John List Murders with Crime Scene Photos

John List Murders with Crime Scene Photos

On November 9, 1971 an unimaginable crime took place in Westfield, New Jersey. 46 year old John Emil List killed all members of his family, including his mother, his wife and their three children. After the murders, John List assumed false identity and avoided justice for almost 18 years. He was apprehended in 1989, sentenced to five consecutive life terms and died of pneumonia in jail in 2008.

John List Murders

John List was born on September 17, 1925 in Bay City, Michigan. He was a devoted church man, even teaching Sunday school to children. He was an only child, and served in World War II. When he left the military, he got a degree in business from the University of Michigan, and became an accountant. In 1951, John List met his wife Helen whom he married shortly thereafter.

On November 9, 1971, while his children were at school, John List shot dead his wife Helen, who was 45 at time of murder. To spare his mother from grief she’d experience knowing that her son was a murderer, John then turned his gun on the 84 year old woman and shot her dead too.

When his daughter, 16 year old Patricia and his younger son, 13 year old Frederick returned home from school, John List greeted them with a gunshot to the back of their heads, killing them instantly.

His older son, 15 year old John Junior was playing a soccer game after school so John Senior had himself a meal and drove to watch his son play. After the game they drove home together and once inside, John List also shot his older son in the back of the head but it didn’t kill him. Seeing him twitch on the floor in a seizure, father riddled his older son’s body with 10 bullets to finally silence him for good.

Crime Scene Clean Up

To carry out the murders, John List used his father’s automatic 9mm gun and his own 22 caliber hand gun.

Once his entire family was dead, the murderer cleaned up the crime scene, turned on all the lights and the radio, washed the dishes and put them in the strainer. Afterwards he proceeded to write a letter to his pastor, telling him of the murders and the evidence but not before writing notes to the school his children attended, informing them that they would be in North Carolina for some time.

John List had also canceled the mail and other services that could bring anyone to the house, which ensured that it would be a few days if not weeks before anyone notices that something was amiss. He then cleaned out his and his mother’s bank accounts and fled. His car was found at the airport, but there was no record of him taking a flight.

Murder Motive

John List had lost his job, and felt that his family could not forsake their lavish life style. He was deeply in debt, owing over $10,000 on his house and more on wife’s medication for advanced dementia caused by Syphilis. He hid the fact that he was unemployed from the family by leaving every day for work and spending the time sitting at a local train station.

For some time, in order to take care of piling bills, he skimmed money from his mother’s bank account. He could not bear the thought of going on welfare and as the time alone pretending he’s at work kept driving him crazy, he decided to act. John also could not come to terms with his daughter renouncing the church and turning to wicca and pot smoking. He needed to save her soul and what better way to save a child’s soul than by murdering her? Even if she’s your own daughter – at least that’s what John List was thinking.

Life on the Run and Arrest

After murdering his family, John List assumed the identity Robert “Bob” Clark, moved to Colorado and in 1985, married divorcee Delores Miller. Remarried and with other children, John was faced with financial trouble again.

On June 1, 1989, nearly 18 years after murdering his whole family, John List was arrested as Bob Clark while working as an accountant in Richmond, Virginia after a neighbor ratted him out. He was in detention for 8 months and 15 days before admitting his true identity.

On April 12, 1990, a New Jersey court convicted John List of five counts of first-degree murder. On May 1, judge sentenced him to five consecutive terms of life imprisonment. He would serve his term until his death on March 21, 2008. He was 82 years old.

John List never expressed any remorse for his murders. When asked why he killed all his family members but did not take his own life, he said he wanted to go to heaven to reunite with his family and suicide would bar him from it.

Many thanks to Best Gore member GeneX for pictures and assistance with the story:

Author: Vincit Omnia Veritas

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59 thoughts on “John List Murders with Crime Scene Photos”

  1. I guess he was able to cross his family off his….list. In picture #6,with the two boys- If my ears were that big I think I’d rather be dead anyway.The shit they probably had to put up with in school!… They probably woulda grew up to be murderers themselves. He did’em a favor!!!!

