Grisly story of NJ dad killing his family is now a hit podcast
I admit it. Like a lot of others, I am obsessed with true crime podcasts. Especially one that hits as close to home as the new podcast by NJ.com, "Father Wants Us Dead," based on the grisly murders that happened in Westfield.
I figured now is a good time as any to revisit that horrible story.
In the early 1970s, John List murdered his entire family in their home in Westfield.
List, a devout and controlling patriarch, was facing financial ruin and believed that his family would be better off in the afterlife.
On the afternoon of November 9, 1971, List killed his wife, Helen, and their three children, Patricia, John Jr., and Frederick. He then proceeded to methodically clean the crime scene and cover his tracks, even going so far as to continue attending church and going to work as if nothing had happened.
For nearly 18 years, the murders went unsolved and List remained at large. He had assumed a new identity and was living in Virginia under the name Robert P. Clark.
It wasn't until 1989, when a television program featured the List case and a new age-progressed photo of List, that a tipster recognized him and alerted the authorities.
List was arrested in Virginia and extradited back to New Jersey, where he was tried and found guilty of five counts of murder. He was sentenced to life in prison, where he died in 2008 at the age of 82.
The case garnered national attention and was the subject of numerous news articles and television programs. It remains one of the most chilling and perplexing murder cases in New Jersey history.
The murders also had a profound impact on the Westfield community. For years, residents lived in fear, wondering if the killer was still at large and if they were in danger. The case also sparked discussions about mental illness and the role it may have played in the killings.
Despite the passage of time, the John List murders continue to fascinate and horrify. They serve as a reminder of the potential for evil to lurk within even the most ordinary of individuals. And that’s what’s so mystifying to me. And a lot of others.
Call me morbid, but I’ll be binging this one.
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Gallery Credit: Eric Scott
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Opinions expressed in the post above are those of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Judi Franco only.