Ed Solomon — the screenwriter behind Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure as well as Men In Black and other similarly quirky sci-fi comedies — recently shared a story on Twitter about that time that federal authorities interrogated him as a potential suspect for the Night Stalker, a serial killer who was ultimately charged with thirteen murders, five attempted murders, eleven sexual assaults, and fourteen burglaries.
It was basically one night of scary questioning, but still. Bogus.
In August 1985 I was awakened by a call saying "Are you the Night Stalker?" I hung up, thinking it was a weird prank. But it kept happening. That's when I learned – from a reporter on the other end – that I was a prime suspect in that grisly RIchard Ramirez murder spree.
The reporter explained that my car was found at the crime scene, which made no sense because I looked out my window & saw it was still in the parking space of my Westwood apartment. I had to hang up because the police were walking up my driveway – but weirdly slowly.
They had an odd attitude when they arrived, saying something about needing to just "check it out" because it was already not seeming likely that I was "the one." (Also: I had obviously just woken up and was – I suddenly realized – wearing only my tighty whiteys).
Apparently by the time they'd gotten to my place there was new information, & now they were just kind of annoyed – like they'd been given busy work and the *good* stuff was happening an hour or so away. (I actually think they only knocked so one of them could use the bathroom.)
They wouldn't tell me anything about why they suspected me – which I have to say was exceedingly surreal (and I remember I had just read Kafka's The Trial, which made it even surreal..er?). But in the morning I saw the news – and I figured out what happened.
3 years earlier my (then) roommate (& best friend) was buying a used car, & since he was in med school & I had an actual job (my Laverne & Shirley gig), he had me sign (or maybe co-sign?) for his loan. As such, the car was registered to my address, even though he'd just sold it.
The guy who 'd bought it was eating dinner in a Chinese restaurant downtown, where the car (a crappy red Toyota station wagon) was stolen – by Ramirez – and driven to the murder site, where it was abandoned. The irony is my 2 roommates (new ones) were in jail for the night.
That's because a neighbor had seen the pot plant they were growing in the window, and called the police. (I only found this out the next day when they returned.) The only reason I wasn't in jail with them was that I hadn't been around when they were arrested.
I remember my roommates coming back later that day & saying something like: "Oh my god have we got a story for you." And I remember replying with something like, "Okay, me, too.. but you go first."