Fresh from the Navy, Lawrence T. "L.T." Horn went home to Detroit in December 1962. A friend of his mother's was starting a recording business in a garage on West Grand Boulevard, and he hired the 22-year-old Horn as a $50-a-week technician.

The fledgling business was called Motown Records.

Within two years, L.T. Horn was living a life beyond his imagination. He moved among the rising stars: Diana Ross, the Four Tops, Gladys Knight, Marvin Gaye, Little Stevie Wonder, Smokey Robinson. He helped mix the Temptations' No. 1 hit, "My Girl," and dozens of other songs. Later he worked for Michael Jackson.

Horn recalls "unlimited expense accounts" and trips to New York with Motown founder Berry Gordy to watch the Motown stars electrify audiences. It was the Plaza hotel, limos, Porsches, Dom Perignon. And a credit card. The baker's son from the west side of Detroit couldn't believe he had a credit card.

"We were making so much money then, the situation was just crazy," Horn said.

Today, money again looms large in Horn's life. Police have accused him of killing for it.

In the hope of landing an estimated $2 million payoff, police say, Lawrence Horn hired a Detroit man to kill his ex-wife, their 8-year-old quadriplegic son and the son's nurse.

On March 3, 1993, in Silver Spring, Mildred Horn was shot three times in the face; nurse Janice Saunders was shot twice in the face; and young Trevor Horn suffocated when the killer disconnected the respirator tube he needed to breathe.

Because of a 1990 settlement with Children's Hospital in Washington, where Trevor suffered an accident that left him paralyzed and virtually blind and deaf, Trevor left an estate worth about $2 million. With Mildred Horn dead, the boy's father is the sole heir under Maryland law, although if he is convicted in the deaths, he cannot collect.

Horn, 54, now is a man of modest means, struggling as a freelance producer and engineer. He lives in a small, dark, one-bedroom apartment in Hollywood, just off a grungy stretch of Hollywood Boulevard.

Police say they believe Horn arranged the gruesome killings for the money, for the kind of wealth he hadn't been around since the heady days of the 1960s Motown scene.

Horn's lawyer yesterday denied the charges against Horn, who was in a Los Angeles holding cell and unavailable for comment. But on April 15, 1993, six weeks after the slayings, he sat in an easy chair in his Hollywood apartment and talked to a reporter for five hours.

Over and over, he denied that he had anything to do with the killings. "For me to do that, I would be dead now," said Horn, speaking softly and sounding tired. "I would not be living on, because what would be the purpose? I would be a monster."

As he spoke, Horn folded his 6-foot-4 frame, carrying at least 250 pounds, into a chair. He wore a gray sweat suit and a captain's cap from the U.S. Navy destroyer Harry W. Hill. His beard was scruffy, and his hair was wound into a two-inch braided rat-tail.

His apartment, which he shared with a girlfriend, was cluttered. Police had searched the place a month earlier, taking computers, videotapes, papers -- even a garage-door opener -- anything that might link him to the killings.

A couple of computers were disassembled on a workbench in the living room -- Horn said repairing them was his only source of income since the police took his equipment.

The story he told that day was really two stories, intertwined and on parallel tracks, both with giddy highs and miserable lows.

There was the story of his career: his rise from modest beginnings in Detroit to the glamorous Motown life and his subsequent fall into obscurity and meager means.

And there was the story of his life with Mildred Maree Horn, which started as a fairy tale romance between a recording industry hotshot and a young flight attendant that deteriorated into divorce and bitterness.

Horn said he landed his job at Motown based on his experience as the disk jockey (known as "Lawrence T., the Tall Cool One, Your Man With the Plan") on the radio station aboard the aircraft carrier Lake Champlain.

After the boom years working with Gordy at Motown, Horn said he left the company about 1968. That's when, he said, the legendary Motown producer-writer team of Holland-Dozier-Holland split off to form a separate company. Horn said he joined the new company and remained there through much of the 1970s, during his courtship and early years with "Millie."

After that, Horn set out on his own and worked as an independent producer. About 1983, Horn said, he rejoined Motown for the job security and benefits he thought he needed for his family. When Motown was sold in 1988, Horn stayed on as a tape librarian, earning $28,000 a year. He said he was fired in 1990 -- he blamed "politics" but declined to elaborate. He has been freelancing since then.

Throughout those years, Horn said, he was wrestling with his erratic marriage. Horn met Mildred Maree, one of 14 children from a South Carolina family, on an airliner in 1972. He was 32; she was a 22-year-old flight attendant for American Airlines, a job she held until her death.

Horn, whose marriage in 1965 to a Motown receptionist ended in divorce after a year, said his relationship with Millie at first was a free-wheeling whirl. He said they traveled and spent time at her home in California and his in Detroit. Then one weekend in August 1973, they were married in Las Vegas. "It was like a lark," Horn said. "It wasn't a love thing, it was more of an arrangement. ... It was a distraction. It was fun. Then one thing led to another, and Tiffani was born."

The couple's first child was born in 1974, but even before then, Horn said, he and Millie had been arguing over "the least little thing." For 10 years, he said, the marriage careened from happiness to bitterness, with several separations.

Horn said Millie frequently threatened divorce; they would fight and then make up regularly. At least three times, he said, the couple held "wedding" ceremonies in which they repeated their vows before a minister.

"I never knew what to expect from Millie," Horn said. "It was like a roller coaster. ... It was difficult being in a close personal relationship with her. It wasn't normal."

In 1984, during one of the couple's reconciliations, Millie became pregnant with Trevor and his twin sister, Tamielle. When the twins were born 12 weeks prematurely on Aug. 8, 1984, Horn said Millie blamed the early birth on stress caused by him and their marriage.

Trevor was born with underdeveloped lungs. Then in September 1985, Trevor suffered the accident at Children's Hospital that left him with severe brain damage.

In a 1986 interview with WRC-TV, Mildred Horn said Trevor's breathing tube came out and it took hospital personnel almost 90 minutes to get it back in place. The resulting lack of oxygen caused the brain damage, she said. "That situation broke the back," Lawrence Horn said. "The relationship never recovered from that. ... She found a way that it was really my fault. She said I was a curse on her life."

The Horns were divorced in 1987 and awarded joint custody of their three children. However, they were involved in a prolonged legal battle over visitation and other issues until Mildred Horn's death. Four months before her death, a Montgomery County judge had ordered Lawrence Horn to pay more than $16,000 in overdue child support.

In 1988, the Horns filed a malpractice lawsuit against the hospital over Trevor's injuries. Court records indicate the settlement in the case was worth about $2.3 million in total payments to Trevor, plus $322,359 for Mildred Horn and $125,000 for Lawrence Horn.

As Horn talked about the killings, he remained calm and said the slayings didn't seem real. "I still have not been able to accept the fact that somebody intentionally killed Trevor," he said. "I think it's a mistake on the autopsy or whatever. They're wrong on that."

Horn said that in 1972, he was driving north of Detroit when his Porsche slid off an icy highway and rolled over. He said the car was crushed, and firefighters couldn't believe he'd survived.

He said he met Millie shortly after the accident. He said he always saw God's hand at work, that there was "a reason" he'd met her.

"My life took a change there," he said. "I don't know. I cannot figure out how it can make any sense for her to be dead."