          1. You know “EARS”! There is no other drawing ever created like “EARS!” on that album cover.
            Not many people get a kick out of “EARS!” like I did.
            I am truely, among friends here.

  2. list is now where he should have been all along…….in hell. however, the financial pressure of providing for six people is extreme. it makes the crime not excusable, but understandable. the unrelenting pressure to keep earning money as one grows older is well…….unrelenting.

      1. well he could have worn a rubber over his willy if his concern was getting an std. the financial pressure did him in. lots of dudes are killing their families these days because they can no longer afford to have them. families are a luxury and not essential to have one per se.

          1. I love the fact that we see things in ways that other simply choose to excuse or dismiss or passify.
            “There is NO way in hell this makes any sense” or “this guy was just CRAZY!”
            No, retards, some people ARE just fucking plain crazy, this dude just caved in, but took his family’s mental well being into consideration before and durring exicuting them (in a VERY humane way, I might add)
            The word “Insane” by defonition, is “without Feeling”
            His actions were extreame, but made some sense.
            Now the part I DON’T really grasp is why he moved, and got himself into the EXACT SAME SITUATION again.
            Now, THAT part is pretty fucking stupid, in My opinion.

          2. yes, i am single now and will not be producing any more baby rats as they all turn out to be ungrateful bastards anyway. no mrs. h.l.a.m. also. it’s time to look out for # 1 and my mums. she is the only woman that never sold me out. FUCK all you other cunts and bitches!

  3. “When asked why he killed all his family members but did not take his own life, he said he wanted to go to heaven to reunite with his family and suicide would bar him from it.”

    Religious people sure do come up with some entertaining if not absurd arguement points.

        1. You know, I head one say that T-Rex’s were there to gnaw down saquoia trees, because the bible says that anmials weren’t killed for food before adam and eve. I just looked at him, and wow. I was pretty much done talking at that point.
          To get a better understanding about there side of things, I talked with some “Bible Students” for about 3-4 weeks last year.
          I hate religion, but, I figured that I would educate myself in it before I have such a firm opinion about it.
          Well, I have my opinions based on what I read, q&a’s, and the overwhelming stupidity of “if I commit myself to this way of thinking, I need to surround myself with the like-minded to ensure our blinders stay nice and tight” way of going through life.

  4. There were soo many ways he could have dealt with his problems and his pride got the better of him than to accept welfare. I think its just an excuse, you don’t just wipe out your family for something so trivially fixable unless you really have got the cold killer personality hiding inside.

      1. She could have gotten it from her husband. Remember one vital point, which is she got it from somebody. So the guy out there that gave it to her is just as disgusting as she is. In looking at what her husband did, I’d bet she got it from her husband.

    1. A famous forensics guy called Frank Bender made a plaster cast of what he thought John List would look like after 20 years on the lam, the likeness was so good a neighbour recognised him, on America’s Most Wanted, called the cop’s. Oh and R.I.P. Frank Bender.

  5. Oh boy I’m from Michigan, I’m headed for the military, I’m attending college studying business so that I can become an accountant. I remember when I lost my graveyard shift job I slept in my car for 2 weeks, I want to see first hand someones face blown to shit. I must be becoming a MURDERER.

    Oh wait I’m not religious so I think I’ll be fine.

    1. We are all killers. I am admit I am the infamous Cocoa pebbles killer. I destroy so many of the pebbles people during breakfast it’s like genocide… and I kill spiders like a boss, however I couldn’t even with those homicidal tendencies, I could kill my own child.

  6. After looking in to it, I love search engines, she had gotten syphilis from her first husband, who later died in WWII. She never knew she had it until it affected her brain tissue. I don’t know how she managed to not give it to him, they had 3 children together.

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