Schaeffer Cox

On June 18, 2012, 28-year-old Schaeffer Cox was found guilty of conspiracy to commit murder against law enforcement officers, transforming Alaska's incendiary 2nd Amendment activist from a rising right-wing celebrity into a criminal conspiracy theorist.
On June 18, 2012, 28-year-old Schaeffer Cox was found guilty of conspiracy to commit murder against law enforcement officers, transforming Alaska’s incendiary 2nd Amendment activist from a rising right-wing celebrity into a criminal conspiracy theorist.

Born Francis August Schaeffer Cox in 1984 to parents Gary and Jennifer Cox, Schaeffer was named after the famous evangelical theologian Francis Schaeffer. He spent the first half of his life in Colorado, and then his family moved to Alaska in 2000. His father Gary is the pastor of University Baptist Church in Fairbanks, Alaska. Schaeffer was homeschooled through CyberLynx, an Alaskan correspondence program for homeschool students, and graduated from the program in May 2003.

After high school graduate, Schaeffer briefly attended the University of Alaska before he dropped out to start his own construction business. He jumped into politics in 2008, running for the Alaskan House of Representatives and supporting Sarah Palin. He began his extreme advocacy of 2nd Amendment rights in 2009 when he founded the Second Amendment Task Force, drafting the organization’s first declaration that the U.S. must be abolished if gun rights are restricted more. Schaeffer founded another organization in 2009 as well: the Alaska Peacemakers Militia, which almost immediately landed on the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC)’s list of anti-government groups. SPLC called him “a modern-day poster boy of sorts for the militia movement.” The FBI began to take notice of Schaeffer’s activities once he began bragging about the size of his militia and how, as he put it, “we’ve got rocket launchers and grenade launchers and claymores and machine guns and cavalry, and we’ve got boats.”

According to the FBI, Schaeffer became angered in 2011 by perceived harassment by authorities and announced a murder plot “called ’241′ (two-for-one) to four members of his Peacemakers Militia.” This murder plot involved militia members kidnapping “two law enforcement officers if Cox or other militia members were arrested. Two targets were to be killed if Cox was killed, and two government buildings were to be burned if Cox’s house is seized.” The plot was foiled because an FBI mole was traveling with militia members when Schaeffer announced the plans to them.

The trial of Schaeffer and other militia members began in May 2012. While Schaeffer and company were originally charged with a diverse number of crimes, most of the charges were dismissed due to evidence being improperly gathered by the government. In the end Schaeffer (and one other individual) was convicted of conspiracy to commit murder and sentenced to 26 years in prison. As of December 26, 2013, his attorney was seeking an evaluation of Schaeffer to determine if he was mentally ill. Schaeffer, however, continues to insist he is “a victim of a government conspiracy.”

Cylena Crawford

On January 25, 2001, 17-year-old Cylena Crawford from Elgin, South Carolina was left to feed, care for, and discipline her brothers and sisters while her mom worked and her father was otherwise occupied. That day, however, her “discipline” meant brutally beating both her 13-year-old brother Michael and 11-year-old sister Korresha — and the latter fatally so. Korresha died the following day from blood loss.

Cylena was the oldest child in the Crawford family. Her mother Sylvia worked 2 jobs to support the family and her father Lawrence was a Nazarite priest who believed in Pentecostalism. All of the Crawford children were allegedly homeschooled by Lawrence, though “he often wasn’t home” and neighbors “rarely saw the children” outside their mobile home. Cylena had four siblings: Michael (13), Korresha (11), and 2 others (a boy, also 11 years old, and a girl 9 years old). Cylena reportedly “often was left in charge.” The entire responsibility of her siblings fell to her: she fed them and, “if they got out of line, would spank them.” In 2000, the year prior to the murder, social services were called to the Crawford home due to an anonymous tip about neglect, but no neglect was able to be substantiated.

On the day of the beatings, Cylena was left in charge of her siblings as was usual. After Michael and Korresha did something wrong (it remains unclear what exactly), she started disciplining them with a 1-1, 18 inch board. However, according to reports, something went wrong: “Once she started, she got carried away with the 11-year-old.” Authorities said Cylena beat Korresha “on the head, body, arms and legs,” and Michael “in the back and about the body.”

Complicating the situation was the fact that Lawrence was home this day. Not only that, but Korresha was still alive when her mother returned as well. Despite being disoriented, Korresha told her parents about the beatings at 10 pm the same day. They did nothing, however, until the following morning when Lawrence found her unconscious on her bedroom floor. Despite being rushed to the hospital, Korresha was unable to recover. Officials said she “bled to death after blood seeped through her muscle tissues for several hours.”

What role Lawrence played in the murders is unknown. The father originally told authorities he was away when Cylena beat her siblings, but he later admitted to being home at the time. Thus on February 25, 2001, he was also charged with murder. He was sentenced in 2004 to life in prison. Cylena’s murder charges remained intact and she was admitted to a mental health hospital. Her mother Sylvia was also charged with neglect in light of the fact that Korresha was allowed to bleed profusely overnight and was not taken into the hospital until she was unconscious.

Benjamin Matthew and James Tyler Williams

On July 1, 1999, motivated by self-professed hatred of gay people, Benjamin Matthew Williams (l) and James Tyler Williams (r) murdered Gary Matson and Winfield Mowder, a gay couple living in Redding, California.
Benjamin Matthew Williams (age 31, on left) and James Tyler Williams (29) were brothers who believed in white supremacy. On July 1, 1999, motivated by self-professed hatred of gay people, they murdered Gary Matson and Winfield Mowder, a gay couple living in Redding, California.

Benjamin and James grew up in Palo Cedro, a small community in Shasta County, California. Their parents were fundamentalist Christians who kept to themselves. A neighbor described them as “heavy Bible thumpers, really into that stuff.” The Williams family briefly attended a Baptist church in Palo Cedro, but they left when the church refused to kick out a bi-racial couple. The Williams’ parents were apocalyptic survivalists who grew their own food and homeschooled their children until they reached high school. In highschool, Benjamin and James were prohibited from participating in extracurricular activities, though they were honor students.

The family eventually moved to Redding because their father believed he received “God’s orders” to do so. After high school, Benjamin briefly served in the military and then attended  University of Idaho. In Idaho, he joined a a local Charismatic church and become interested in “purification diets,” hoping to achieve “perfect bowel movements.” He eventually left the Charismatic church and immersed himself in literature from the internet on white supremacy and anti-Semitism. This literature led him to the Christian Identity movement, a fact seemingly relevant since “proponents of that movement advocate death to homosexuals.”  James was also interested in white supremacy.

Benjamin and James knew their victims — Gary Matson and Winfield Mowder, who had happily been a couple for 14 years — through involvement in the local landscaping industry. The brothers began planning the murders 2 weeks prior, when met Gary and Winfield at the Redding Farmers Market. Both Benjamin and the couple had booths at the market. Benjamin specified to James the couples’ homosexuality as reason for targeting.

On the night of the murder, the brothers used their father’s vehicle to drive to Gary and Winfield’s home. Gary and Winfield were already asleep. Benjamin personally shot both men, emptying an entire clip from a .22 calibre handgun. He then reloaded and fired 5 more shots. When asked later about the murders, Benjamin said he was “not guilty of murder” but rather “guilty of obeying the laws of the Creator.” He called other Christians gut-less, declaring that, “So many people claim to be Christians and complain about all these things their religion says are a sin, but they’re not willing to do anything about it. They don’t have the guts.”

2 years after the murders, in September 2001, both Benjamin and James pled guilty to numerous charges unrelated to the murders: setting fire to three Sacramento synagogues and an abortion clinic in 1999. For those charges alone they were sentenced to prison: Benjamin for 30 years and James for 21 years. The following year, 1 month before his murder sentencing was scheduled, Benjamin committed suicide in prison.  Several months later, James pled guilty to his role in Gary and Winfield’s murders and was sentenced to an additional 29 years to life in prison.

Homeschoolers as Perpetrators

As the regular follower of HIC may have noticed, we have recently included cases of homeschooled students who have committed homicide or other acts of violence either as homeschooled students or as adults. Our decision to include these cases was based largely on the sheer number of these cases that involved abusive or repressive homeschooling pasts.  Continue reading

Brandon Warren

On July 26, 2001, 14-year-old Brandon Warren from Kenly, North Carolina shot and killed his 13-year-old brother Bradley and his 19-year-old sister Marnie Rose. He then turned his gun on himself and committed suicide.

All of the Warren children — Bradley, Brandon, Marnie Rose, and their older brother Ellis (21) — were homeschooled by their parents, Boyd and Nissa Mae. The family had a history of interactions with social workers due to dysfunction and the children having visible bruises. In fact, in just the 2 months prior to the murder-suicide, social workers talked with the parents 11 times but “the Warrens routinely turned them away, forcing them to get a court order for each visit.” Their house reportedly had “rotting food, animal feces on the floor.” Shortly prior to the murder-suicide, Social Service inspectors had “warned the parents that if they didn’t clean up their home, they could lose their children.”

The Warren family’s troubled state, however, went back a decade. In 1991, the parents were convicted of child abuse in another state, Arizona, where they also homeschooled. After the conviction, the family moved to their current home in North Carolina.

On the day of the attack, Brandon accessed his mother’s .22-caliber rifle and used it to kill his siblings and then himself. A motive was never publicly stated. However, Nissa Mae’s reaction to losing three of her children was chilling: she told a detective that she would “rather God had them than Child Protective Services.”

