Jason Jessup (b. 1962, d. 8 April 2010) grew up in Riverside County and was physically abused as a child. In the mid-1980's he was a tow-truck driver working for Aardvark Towing. He often worked on Sundays in the Hancock Park neighborhood where parking was by permit only. On 16 February 1986 at 10:40 a.m. he was one of three drivers working in the neighborhood when he saw Melissa Landy in her front yard. On impulse, Jessup abducted her. Melissa's sister Sarah witnessed the abduction. Jessup then killed Melissa when he heard over his scanner that the police were already looking for her. He was detained a short time later when investigators determined that the perpetrator had been driving a tow truck. Two other drivers were working the area that morning – Derek Wilbern and William Clinton. Sarah identified Jessup as the man who had taken her sister. The case was investigated by Doral Kloster and Chad Steiner. Jessup was arrested, tried, convicted, and sentenced to San Quentin State Prison.
While in prison, Jessup continued to claim innocence. He filed numerous writs, appeals and motions which caught the attention of the Genetic Justice Project. They performed DNA testing on semen found on Landy's dress. It was not a match for Jessup. The California Superme Court invalidated his original conviction and sent the case back to the L.A. County District Attorney. Jessup had served nearly 24 years in prison. He filed civil claims against both the city and county of Los Angeles and planned to sell the book rights to his story.
On Tuesday 16 February 2010 Jessup was driven from San Quentin to L.A. by Harry Bosch and David Chu. Jessup retained Clive Royce to represent him in his retrial. Mickey Haller was retained by the D.A.'s Office as a special prosecutor for this case. At first appearance Jessup was released on his own recognizance which allowed him to move about as a free man for the first time in 24 years. The case attracted a lot of media attention. Royce and Jessup set up numerous photo ops of Jessup surfing, going to a Lakers game, and enjoying an In-N-Out burger. In the evenings he would go bar-hopping where people would buy him drinks, thinking that he was an innocent man who was wrongfully imprisoned. His old high school surfing buddy let him stay in a room in his apartment on San Juan Avenue in Venice, and someone loaned him a car to drive.
Later in the evening he would often drive to locations along Mulholland Drive, especially Franklin Canyon Park. He would sit alone in the park and appear to meditate. Sometimes he would burn a candle. One night he drove to Bosch's house and parked outside for about 30 minutes. He was being watched by the LAPD's Special Investigation Section (SIS). After his trial began he was seen going to an old storage area under the Santa Monica Pier where he stashed supplies. This storage area was almost like a prison cell, something he was used to. He was seen with Marshall Daniels who supplied Jessup with a gun.
In court on 8 April the defense case imploded when witness Edward Roman changed his testimony. It appeared to Jessup that the case was lost. Jessup, Royce and others went to Royce's office for lunch, and at that time Jessup shot and killed Royce, Karen Revelle, attorney Denise Graydon, and SIS officer Manuel Branson. Jessup then fled to the storage area under the Santa Monica Pier where he was finally shot and killed by SIS officers.