1981: Disneyland's First Homicide As Teenager Stabbed In Front Of Family

By Kellar Ellsworth
A pirate chasing a wench in the Pirates of the Caribbean attraction at Disneyland. (Photo by Bruce Chambers/Orange County Register via Getty Images)

On March 7, 1981, Mel Yorba was stabbed fatally at Disneyland, the first homicide in a venue usually known as the Happiest Place on Earth. Yorba’s death came at the hands of then 28-year-old James O'Driscoll after the alleged pinching of his girlfriend’s rear end. As is the case with many altercations, the details surrounding the Yorba’s tragic death are slightly murky.

Ultimately, Disneyland’s less than stellar response time and adamant denial of any wrongdoing led to an ugly trial. This is the story of the first murder at Disneyland. 

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