Successful Businessman, Community Activist and Loving Father
Donald James Bohana was a respected and successful businessman when he was accused, arrested and convicted of the murder of Delores “Dee Dee” Jackson. Until his murder conviction, Bohana had no criminal record. His past only included honorable service in the Army and success in all aspects of his life both professional and personal.
Donald J. Bohana was born July 21, 1936. He graduated from Los Angeles High School and, after he was drafted, served in the US Army mostly in Alaska for two years before transferring to the reserves in 1957.
Bohana earned a teaching credential in 1959 and taught for two years at Compton Union High School. Interested in the business administration aspect of healthcare, he became the business manager at the University of Southern California’s South Central Multipurpose Health Services Center. He earned a BS in business administration from California State University, Los Angeles. He began a Master’s in Public Administration (MPA) program at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) and earned a Master’s of Business Administration (MBA) from Pepperdine University in 1979.
He rose to become the President and CEO of the California Life Insurance Company, which had charters in 32 states, and was the founding director of a bank that grew to more than $700 million in assets. He also served as the administrator/controller of Gardena Medical Center Hospital and Clinic.
Donald Bohana owned a plane, a boat, a fleet of luxury cars and a beautiful 5,000 square foot home with an inviting pool. He was friends with politicians such as Jerry Brown, Sr., Yvonne Brathwaite Burke, and Kenneth and Janice Hahn. He also knew many celebrities, including attorney Johnnie Cochran, and helped his community. Bohana and his daughter Donna opened the first sit-down restaurant in Watts since the 1965 riots; a Denny’s.
Don was chairman of the Los Angeles County Aviation Commission and chairman of the Los Angeles County Adoption Commission. He was a member of the Los Angeles 2000 Blue Ribbon Commission, served on the Executive Council of the Boy Scouts of America, and founded Guardian Bank.
Don’s background was thoroughly investigated by the US government to ensure he was honest and reliable. He was approved by the Federal Reserve to operate a FDIC Bank after two days of intensive interviews at the Federal Reserve in San Francisco and the Comptroller of the Currency approved him to operate a state-chartered bank. The government trusted him to handle millions of dollars in other people’s money.
At the time of Delores “Dee Dee” Jackson’s death in 1994, Don Bohana was a 59-year-old divorcee, living in the Ladera Heights neighborhood of Los Angeles. The night she died would change his life, as well as that of his family, forever.