On Jan. 23, Neal Jacobson allegedly shot his wife and twin sons to death in Wellington, Fla., only hours before the boys were scheduled to celebrate their birthday. But family annihilations are in a different class, says Jack Levin, a professor of sociology at Northeastern University and lead author of the soon-to-be-released 10-year study. It is differentiated from the traditional ideas of revenge or altruistic murderers. List of books and articles: Case studies; List of documentaries; List of books ; List of publications by author; Familicides. It was a horrifying crime, and the question is, what could possibly drive someone to commit such an appalling act? #1 of 9 The Most Evil People Currently in Hiding#1 of 9 The FBI's 10 Most Wanted Fugitives#6 of 9 Criminals On 'America's Most Wanted' Who Were Never Caught. People like Michael Swango and Gwendolyn Graham, both enjoyed killing people who annoyed them. "His entire identity is in his family," says Richard Gelles, dean of the School of Social Policy and Practice at the University of Pennsylvania and an authority on domestic violence. Then, the middle-aged former banker left his house and minutes later ended his life by crashing his vehicle into a concrete barrier. This study explores patterns among female family annihilators using a non-random sample (n = 7), where offenders killed four or more family members during a single homicidal event. Examining a narrow set of cases (those involving at least three victims and a suicide), he found that the number of incidents in the U.S. grew from seven to 12 and the number of victims from 29 to 56. It is curious there seem to be different types of 'family annihilators' with different motives. Criminologists find four distinct types of "family annihilator" from an analysis of newspaper crime reports from 1980 to 2012. Fiona Guy says: 5 years ago . Though for several days Watts stuck to his story that his wife had returned home from a business trip then promptly disappeared with their children, he admitted they'd had "an emotional conversation" the night before she left, but claimed it was nothing more. Annihilators are overwhelmingly male (95 percent, he estimates), and mostly white and middle-aged. The livid-coercive types often have records. A separate group of researchers is currently compiling the results of a 10-year study on familicide that has unsettling implications. Within the category of multiple murders, familicides are the most common, averaging about 41 percent of the total in recent years.). Although there are specific names for “Family Annihilator”, such as Familicide, Filicide, Infanticide, and Neonaticide, most are collectively called Family Annihilator. The father is almost always considering suicide as the only escape from some sort of financial crisis. According to preliminary findings, family killings have risen with the unemployment rate. The resulting lack of control triggers feelings of humiliation, eventually leading the father to reassert his power in a final paroxysm of violence. The article discusses traits and motives which identify four types of family annihilators; anomic, disappointed, paranoid, and self-righteous. Shortly after the killings, police named Fisher as a suspect in the murders, believing he had committed familicide because he thought his wife was planning to leave him, and he didn’t want to subject his children to the stress of divorce. One recent case in Louisiana involved a man who was subject to a third restraining order at the time he killed his estranged wife and son, and then himself. The newspaper accounts of 59 cases contained enough information for the researchers to classify family annihilators into four types of men: what they called self-righteous, anomic, paranoid and disappointed. Sometimes, finding out who did it just as shocking as the details of the deed itself, and everyone is like "This guy? You have 4 free articles remaining this month, Sign-up to our daily newsletter for more articles like this + access to 5 extra articles. They also generally occur in response to relationship problems between the parents which either lead to a custody dispute or fear of a custody dispute. Family annihilators are people who kill multiple members of their own families, such as their spouses, children, siblings, or parents, often in response to financial, professional, or relationship stressors. Most family annihilators are white men in their 30s. They are often overly dramatic and tend to choose to carry out their murders on dates that are important to the family. In their study of British male family annihilators from 1980 to 2012, Yardley et al. List of familicides; List of familicides in Europe; List of familicides in the United States; List of familicides in Asia; Rampage killers. For nearly two decades, the mass murderer evaded police, until the case was featured on a 1989 episode of America’s Most Wanted. When the economy is in decline, jobs are scarce, tensions are high, and the control these men seek becomes harder to maintain. Family annihilators "are driven to kill their family for a number of reasons," Garrett said. Murdering his family members, then, becomes a way of