Dave Navarro’s “Mourning Son” Explores How Mother’s Murder Lead to Drug Abuse and Pain
March 3rd 1983 is a date with intense meaning to the Jane’s Addiction guitarist and singer-songwriter, Dave Navarro. Just 15 years old, Navarro was faced not only with the death of his mother, but the devastating reality that she had been brutally murdered by the hands of an ex-boyfriend. While Dave was spending the night at his father’s house, John Riccardi entered Connie Navarro’s West LA condo, shot Connie and her friend, Sue Jory.
Now, over 30 years later, Dave Navarro has bravely stepped in front of the camera to document the tragic end of his mother’s life, the intense manhunt that followed, and the overwhelming effects it had on his life.
“Mourning Son”, The New York Times reports, spends little time discussing Dave Navarro’s musical career or fame; it is much more about catharsis and keeping the story of Connie Navarro alive. Navarro says the experience of filming the documentary- which is only available On Demand- brought him closer to his mother, rather than keeping the focus on her untimely demise.
“After my mom was killed, I had always focused on the death, on the murder, on the tragedy, on the loss, on the trauma. I’m way more in touch with who she was as a person now than I was before we made the film. I had to dig into the trauma to get to the beauty of my relationship with her.”
The film features a segment in which Dave and his best friend, Todd Newman, arrive at the San Quentin Prison where John Riccardi is serving a life sentence after his original death sentence was overturned by the California Supreme Court. Though cameras were not allowed in the prison, Dave described the interaction as awkward and not at all what he expected.
“I wanted it to make me feel scorn and anger and rage, and it just didn’t,” he said, “A lot of things came flooding back and I almost was watching myself as an outside observer, so it took a minute to get my body and mind and emotional and spiritual stability all back in sync.”
As for Riccardi, he said he did not want to focus too much of the documentary on his story in order to avoid making him the main point of the film, like we often see on true crime television shows. “He’s just an old dude dying in jail.”
“Mourning Son” does go into depth regarding the effects the murders had on Dave Navarro throughout his life. He confesses that much of his substance abuse issues stem from fear, pain, and anger caused by the senseless killing of his mother. There is so intense footage of Navarro injecting himself with heroin used in the film, though Dave has been completely sober for over four years and has not used injectable drugs in 15 years.
Home security footage shows a paranoid Navarro checking for lurking figures outside of his home as well, as Riccardi evaded arrest for eight years after the murders. He was featured on “America’s Most Wanted” and finally captured in Texas on January 4, 1991. At the time, Dave was already well into his musical career.
Now in his late 40s, with an impressive music and television career, as well as other projects under his belt, Navarro can live in peace, knowing this part of his past is officially put to rest.
“I happen to have one of these conditions where if I’m afraid of something, I have to do it,” he said of undertaking the film which he began planning in 2007, “One of the ways in which trauma survivors get past trauma is to walk through the ugliness.”
Will you watch “Mourning Son?” Let us know in the comments!
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About the Author
Alexandrea Holder is a South Florida native working toward double Master’s degrees in Psychology and English. She finds the psychological aspects of addiction and mental illness fascinating, as both are prevalent in her family’s history. When not researching and spreading addiction awareness, Alexandrea enjoys sparring, artistic pursuits, and admiring puppies online.