s Las Vegas casino, the Frontier Club, in 1942.