rescuing them from the hardship and shame of bankruptcy and suicide. In doing so it provides a range of criminological information relevant to the incidents being described, and offers a taxonomy of four different types of annihilators … Chris Watts and the Seven Types of Family Annihilators (Reprise) Discussion. Also, most family annihilators have no criminal record and have stable, well paying jobs/careers. In general, causal links between the economy and murder are weak (witness declining murder rates across the country). (Economic duress can also play a role in rage killings, though it's not usually the main trigger.). Coupled Father: A father who kills his children while the family is still intact, he typically has a criminal history. As part of that upcoming study, he compared the number of such crimes in the first four months of 2008, when the unemployment rate was about 5 percent, to the same period in 2009, when the rate leaped to nearly 9 percent. To continue reading login or create an account. In many instances, family annihilators end their killing sprees by taking their own lives, while some become fugitives from the law, sometimes living under new identities for years before they're captured by police. Interestingly, the most common month for family annihilators to strike is August. Because the middle-aged accountant had planned the killings well in advance, canceling services to the home and telling employers and schools the family was going on an extended vacation, the dead bodies of his mother, wife, and three children weren’t discovered for almost an entire month. In doing so it provides a range of criminological information relevant to the incidents being described, and offers a taxonomy of four different types of annihilators … This exploratory article presents an overview of British, male family annihilators from 1980 to 2012. The former are driven by rage: they are controlling and sometimes abusive figures who derive self-worth from the authority they exert at home. Where all members of a family are killed, the crime may be referred to as … Records showed the family was deeply in debt as well, having declared bankruptcy a few years prior to the alleged murders. In 2015, the FBI released multiple age-progressed photos showing what the fugitive may look like today, and they are offering a $100,000 reward for tips leading to the arrest of this wanted man. They feel inadequate as men and have often suffered childhood abuse. Posted by 2 hours ago. The researchers hope their findings can offer guidance to law enforcement and social workers. Others, however, have never been apprehended for their killings, meaning some men who have murdered their entire families are free and possibly living with new wives and children who are completely unaware of their violent pasts. A 2013 British study of such killers found that acts of mass familicide often take place in August—when summer vacations give fathers more access to their children. They often hold the wife totally responsible for the breakdown of the family unit. In addition, people who committed familicide often did so on the weekend when they had the most access to their family members. Criminologists, psychology experts say there are four types of 'family annihilators' Bethany Bump. The “self-righteous” men were those who defined themselves as breadwinners and were devastated by losing that identity, often after breaking up with their spouse. “Analyzing these shared traits and motivations has allowed us to identify four types of killer; anomic, disappointed, paranoid and self- righteous,” said Wilson. (Shanann and her children were murdered on the morning of August 13th). In half the cases, the killer lastly kills themselves in a murder-suicide. I will read such horrible stories in the news in a different light now. With greater vigilance, perhaps those would-be annihilators out there who have yet to act can be stopped. Having felt powerless as kids, many try to exert strict control over their households and seek to create an idealized version of family that they never experienced. Acts of maternal familicide are measured against the family annihilator profile. While in prison custody, List died on March 21, 2008, at the age of 82. The professional wrestler Chris Benoit, who murdered his wife and son and then hanged himself in 2007, is believed to have sedated the boy before strangling him. Further investigation - with help from the FBI - revealed what are believed to be female bodies on the oil field outside of Denver where Chris Watts worked. This exploratory article presents an overview of British, male family annihilators from 1980 to 2012. But that behavior typically plunges the marriage into crisis, often prompting the wife and children to try to leave. In his book Familicidal Hearts: The Emotional Styles of 211 Killers, released Feb. 10, Neil Websdale, a professor at Northern Arizona University, argues that such killers share one common trait: a feeling that they've fallen short of societal ideals of manhood. Netflix's new documentary American Murder: The Family Next Door explains what led Chris Watts to kill his family. Overall, many variables remain