Actor Dylan McDermott plays a troubled and haunted man on the FX show “American Horror Story”, and his early life isn’t all that different. In 1967, when he was just five years old, his mother was murdered, although back then investigators took the murderer’s word for truth when he told them she accidentally shot herself with a gun he had been cleaning.
That man, John Sponza, lived with the McDermotts at the time and had ties to organized crime. Unfortunately, he was found shot to death in the trunk of a car in 1972. Today, the evidence gathered by police regarding Diane McDermott’s death would be enough to put him away.
The case was reopened last year at the request of Dylan and his sister, who say they were never satisfied with the way it was originally handled. They witnessed violent fights between Sponza and their mother, and Dylan also recalls the man pointing a gun at him and threatening him as a child. Yet police took Sponza’s word for it when he said he wasn’t a violent man and didn’t do much follow-up after Diane’s death, although autopsy reports revealed she had been shot in the back of the head and that the bullet casing didn’t match the caliber of the gun Sponza said she was handling.
Dylan’s sister, Robin Herrera, said she was relieved at the findings even though there’s not much to be done about them now.
“I’m happy to know my mother wasn’t mentally ill or depressed,” she said. “Somebody took her from us; she didn’t leave us.”
Out of the reopening of this case has come evidence that Sponza was involved in at least two more unsolved murders, giving other families some closure.