Saturday, January 31, 2015

John List: Time to start a new life.

This crime has the distinction of being the first crime to give me nightmares.

There were two things which disturbed me about this crime - the crime scene as the cops found it must have been horrific; and that he managed to spend 19 years on the run after he killed his whole family. But let's start at the beginning.

John List was a respectable married man with three teenage children. He lived in a huge old three storey Victorian mansion, called "Breeze Knoll", with his family and his elderly mother, who had lent him the money to buy the house.

Things were not as they seem however - John List had lost his job and was almost bankrupt.

Using very fucked up logic, John List says he decided that the Bible said that poverty was a sin, so therefore he needed to kill his family before they became poor, and thus sinners. Using a gun, he killed his mother and his wife during the day, and waited for his children to come home from school, killing them as soon as they walked into the house. John, the middle child, had soccer practice, so List went and picked him up, brought him home and executed him.

As he killed each member of his family, he laid the bodies next to each other in the ballroom in a row, except for his mother who was too heavy to carry downstairs. He then wrote some letters to the school and his pastor, turned on all the lights, turned down the thermostat, tuned the radio to his favourite station, and left.

He was not seen again for almost two decades.

The neighbours called police after about a month. Imagine yourself as one of those New Jersey cops walking into that scene: Three story Victorian mansion; lights have been burning for weeks, and now the only light left on is on the second floor, casting a dim light over the rest of the house; the huge empty rooms filled with John List's favourite solemn classical music; the discovery of the row of bodies in the ballroom, and one upstairs; the smell.

John List changed his name, remarried and started a new life, with hardly a thought to the lives he had taken.  His new life was undone thanks to the Television Show "America's most wanted" doing a story on the case.  Someone recognised him, and the jig was up.

What bothers me is his psycho-pathology. How could you kill you entire family, including your three children, walk away and carry on like nothing happened for almost twenty years. No guilt. No remorse. No feelings.

Now that's just scary.

Crime Library

No comments:

Post a Comment