October 19, 1970 -Twenty four, year old John Linley Frazier – would set in motion a chain of events that would initially end the lives of five individuals and ultimately take the lives of seven. The mass murder which you are about to read, would go down in Santa Cruz infamous history for generations to come.
Frazier, a handsome young man, with a lovely wife and beautiful child of his own, had been spiraling out of control and down a dark self destructive path. During the 1970’s Santa Cruz was a haven for pot smoking hippies, however popping pills and hallucinogenic’ s like LSD was the drug of choice. A follower of the teachings of Charles Manson, Frazier began becoming obsessed with a local eye surgeon by the name of Dr. Victor Ohta.
45 year old Japanese / American, Dr. Ohta, was very well liked in the community, and had a rags to riches fairy tale life style. Ohta, lived in a lavish mansion high on the mountainous hill tops of Soquel, he drove a Rolls Royce and wore colorful expensive silk scarves as an accessory to his tailored attire. Unfortunately unbeknown to Dr. Ohta, he had drawn the attention of Frazier, a tarot reading, pill popping, stalker, who became obsessed with him and believed Ohta was materialistic and abusing the natural environment- Little did Ohta know, but he and his entire family would soon fall victim to the irrational delusions of one man.
Frazier; took refuge in a nearby 6x6 foot shack, hidden in the thicket of the woods, surrounded by a grave yard of abandoned vehicles, located less then a mile, from the Ohta mansion. Frazier had often unsuspectingly broke into the Ohta residence when no one was home, even stealing a pair of binoculars which he used to spy on Ohta.
Frazier often would follow the local doctor to his practice at a semi-resort community on a ridge over looking the Pacific Ocean, while going unnoticed; he left a threatening note that was slipped under the windshield of the doctors car reading;
“Today World War III will begin as brought to you by the free universe.
From this day forward, anyone or any company of persons who misuses
The natural environment or destroys same will suffer the penalty of death…
Materialism must die or mankind will.”
The note was signed by using four symbols of medieval fortune telling art, used in Tarot. The knight of wands, knight of cups, knight of pentacle and knight of swords.
Frazier was seemingly convinced that Dr. Ohta, needed to be “snuffed out” for having to many material possessions, even relaying this to his hippie cohorts, which would later be his undoing.
That October afternoon, Frazier lay in wait at the Ohta home, one by one as the family arrived home, Frazier held them at gun point and preceded to bound and blind fold them, using the colorful scarves belonging to Dr. Ohta.
In total there was Dr. Ohta’s wife, Virginia, age 41, his two sons, Richard age 12 and Victor age 11, the doctors secretary, Dorothy Cadwallader age 38 and the doctor himself. All whom were shot in the head execution style before being thrown in the Ohta swimming pool. Frazier even shot and killed the family cat, all in the name of “materialism”.
Afterwards he lit the mansion on fire and moved the family's Lincoln Continental in the driveway in order to prevent rescuers from entering the premises. Firefighters arriving on the scene were relieved to notice that there was no one present in the home at the time the fire was being extinguished, until one rescuer went to the back of the house near the swimming pool. Their the grisly discovery was made as he gazed into a pool colored blood red, unable to immediately process what he was looking upon. It would be the first mass murder in Santa Cruz history.
It wasn't long before Frazier was implicated and apprehended for the killings. Out raged by the carnage that he bestowed upon an innocent family - a large group of Frazier's peers in the hippy community -one that practiced free love, would be his undoing - as they immediately reported Frazier's verbal statements to "snuff out" Victor Ohta to authorities. Frazier was arrested without incident.
The two Ohta daughters, age 15 and 18, were both away at boarding school during the horrific event, however the Ohta family tragedies continued in 1977, When Tauren Ohta age 25, committed suicide. She never was able to bare the pain of losing her family, Tauren was found deceased by carbon monoxide poisoning in her car in the garage of her mother in laws home.
In 1979 another tragedy struck the surviving Ohta family when Dr. Ohta's mother also committed suicide - while in a convalescent home -she hung herself in her bathroom. She was 78 years of age. She too, could not bare the pain of an entire family lost and felt as if they were cursed. The youngest daughter, Lark, is the only surviving Ohta family member, she remains in seclusion.
John Linley Frazier was sentenced to death, however, his sentenced was commuted to life in prison after the death penalty was abolished. Frazier served the majority of his sentence at Mule Creek State Prison facility.
On August 13, 2009 he hung himself in his jail cell, he was 62 years old. Prison officials were actually surprised by the hanging, Frazier aside from minor infractions had been a model prisoner.
This was one of the most heinous crimes ever committed in 1970.