Detectives Briscoe and Curtis investigate the murder of Joyce Weber and her son Billy who were found shot in their beds. Her eldest daughter Jenna survived the attack but the father, Ron Weber, says he was out drinking and passed out in a local diner. Weber had been having a hard time of late. His alcoholism was getting the better of him and he had lost his job, something he had failed to tell his wife. He was worried about how he would care for his family and meet his responsibilities as the head of the family. Dr. Olivet confirms that he fits the pattern of a family annihilator and ADA McCoy proceeds with the prosecution. Part way through the trial however, Olivet begins to have doubts leading the police and the DA's office to take a second look at Jenna Weber's boyfriend Chester Manning.
Did You Know?
This episode appears to be based on two different crimes of family annihilation cases:
- The John List (a.k.a. "The Boogeyman of Westfield") case. On November 9, 1971, List killed his wife, mother, and three children at their home in Westfield, New Jersey, then disappeared; he had planned the murders so meticulously that nearly a month passed before anyone suspected that anything was amiss. List became a fugitive from the law and assumed a new identity. He later remarried, and further eluded justice for nearly eighteen years. He was finally apprehended in Virginia on June 1, 1989, after the story of his murders was broadcast on the television program America's Most Wanted. After extradition to New Jersey, he was convicted on five counts of first degree murder and sentenced to five consecutive terms of life imprisonment without parole. List gave critical financial problems, as well as his perception that his family members were straying from their religious faith, as his rationale for the murders. He reasoned that killing them would assure their souls a place in Heaven, where he hoped to eventually join them. List died in prison in 2008 at the age of 82.
- The Bradford Bishop case. One of the most famous family annihilation cases in American history. State Department official Bradford Bishop killed his entire family in 1976 when he didn't receive a promotion. He then vanished. He is still on the FBI's Most Wanted Fugitives list, and he has been featured on "America's Most Wanted: America Fights Back (1988)"and "Unsolved Mysteries (1987)." As late as 2010, the FBI believed that he was still alive, likely in Europe, and that he fled the U.S. shortly after the murders using his diplomatic passport.
[referring to Ron and Joyce Weber
He's a drunk, and she handles licenses to sell booze -- it's a marriage made in heaven!
References Hang 'Em High