Born in Santa Monica, California and the daughter of the writer and investigate journalist Dominick Dunne and his ranching heiress wife Ellen Griffin Dunne, Dominique Dunne would likely have become an acting great.
Her early credits included Shadow Riders, V and Poltergeist. Described as “vivacious and strong”, Colorado State University educated Dunne’s life was cut short when her “unhealthy relationship with an unstable man” – a “pasty skinned chef [who had worked with Wolfgang Puck] with a terrible temper” named John Sweeney – ended with her being strangled for 4-6 minutes outside their West Hollywood home on 30th October 1982.
After what was described as a trial that showed “life is cheap” where even the judge later commented of it: “Justice was not done”, Sweeney was pathetically only convicted of manslaughter and a separate misdemeanor assault. He was jailed to the outrage of many for only 6.5 years in 1983 and served just three.
Dominique Dunne’s headstone was captioned: “Loved by all” and though John Sweeney changed his name to “John Maura” and moved to the Pacific Northwest to resume his career as a high-powered chef, he most certainly cannot lay claim to anyone describing him in any way similar: Some 500 are currently members of a Facebook group demanding this vile murderer be returned to prison.
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