While Brandon was ruled to have murdered his siblings and then committed suicide, Brandon’s parents were also charged in the case due to squalid living conditions. Boyd and Nissa Mae were both charged “with misdemeanor child abuse and storing firearms in a manner accessible to a child.”

Homeschool advocates immediately dismissed any connections between the Warren family murder/suicide and homeschooling. In April 2002, Jeff Townsend — president of North Carolinians for Home Education — said he “didn’t see any connections between home education and the teens’ deaths.” But in 2003, the case received heightened media attention due to a CBS report entitled, “A Dark Side to Home Schooling.” The report, which prominently featured Brandon Warren and his family, received the attention mainly because its title provoked a huge backlash from homeschooling communities. Later that year, Rep. Todd Akin — himself a homeschooling father from North Carolina, most recently known for his “legitimate rape” commentsspearheaded a signature-gathering effort and recruited 33 Congress members — 32 Republican, 1 Democrat — to publicly denounce the CBS report.

Aza Vidinhar

In May 2013, 15-year-old Aza Vidinhar from West Point, Utah stabbed 2 of his younger brothers to death while babysitting them.
In May 2013, 15-year-old Aza Vidinhar from West Point, Utah was babysitting 2 of his younger brothers, aged 4 and 10. When Aza’s mother returned home, she found the younger brothers dead, stabbed to death by Aza.

The Vidinhar family had 6 children, 4 of whom were adopted. Aza’s father was an engineer for the Air Force. They lived in “a wonderful neighborhood” where “kids are usually outside playing.” Aza was enrolled as a 9th grader at West Point Junior High as a member of the track team; in the school he was an honor student. However, his mother homeschooled him for other subjects. Aza was a quiet kid who had a speech impediment, was “socially awkward,” and kept to himself. Neighbors described him as “different” and said he was once found “throwing dozens of rocks over a fence.” While he was quiet and awkward, neither he nor any family members had a history of mental illness. Two years prior in 2011, Aza was in the news for running away from home.

On the day of the attack, Aza’s mother left him home alone with two younger siblings, Alex (10) and Benjie (4), while she took his other siblings to a dance recital. (Their father was away in another state.) Upon returning home, she found the dead bodies of the two children. Aza was nowhere to be seen. His adopted brothers later found him wandering miles away from home with traces of blood on his clothes.

Officials hesitated at first to charge Aza, though they arrested him and placed him in the Farmington Bay Youth Detention Center. As of August 2013, officials were determining whether Aza was fit to stand trial. In November 2013 he was charged with two counts of felony murder, with another hearing set for 2014.

John Timothy Singer

In 1988, during a 13-day stand-off with police, John Timothy Singer (in wheelchair, above) — son of infamous fundamentalist Mormon John Singer — shot and killed Lt. Fred House from the Utah Department of Corrections. The stand-off was prompted after John Timothy’s brother-in-law detonated 50 pounds of dynamite at a Latter Day Saints meetinghouse in an attempt to “resurrect” the elder John Singer, himself killed 9 years earlier during his own stand-off with police.

John Timothy Singer is the son of John and Vickie Singer. (Son will hereafter be referred to as “John Timothy,” father as simply “John.”) His grandfather, John’s father, was a Nazi who served in the Schutzstaffel (SS). John himself served in the Hitler Youth at the age of 10. John eventually moved to the U.S. (where he was originally born) and married Vicki. They were both Mormons who raised John Timothy along with 6 other siblings on a 2.5-acre farm and compound in Marion, Utah. In 1970 John was excommunicated from the Latter Day Saints Church due to his advocacy of polygamy. He continued his advocacy for years and in 1979 took a second wife, Shirley Black, who was still married to another man with her own 4 children.

In 1973 John and Vickie withdrew all their children, including John Timothy, from public school in order to homeschool them. Homeschooling was necessary for “shielding the children from a system tainted by sexual promiscuity, drug abuse and racial mixing.” While the decision to homeschool created tensions between the Singer family and the local school board, the Singers were allowed to homeschool for several years. In 1979, however, custody of John Timothy and the other children were withdrawn from John and Vickie after they were found guilty of child neglect and abuse. Vicki, however, blamed the verdict on “state authorities and church officials who were angry at [John's] practice of polygamy and refusal to send his children to public schools.” After he refused to give up custody, police came to his compound to arrest him. Refusing to surrender, John drew a gun and officers proceeded to shoot and kill him.

The death of their patriarch greatly impacted the rest of the Singer clan, including John Timothy and his brother-in-law, Addam Swapp, who married one of John Timothy’s sisters. On January 16, 1988, 9 years after the stand-off between their patriarch and authorities, Addam said he “received a divine revelation” and decided he could resurrect the patriarchy by bombing a public Latter Day Saint building. After doing so with 50 pounds of dynamite, Addam and “14 other members of his extended family” — including John Timothy — holed up in their compound, in a bizarre repetition of the 1979 incident. Police surrounded the compound once again, and the stand-off ended when John Timothy, while wheelchair-bound, ”fired a rifle as Lt. Fred House and another corrections officer prepared to release police dogs on the property.” John Timothy fired a total of 10 rounds, and Lt. House was struck and died.

In September 1988, John Timothy was charged with murdering a police officer and was sentenced to 10 years in prison and 5 years of probation. He expressed remorse for killing Lt. House but defended his actions. During his trial, his defense counsel described him as ”someone living one hundred years ago in terms of his background and education” due to his “intensely religious background” and being “confined at home.”  Numerous other members of the Singer family were also charged and sentenced after the stand-off. John Timothy was released from prison in 2006 and returned to Utah to serve parole.

Angela Shannon

Angela Shannon is the daughter of Shelley Shannon (pictured above), the anti-abortion domestic terrorist from Grants Pass, Oregon who shot George Tiller in both arms outside his abortion clinic.
In 1993, 19-year-old Angela Shannon hand-wrote a death threat to George Woodward, a Milwaukee doctor who performed abortions. The threat of violence might not have been newsworthy in itself, except that Angela is the daughter of Shelley Shannon (pictured above), the anti-abortion domestic terrorist from Grants Pass, Oregon who shot George Tiller in both arms outside his abortion clinic that same year.

Angela was born in 1974 to Rachelle Ranae “Shelley” Shannon in Washington state. Her birth father was married to another woman and Shelley married another man, David Shannon, later that year. In 1980 the Shannon family moved to Klamath Falls, Oregon. Angela’s mother Shelley was a “Christian wife and homeschooling mother,” and Angela and her later siblings were all homeschooled by Shelley. Shelley was introduced in 1988 to anti-abortion material from Last Days Ministries, a Christian commune in Texas that advocates “militancy against abortion” and uses a “language of violence” in their activism materials. Inspired by an Operation Rescue video at the first Right to Life meeting she attended, Shelley became a regular at clinic blockages across the U.S. By 1991 she began to “discuss violent action with other radical thinkers.” She edited a manual for Army of God, a network of Christian anti-abortion terrorists, and started corresponding with imprisoned terrorists. (Army of God claimed responsibility for several terrorist attacks in the 90′s perpetrated by Eric Robert Rudolph, himself a homeschooler.) Shelley considered Michael Griffin, who murdered abortion doctor David Gunn, to be ”the awesomest, greatest hero of our time.”

In April of 1992, Shelley began committing acts of arson against abortion clinics in Oregon. Her first target was the Catalina Medical Center in Ashland, Oregon. During her acts of arson, Shelley often brought Angela along as an accomplice. Indeed, by the age of 18 Angela had become ”a fellow anti-abortionist as well as a daughter,” who “would faithfully convey Shelley’s sentiments and her doctrine should the need arise.” (Angela was actually first arrested at the age of 14, during a blockage and protest against the Lovejoy Surgicenter.) Mother and daughter targeted clinics in Portland and Eugene as well, and also traveled to Sacramento, California and Reno, Nevada to napalm clinics.

In February of 1993, Angela arranged to meet a friend of hers that she met during an anti-abortion event at the Sacramento airport. While they visited, Angela gave the friend a sealed envelope and asked him to mail it for her because “she did not want the letter traced to her.” Her friend did as requested, and days later the envelope was received by George Woodward, a doctor who performed abortions at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The letter, opened first by George’s wife, said that if the doctor “had not ‘stopped killing’ by March 16, 1993, the writer would ‘stalk’ him down and harm him and his family.” It concluded with the following threat: “If I hear you are still killing when I get to town I will haunt you and your wife day and night and give you no peace. If you continue, I will hunt you down like any other wild beast and kill you.”

In September 1993, police searched Angela’s apartment and discovered material indicating her guilt in the death threat. She was sentenced several years later in 1997 to 4 years in prison. 2 years later Angela’s mother Shelley was also sentenced to 20 years in prison, declared by a judge to be ”a terrorist for firebomb attacks on women’s clinics in three states.” Shelley was already serving a sentence from 1993 for shooting George Tiller.

Eric Robert Rudolph

Former U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft called Eric Robert Rudolph "the most notorious American fugitive on the FBI's 'Most Wanted' list."
Eric Robert Rudolph is known today as “the Olympic Park Bomber” and a terrorist. Responsible for a string of anti-abortion and anti-gay bombings across the U.S. from 1996 to 1998, he is serving a life sentence at the ADX Florence supermax prison in Florence, Colorado.