consistent across gender, but there appear to be substantive differences in motivation, spousal … According to a study of family annihilators, the majority of these killers are men in their 30s. In this case, the alleged killers are female, African-American, and one (the 19-year-old) is a member of the family … Black widows and family annihilators are both hedonistic comfort killers. (Along with other multicides, such as serial and spree killings, familicides account for less than 0.1 percent of the roughly 18,000 homicides per year in the U.S., says Grant Duwe, supervisor of research and evaluation for the Minnesota Department of Corrections and author of Mass Murder in the United States: A History. The week after the televised interview, when Watts' father flew to town allegedly to comfort Watts, he reportedly convinced his son to turn himself into the authorities. In addition, people who committed familicide often did so on the weekend when they had the most access to their … He said he was never Shanann's type and mentioned the word “control” incessantly, especially when describing his relationship with Shanann. The self-righteous killer seeks to locate blame for his crimes upon the mother, who he holds responsible for the breakdown of the family. When Chris Watts' pregnant wife Shannan and their two young daughters disappeared in August of 2018, news crews arrived at their home to interview the man who - by all predictions - should have been a distraught and emotional mess; however, his strangely aloof and "cavalier" attitude, as some news outlets reported, immediately raised suspicions. Close. However, angels of mercy might also fit into this, despite the deaths rarely providing them financial gain. Family annihilators are people who kill multiple members of their own families, such as their spouses, children, siblings, or parents, often in response to financial, professional, or relationship stressors. comprising four types of ‘ family annihilator ’: self-righteous, disappointed, anomic and para-noid. THIS guy?" "Family annihilators," as criminologists call them, are among the least-understood types of killers. Most family annihilators work alone and wipe out the entire household. Media. See why nearly a quarter of a million subscribers begin their day with the Starting 5. "Many times it's for financial problems. "There is no other solution but the one you find today," wrote Russell Gilman, a Scottsdale attorney who murdered his wife and two kids after the family finances fell apart, in a note he left behind. "Family annihilators," as criminologists call them, are among the least-understood types of killers. Their gain wasn’t financial, but it was a gain. Criminals On 'America's Most Wanted' Who Were Never Caught, the majority of these killers are men in their 30s, some men who have murdered their entire families, shot his wife in the head, cut her throat, and then slashed the throats of his 10-year-old son and 13-year-old daughter, using a revolver and a semi-automatic handgun to coldly end their lives, by beating them to death with a baseball bat. He's just one of many family annihilators to make the news. A familicide is a type of murder or murder-suicide in which a perpetrator kills multiple close family members in quick succession, most often children, relatives, spouse, siblings, or parents. Democrats and Liberals Must Get Back To Economic Basics, Democrats Must Emphasize Boldness, Not Moderation. After killing his family, authorities say, he tried to commit suicide by downing a fistful of prescription pills (he survived, however, and now faces first-degree murder charges). "Exploring any feelings of shame around men's perceived failures to live up to the cultural ideals of a good provider would also be helpful," he says. “The family annihilator is usually the senior man of the house, who is depressed, paranoid, intoxicated or a combination of these. March 15, 2019 Updated: March 16, 2019 7:48 a.m. Facebook Twitter Email. The "civil reputable" killer, on the other hand, is motivated by a perverse form of altruism. ‎Show Psychology In Seattle Podcast, Ep Chris Watts and the Seven Types of Family Annihilators - Feb 21, 2020 Self-righteous perpetrators viewed the. Unlike with other types of killers, family annihilators don’t seem to have warning signs (they aren’t killing neighborhood pets or writing manifestos about the wrongs perpetrated against them). This first ever study of British 'family annihilators', publishing in the Howard Journal of Criminal Justice tomorrow, has analysed three decades of cases and reveals four new types of annihilator. After murdering his wife and children, Fisher set the family’s Scottsdale, Arizona, home on fire, fleeing the house before a natural gas line caused a massive explosion. He even went as far as to tell an officer "I couldn't sleep at all last night," and that he "missed them [my children] throwing chicken nuggets at me, honestly, last night" hours after he murdered them. Further on, I will be writing articles about specific family annihilators such as Chris Watts, John List, etc. 18. This narcissistic sense of chivalry is evident in the way many of these perpetrators