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Cheryl Crane: Did Teen Really Knife Mobster Threatening Her Mom Lana Turner? (FPD CASE VAULT)

Cheryl Crane: Did Teen Really Knife Mobster Threatening Lana Turner?
Source: Snap/Shutterstock; Bettmann/CORBIS

Cheryl was taken into custody for slaying beefcake Johnny, who is shown at left cuddling sexy Lana Turner

Apr. 20 2024, Published 1:03 p.m. ET

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Screen siren Lana Turner may long be dead and buried, but questions surrounding the killing of her abusive lover linger to this day.

In what may be one of her finest performances, the actress helped — and some claim lied — to avoid a murder rap of her own and still save her 14-year-old daughter from taking a hard fall for the scandalous stabbing death of Lana's gangster lover.

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In April 1958, someone fatally stabbed Johnny Stompanato, a handsome tough guy who worked for the Mob. Turner's daughter, Cheryl Crane, who was fathered by the star's second husband Stephen Crane, took the blame for the slaying.

Turner told a jury Cheryl grabbed a kitchen knife in their Beverly Hills home and saved her from a brutal beating by the jealous brute.


Cheryl Crane: Did Teen Really Knife Mobster Threatening Lana Turner?
Source: Bettmann/CORBIS

Behind closed doors at Lana's Beverly Hills mansion, it was pure hell.

"I swear it was so fast, I truthfully thought she had hit him in the stomach," testified Turner. "I never saw a blade."

The courts later ruled the death justifiable homicide, but rumors spread that Lana may have slain her lover during an argument. Hollywood gossips buzzed Cheryl was a scapegoat to spare her mother.

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In his celebrity tell-all The Park Avenue Chorus Boy, actor Michael Mason charges the Hollywood sex symbol caught Stompanato raping Cheryl and knifed the Italian Stallion in a righteous fury.

And the star's former manager, Taylor Pero, says: "The question is whether a 14-year-old girl was capable of stabbing a 175-pound ex-Marine — or whether Lana killed Johnny and convinced her daughter to stand trial for it."

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Cheryl Crane: Did Teen Really Knife Mobster Threatening Lana Turner?
Source: Celebrity Photo - Scott Downie/1993; Kobal/Shutterstock

Many suspect Lana did the killing and Cheryl covered for her mom; Hollywood siren Lana Turner, her gangster boyfriend Johnny Stompanato and Cheryl were all smiles in public (right).

But to this day, Cheryl, 70, insists she killed Johnny.

"I did it to protect her," says Cheryl. "I loved her more than anything else."

Certainly, Lana isn't talking. The legendary beauty died peacefully in her sleep in 1995 after a prolonged battle with cancer.


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