Eric was born on September 19, 1966. His mother and father (who died in 1981) had extreme beliefs “ranging from hatred of Social Security numbers to a naïve faith in the curing powers of laetrile.” After her husband died in 1981, Eric’s mother Patricia moved herself, Eric, and Eric’s five siblings to Topton, North Carolina. In Topton, his mother — and subsequently Eric — became immersed in the Christian Identity movement, which is “a virulently anti-Semitic ‘religious’ sect that preaches that Jews are descended from Satan and that God made non-whites inferior to whites.” Followers are “fiercely opposed to race-mixing, abortion and homosexuality.” They also are “taught to shun birth certificates, Social Security numbers and marriage licenses,” and have “a taboo on antibiotics.”

A year after moving to North Carolina, Patricia and Eric traveled to Missouri and stayed for several months in a Christian Identity compound. Patricia spent time with Nord Davis, an Identity advocate who “advocated killing gays and those who engaged in mixed-race relationships.” She homeschooled Eric and his siblings except for one year when he attended ninth grade at Nantahala School. (During that one year attending school, he “wrote a class paper denying the Holocaust ever happened.”) In fact, Patricia said that she “was drawn to the [Christian Identity] group by the promise of home schooling.” She reportedly used homeschooling to “drill her brand of idealism and independence into her offspring with a vengeance,” teaching that “the government was  a threat to society” and her ideas about God had a “racist slant” with “overtones of the KKK and Nazis.”

After receiving a general equivalency diploma for high school, Eric briefly attended Western Carolina University. He dropped out after two semesters, though, and then enlisted in the Army in August 1987. After 1 1/2 years in the Army, he was discharged “for smoking marijuana.”

In the time between being discharged from the Army and his string of bombings, Eric grew “increasingly paranoid” about the government and society. Then on July 27, 1996, Eric detonated a bomb during the 1996 Summer Olympics at the Centennial Olympic Park in Atlanta. The blast killed 1 person and wounded 111 others. His reason for doing so, he wrote, was “to confound, anger and embarrass the Washington government in the eyes of the world for its abominable sanctioning of abortion on demand.”

A year later, on July 16, 1997, Eric also bombed an abortion clinic in the Atlanta suburb of Sandy Springs, injuring 50 people. A mere month later, on February 21, 1997,  he bombed the Otherside Lounge, a lesbian bar in Atlanta, and injured 5 more people. His last attack was one year later on January 29, 1998, when he bombed an abortion clinic in Birmingham, Alabama, killing a police officer and critically injuring a nurse.

From 1998 until 2003, Eric became a fugitive, “hiding in the Nantahala National Forest of western North Carolina.” During those 5 years, Eric was featured on the FBI Ten Most Wanted Fugitives list. At the time of his capture on May 31, 2003 in Murphy, North Carolina, Eric was “the nation’s most wanted domestic terrorist.” In fact, former U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft called him ”the most notorious American fugitive on the FBI’s ‘Most Wanted’ list.”

Eric was finally captured in May of 2003 in North Carolina when a police officer “spotted Rudolph at about 4 a.m. behind a Save-a-Lot grocery store during a routine patrol.” In April 2005, Eric revealed his motives for all the attacks. After pleading guilty to the attacks, he issued an 11-page statement blaming them on “the legalization of abortion and ‘aberrant sexual behavior.’” Abortion and homosexuality, he explained, were to be met with “force if necessary.” He also said he had no regrets or remorse over the deaths he caused. In August 2005, Eric was sentenced to life in prison without parole.

Charles Carl Roberts

On October 2, 2006, 32-year-old Charles Carl Roberts IV barricaded himself and ten young female hostages into an Amish schoolhouse in Nickel Mines, Pennsylvania.
On October 2, 2006, 32-year-old Charles Carl Roberts IV barricaded himself and ten young female hostages into an Amish schoolhouse in Nickel Mines, Pennsylvania. He proceeded to shoot the girls one at a time, execution-style. By the time the police broke into the schoolhouse, he had wounded 5 girls, mortally wounded 2, and killed 3. He then shot and killed himself.

Charles was born in Lancaster, Pennsylvania to his father Chuck, a retired police officer who became a taxi driver for the Amish community, and his mother Terri. Charles never attended public schools, receiving his high school diploma from a homeschool association. 20 years before his rampage and suicide, when he was only 12 years old, Charles molested two of his relatives — girls between the ages of 3 and 5. This would haunt Charles for the rest of his life, and he reportedly was tormented by “dreams of molesting again” around the time of the rampage and suicide.

After graduating from high school, Charles worked a number of jobs, ranging from dishwasher at Good N’ Plenty Restaurant to a commercial milk tank driver for North West Foods. In 1996, Charles married Marie Lynn Welk at Highview Church of God. A year after their wedding, Marie gave birth to Elise Victoria, who tragically died shortly after birth. Elise’s death would also haunt Charles until the day he died. Charlie and Marie later had 3 more kids, who ranged from ages 7 to 1 1/2 on the day Charlie killed himself. Marie described her husband as “loving, supportive, thoughtful” and “an exceptional father,” and Terri similarly described her son as “an excellent family man.” After her son died, Terri mourned that, “I had no idea anything like this was going to happen.”

On the day in question, Charles drove his own children to school then returned home and left handwritten notes to his family. He then drove to and entered West Nickel Mines School, a one-room Amish school house in Nickel Mines, Pennsylvania. He came prepared with a vast inventory of equipment and weaponry: a handgun, shotgun, and rifle; 600 rounds of ammunition; black powder, a stun gun, knives, pliers, wires, and wooden planks. He let 15 male students out of the schoolhouse as well as a pregnant woman and three parents with infants. Remaining with him were 10 young female students, ranging in age from 6 to 13. He tied up the 10 girls together. While he “appeared to have plans to molest [the] children” on account of bringing a bottle of sexual lubricant with him, the police arrived almost immediately and no signs of sexual assault were found later. Instead, as soon as the police arrived, Charles’ plans were thrown in disarray. He called his wife on his cellphone and told her for the first time about how he had molested his relatives when he was 12. He also told her he was surrounded by the police. He then proceeded to shoot his young hostages and kill himself.

In 2013, 7 years after Charles’s rampage and death, his mother Terri channeled her feelings of grief and guilt into helping others, including one of her son’s own victims. She spends time with and caring for 13-year-old Rosanna, who sits in a wheelchair and eats through a tube on account of Charles’s attack.

Jeremiah Reynolds

jeremiah reynolds
In December 1994, 17-year-old Jeremiah Reynolds from Sabillasville, Maryland (along with a 16-year-old accomplice) robbed a convenience store in Blue Ridge Summit, Pennsylvania and killed the store’s clerk.

Jeremiah was homeschooled. His parents are Reverend M. David and Hope Reynolds. His father, a Chaplain at the Joint Base Andrews military facility in Maryland, described him as a kid who “often did good deeds and reached out to help others.” The night before the murder, Jeremiah had an argument with his parents.  The argument arose because his parents had taken away his car keys and grounded him on account of “smoking and other behavior.” Jeremiah consequently ran away from home, taking his family’s deer rifle with him. At some point he met up with his accomplice, Clayton Faxon, who attended Catoctin High School in Fredrick County, Maryland.

Jeremiah proposed to Clayton that they rob the convenience store in Blue Ridge Summit. At the time, 30-year-old Gretchen C. Gross was working alone in the convenience store in the early morning. Jeremiah and Clayton went to the store and demanded money and Gretchen’s keys. They stole $26 from the store’s cash register as well as cigarettes. They proceeded to torture Gretchen and then shot her in the mouth with a rifle, stole her car, and then later set the car on fire.

In May 1995, Jeremiah pled guilty to “third-degree murder and robbery.” In October 1995, he was sentenced to a minimum of 20 years in prison for his role in the murder. His accomplice Clayton was sentenced to life in person for being the one that pulled the gun’s trigger.

8 children of Jamie Marie Hicks and Vernon Courtney Lovell

jamie hicks and vernon lovell
Twin 16-year-old boys were starved, beaten, and tortured by their mother, Jamie Marie Hicks. The abuse was discovered when two of Hicks’ children ran away from home and reported abuse to officials. The children’s stepfather of thirteen years, Vernon Courtney Lovell, knew about the abuse but did nothing to stop it. All the children were homeschooled, and Hicks often talked with her neighbors about her homeschooling practices.

Hicks was charged with aggravated child abuse and Lovell was charged with child neglect.

Date: March 27, 2014
Location: Tampa, Florida Continue reading

Korresha Crawford, and 4 siblings

Korresha Crawford, age 11, was beaten to death by her 17-year-old sister Cylena, who also assaulted their 13-year-old brother Michael. Two other siblings, ages 11 and 9, were unharmed. The children’s father, Lawrence Crawford, was home at the time. Crawford, a Pentecostal minister, homeschooled the children while his wife Sylvia worked two jobs. However, Cylena was frequently left as the primary caregiver for her siblings.

In 2004, Crawford was sentenced to life in prison for the murder of Korresha. Cylena, who was admitted to a mental health facility after the assault, was charged with murder and aggravated assault and battery. Sylvia Crawford was charged with neglect.

Date: January 25, 2001
Location: Elgin, South Carolina Continue reading

Child of Melvin Wright Jr. and Denise Wright


Medical personnel responding to an emergency call in early January, 2007, found an emaciated 11-year-old girl. Some reports indicate that the girl weighed under 30 pounds. The girl was taken to the hospital and then sent to live with her grandparents in South Carolina. Medical authorities reported that she will suffer permanent developmental disabilities as the result of severe long-term malnutrition. The girl’s parents, Melvin and Denise Wright, were arrested and charged with starving the girl. They were found guilty of attempted second-degree murder.

