John Emil List

John Emil List

Birth
Bay City, Bay County, Michigan, USA
Death 21 Mar 2008 (aged 82)
Trenton, Mercer County, New Jersey, USA
Burial Unknown
Memorial ID 25511539 · View Source
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Mass Murderer. A native of Bay City, Michigan, John Emil List was a former accountant who on the night of November 9, 1971, shot his entire family to death including his wife Helen, daughter Patricia, sons Frederick and John Jr., and his elderly mother Alma, in their upscale Westfield, New Jersey, home. List who had a history of losing jobs, had also accumulated several financial debts just before the murders. His wife's mental illness, the cost of an expensive house, and his depression, are also believed to have led to the tragedy. A very religious man as well, it is thought that List had planned the murders months or days in advance, and that he believed he would one day go to heaven for bringing his family and himself some sort of closure. After the murders List wrote several notes to his sons school, and to the family's pastor, and left them in the home, and then disappeared. After a month the police discovered the horrendous scene and the case soon became the second most infamous crime in the history of the state of New Jersey, surpassing the kidnapping of the Lindbergh baby of 1932. Over the next few years several people including friends and co-workers claimed they saw List in different parts around the world but nothing significant came out of it. In May 1989, John List was profiled on John Walsh's "America's Most Wanted" television program using a reenactment of the crime and a bust of what he may look like with glasses. Ironically on June 1, 1989, eleven days after the broadcast and after almost 18 years on the run List was arrested working under the name of Robert "Bob" Peter Clark in Richmond, Virginia, wearing the same exact type of glasses as the bust. List who was identified by a friend had apparently had two homes in Denver, Colorado, and Midlothian, Virginia, had remarried, and was again working as an accountant. On April 12, 1990, he was convicted in a New Jersey court room of five counts of first-degree murder, and on May 1 of that year he was sentenced to five life terms in prison. On March 21, 2008, List died in his Trenton, New Jersey, prison cell at the age of 82. Over the years List had been the focus of several books and films including the 1993 film, "Judgement Day: The John List Story" in which he was played by actor Robert Blake. He was also the inspiration for the character of the Stepfather in the film of the same name, the character Keyser Soze in the 1995 Kevin Spacey film "The Usual Suspects", and at one time was thought to be skyjacker D.B. Cooper.


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  • Maintained by: Find a Grave
  • Originally Created by: Peterborough K
  • Added: 24 Mar 2008
  • Find a Grave Memorial 25511539
  • Find a Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for John Emil List (17 Sep 1925–21 Mar 2008), Find a Grave Memorial no. 25511539, ; Maintained by Find A Grave Unknown.