On the opposite end of the family-owned business spectrum, consider the story of the “Ninja Murders” — also known as the “Yom Kippur Murders.”
A plastics company was at the heart of the case — the victims were Gerald and Vera Woodman, former owners of Manchester Products in Chatsworth, Calif.
The husband and wife were gunned down Sept. 25, 1985, while parking their Mercedes after a dinner marking the end of Yom Kippur. The case also was known in the media as the “Ninja Murders” because a witness thought one of the attackers, who was wearing a black-hooded sweatshirt, was wearing a ninja outfit.
Two of the Woodman's sons were arrested and eventually convicted of hiring hit men who carried out the crimes. Stewart Woodman was convicted of first-degree murder, and spared a death sentence in exchange for testifying against Neil Woodman, who was convicted in 1996 and sentenced to 25 years to life.
Prosecutors said the brothers expected to collect $506,000 from their mother's insurance policy — money they needed to prop up Manchester Products, which they had taken over from their father.
The Woodman case was the subject of a 1993 made-for-TV movie, Bloodlines: Murder in the Family. Now a documentary is planned for the Investigation Discovery channel.
The producer is looking to shoot a few seconds of a 1980s-vintage HPM extruder — the kind Manchester Products used to make polycarbonate ceiling panels — that's still in production. If you can help him out, send me an e-mail or post a comment in the blog.
And, if you work for a family-owned company, be thankful if your company is more like Hoffer Plastics.
Loepp is managing editor of Plastics News and author of “The Plastics Blog.”