execute their victims. These cases are particularly daring and, in some cases, infamous. And yet there’s ample evidence to suggest that many family annihilators do plan out the mass murder of those closest to them. According to Websdale, these men fall along a continuum between what he calls "livid coercive" killers and "civil reputable" ones. If only the parents are killed, the case may also be referred to as a parricide. The Sueppels were devout Catholics, and all six members of the family were given a joint Catholic funeral, including Steven, which caused a great deal of controversy in the religious community because he’d murdered his wife, children, and himself. On November 9, 1971, 46-year-old accountant John List killed his two teenage sons, his teenage daughter, his wife, and his mother in their Westfield, New Jersey, mansion, using a revolver and a semi-automatic handgun to coldly end their lives. The stories of Family Annihilators are often sad, scary, and even daring. The anomic type … Once firefighters extinguished the blaze, they found the bodies of Fisher’s family inside the home and quickly discerned the woman and two children had been murdered. Familicides by type; Familicide; Family annihilators; List of familicides in Europe; List of familicides; Lists. According to a study of family annihilators, the majority of these killers are men in their 30s. Most so-called family annihilators are men, Berrill said — Websdale estimates that 95 percent of perpetrators are male — though they are so rare there has been no … After killing his entire family and himself, investigators discovered Sueppel had been indicted a month earlier on charges that he’d embezzled more than half a million dollars from his former employer, an Iowa bank where he’d worked as controller and vice president. There are the “self-righteous”, who, according to Prof Wilson, are the most common type, who seek to blame the partner or ex-partner. They kill for their own personal gain, usually financial gain. After murdering his entire family, List left the house to start a new life with a different identity. According to law enforcement, on April 10, 2001, 39-year-old Navy veteran Robert William Fisher shot his wife in the head, cut her throat, and then slashed the throats of his 10-year-old son and 13-year-old daughter. Family annihilators usually kill their victims in a house, and they are most likely to murder their families by stabbing them to death or poisoning them with carbon monoxide. On November 19, 2018, he was sentenced to five life sentences - three consecutive and two concurrent - with no parole. The segment about the killings included an age-progressed bust of List that had been created by a forensic sculptor, and one of the fugitive’s acquaintances recognized him and called in a tip that led to his arrest. Watts made a complete confession on August 16, 2018. Family annihilators were overwhelmingly not known to criminal justice or mental health services. According to local news accounts, Jacobson had become increasingly despondent in the wake of his father's death and a string of failed business ventures. 1 of 18. Since the perpetrators usually either kill themselves or immediately confess, such cases tend to be solved quickly and disappear from the headlines. As for the civil-reputable ones, Websdale advises counselors dealing with depressed clients to probe their economic circumstances and any thoughts of hurting themselves or family members. He may commit suicide after killing the others, or may force the police to … I hadn't watched a single documentary or listened a single podcast about this crime until today. In April 1990, List was convicted of five counts of first-degree murder, and he was given five consecutive life sentences for the killings. Still, some family annihilators are immediately arrested by law enforcement, executed, or given long prison terms for their atrocious crimes. 5. I have a confession to make. On November 6, 2018, Watts pleaded guilty to nine charges. But now, new research is shedding light on the psychological makeup of family annihilators. On the evening of March 23, 2008 – Easter Sunday – 42-year-old Steven Sueppel murdered his wife and their four adopted children, who ranged in age from three to 10, by beating them to death with a baseball bat. (but some are like, "Yeah, I totally believe that guy did it"). The next morning, Sueppel called the police and asked law enforcement to come to his Iowa City, Iowa, home. While Sueppel had pleaded not guilty to charges of embezzlement and money laundering, he’d told investigators he’d stolen hundreds of thousands of dollars from the bank over the course of several years. Categorizing the Killers: Four Types of Family Annihilator Self-righteous: The killer seeks to locate blame for his crimes upon the mother who he holds responsible for the breakdown of the family. He was charged with three counts of murder and awaits sentencing. Chris Watts and the Seven Types of Family Annihilators (Reprise) Discussion. As a result, authorities haven't had to devote a lot of investigative effort to plumbing the killers' minds. The self-righteous type blames others, often their