Her uncle was a Senator. She earned a Phi Beta Kappa at Yale. She worked as a reporter for the Herald Examiner. She lived in Venice. On Wednesday night, November 12, 1980, Sarai Ribicoff went on a date with John Shoven, a Standford Economics professor. They dined at a fashionable restaurant called CHEZ HELENE on what was then Washington Boulevard. Since then, the street has been renamed Abbott Kinney Boulevard in honor of the founder of Venice. The Venice gangs ruled the neighborhood then as they do now.
After the couple left the restaurant, two armed Crips gang members, Frederick Thomas and Anthony LaQuin McAdoo, stepped out of the shadows and started to rob them. Shoven gave up his wallet and Sarai explained she didn't have a purse (for just this purpose). Thomas pushed her to the ground. Some witnesses say she might have resisted when he grabbed at her gold necklace. But Thomas put the gun to her head and pulled the trigger. The gun didn't fire. Maybe there wasn't a round in the chamber, but Thomas made the bloodthirsty decision to try again. This time, he aimed the gun at her back and shot her point blank. Thomas tried to shoot Shoven, but missed and wound up shooting himself.
Apparently, "two knife-wielding cooks" (from another restaurant) chased Thomas and McAdoo who fled the scene. They beat it to McAdoo's sister's cousin's apartment at 919 5th Street nearby in Venice. She took Thomas to Marina Mercy Hospital and McAdoo went into hiding. Thanks to the "knife-wielding cooks" the police tracked Thomas down to the hospital and arrested him. The police found McAdoo in January. He testified against Thomas and got 25 years as an accomplice. Thomas was found guilty of murder. The jury wanted Thomas to get the death penalty, but a mistrial led to his receiving life imprisonment.