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The house where Marvin Gaye was fatally shot by his father
The entrance to the house where Marvin Gaye was murdered by his father
Famed Motown singer, Marvin Gaye.
Marvin Gay Sr. standing trial
Killer(s): Marvin Gay Sr.,
Victim(s): Marvin Gaye Jr.,
Written by: Amanda Peukert
One day shy of his 45th birthday, Marvin Gaye Jr. was shot and killed by his father, a preacher in the Hebrew Pentecostal Church.
Though hyper-religious, Marvin Gay Sr. was an amalgam of moral contradiction. He’d long been described by his children, his wife Alberta, and those close to the family as a cruel, strict man who drank hard and often cross-dressed. As a child, Marvin Jr. received a multitude of violent whippings at the hands of his father, and the effects of such abuse bled heavily into their adult relationship. Eventually, the “Sexual Healing” singer even added an “e” to his last name in an effort to disassociate from his father and rumors of his homosexuality. In 1983, following his tragic yet predictable fall from grace (including debt, depression, and drugs) Marvin Jr. moved back to his parents’ Los Angeles home. There, it was with formulaic normalcy that their father-son relationship returned to its rocky state.
In the days before Marvin Jr.’s murder, his parents audibly and aggressively fought over a misplaced insurance policy. Then, on April 1, 1984, as the merciless Marvin Sr. continued to berate Alberta about the missing document, Marvin Jr. decided he’d had enough. The 44-year-old singer beckoned his father upstairs where he and his mother sat talking. Angered and uncouth, Marvin Sr. accepted his son’s invite. There, the verbal altercation turned physical, and it wasn’t long before Marvin Jr. had overpowered his elderly father. Alberta quickly stepped in to stop the fight, and Marvin Sr. collected himself and left the bedroom. But that was barely the end of the bloodshed. Marvin Sr. – who had been kicked, beaten, and embarrassed by his son – retreated to his closet and retrieved a Smith and Wesson .38 Special pistol – the gift Marvin Jr. had given him for Christmas. He then shot his son three times in the chest at point-blank range. 20 minutes later, the police arrived to arrest Marvin Sr. who was sitting solemnly on the front porch.
• Marvin Jr.’s sister, Jeanne Gaye, recalls her father once telling her that if Marvin Jr. were to ever touch him, he’d kill him.
• Jeanne later went on record saying, “[Marvin Jr.] accomplished three things. He put himself out of his misery. He brought relief to Mother by finally getting her husband out of her life. And he punished Father, by making certain that the rest of his life would be miserable... my brother knew just what he was doing."
• Marvin Jr. often talked of suicide and death. He’d also become increasingly paranoid in his final years.
• Marvin Jr.’s brother, Frankie, held Marvin as he bled to death on April 1, 1984. He contends that Marvin’s last words were these: “I got what I wanted... I couldn't do it myself, so I had him do it... it's good, I ran my race, there's no more left in me."
• Initial autopsy and toxicology reports found that Marvin Jr. had both cocaine and PCP in his system at the time of his death. Though it was later stated that only trace amounts of cocaine were found in his system.
• Though Marvin Sr. had a brain tumor removed just one month earlier, he was ruled competent to stand trial and ordered to appear on June 20, 1984.
• Judge Gordon Ringer sentenced Marvin Sr. to a six-year suspended sentence and five years of probation, meaning Marvin Sr. would serve no time in prison pending his successful completion of probation.
• At the hearing, Marvin Sr. stated, “If I could bring him back, I would. I was afraid of him. I thought I was going to get hurt. I didn't know what was going to happen. I'm really sorry for everything that happened. I loved him. I wish he could step through this door right now. I'm paying the price now.”
Where it Happened:
2101 South Gramercy Place in the West Adams District of Los Angeles. The home was originally built in 1905 and purchased by Marvin Gaye in 1975. Unfortunately, Gaye’s physical and mental health began to deteriorate, and he was forced to hand over the property to his parents just a year after purchasing it. Aside from a few minor cosmetic changes, the home looks almost the same as it did that day in 1984.
The house is surrounded by a gate and some low shrubbery but is otherwise completely visible from the sidewalk. According to Zillow, the home is off the market and occupied, and we at Morbid Tourism encourage you to be respectful of both the property and its owners.
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