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This Day in Drugs (10/12): Sid Kills Nancy

12 Oct, 2010 News

On the morning of 12 October 1978, Sex Pistols bassist Sid Vicious claimed to have awoken from a drugged stupor to find Nancy Spungen dead on the bathroom floor of their room in the Hotel Chelsea in Manhattan, New York. She had suffered a single stab wound to her abdomen and appeared to have bled to death. The knife used had been bought by Vicious on 42nd Street and was identical to a collector’s knife given to punk rock vocalist Stiv Bators, of the Dead Boys, by Dee Dee Ramone. According to Dee Dee’s wife at the time,[18] Vera King Ramone, Sid had bought the knife after seeing Stiv’s.

Vicious was arrested and charged with her murder. He said they had fought that night but gave conflicting versions of what happened next, saying, “I stabbed her, but I didn’t mean to kill her. I loved her, but she treated me like shit”, then saying that he did not remember and at one point arguing Spungen had fallen onto the knife.

The bail of $50,000 was originally set but after some court hearings and work from his lawyer, it was dropped to $25,000. Malcolm McLaren fought and the bail was eventually covered by his record company.

On 22 October, ten days after Spungen’s death, Vicious attempted suicide by slicing his wrist and subsequently became a patient at Bellevue Hospital. He was charged with assault after an altercation with Todd Smith (singer Patti Smith’s brother) at a Skafish concert. Vicious was arrested 9 December 1978 and sent to Rikers Island jail for 55 days. He was released on bail on 1 February 1979.

One theory regarding the murder is that Spungen was killed in a robbery or drug deal gone wrong, in which one of those involved was Rockets Redglare, later to become known as a stand-up comedian and actor. Redglare, who died in 2001, always denied any part in her death. He stated that the other dealer known to have been there that evening had left before him to obtain more heroin, and was due back after he had left the building. He said he believed that the other dealer returned, found Vicious out cold, and attempted to steal the remaining drugs, leading to a confrontation with Spungen. (via)


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