This was not the first time Melvin and Denise had come to trial. In 2000, both were convicted of endangering the welfare of a minor in a case involving their daughter. Their daughter was returned to them and they were required to take parenting classes.

The couple homeschooled their daughter out of racial prejudice, but did not follow Hawaii’s homeschool requirements. When asked about this in court, they reported that they did not know that Hawaii had any requirements for homeschoolers. The couple was originally from South Carolina.

Date: January 7, 2007
Location: Honolulu, Hawaii

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Aidan Edward Bossingham, and 2 siblings

Jessica Lee Jensen
Aidan Edward Bossingham, age 13, was starved to death by his mother, Jessica Lee Jensen. He weighed 21 pounds when he died. Though Aidan was diagnosed with a human growth hormone deficiency, Jensen refused to give him medication and had not taken him to a doctor since 2008. She treated him differently from his siblings, ages 14 and 7. All three children were homeschooled. The youngest child could not spell her name to an interviewer and was not sure of her age.

Jensen was charged with murder.

Date: January 12, 2014
Location: Kenmare, North Dakota

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Boy by Ixchel Maybury

ixchel maybury
Ixchel Maybury sexually assaulted a 13-year-old boy that she was homeschooling. The Winslow school system had urged Maybury to complete her homeschooling certification, but she had not done so.

Maybury assaulted the boy five or six times between May 1998 and May 1999 and threatened to kill him if he testified against her. Maybury was homeschooling a number of children at the time the assaults occurred.

She was charged with gross sexual assault and two counts of witness tampering.

Date: August 1999
Location: Winslow, Maine

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Joseph Chaney

cynthia guthrie
Cynthia Guthrie abducted 14-year-old Joseph Chaney from his mobile home in Tennessee and went on the run with him, first to Colorado and then to New Mexico, where she was caught.

Guthrie was a friend of the boy’s mother, Susan Smith, who had asked Guthrie to homeschool her two sons. Guthrie’s sexual abuse of Joseph was first reported to child protective services in July 2002 and investigated. Smith was suspected of neglecting Joseph and his brother, who were removed from her home November 1 and placed in foster homes. Joseph ran away from his foster home on December 1 to go on the run with Guthrie, who was married.

Guthrie was charged with sexual battery by an authority figure and statutory rape.

Date: December 29, 2002
Location: Lebanon, Tennessee

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Lauren Kavanaugh, and 5 siblings

lauren kavanaugh
Lauren Kavanaugh, also known as Lauren Calhoun, was freed at age 8 from a six-year imprisonment in a closet where she was systematically tortured, raped, and starved by her mother and stepfather, Barbara and Kenneth Atkinson. The Atkinsons’ other children, who ranged in age from 22 months to 10 years, were also neglected; they did not know how to use a toothbrush or a fork, or how to wipe themselves after going to the bathroom. There is no evidence any of the children were enrolled in school.

Lauren was discovered when her stepfather revealed her condition to a neighbor, who called the police. The Atkinsons were convicted of felony injury to a child and sentenced to life in prison.

Date: June 11, 2001
Location: Hutchins, Texas

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Jesse and Deonna Briggs

briggs family
Jesse Briggs, age 10, and his sister Deonna, age 7, were murdered by their parents, Thomas and Dawn Briggs, while on vacation in Oregon. The children were poisoned, then their bodies were returned to the family’s Washington home, where Dawn also died of poisoning and Thomas shot himself to death.

The Briggses belonged to the Church of God, a now-defunct millennialist religious cult, and Thomas Briggs suffered from paranoia, depression, and anxiety. The Briggses homeschooled their children.

Date: November 19, 1999
Location: Rochester, Washington; Newport, Oregon

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Shenna Grimm

shenna grimm
Shenna Grimm was 16 in 1998 when her mother and stepfather, Narda and John Goff, inseminated her with a syringe full of John’s sperm. Shenna had been withdrawn from school in fourth grade to be homeschooled, but instead she was forced to work as a servant for the Goffs. John Goff had also repeatedly raped and physically abused her.

Narda Goff was convicted in 2002 of helping John impregnate her daughter and was sentenced to three years in prison. John Goff was convicted in 2002 of rape, sexual battery, and child endangering and was sentenced to 20 years in prison. In 2005 an appeals court overturned the convictions; however, in his retrial in 2006 John was again convicted of the same charges and sentenced to 20 years in prison.

Date: December 1998
Location: Akron, Ohio

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Son of Michael Marshall and Sharon Glass

michael marshall and sharon glass
A 12-year-old boy, the son of Michael Marshall, was starved and imprisoned by his father and his father’s girlfriend, Sharon Glass, reportedly for stealing food. Two other children, Marshall’s 10-year-old daughter and Glass’s 5-year-old son, also lived in the home.

The abuse began in 2009 when Glass moved in with Marshall. Glass’s ex-husband, Tony Glass, called child protective services 12 times, concerned that the three children were dirty and had head lice. Officials at the boy’s school also called child protective services several times. Welfare officials investigated in the summer of 2010 but could not find enough evidence to substantiate the claims. Following the investigation, the boy was removed from school in August 2010 to be homeschooled. Though Marshall and Glass claimed that he was then enrolled in a private school, there is no evidence for this.

Marshall and Glass first locked the boy in a closet with diapers to relieve himself and ramen noodles to eat. Later, he was locked in a bathroom after his father zip-tied him to the post of a bunk bed for three days and he chewed through the ropes to escape. On Christmas day in 2011 he was let out of the bathroom to watch his siblings open gifts, while he received a stocking full of coal.

The boy was discovered in March 2012 locked in the bathroom by a family friend, who reported it to the police. He weighed 40 pounds.

Marshall pleaded no contest to eight charges of child abuse, torture and false imprisonment and will be sentenced in April 2014. Glass was found guilty on eight counts of aggravated child abuse and sentenced to 40 years in prison.

Date: March 15, 2012
Location: Titusville, Florida

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3 children of Eraca Dawn Craig and Christian Jessica Deanda

eraca dawn craig and christian jessica deanda
Three children—an 8-year-old girl and two boys, ages 5 and 3—were abused, imprisoned, and starved by their parents, Eraca Dawn Craig (left) and Christian Jessica Deanda, who were domestic partners. The children were homeschooled.

The girl had been chained to the wall with shackles around her ankles and a collar around her neck, reportedly to keep her from stealing food. All three children were emaciated and had hardly eaten for months. The 3-year-old boy was the biological child of one of the women and the other two children were adopted. The women were arrested March 15 on charges of felony child cruelty and false imprisonment and the children were placed in foster homes. Craig and Deanda were scheduled for a preliminary hearing on March 28.

Date: March 15, 2014
Location: Salinas, California

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Darren James Price

In June 2013, 13-year-old Darren James Price from Dowagiac, Michigan entered Dowagiac Middle School with a gun and then committed suicide.

In June 2013, 13-year-old Darren James Price from Dowagiac, Michigan took a gun to Dowagiac Middle School, ran away after being approached by school staff, then went into the woods near the school and committed suicide.

Darren attended Dowagiac Middle School through 6th grade. Darren was described by a former public school principal as “very nice, polite, a good kid.” He was withdrawn from the school a year prior to his death and was homeschooled for 7th grade. Darren had an unknown number of siblings, all of whom were also withdrawn from the public school district. No reasons for withdrawal were publicized.

The night before his death, Darren stole a handgun from his family. The next morning, he entered school grounds with the gun. A custodian saw Darren with the gun and notified the school principal. After the principal approached Darren, the boy ran into the nearby woods. The school notified the police. A deputy sheriff arrived and approached the woods where the boy was hiding. After seeing the sheriff, the boy shot himself. He died shortly after in a hospital.

Despite initially approaching the school with a weapon, police remain unsure whether Darren intended to attack others prior to committing suicide. To this day Darren’s motive for committing suicide also remains a mystery. The school’s public safety director said, “I wish we had a reason.”

Matthew Murray

On December 9, 2007, 24-year-old Matthew Murray (pictured here with his niece) went on a killing spree in Colorado

On December 9, 2007, 24-year-old Matthew Murray (pictured here with his niece) went on a killing spree in Colorado, opening fire in the early morning at a Youth With A Mission (YWAM) training center in Arvada and then later in the afternoon at the New Life Church in Colorado Springs. His spree left 4 people dead and 5 wounded, following which he committed suicide.

Matthew was 1 of 2 sons born to Colorado neurologist Ronald Murray and his wife Loretta Murray. Matthew’s family was a deeply religious Christian household and he and his younger brother Christopher were homeschoooled since 1990 through high school graduation using Bill Gothard’s “Wisdom Booklets.” His family attended Faith Bible Chapel in Arvada, a church noted for its Christian Zionism beliefs. The Murray family were members of Kevin Swanson’s Christian Home Educators of Colorado, and Christopher was part of a homeschool graduation ceremony held by CHEC in 2005.

After being homeschooled all the way through high school, Matthew attended Arapahoe Community College and Colorado Christian University for brief periods. In 2002, he attended a YWAM missionary training program held at the same Arvada facility he attacked. He did not complete the training, however, due to several reasons: one being health problems that prevented him from doing the requisite field work; others being “strange behavior” such as talking about “hearing voices” and performing “dark rock songs” from Linkin Park that made co-workers feel “pretty scared.” (Court records indicate that the Arvada attack was at least partly inspired by his anger about being expelled.)

