John Philip Nichols

the Octopus
Birth Name:
John Philip Nichols
Birth Date:
December 15, 1924
Birth Place:
Racine, Wisconsin
Death Date:
March 17, 2001
Place of Death:
JFK Memorial Hospital, Indio, California
Cause of Death:
Heart attack
Cemetery Name:
Desert Memorial Park
Claim to Fame:
Crime and their Victims
John Philip Nichols, 76, was the controversial patriarch of the family and former CIA agent that brought the Cabazon Indians into the gambling era. After Nichols became financial advisor in 1978, the tribe launched business ventures including a poker club and bingo hall and the sale of tax-free cigarettes and discount liquor. Under his leadership, the Cabazons established health insurance plans and opportunities in education and employment. However despite all the promises, no actual money was transfered to the Cabazons. In actuality the tribe continued to go deeper in debt as the years went by and the casino was flush with visitors and gamblers. The morning he was supposed to meet with an attorney to transfer documents showing embezzlement, money laundering and illegal arms dealings, Cabazon Band of Mission Indians tribal Councilmember Fred Alvarez and his friends, Ralph Boger and Patricia Castro, were found dead on July 1, 1981. The case has remained unsolved for decades but it is strongly suspected that John Philip Nichols either hired the triggerman or was the actual gunman who committed the murders. In addition, Nichols pleaded no contest in 1985 to two felony counts of soliciting the murder of two people he believed were dealing drugs. The killings were never carried out and he spent almost two years in prison.

There is so much more to this story …

In 2009 state authorities said an unsolved 1981 triple murder that spawned decades of conspiracy theories was a hit job orchestrated by a tribal casino director, financial adviser and others to cover up illegal activity at the Cabazon Band of Mission Indians reservation. James “Jimmy” Hughes was arrested at Miami-Dade International Airport on an outstanding warrant and was extradited to California. Hughes, 52, was charged with three counts of murder in the execution-style shootings of Cabazon tribal official Alfred Alvarez and his friends Patricia Castro and Ralph Boger, as well as a count of conspiracy to commit a crime. During the trail all charges were suddenly dropped and Hughes was set free.

In 2018, self-proclaimed hitman and contract killer Jimmy Hughes was convicted and received life without parole for 1992 death of a Coachella, California man.

Dubbed “the Octopus Murders”, this is just the tip of the iceberg as outlined in the Netflix docuseries, “American Conspiracy: the Octopus Murders.”

Cemetery Information:

Final Resting Place:

Desert Memorial Park

31-705 Da Vall Drive

Cathedral City, California, 92262


North America


Desert Memorial Park in Cathedral City, California
Desert Memorial Park in Cathedral City, California

Grave Location:

Section A-23, Grave 90

Grave Location Description

As you enter the cemetery, park on the left at the tree with A-23 at the base. Walk 2 rows to the right, toward the narrow sidewalk. Now count 15 memorials as you walk towards the large hedge.

Grave Location GPS

33.818933, -116.44270166



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