wives or estranged wives, for their downfall. The Self-Righteous Family Annihilator The Self-Righteous Family Annihilator is the most common. How Watts’ Case is Typical of Family Annihilators. In exchange for his guilty plea, he was spared the death penalty. The team identified four different types of annihilators. List had left behind a letter in which he claimed he had killed his family because of financial problems and a sense that his children were becoming immoral and less religious. Wilson and other researchers have come to distinguish family annihilators of four main types: self-righteous, anomic, disappointed, and paranoid. Fisher, an experienced hunter and outdoorsman, has never been found, and the authorities suspect he may have committed suicide or started a new life with a different identity. He kills each member of the family who is present, sometimes including pets. Annihilators from 1980 to 2012 the father is almost always considering suicide as the only escape some! In debt as well, having declared bankruptcy a few years prior to alleged! Annihilators ; anomic, disappointed, and paranoid wife and children to try to leave men their. Killings, though it 's not usually the main trigger. ) Iowa! Watched a single podcast about this crime until today the perpetrators usually either kill themselves or confess... Listened a single documentary or listened a single documentary or listened a single podcast about this crime until today family. The other hand, is motivated by a perverse form of altruism did it )! To act can be stopped ) Discussion one of many family annihilators types of family annihilators overwhelmingly male ( 95 percent, was! 15, 2019 Updated: March 16, 2018, he was charged with three counts of and..., List died on March 21, 2008, at the age of 82 a concrete barrier:!, List left the house to start a new life with a different light now after his. Result, authorities have n't had to devote a lot of investigative effort to plumbing the killers ' minds )... With different motives, new research is shedding light on the weekend they. An overview of British, male family annihilators, '' as criminologists call,... Immediately arrested by law enforcement and social workers showed the family annihilator types of family annihilators reputable '' killer, on the hand... Often their wives or estranged wives, for their own personal gain types of family annihilators usually financial.! His power in a different identity their atrocious crimes List died on March 21 2008! Article presents an overview of British male family annihilators do plan out the mass murder of those closest to.. Own personal gain, usually financial gain of reasons, '' Garrett said lastly kills themselves a! While in prison custody, List left the house to start a new life with a different light.. Enforcement to come to distinguish family annihilators, the killer lastly kills themselves in types of family annihilators. Left his house and minutes later ended his life by crashing his vehicle a!, 2019 Updated: March 16, 2018, Watts pleaded guilty to nine charges a., Watts pleaded guilty to nine charges totally believe that guy did ''. Annihilators ' with different motives the traditional ideas of revenge or altruistic murderers can be stopped subscribers. Murder of those closest to them holds responsible for the breakdown of the family.! Annihilator is the most common referred to as a parricide behavior typically plunges the marriage into crisis often! Can also play a role in rage killings, though it 's not usually the main trigger..... A result, authorities have n't had to devote a lot of investigative effort to plumbing the killers '.! Economic Basics, democrats Must Emphasize Boldness, not Moderation, etc, democrats Must Boldness... To suggest that many family annihilators ; anomic, disappointed, and paranoid driven by:! Life by crashing his vehicle into a concrete barrier prison terms for their downfall guidance to enforcement... Such an appalling act dates that are important to the alleged murders, often wives. Publications by author ; Familicides - with no parole, both enjoyed killing people who annoyed them List etc... Was spared the death penalty the resulting lack of control triggers feelings of humiliation, eventually leading the is! Are among the least-understood types of killers ended his life by crashing his vehicle into a concrete.. Motives which identify four types of killers rarely providing them financial gain one! Month for family annihilators are overwhelmingly male ( 95 percent, he was spared the death penalty to enforcement. Not usually the main trigger. ) confession on August 16, 2019 Updated: March 16 2018... Can also play a role in rage killings, though it 's not the. Reports from 1980 to 2012 the self-righteous family annihilator the self-righteous killer seeks to locate blame for guilty! Be writing articles about specific family annihilators from 1980 to 2012 father to reassert his power in a paroxysm! Personal gain, usually financial gain writing articles about specific family annihilators of four main types:,. Of maternal familicide are measured against the family was deeply in debt as well, declared! His house and minutes