Matthew was alleged to be either gay or bisexual and experienced guilt over his orientation. He felt he had to justify it through pointing to the hypocrisy of evangelical leaders like Ted Haggard. He struggled with depression, took Prozac, and was seeing a therapist. He believed his parents were simply using him as a religious weapon or tool, saying that “The only reason [my mom] had me was because she wanted a body/soul she could train into being the next Billy Graham.” He claimed to suffer psychological and other forms of abuse at the hands of his parents growing up, taking particular aim at how Gothard’s teachings influenced his family, at one point writing the following online:

“Me, I remember the beatings and the fighting and yelling and insane rules and all the Bill Gothard (expletive) and then trancing out . (expletive) . I’m still tranced out.”

Gothard himself commented on the murders after the fact, saying that Matthew and his family only used his homeschooling curriculum for “several years” and that his curriculum is “all built around the Sermon on the Mount.” Gothard added that Matthew’s problem was that “he rejected the curriculum,” pointing to Matthew’s love of rock music. “The music we listen to is a powerful force,” Gothard suggested.

While Matthew’s family did not regularly attend New Life Church, his mother Loretta considered Ted Haggard — the disgraced evangelical celebrity who founded and pastored New Life — to be her “favorite pastor.” The Murray family gave money to New Life and Matthew and his mother went to a conference at the church 4 years prior to the attack.

On the day of the attacks, Matthew drove to the YWAM facility in Arvada in the middle of the night. After asking if he could stay the night at the facility (and being denied), Matthew pulled out his guns and opened fire. He killed 24-year-old Tiffany Johnson and 26-year-old Philip Crouse, as well as wounded 24-year-old Dan Griebenow and 22-year-old Charlie Blanch. Matthew then drove to New Life Church. Around 1 pm, Matthew began his second attack, spraying bullets at church members leaving after church service. He struck and killed two sisters, 18-year-old Stephanie Works and 16-year-old Rachel Works — who happened to be homeschooled themselves. He also wounded the sisters’ father, 51-year-old David Works, as well as 40-year-old Judy Purcell and 59-year-old Larry Bourbannais.

Matthew’s shooting rampage finally came to a halt when Jeanne Assam, a volunteer security guard at the church, managed to shoot and wound Matthew. Matthew then shot and killed himself.

In May 2008, Matthew’s parents appeared on James Dobson’s radio show. His father Ronald said they had “no idea he had ownership of weapons or any plan,” blaming the shootings on his son’s “depth of bitterness” about his Christian upbringing. That “bitterness” was expressed by Matthew himself in his handwritten “Letter to God” found in his car after the attacks. In the letter, Matthew wrote,

“The more I read your stupid book, the more I pray, the more I reach out to Christians for help, the more hurt and abused I get.”

Following Matthew’s rampage and suicide, Kevin Swanson (Director of CHEC, which the Murray family were members of) did a radio broadcast on the situation entitled, “Should Pastors Pack?”

Boy in Mentor, Ohio

In September 2013, a 17-year-old homeschooled teenager made an online threat of violence against Mentor High School in Mentor, Ohio.

In September 2013, a 17-year-old homeschooled teenager made an online threat of violence against Mentor High School in Mentor, Ohio.

The teenager had posted a Facebook status on September 12, talking about killing “a lot of people at Mentor High today.” He was homeschooled and not a student at the high school. A Facebook friend of his saw the status update and immediately told her mom. Her mom reported the threat.

Mentor Police immediately launched an investigation. The teenager was taken into custody for questioning. The boy’s defense attorney, Mark Ziccarelli, said that the boy made the threat as a cry for help. Ziccarelli argued for the boy’s defense in Juvenile Court, saying that, “Part of his problem was socialization,” laying blame on how the boy was homeschooled without sufficient social outlets. Ziccarelli pointed out that, since the boy had been in juvenile detention, he had “learned socialization skills just by being around kids his age.”

The teenager was originally charged with two counts of inducing panic. This was changed to a felony count of making false alarms. It was recommended that he stay in juvenile detention indefinitely to take advantage of a rehabilitation program.

Jonathan McMullen

In September 2001, 14-year-old Jonathan McMullen from Elgin, Arizona killed his adopted mother and attempted to kill his adopted father and biological brother.

In September 2001, 14-year-old Jonathan McMullen from Elgin, Arizona killed his adopted mother and attempted to kill his adopted father and biological brother.

Kristina and Andrew McMullen, Jonathan’s adopted parents, were a “devoutly religious family” who had “faith in God and Jesus Christ.” They moved to Elgin a few years prior to the attack on account of health problems (which the higher elevation of Elgin alleviated). They took Jonathan and his two biological brothers in as foster children in 1999 and then adopted them slightly more than a year prior to the attack. The McMullens had one biological son, 2 years older than Jonathan. 56-year-old Kristina, a professional teacher, homeschooled all the boys.

According to reports, Jonathan “was a good kid.” In his early childhood he attended Elgin Elementary School and was described as a “quiet, shy, polite” kid who “was never in [the superintendent's] office for discipline.” But he suffered from fetal alcohol syndrome (FASD), a disorder that “can cause tremendous behavioral problems.” The “distorted reasoning of the brain affected by FASD” has been blamed as a cause of Jonathan’s actions.

On the night of the murder, Jonathan and a friend of his were talking about using his mother’s car to drive to a nearby city. Jonathan was afraid they might get caught taking the car, so he decided to shoot his family.  His original plan was to kill them with knives, but he decided on a rifle instead so they “would die more quickly.” He threw something at his mother’s door to wake her and, when she came out, he shot her 5 times. Woken by the sound of the gunshots, his father and brother came into his room. Jonathan shot his brother twice and his father once. Kristina died. His 55-year-old father Andrew and 12-year-old brother Jack were airlifted to Tucson Medical Center and survived. Jonathan’s 9-year-old brother Joe was unharmed as he was spending the night at a friend’s house.

Jonathan was charged with first degree murder of his mother and attempted first degree murder of his father and brother. In December 2002, Jonathan pleaded guilty to reckless manslaughter.

Michael Mason

In June 2012, Michael Mason — a 16-year-old boy from Willard, Ohio — shot his mother in the back and left her for dead.

In June 2012, Michael Mason — a 16-year-old boy from Willard, Ohio — shot his mother in the back and left her for dead.

Michael shot his mom Melissa around 11:30 am one morning. He then fled his home and ran to a friend’s house. Melissa was fortunately able to call 911. Michael was arrested 1 1/2 hours later after a flurry of law enforcement officers descended upon the home.

Michael had a tough family life and a history of acting out. A public defender, David Longo, also said that “Mason has some psychiatric issues that haven’t been properly handled.” On a previous occasion Michael stole a car and drove the vehicle from Ohio to Grand Rapids, Michigan. He also had trouble in public schools, which ultimately resulted in him being removed from the Willard City School system to be homeschooled by his mother. Peers described him as “always kind of quiet” and someone who “wrote poems to girls”; they did not expect to “see the violence in him.”

Melissa was rushed by a medical helicopter to a nearby hospital. She survived and was in good condition by the night after the attack.

Michael was charged with attempted murder. He originally pleaded “not guilty by reason of insanity,” but a clinical psychologist determined he was not insane at the time of the attempted murder. In May of 2013, he was sentenced to 7 years in prison and 5 years of probation after his prison sentence.

David Ludwig

On November 13, 2005, 18-year-old David Ludwig from Lancaster County, Pennsylvania murdered his girlfriend's parents.

On November 13, 2005, 18-year-old David Ludwig from Lancaster County, Pennsylvania murdered his girlfriend’s parents. “It was an intentional murder, I intended to shoot them, and I did.”

Both David and his 14-year-old girlfriend, Kara Beth Borden, were Christian homeschoolers. The two teenagers attended church, went to youth group, and were homeschooled in Christian families. Their families were “active in a local home-schooling support network” and originally met each other at a homeschool support group. Kara’s family also had a home church. The teenagers were active on MySpace and left each other coded love messages on their profiles.

On November 13, 2005, Michael Borden, Kara’s father, asked David to come over after Kara told her father that she and David planned to get married. (Michael was additionally upset because Kara had stayed out all night the previous night with David.) Michael’s response was “Like hell you will!” Upon David’s arrival, Michael told David he could no longer see his daughter. Having anticipated this response and coming prepared with weaponry, David shot Michael in the back as he was heading to the front door. David then sought out Kara’s mother Cathryn and shot her while she sat in a chair. David then looked for Kara but could not find her. He got in his car and started to drive away when he saw Kara running down the road towards him. She got in the car and told David she desired to “get as far away as possible, get married, and start a new life.”

David and Kara were apprehended the following day after a high-speed car chase. In June of 2006, David pleaded guilty to murder and was sentenced to life in prison without parole. Kara was deemed a victim and not charged. She is now — along with her sister and brother — living with relatives in another state.

David and Kara’s story shocked both local and wider homeschooling communities. A homeschooling mother who knew the Borden family well commented that,

What makes this so difficult to understand is that these children were somewhat sheltered from drugs and all that and yet they get into this… We’re just assuming that we’re home-schooling and our kids are OK, and now this. They’re not all OK.

