One of New Jersey’s most notorious murders took place on November 9th, 1971 when Westfield accountant John List shot his wife, his mother, and three children. The man was so shockingly cold, according to, that after shooting his wife in the back of the head and his mother through the left eye, he made himself lunch. When two of his children came home, he shot them and then went to watch his other son play in a soccer game. He then drove him home and killed him, too. The bodies were not found for a month.

John E. List

According to the New York Times, List had been having financial problems after losing his job; foreclosure proceedings had begun on his 18 room Westfield mansion. He wrote a note to his pastor that he killed his family before they could succumb to the temptations of the modern age so they could go to heaven. He eluded police for 18 years, living under an assumed name, first in Colorado, then in Virginia with his second wife (who had no idea who he really was).

He wound up getting caught after being featured on the TV show, America’s Most Wanted. They had brought in a forensic sculptor to create a bust of what List might have looked like by that time. His neighbor in Virginia recognized him and authorities took him into custody. He was tried and convicted of the five murders and sentenced to five life sentences. He died in 2008 at age 82 at St. Francis Medical Center in Trenton. He had been taken there after falling ill at the New Jersey State Prison.

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