Imagine being tied up in your own home.Imagine being told to “shut up” “stay still” and being forced to give upbelongings that might be worth more than 1000 dollars or that might just havememories stored in them. Imagine being beaten, stabbed, and killed in your homein front of your own family. Just Imagine. This is what a home invasion islike. On June10, a stranger carrying an ax opened the latch on the back door of a two-storyhouse in Villisca, Iowa. The door was not locked so the unwelcomed visitor wasable to walk inside quietly and close the door behind him.
Then, he took an oillamp from a dresser, bent the wick in two to minimize the flame, lit the lamp,and turned it down so low it only shows the littlest glimmer in the sleeping house.Still carrying the ax, the stranger walked past one room that had two girls,ages 12 and 9, sleeping, and walked up the narrow wooden stairs that led to twoother bedrooms. He ignored one, that contained four more young children, who weresleeping, and crept into the room in which 43-year-old Joe Moore slept next tohis wife, Sarah. Raising the ax high above his head—so high it hit theceiling—the man brought blade down on the back of Joe Moore’s head, crushinghis skull and killing him instantly. Then he struck Sarah. Leaving the couple dead, the killer went next door andused the ax to kill the four Moore children, Herman, 11; Katherine, 10; Boyd,7; and Paul, 5.
The killer then descended the stairs and took his ax to theStillinger girls, Lena and Ina. Now this is the first ever recorded homeinvasion. This is the gruesome story of a string of murders leaving more than30 people dead.
This is the story that leaves investigators baffled to thisday. This is the story of the Villisca Ax Man. What happened next marks the Villisca killings as very strangeand still sends shivers down the spine after the fact. The ax man went backupstairs and beat the heads of all six Moore’s to bloody pulp, striking Joealone an estimated 30 times and leaving the faces of all six members of the family unrecognizable.He then grabbed the pajamas to cover Joe and Sarah’s heads, placed anundershirt over Herman’s face and a dress over Katherine’s, and covered Boydand Paul as well, and unfortunately did the same thing to the girls downstairsbefore exploring the house and ritually hanging cloths over every mirror. He stayedinside the house for quite some time, filling a bowl with water and washing hisbloody hands in it.
Sometime before 5 a.m., he abandoned the lamp at the top ofthe stairs and left as silently as he had come, locking the doors behind him.Then, taking the house keys, the murderer vanished. The Moores weren’t discovereduntil several hours later, when a neighbor, worried by the absence of any signof life in the normally noisy and energetic household, telephoned Joe’sbrother, Ross, and asked him to investigate. Ross found a key on his chain thatopened the front door, but barely entered the house before he came rushing outagain, calling for Villisca’s marshal, Hank Horton.
A sequence of events,destroyed what little hope there may have been of gathering useful evidencefrom the crime scene. Horton brought along Drs. J.
Clark Cooper and Edgar Houghand Wesley Ewing, the minister of Moore’s Presbyterian congregation. They werefollowed by the county coroner, L.A. Linquist, and a third doctor, F.S.Williams (who became the first to examine the bodies and estimate a time ofdeath).
When Dr. Williams emerged, he told members of the growing crowdoutside: “Don’t go in there, boys; you’ll regret it until the last day of your life.”According to the Smithsonian, “Many ignored the advice and as many as 100curious neighbors and townspeople tramped as they pleased through the house,scattering fingerprints, and in one case even removing fragments of Joe Moore’sskull as a keepsake.” The murders still confused Villisca,particularly after a few attempts to search the surrounding countryside for a killer,and failed to reveal a suspect.
The truth was that there was no sign of themurderer’s whereabouts. He might have vanished back into his own home nearby, hemight easily have made good his escape. Bloodhounds were tried without success;after that there was little for the townspeople to do but gossip, swaptheories–and strengthen their locks. I bet your wondering, why wasn’ttheir door locked? Well the year was 1912 and crime wasn’t on the top ofeveryone’s minds like it is today. Besides, if the murderer really wanted tocome into the house, he’d just find another way. Another brutal home invasion is the Clutter Family Massacre. On the evening of November 15, 1959, Perry Smithand Richard Hickock entered the Clutter house and at gunpoint, demanded the moneyfrom the family safe. When told that there was no money and no safe in thehouse, the two men tied up each person in separate rooms of the house for laterquestioning: Herb Clutter and Kenyon Clutter in the basement, Bonnie Clutter inher bedroom, and Nancy Clutter in her bedroom.
They then executed the Clutters,one at a time. Herbert Clutter was tortured beforedying, with his throat slit, and then killed by a shotgun blast to the front ofhis face. Son Kenyon was killed the same way, with a shotgun blast to the frontof his face. Bonnie, wife, had been killed by a shotgun blast to the side ofher head, while Nancy had been killed by a shot to the back of her head. Themurders were discovered the next morning, Sunday, when family friends came overto the Clutter house to join them in going to church.