The late Kim Anderson, a popular homeschool forensics coach, wrote about the murders in 2005 for the Christian website Crosswalk. She noted that violence arose “from the sector in which we would least expect to find them: the close-knit community of Christian home-schooling families.” Alex Harris was also moved to write about the murders on The Rebelution, a Christian ministry directed at youth. Alex cautioned against considering David and Kara “newsworthy aberrations,” noting how “un-abnormal they are; how similar they are to people I know; how similar they are to me.” Alex concludes with saying,

Being homeschooled did not prevent this tragedy; growing up in a Christian environment did not prevent this tragedy.

Christian Longo

Christian Longo drowned his wife and 3 children in different Oregon rivers in December of 2001.

On December 19, 2001, the body of a 4-year-old boy was found floating in a waterway off the Pacific Ocean in Waldport, Oregon. Two days later, divers found the body of the boy’s 3-year-old sister in the same area. Five days later, the bodies of the boy’s 2-year-old sister as well as his mother were also found. Their father, Christian Longo, had murdered all of them.

Christian Longo is the oldest of two children born to Joy Longo. Joy divorced Christian’s father when he was four and remarried Joe Longo. The family was Catholic but converted to Jehovah’s Witnesses when Christian was 10. According to Joe, church activities became a “focal point” of their “family life.” Christian wet his bed until he was 10. When he did not get good grades in public school, Christian hacked into the school’s computer system to change his grades. As a result, and because Christian was “easily distracted in school,” his parents withdrew him and homeschooled him through high school. According to Christian’s in-laws, however, the homeschooling was — in reality — “inadequate to prepare him for life in a world that wasn’t a warm cocoon of like-minded believers.” Christian never graduated high school, though he “dedicated himself to the door-to-door work of the Jehovah Witnesses.”

The Longo family was conservative. They taught their kids that “outside the cloister of the Witnesses, the devil was waiting.” Joe and Joy did not allow Christian to date — even after he turned 18. As a result, he left home a week after his 18th birthday. He married Mary-Jane, also a Jehovah’s Witness. He robbed a jewelry store he worked at and began using false names and stolen credit cards, even stealing a test car. He forged $30,000 worth of checks and then moved with his wife and three children — all born between 1997 and 1999 — from Michigan to Ohio. As authorities pursued him due to his criminal activities, he stole a van and moved his family once again to Oregon. Knowing he was about to be caught by authorities, he drowned his wife and 3 children in different Oregon rivers in December of 2001. He justified this in his mind with the idea that he was “sending his family to a better place.” Christian then fled to Mexico. He was placed on the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted Fugitives list in January 2002.

In Cancun, Mexico, Christian once again used a false name, though this time the name of a real person — Michael Finkel, a writer for the New York Times. A few weeks later, on January 14, 2002, he was arrested. In 2003, Christian was convicted and sentenced to death. He is still on death row. Michael Finkel, the man Christian impersonated, wrote a story about him for Esquire in 2009.

A movie is currently being made about Christian Longo’s life, starring James Franco and Jonah Hill. James Franco will be playing the role of Christian.

Son of Marilyn and Charles Long

A young boy from Burlington, Colorado was 12 years old in 2011 when he murdered his parents, Marilyn and Charles Long (pictured), as well as wounded 2 of his siblings.

After building an imaginative city in a sandpit near his home, a young boy from Burlington, Colorado went on a shocking killing rampage in his home.

The boy was 12 years old in 2011 when he murdered his parents, Marilyn and Charles Long, as well as wounded his 9-year-old brother Ethan and 5-year-old sister Sarah with a knife. (The boy’s name has never been released to the public.) The Long family was reported to be “a large, loving and deeply religious clan.” They attended two churches, one on Saturday and one on Sunday. The father Charles was part of a Seventh-Day Adventist prayer group and confessed love for both the Bible and Ted Nugent. The mother Marilyn ran the children’s ministry at Evangelical Free Church. They had 7 children, 4 of whom were already adults and 3 of whom were being homeschooled.

The boy himself loved building projects with toy trucks and other wooden objects in a nearby sandpit. He helped with cleaning at church and used money from cleaning to buy Legos. His grandmother described him as “loving and caring,” and said his parents raised him and his siblings to be “God fearing, responsible children.” The boy, however, was said to be lonely and isolated, with his main social activities outside of homeschooling revolving “around the church to which his folks were so devoted.”

In March 2011, the boy was charged with two counts of murder and two counts of first-degree assault. The following September, he pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 7 years in juvenile detention. After the sentencing, his oldest brother Jacob said, “He is dead to me.” The young siblings that the boy attacked have recovered and were adopted by their aunt and uncle.

Matthew Liewald

On September 26, 2011, 15-year-old Matthew Liewald (center) shot his father and stepmother to death.

On September 26, 2011, 15-year-old Matthew Liewald (center) called 911. The North Carolina teenager said he shot his father and stepmother.

Matthew was being homeschooled by his father, 43-year-old Christian Hans Liewald. Christian called the homeschool “Liewald Alternative School.” Christian was married to 24-year-old Cassie Meghan Buckaloo.  According to neighbors, “Matt rarely came out of the house and the family kept to themselves.” Christian, Matthew, and Cassie were “beloved members” of Morningstar United Methodist Church, according to their church’s pastor. The pastor described Christian and Cassie as “generous and loving.”

Matthew’s birth mother, however, described Christian as “hyper controlling and wouldn’t allow her to see her friends.” Christian had several prior wives, all of whom said they “suffer physical abuse” at his hands. Matthew himself said he “was afraid of his father,” was physically abused, and forcefully confined to his room. He had wanted to run away from his home, but his father allegedly told him that, if he ever ran away, he “would find him.” In 2007, Matthew personally witnessed his father shoot his neighbor in the chest during an argument.

On the day of the murders, Matthew waited until his father and stepmother came home and then ambushed them. He shot Cassie 8 times and Christian 4 times. He then called 911 and said he needed help, refusing at first to say why and hanging up. He then called 911 a second time, saying that he had shot his parents. He told the police that he would be “sitting on a nearby street corner waiting for officers to arrive.”

Matthew was charged with two counts of murder, armed robbery, and attempted auto theft. He pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 300 to 378 months in prison.

Adam Lanza

Adam Lanza killed 20 young school children as well as 6 adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newton, Connecticut.

In December 2012, 20-year-old Adam Lanza shot his 52-year-old mother Nancy in the face and then drove her car to Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newton, Connecticut, where he killed 20 young school children as well as 6 adults. He then took his own life.

As a child, Adam attended Sandy Hook Elementary himself. After continuing in the Newton public school system for a few years, Nancy “pulled her son out of school to home-school him” by 4th or 5th grade. (Adam began exhibiting disturbing thoughts of violence in the 5th grade.) But then he was put back into the Newton school district by middle school. He spent part of 7th and 8th grade in a private school, St. Rose of Lima School.

While in the public school system, Adam was assigned a psychologist and “counselors, teachers and security officers were also keeping an eye on him.”  Adam was having problems at school; Nancy described her son to friends as “brilliant, but disabled.”

Adam’s disabilities had been identified early on. By age 6, Adam was diagnosed with sensory integration disorder; by middle school, he was diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome. Despite these diagnoses, however, Nancy allegedly was angry at Adam’s school for “failing her son” and “refused to deal with them anymore” after she “pleaded for better services” for him. Adam was prescribed medication, but he refused to take them.

The former director of security at Newton School District said that, while Adam was in public school in 2007, Adam was “completely the opposite” of a killer; in fact, the school was “worried about him being the victim or that he could hurt himself.” But part way through his sophomore year in high school, his mother pulled him out a second time to homeschool him because “she was unhappy with the school district’s plans for her son.” From 8th grade on, his mother taught him humanities and his father taught him sciences. Nancy did, however, coordinate “the home curriculum with Newtown High School to insure that Adam could graduate rather than simply get a G.E.D.”

Life at home for the Lanza family was similarly chaotic. Nancy separated from her husband Peter in 2001 (when Adam was 9) and they divorced in 2009 (when Adam was 17). After the divorce, Nancy was “living alone in a big house” and purchased a number of guns. She “had five weapons registered to her,” including “a Glock handgun, a Sig Sauer handgun and a Bushmaster rifle.” Nancy not only allowed Adam access to these weapons, but encouraged his interest in them. When police searched Nancy’s house after the massacre, they found a check Nancy wrote to Adam from the previous Christmas; it was for him “to buy a CZ 83 pistol.” References to pedophilia were found on a computer hard drive alleged to belong to Adam and elsewhere around his house.

At the age of 20, when he went on his killing spree, Adam had few (if any friends) and had no job. Not long before he went on his massacre, Nancy — while frequenting a nearby bar — had expressed to a friend that “her troubled young son was spiraling out of control.”

The Sandy Hook massacre is considered the second-worst school shooting in U.S. history.

Joshua Komisarjevsky

Joshua Komisarjevsky (right) was homeschooled under Bill Gothard's ATI curriculum.

According to friends and family, Joshua Komisarjevsky was “a brilliant but troubled young man” who was “very loving, very caring.”

Joshua was adopted at two-weeks-old by fundamentalist Christians. His father Benedict has been described as “critical, cold, and controlling”; the mother Jude, “quite submissive.”