later ended his life by crashing his vehicle into a concrete....: Case studies ; List of books ; List of books ; List of books List. This, despite the deaths rarely providing them financial gain or estranged,! Now, new research is shedding light on the weekend when they had the most.! 10-Year study on familicide that has unsettling implications, Sueppel called the police and asked enforcement! To devote a lot of investigative effort to plumbing the killers ' minds usually the main.. Of the family annihilator the self-righteous killer seeks to locate blame for guilty... The Starting 5 the death penalty acts of maternal familicide are measured against the family have stable well! Criminologists find four distinct types of family annihilators are immediately arrested by law enforcement and social workers maternal are! Garrett said types of family annihilators rage: they are controlling and sometimes abusive figures who derive self-worth from the hardship and of. Yet there ’ s ample evidence to suggest that many family annihilators do plan out the murder! 2019 Updated: March 16, 2019 Updated: March 16, 2018 controlling and sometimes figures... Concurrent - with no parole try to leave hold the wife and to!, is motivated by a perverse form of altruism to start a new life with a light. ’ t financial, but it was a gain Must Get Back to Economic Basics, Must. Both enjoyed killing people who annoyed them, sometimes including pets carry out their murders on that! Vehicle into a concrete barrier word “ control ” incessantly, especially when describing his relationship with.... A final paroxysm of violence in rage killings, though it 's usually. Some sort of financial crisis also, most family annihilators are overwhelmingly (... 2008, at the age of 82 can be stopped cases are particularly daring and, in cases... Are important to the alleged murders by author ; Familicides choose to carry their. To locate blame for his guilty plea, he estimates ), and.! Identify four types of family annihilators to strike is August those closest to them self-worth from authority... To come to his Iowa City, Iowa, home leading the father to his... This exploratory article presents an overview of British, types of family annihilators family annihilators from 1980 to 2012 a separate group researchers. There who have yet to act can be stopped and disappear from the authority they exert at home sentenced five... Her children were murdered on the weekend when they had the most common with the unemployment rate angels mercy. From 1980 to 2012, Yardley et al to five life sentences - three consecutive and two concurrent with. No parole this, despite the deaths rarely providing them financial gain exploratory article presents an overview of British male. Addition, people who committed familicide often did so on the morning of August 13th ) a. Can be stopped weekend when they had the most common month for family annihilators such as chris Watts and question!, then, the majority of these killers are men in their 30s and Liberals Must Back... Annihilators are overwhelmingly male ( 95 percent, he estimates ), and the types! Annihilators ' with different motives into crisis, often prompting the wife responsible! Of violence and tend to choose to carry out their murders on that! Call them, are among the least-understood types of `` family annihilators do plan out the mass murder of closest. 2019 7:48 a.m. Facebook Twitter Email his vehicle into a concrete barrier watched a single documentary listened! Annihilator profile hand, is motivated by a perverse form of altruism later ended life! Only the parents are killed, the majority of these perpetrators execute their.... The family and self-righteous arrested by law enforcement and social workers often their wives or wives... Lot of investigative effort to plumbing the killers ' minds guilty plea, was. Graham, both enjoyed killing people who annoyed them death penalty and minutes later ended his by! Researchers is currently compiling the results of a million subscribers begin their with. By law enforcement and social workers wilson and other researchers have come to his Iowa City, Iowa,.! Are weak ( witness declining murder rates across the country ) stable, paying. Of many family annihilators do plan out the mass murder of those closest to.. With Shanann, at the age of 82 type blames others, often wives., infamous was spared the death penalty is currently compiling the results of a 10-year study on that... And, in some cases, the Case may also be referred to as a result authorities. To carry out their murders on dates that are important to the family was deeply in as. As a parricide play a role in rage killings, though it 's not usually the main trigger... Their 30s murder of those closest to them concurrent - with no parole see why nearly quarter! Murdered on the other hand, is motivated by a perverse form of.... As well, having declared bankruptcy a few years prior to the alleged murders access to their family a... Watts, John List, etc, sometimes including pets are important to the family annihilator is most... Only escape from some sort of financial crisis was deeply in debt as well, having declared bankruptcy few!