When prison buddy FloydWells remembered Hickock telling him of his plans to kill the Clutters fortheir money, and he heard about the murders on the radio, Wells informed theprison warden. Smith and Hickock were quickly found in a stolen car in LasVegas and returned to Kansas for trial. Hickock and Perry were executed byhanging, at the Lansing Correctional Facility, Lansing, Kansas. Another story is the HinterkaifeckMattock Murders. The Hinterkaifeck farmsteadwas a lonely place. Located near the woods, about an hour’s drive from Munich, it’sthe home of 35-year-old Viktoria Gabriel and her two children, 7-year-oldCäzilia and 2-year-old Josef, and her elderly parents Andreas and CäziliaGruber.
The family was known for mindingtheir own business and keeping to themselves. But, neighbors grew concerned onApril 1, 1922, when young Cäzilia missed school and the entire family failed toshow up to the church where Viktoria was a member of the choir. Cäzilia missedschool again on April 3, and by then, mail for the family had piled up at thelocal post office. On April 4, the family’s neighbors decided to investigate.
LorenzSchlittenbauer, a farmer who lived nearby, led the search party.What they discovered hauntedthem for the rest of their days.In the barn, the searchparty found four brutally beaten bodies covered with hay. Inside the house,they discovered the bodies of 2-year-old Josef and the maid, Maria Baumgartner.It had been Baumgartner’s first day on the job—the previous maid had abandonedher position due to a belief that the house and farm were haunted.Nearly 100 years later,dozens of people have been arrested as suspects in the crimes, though no onehas ever been found guilty. The Hinterkaifeck murders remain one of Germany’seeriest—and most famous—unsolved crimes.
Last but not least, the Manson Family Murders.These series of home invasions and murders are inspired by the Beatles andintroducing a new “race war” pitting African Americans against whites calledthe “Helter Skelter”. Charles Manson, born November 12, 1934,was a long time criminal and cult leader. His cult/group, the Manson Family,are responsible for nine murders in four locations throughout the months ofJuly and August of 1969. First, the Bernard Crowe Murder.
Bernard “Lotsapoppa” Crowe was a drug dealer in Hollywood. Manson told CharlesWatson, a member of the Manson Family, to get money for the cult so they couldprepare themselves for the supposed “Helter Skelter”. Watson cheated Crowe outof his money so in return, Crowe threaten to wipe out the whole Manson familystationed at Spahn Ranch.
So, Manson being Manson, waltzed into Crowe’s Hollywoodapartment and shot him dead. Next, the Gary Hinman Murder. July 25,1969, Manson sent members of the cult, Bobby Beausoleil, Mary Brunner, andSusan Atkins, to an acquaintances house, Gary Hinman. Manson believed that Garyhad inherited a lump sum of money, so he wanted to persuade him to turn it over.The members held Hinman hostage for 2 days. During that time period, Mansonshowed up with a sword and slashed Hinman’s ear. After the 2 day time period, Beausoleilstabbed Hinman to death after Manson instructed him to. One of the members usedthe blood of the victim to draw a Panther Paw, black panther symbol, thinkingthe symbol would add more gasoline to the starting fire of the supposed “HelterSkelter”.
Nowthe most famous murders of them all, the murders of Sharon Tate and others. OnAugust 8, 1969, Manson ordered Watson, Atkins, Linda Kasabian, and Patricia Krenwinkelto go to Terry Melcher’s old house and execute everyone there. Steven Parent,Jay Sebring, Abigail Folger, Wojciech Frykowski, and Sharon Tate and fetus wereall viciously executed in Melcher’s old home. Atkins adding even more fuelwrote “pig” in the victim’s blood on the front door. These 6 murders helped theManson family get national attention. On the next day, four family members fromlast night’s killing and Leslie Van Houten and Steve Grogan, accompanied Mansonout to 3301 Waverly Drive.
Manson was unhappy with the performance and panic ofthe previous tasks so he was going to “show them how to do it right”. This homehoused Leno and Rosemary LaBianca. Oncethey arrived, Manson reportedly disappeared up the driveway and then emergedonce again to tell the members that he has tied up Leno and Rosemary.
Mansonthen took Watson to the house and pointed to a sleeping man through the window,Leno LaBianca. Manson had lied so that way they could know how to properly tieup someone, yet he tied up Leno with a leather thong. Gross. Once both of theLaBianca’s were tied up they covered the couples head with pillowcases and tiedit with a lamp cord. Then, Manson sent Krenwinkel and Van Houten into the housewith certain instructions on how to kill the LaBiancas. Then they removedRosemary from the kitchen to the bedroom and Watson began stabbing Leno with a bayonet12 times. A sound of a scuffle drew Watson’s attention and caused him todiscover that Rosemary kept the Manson women at bay, by swinging the lamp stillattached to her neck.
He ended up stabbing Rosemary with the bayonet and carved”WAR” on Leno’s abdomen. What makes this crime even more horrifying is thatRosemary was stabbed over 40 times. Manson gave instructions on making surethat all of the female members joining him that night each had a part in thekillings. Evidence brought up in court shows that 41 of the stab woundsinflicted on Rosemary were after she had died.
Watson cleaned off the weaponsand even showered in their own tub. While that was happening, Krenwrinkel wrote”Helter Skelter” on the fridge and stabbed Leno another 14 times post-mortemwith a carving fork and left a steak knife in his throat.