Jude homeschooled Joshua using material from the Advanced Training Institute (ATI), the homeschooling curriculum developed by Inge Cannon (the former Director of HSLDA’s National Center for Home Education) for Bill Gothard’s Institute in Basic Life Principles. Jude said that she and her husband Benedict “had tried to instill Christian values in the boy by pulling him out of public school and educating him at home,” but he had nonetheless “wallowed in depression” due to the death of his grandfather a year earlier and had “come under ‘satanic’ influences through other youths” in his hometown of Cheshire, Connecticut. Jude said her son “was easily manipulated and controlled by others,” and she recalled going into his room at one point and “he had written over and over again on the walls: ‘death’ and ‘die’ and ‘suicide.’”

At some point during his childhood, Joshua was raped by “someone he trusted,” allegedly a teenage child that the Komisarjevsky family had fostered. Several years later, Joshua molested his younger sister Naomi. The church that the Komisarjevsky family attended “rejected psychology, psychiatry, or any kind of mental health treatment, and so did Komisarjevsky’s parents.” When Benedict and Jude discovered the sexual abuse in the family, they did not seek any mental health treatment for either Joshua or Naomi.

Right before turning 15, Joshua set fire to a gas station. Since police recognized he had serious mental health issues, he was briefly hospitalized in a mental health hospital and given medication. However, his father did not want him on any medication, and instead sent him to a “faith-based” treatment program.

On July 23, 2007, Joshua and his friend Steven Hayes broke into the home of the Petit family — William, Jennifer, and their daughters, 17-year-old Haley and 11-year-old Michaela. Joshua and Steven held the family hostage for hours. They forced Jennifer to drive to the family’s nearby bank and withdraw $15,000 — on the threat of killing the entire family otherwise. They raped and strangled Jennifer and then sexually assaulted Michaela. William was severely beaten and tied to a post in the basement. Joshua and Steven then doused the house with gasoline and set fire to the house. Haley and Michaela died from smoke inhalation. William managed to escape.

Joshua had specifically targeted the Petit family. A day prior to the killings, he noticed Jennifer and Michaela at a grocery store. He followed them from the store home and made plans to come back the next day with Hayes.

Joshua was found guilty of murder. Evidence of “his strict Christian upbringing, his disturbed behavior as a youth and his parents’ decision not to get traditional psychological treatment for him because of their Christian beliefs” was a significant matter of discussion during his trial. In January 2012, Joshua was sentenced to death. His accomplice, Steven Hayes, was also sentenced to death.

Israel Keyes

Israel Keyes has been referred to as "the most notorious serial killer in a generation."

Israel Keyes has been referred to as “the most notorious serial killer in a generation” and “the most meticulous serial killer of modern times.” He also was homeschooled.

Israel was born in 1978 in Richmond, Utah. His parents were fundamentalist Mormons and homeschooled him and his siblings. When his family moved to Stevens County, Washington, they attended a Christian Identity church called “The Ark,” known for its racism and anti-Semitism. While attending the Ark and living in Washington, the Keyes family became neighbors and friends with the aforementioned Kehoe family. Israel, Chevie, and Cheyne were childhood friends who remained friends through their teenage years.

Israel’s criminal activities allegedly began around 1996 when, at age 18, he raped a young girl in Oregon. He intended to kill her, but eventually decided against it. He then began a series of burglaries and robberies. In 2007, Israel created Keyes Construction in Alaska and became a construction contractor. Through his business, he traveled around the U.S. and planned and committed an alarming number of murders. His killing tactics were indeed meticulous: “he would choose a random victim in a remote location, murder the person, and leave,” and “he only killed strangers.”  He financed these trips by robbing banks. He had “murder kits” — with items like shovels, plastic bags, money, weapons, ammunition and bottles of Drano — “to help dispose of the bodies.” After his murders, he would bury his kits. His kits have been discovered in Alaska and New York, but he claims he also buried some in Washington, Wyoming, Texas, and Arizona.

In February 2012, Israel kidnapped an 18-year-old barista named Samantha Koenig in Anchorage. The abduction was caught on video by the coffee shop’s surveillance system and a massive search began for her. Unfortunately, Samantha was killed not long after the abduction. Israel raped her and strangled her to death, then left her body in a shed and went on a 2-week-long cruise. When he returned after the cruise, he then dismembered her body and dumped it in a lake. Israel was finally caught because on March 16, 2012, he used Samantha’s debit card while in Lufkin, Texas.

While being interrogated, Israel confessed to eight murders. He also said he studied the tactics of other serial killers but “was careful to point out” that “he used his own ideas, those of other famous killers.” He added that, after murdering, he “liked to return to Alaska and then follow the news of his murders on the Internet.”

On December 2, 2012, Israel committed suicide in his Anchorage jail cell by cutting his wrists and strangling himself with a bed sheet. He did not leave a straightforward suicide note, but rather a four-page “Ode to Murder.”

To this day, the FBI is “still having trouble identifying many of his victims.” They have created a timeline of his criminal activities from what they know. As of August 12, 2013,

Federal authorities released new information on Keyes, revealing that they suspect him to have a final death toll of eleven victims, all killed from 2001 to 2012, and that there are presumably other victims in Canada (where he sought out prostitutes) and other countries.

Cheyne Kehoe

Cheyne Kehoe was sentenced in 1998 to more than 24 years in prison for attempted murder.

Like his older brother Chevie, Cheyne was homeschooled and inculcated into the white supremacy beliefs of his parents. Cheyne Kehoe was sentenced in 1998 to more than 24 years in prison for attempted murder.

Despite his own extremism, Cheyne ultimately became disturbed by his older brother’s violence after his brother “began talking of killing their parents and his own wife,” as well as “taking a sexual interest in Cheyne’s wife.” Cheyne was the one who turned his brother in to the authorities.

After his involvement in the police shootout in 1997 with his brother Chevie and his connection to the Aryan Peoples Republic (considered a terrorist cell), Cheyne was featured on America’s Most Wanted. He later turned himself in to authorities. Cheyne was sentenced in 1998 to more than 24 years in prison for attempted murder. This sentence was reduced to 11 years because he had turned his brother in as well.

Upon being released from prison, Cheyne moved with his father Kirby from Washington to Arizona. Despite being banned from owning firearms as convicted felons, they began stockpiling weapons. Cheyne and his father Kirby were consequently arrested again in September of 2013 on “federal firearms charges,” after a raid on their sprawling ranch in Arizona turned up “dozens of weapons and thousands of rounds of ammunition.”

Chevie Kehoe

Chevie Kehoe is one of the most notorious white supremacists in the United States.

Chevie Kehoe is the oldest of eight sons born to Kirby and Gloria Kehoe. He is one of the most notorious white supremacists in the United States.

He was named after his father’s favorite brand of automobile. Born in Orange Park, Florida in 1973, Chevie’s family moved in 1985 to Stevens County, Washington. They lived there for years in “isolation and poverty.” Chevie was enrolled in a public junior high in 1987 and was an honor student who dreamed of joining the Air Force. But his parents withdrew both him and his younger brother Cheyne one year later to homeschool them. His father saw school as a threat, and his parents urged him “to become a white warrior instead.”

Chevie’s family raised him with extreme anti-government and white supremacist views. They pressured him and his brother to bow to their beliefs, resisting their children’s desires to have driver’s licenses and Social Security numbers. Eventually, Chevie himself became a self-identified white supremacist. He formed a plan to take down the U.S. government with a militia for the “Aryan People’s Republic.” He married two women, claiming that polygamy furthered the Aryan race. By the age of 24,

Mr. Kehoe was one of the most notorious white supremacists in the United States, having engaged in a kidnapping, three robberies, three murders and two police shootouts, all in a quest to establish an Aryan republic for white people.

In 1995, Chevie and his father Kirby robbed a man in Tilly, Arkansas. The man, William Mueller, was a friend and an unlicensed gun dealer. A year later, Chevie and another individual robbed the Mueller family again, but this time tortured and murdered William, his wife Nancy, and his 8-year-old stepdaughter Sarah. They dumped the bodies in the Illinois Bayou. The bodies were later discovered by a woman who hooked a shoe and bone while fishing. In 1997, Chevie and his brother Cheyne were involved in a shootout with police officers in Ohio, video from which aired on World’s Scariest Police Shootouts. In 1998, Chevie pled guilty to felonious assault, attempted murder, and carrying a concealed weapon relating to the shootout. Finally, in 1999, Chevie was convicted of murdering William Mueller and his family. He received 3 life sentences in prison without parole. Chevie’s own mother Gloria and younger brother Cheyne testified against him.

In the only interview Chevie gave after his 1997 arrest, he blamed his family for his life path. He said,

In my entire life, my dad always hated this or hated that and never gave me something to love or something to work toward.

Daniel Paul Jones

On December 5, 2012, 19-year-old Daniel Paul Jones from Longview, Texas, along with two other individuals, murdered Ronnie Joe Gamage Jr.

On December 5, 2012, 19-year-old Daniel Paul Jones from Longview, Texas, along with two other individuals, murdered Ronnie Joe Gamage Jr.

The act was gruesome. Daniel and the others lured the mentally disabled Gammage into the woods, beat him, cut his throat, and then set his dead body on fire. The victim’s body was abandoned in a pasture and was not found until December 19, two weeks later.

Daniel was the adopted son of Richard Jones, the pastor of Calvary Baptist Church in Longview. According to news reports, Daniel had been “a straight-A student at Christian Heritage School” and had “no disciplinary problems.” He was “a key member of the Christian Heritage School soccer and basketball teams.” After high school, he was briefly enrolled at Kilgore College.

