WEST HOLLYWOOD, Calif. — Emmy-nominated documentarian Rachel Mason („Circus of Books“) has joined industry notables Buck Angel and Chi Chi LaRue in calling for leads in the cold case involving Billy Newton, aka Billy London, a gay adult performer whose 1990 murder remains unsolved.
Mason reached out to XBIZ to amplify an industry call for any associates of Newton who may have also worked on his last shoot featuring performer Mark Sage and anyone who worked with In-Hand Video, or has knowledge of the catalogue of videos featuring Sage.
Over the past year, novelists Christopher Rice and Eric Shaw Quinn, hosts of the podcast „TDPS Presents: Christopher & Eric,“ have devoted five episodes to the case and their efforts uncovered a potential bombshell of a lead involving Jeffrey Dahmer, or a lookalike, that drew the interest of LAPD Homicide.
Mason herself appeared on an episode of „Christopher & Eric“ to discuss the case; she told XBIZ she hopes to greatly amplify their public call for leads.
In late Oct. 1990, shortly before Halloween, William Arnold „Billy“ Newton completed what would be his final film and was last seen alive socializing in West Hollywood on Oct. 28, according to available evidence. On Oct. 29, his head and feet were discovered in a dumpster; despite several attempts over the years to generate new tips or leads, until recently the case remained cold.
Billy Newton would have been 56 years old this year; in the course of his initial research, Rice spoke to this reporter, who first looked into the case more than a decade ago.
Mason felt a deeply personal connection to Newton’s story.
Her Netflix documentary „Circus of Books“ tells the story of her parents, Karen and Barry Mason and their legendary West Hollywood retail outlet, which holds a seminal position in the history of adult entertainment in Los Angeles. The Masons elected to close Circus of Books and retire in early 2019 and their daughter revived its legacy with her film; mega-producer Ryan Murphy is among its executive producers.
Today, the original location houses Chi Chi LaRue’s Circus, the second West Hollywood location for the boutique retailer.
„My parents‘ store, Circus of Books, existed at a time when being gay was illegal in the state of California, and it provided gay erotic material to specifically gay men, when doing so was very much an underground activity,“ Rachel Mason told XBIZ.
„As their clientele were mostly gay men, I grew up meeting lots of guys just like Billy. Beautiful, funny, witty guys, many of whom died very young of AIDS,“ she continued. „I was too young to understand just how sad and painful this was for everyone until I got older. And when I heard of Billy’s death, it hit me very, very hard, because it was such a nightmarish thought to imagine not just a disease, but also a serial killer, ravaging an already victimized community. There have been efforts to figure this crime out over the years, and each and every one is deeply meaningful, but I just hope the crime gets solved.“
Mason asks that anyone reach out „who may have heard or known or seen anything about Billy and anyone who has photos and video footage of West Hollywood, street parties, festivals, gay pride events in the late 1980s through 1990.“
She is also seeking anyone who might have seen Jeffrey Dahmer, or someone who looked like him, in Los Angeles in 1990.
Click here for Mason’s public appeal on Facebook, which also features Angel and LaRue; find Angel’s Instagram video here, which includes a direct appeal to industry members and those who were residents of West Hollywood in 1990.
Mason has also established a tipline at email@example.com; a support website for the documentary can be found here.
Follow Rachel Mason, Buck Angel, Chi Chi LaRue and this reporter on Twitter.
Click here for XBIZ’s ongoing coverage of the Billy London cold case investigation.