Doug Webster

In the days after McKinney’s murder, Birmingham Police interview not only concerned citizen George Landino (see prior post), they speak with Landino’s one-time art student Martin Hoogasian, described as having a personality conflict with McKinney and as having art on display at McKinney’s gallery.

In a typewritten report of this interview, the first page of which appears to be missing or misfiled, Hoogasian tells police he believed McKinney was having sex with Doug Webster. FOIA 198. He further stated both Webster and McKinney were into a “magic” called “Don Juan” magic. As noted previously, there was an additional “explanation” that both Webster and McKinney at times were “simulated” or they pictured themselves as “crows.” FOIA 199. No wonder the guy hit the road for another gallery in Arizona. FOIA 750, 805.

In the handwritten notes about this interview, Hagoosian tells police “that there are secret letters and writings from Doug Webster to John McKinney.” FOIA 120.

Letters between Webster and McKinney are in the FOIA response. I post them in the order they were found in the file. The highlights and all markings are mine, except for the faint red underlining found at FOIA 814 and 815. March 22nd was the afternoon/early evening my brother Tim was murdered.

By January 1978, Webster agrees to take a polygraph in Arizona. (He does, and he is cleared of any involvement in the McKinney homicide. FOIA 602, 610.) You kind of have to compare FOIA 528-32 with FOIA 599-603 to get all of the information I relate here. (See link below.) Birmingham PD Sgt. M. Mohr and Investigator A’Hearn (agency?) “returned to Scottsdale” to interview Webster. Among other things, Webster tells police that he paid McKinney $1,000 for a 25% partnership in the gallery in March 1974. He worked there until February 1976 and his partnership was terminated as of that time. His shares were “resold” to McKinney in April 1976.

Webster explained that things “were not going well around the Gallery,” and that he was aware that McKinney and his wife Linda “were becoming interested in each other.” The Websters agreed to divorce (December 1975).

When the discussion finally turns to the possible connection of McKinney and the child killings,

His only reaction was that he observed the news broadcast on national TV and he recalled a letter he had received shortly before the news broadcast from John McKinney stating that John McKinney was having problems. He did not go into detail, however, Webster stated that he put the news broadcast and the letter from McKinney and got a strange feeling. Nothing to substantiate that McKinney was even involved other than he just got a strange feeling. He wrote a letter to John McKinney that is in the reports previously. This would be referring to the child homicides and the possible connection of John McKinney.

FOIA 601

Maybe it was that mystical, nonverbal communication thing he and McKinney had going. FOIA 750. Or that magic crow shit. FOIA 199, 417. Whatever it was, all that followed were questions about whether or not Webster knew of any place aside from his home address or the gallery where McKinney may have been living. He did not. FOIA 601-02.

Pages referred to above:


4 Comments on “Doug Webster”

  1. Brian says:

    Don Juan magic probably refers to Carlos Castaneda’s The Teachings of Don Juan (1968), in which the author relates his initiation by a Yaqui shaman into ancient sorcery and mesmerism. Many copies of the book featured a crow on the cover, probably because the bird features prominently in Castaneda’s lessons. His “sorcerer-tutor” tells him that the crow is the ideal creature to wish to be.

  2. Paul Jolliffe says:

    So immediately just before March 22, 1977, John McKinney “had some money come in” from unknown sources. McKinney then promptly repaid the remaining $200 he owed to Webster, enclosed in a short note. (McKinney admitted he had little money – certainly not enough to travel.)

    But McKinney couldn’t write Webster a longer letter because “out of my guts now is something you do not need . . . let me get a few days of sunshine behind me and a little fresh air and I will write later.”

    McKinney was undoubtedly deeply troubled by the Tim King horror. (What role McKinney may have played in that is unknown – did he have inside knowledge or suspicions about his “friends” in art circles? Were “child porno pictures” – Bruce Danto’s phrase – in McKinney’s possession? Did George Landino actually make a post-mortem search and catalog all of McKinney’s art? If so, what were the results?)

    When Webster read McKinney’s note of March 22, he got a “terrible ‘sinking’ feeling in the pit of my stomach” . . . “you are being faced with some very criticle (sic) decisions . . . ”

    Webster clearly feared that McKinney had some inside knowledge of the OCCK case, and Webster tried to get McKinney to tell him what he knew or suspected “I will always remain your friend.”

    However, in McKinney’s letter of May 22, no mention is made of any need for fresh air and sunshine. No indeed – listening to James Taylor and Don McClean cheered McKinney right up and prompted him to write his friend. McKinney avoided any talk of what had been troubling him.

    So, to sum up, we now know that in 1977, Bruce Danto, George Landino and Doug Webster all suspected that John McKinney knew something about some aspect of the OCCK cases.

    And, if the anonymous “Olivia Guest” was correct, so did at least a few members of the Birmingham P.D.


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