Even More Of The Most Well Known Crimes From Each State
The Union Station Massacre (also known as the Kansas City Massacre) took place on June 17, 1933. A prisoner, bank robber Frank Nash, was being escorted back to the US Penitentiary at Leavenworth after he escaped in 1930. Nash had serious ties to organized crime in Kansas City, which explains why his transfer was lit up by three shooters. By the time it was over, four law enforcement officers and Nash himself were dead or dying.
The FBI believes that the three gunmen were Charles Arthur “Pretty Boy” Floyd, Vernon Miller, and Adam Richetti, all notorious criminals. Miller was later murdered, Floyd was killed while trying to evade police, and Richetti was eventually caught and executed in prison.
While it’s not as well-known as other shootings, the Union Station Massacre had a lasting effect on our country. J. Edgar Hoover was the lead investigator on the federal investigation of the shooting, and it shaped his career, helping him become the first and longest-serving head of the FBI.
On November 15, 1998, 18-year-old Miranda Fenner was attacked while working at a local video store. She was stabbed and slashed in the throat, but managed to crawl to the entrance of the store where she was spotted by passerby. She died of her injuries two hours later.
Her mother remained active in seeking information about her killer. The case was featured on the Discovery Channel show “Sensing Murder” as well as “The Montel Williams Show.”
In 2019, it was announced there was a break in the case: A man named Zachary David O’Neill had confessed. O’Neill pleaded guilty in July 2019, the Billings Gazette reported. He had first confessed to the crime in 2017, but he appeared to be “coming down off meth,” court documents reported. While others have confessed to the murder over the years, O’Neill knew details that hadn’t been released to the public. He was also charged with another unsolved rape and attempted murder case, and was eventually sentenced to life in prison.
Starkweather, 19, embarked on a week-long killing spree in 1958 that culminated in a high-speed car chase. He killed the mother, stepfather, and the 2-year-old half-sister of his 13-year-old girlfriend, Caril Fugate, after an altercation, and lived in the house with the dead bodies for six days before fleeing. Fugate would later claim that she was being held hostage, and that she feared for her life.
The pair drove to the home of a family friend, August Meyer, and killed him too. Then they hitchhiked off his property with another young couple, and killed them both. Eventually, they landed at the home of C. Lauer Ward (a rich industrialist), and killed him, his wife, and their maid. But the authorities were hot on their tail — so they killed a shoe salesman and stole his car. Starkweather was unfamiliar with the car, attracting the attention of onlookers and getting caught by police after engaging in a high-speed car chase.
Starkweather was found guilty and was given the electric chair in 1959. Fugate was also found guilty, but sentenced to life in prison because she was a minor. She was released on parole in the ’70s.
The murders later inspired the 1982 Bruce Springsteen song, “Nebraska.”
Prolific rapper Tupac Shakur, 25, was in Las Vegas with his manager Suge Knight to watch the Mike Tyson fight in 1996. Knight and his entourage were involved in a physical altercation after the fight, and Shakur eventually hopped in his car and drove away.
That night, while his car was stopped at a red light, another car pulled up and shot into Shakur’s vehicle 13 times. He was hit six times, and died six days later in the hospital due to his wounds.
Gang rivalries were suspected as a motive, but his death has spawned a host of conspiracy theories, including some that say he’s still alive.
Maura Murray was a 21-year-old nursing student at the University of Massachusetts Amherst when she abruptly disappeared without a trace in 2004. She had emailed her professors about a death in the family, explaining that she was going to be missing class for a week, but no such death had taken place.
She hopped into her car and was never heard from again.
According to authorities, her car skidded off the road and hit a snowbank between 7 and 7:30 p.m. A bus driver came upon her car, and asked if she needed help, but Murray claimed that she had already called for roadside assistance. However, the bus driver felt like something was off, and ended up calling the police when he got home. By the time police arrived, Murray was gone.
It’s still unknown what happened to Murray. Some people thought she intentionally disappeared, others thought she encountered something dangerous in the woods. An Oxygen series, “The Disappearance of Maura Murray,” brought the case back into the public eye, but we might never find out what happened to her.
John List drove to the train station every day for months, pretending he was going to work, but instead he was actually sitting in his car reading the paper or napping.
He had lost his accounting job and did not know how he would tell his family. So, instead of telling them, he shot them all (his wife, mother, and three children) on November 9, 1971. He later explained it was to ensure that they would go to heaven.
He then closed his bank accounts, cashed in his savings bonds, phoned his children’s schools to explain that they would be gone for a while visiting their sick grandmother in North Carolina, and cut himself out of every family photo (so there would be no photo for the wanted poster).
List evaded authorities for 18 years — he even remarried. But he was brought down in one of the most American ways possible. After seeing an image of what investigators thought List would look like on an episode of “America’s Most Wanted,” one of his neighbors called the police.
List died in prison in 2008.
A 19-year-old Tara Calico was planning on biking around her neighborhood before returning home in September 1988. She even jokingly told her mother to go looking for her if she wasn’t back by noon. Sadly, this came to pass. Calico never returned home from her bike ride.
After she’d been missing for a year, a suspicious Polaroid was found in a parking lot in Florida. The picture showed a young boy and a girl tied up in bed, with duct tape over their mouths. Scotland Yard, London’s police force, concluded the photo was Calico, but the FBI called it inconclusive. It’s still unknown who was in the photo, or what happened to Calico.
New York is another state with no shortage of notorious crimes — Bernie Madoff and the Son of Sam come to mind — but the Amityville Horror lives on in pop culture history in a unique way.
On November 13, 1973, 23-year-old Ronald DeFeo Jr. murdered his entire family while they were sleeping. He confessed to killing them, claiming that “the voices in the house” made him do it.
Since the murders, DeFeo has changed his story multiple times. He’s currently serving six life sentences for the deaths of his family.
The house is now considered haunted. The Lutz family moved in after the murders and claimed to immediately experience paranormal activity. Their allegedly spooky time in the house became so well-known that a successful movie (and less successful remake) was based on it.
When police were called to the MacDonald home in February 1970, they assumed they were walking into a domestic dispute. Unfortunately, they walked into something much darker, finding pregnant 26-year-old Collette MacDonald and her two daughters dead in their home.
Jeffrey, the MacDonald patriarch and an Army surgeon, was alive, with relatively minor wounds compared to the rest of his family. Collette had been stabbed 21 times with an ice pick and 16 times with a knife. Kirsten, 2, had been stabbed 33 times with a knife and 15 times with an ice pick, and Kimberly, 5, had been stabbed around 10 times. MacDonald suffered cuts and a bruises, and a punctured lung.
MacDonald claimed that a group of four strangers had broken into their home and committed the murders while chanting “Acid is groovy” and “Kill the pigs.” He has stuck by that story for almost 50 years. The crime was originally investigated by the US Army, who exonerated MacDonald and recommended that the authorities look into a local woman who had been known to use drugs.
Nine years later, after the efforts of MacDonald’s stepfather-in-law, MacDonald was charged with the murder of his family. Though he maintained his innocence, he was convicted, and is still serving his sentence. An FX docuseries based on the crimes, “A Wilderness of Error” was released in September 2020.
In 1920, a worried neighbor discovered almost the entire Wolf family dead at their farm — they had all been stabbed and shot. The only family member that was spared was 8-month-old Emma.
Their tombstone reads “The Murdered Family.” At the time, it was unclear who was behind the killings, though police picked up Henry Layer after he reportedly acted strangely throughout the funeral service, and was said to have had a quarrel with the Wolfs. Layer confessed to killing the family in a haze and was sent to prison, but later retracted his confession, claiming it was made under duress.
He died in prison.