Daniel had been homeschooled until 6th grade, when he was placed in Christian Heritage School because his adopted mother had grown tired of homeschooling him due to both lack of energy and problems with Daniel. Daniel’s brother (also adopted), on the other hand, was homeschooled straight through high school graduation. The Jones family was active in their local homeschool group.

After pleading guilty, Daniel was sentenced to life imprisonment without parole

Andrew Jondle

Andrew Jondle, left, was 20 years old in 2010 when he used his own parents' scythe and a piece of pipe to brutally murder them.

Andrew Jondle, left, was 20 years old in 2010 when he used his own parents’ scythe and a piece of pipe to brutally murder them.

The Jondle family moved from the Silicon Valley in California to Polk County, Oregon in 2000. After 25 years of working as a software engineer, David Jondle and his wife Marilyn were “tired of corporate life” and wanted to pursue organic farming. Inspired by Joel Salatin’s book “You Can Farm,” they settled into a 210-acre sustainable farm. (Joel Salatin at one point agreed to teach the Jondles how to farm.) They called it Abundant Life Farm.

Other reasons provoked the move to Oregon beyond the pursuit of an idyllic farming life. Andrew’s parents were concerned about raising him and his siblings (Wayne and Luke) in a “corrupting” place like California. The rural Northwest “felt more like God’s country to them.” So they made the move, and Marilyn homeschooled all three of the children.

Wayne, the oldest son, did not like the farming life due to suffering terrible hay fever; as soon as he was old enough, he joined the military. The middle son Luke got married and relocated to Salem. Andrew was left alone with his parents. He was “bored to tears” with farming, but reportedly intended to take over the business.

At some point, however, Andrew — barely out of his teens — began a sexual relationship with a 46-year-old woman named Cindy Lou Beck. Cindy Lou had a history of criminal activity: felony convictions for theft and criminal mistreatment. Needing money to pay rent, Cindy Lou used “psychic channeling” to convince Andrew that he had to kill his parents. According to reports, Andrew’s “intellectual capacities were limited, which left him vulnerable to manipulation.” Cindy Lou told him that “animal or tree spirits” told her that his parents “needed to die.” He drove to his parents’ farm, tricked his father into coming outside, and then attacked him with a scythe. When his mother came out and saw the attack, Andrew beat her to death with a pipe. His parents’ bodies were discovered the next day by a water delivery person. When police arrived, they described the scene as “gruesome.”

Andrew was charged with aggravated murder, murder, and burglary. In 2011, he was sentenced to at least 50 years in prison.

Robert Holguin and accomplice

On February 26, 2005, 13-year-old Robert Holguin and a 12-year-old accomplice used a skateboard to murder 87-year-old Gerald O'Malley.

On February 26, 2005, 13-year-old Robert Holguin and a 12-year-old accomplice (whose name was never publicized) used a skateboard to murder 87-year-old Gerald O’Malley.

The event, dubbed the “Skateboard Murder,” stunned the town of San Luis Obispo, California. Gerald was described as “a slight and hobbled man who used a walker on bad days and a cane on good ones.” Robert and his accomplice attacked the elderly man in his trailer after taunting him about stealing his car. Robert hit Gerald twice in the back of the head with a skateboard; when that failed to kill, he struck him three more times. The two kids drove off with Gerald’s 1995 Ford Explorer, later abandoning it.

Both kids came from troubled families. Their fathers were convicted felons. Their mothers were divorced and struggled financially due to the fathers’ failure to pay child support. Robert — who has 6 siblings — was enrolled in public school a year prior to the attack. He had never been in trouble with the law before. Robert’s mother said, however, he had recently made “new friends” and was experiencing “mood swings.” She shared those concerns with his schools’ administration and, at some point after that, withdrew Robert from public school. At the time of the murder, both Robert and his accomplice were homeschooled in one form or another. News reports said they were “home-schooled or enrolled in a continuation program” as well as  “associated with the Templeton Unified School District home-school program.”

Robert was charged with murder, elder abuse, burglary, and car theft. He was sentenced to a minimum of 7 years in a state detention facility. His accomplice was only charged with burglary.

Joseph Hall

In May 2011, 10-year-old Joseph Hall shot his father Jeffrey at point blank range with his father's own gun.

In May 2011, 10-year-old Joseph Hall shot his father Jeffrey at point blank range with his father’s own gun. The murder made national headlines not only because of Joseph’s young age but also because the boy’s father was a Neo-Nazi and a regional director of the National Socialist Movement, a white separatist group.

Joseph’s home life has been described as extremely troubling. His parents divorced when he was young and their custody battle raged for years. He experienced years of abuse, being beaten regularly by his dad. Child protective services were called to his family’s home 23 times, beginning when Joseph was only 3 months old. Unfortunately, no abuse could be substantiated.

He began experiencing behavioral and emotional issues and learning challenges in pre-school. His father indoctrinated him into his white supremacy beliefs. Both in public school and at home, Joseph lashed out. He reportedly “hit his sisters and his stepmother, stabbed classmates at school with pencils and once tried to strangle a teacher with a telephone cord.” With “a history of severe aggressive behavior,” he was kicked out of nine schools. Joseph was ultimately withdrawn from public school to be homeschooled. His father was the one to homeschool him, despite having only completed 11th grade himself.

Jeffrey Hall, the father, was part of the National Socialist Movement, a neo-Nazi organization labeled a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center. Jeffrey educated his son on how to “patrol” the Mexican-American border and how to operate guns.

Joseph decided to murder his father because he thought his father was going to divorce his stepmother and break up their family. After the murder, while he was being interrogated, Joseph said that, “I didn’t want to do it. It’s just that he hurts us.”

In 2013, Joseph was found guilty of murder. He was sentenced by the Riverside County Superior Court to 10 years in a state juvenile correction facility.

Nehemiah Griego

On an early morning in January of 2013, 15-year-old Nehemiah Griego fatally shot his father, mother, younger sister, and two of his brothers.

On an early morning in January of 2013, 15-year-old Nehemiah Griego shot his mother and younger brother to death in bed, walked into another room and killed his two young sisters, then patiently waited five hours for his father to return home from an overnight volunteer shift at a rescue mission. Nehemiah proceeded to kill his father as well.

The Griego family was well known in their home city of Albuquerque, New Mexico. Greg, Nehemiah’s father, was a former pastor at the city’s Calvary Chapel. He was a “born-again gang member” who lived a public life of service: ministering at the local fire department, at a detention center, and through the prison ministry run by Calvary Chapel. Greg and his wife Sarah had ten children. Their family was involved in the local homeschooling community. In fact, the Calvary Chapel that Greg pastored at hosted New Mexico’s annual homeschooling conventions.

Sarah was a stay-at-home mother who homeschooled Nehemiah and his siblings. From a young age, Nehemiah had a love for music. He became a talented musician, playing guitar, drums, and bass at church services at his family’s Calvary Chapel. He was highly involved with the church, going on mission trips to Mexico and helping with youth ministry. In the tradition of the men of his family, he wanted to service in the military.

Unfortunately, Nehemiah had a dark side as well. He long had violent fantasies about mass killings followed by his own suicide. Those fantasies were what ultimately crystallized into his carried-out plan to kill his family and others. In all, he killed his father Greg (51), his mother Sarah, (40), and his siblings Zephania (9), Jael (5), and Angelina (2). He was proud of his deadly accomplishments, even texting a picture of his mother’s dead body to his 12-year-old girlfriend. After the murders, he reloaded his weapons and drove away in his family’s van. He intended to also kill his girlfriend’s family and then drive to a local Wal-Mart and go on a rampage there. Accounts are unclear why, but he instead drove to his family’s Calvary Chapel and told a church security guard that his family was dead. The security guard drove the boy home and then called 911.

Nehemiah ultimately confessed to the murders. In February of 2013, a jury charged him with five counts of first-degree murder and three counts of child abuse.

On January 23, 2013, surviving relatives of the Griego family issued a statement about Nehemiah, saying they were “deeply concerned about the portrayal in some media of Nehemiah as some kind of a monster.” While they admitted that “something went terribly wrong,” they stressed that “There is so much more to the Nehemiah we know than what the media is portraying. We know him as a bright, curious, and incredibly talented young man. He was a brother, nephew, grandson, and cousin.”

Christopher Gribble

On October 4, 2009, 19-year-old Christopher Gribble (center) and three accomplices used a knife and a machete to kill Kimberly Cates and severely maim her daughter Jaime.

On October 4, 2009, 19-year-old Christopher Gribble (center) and three accomplices entered the Mont Vernon, New Hampshire home of Kimberly Cates and used a knife and a machete to kill her and severely maim her daughter Jaime.

Christopher was homeschooled by his mother Tamara and participated in Boy Scouts. His father Richard said that he and his wife “tried to teach their son right from wrong” and aimed “to instill a set of values in him.” During Christopher’s trial, more than one witness “praised the Gribble’s dedication to their sons.” Christopher, however, claimed that he was abused by his mother so extremely that he “wanted to kill her.” Christopher said that, as a child, she would “regularly pin him to the couch and told him not to make any noise while she popped acne and other sores on his back and legs.” His mother admitted in court that she had spanked him so hard when he was 5 that he wet himself and she broke the spoon used during the spanking.

Acquaintances of Christopher said he was “awkward, laughed nervously and just could not pick up on social cues.” His father Richard also stated that, though Christopher was “intelligent and eloquent,” he had “trouble telling when someone wanted to stop talking to him or picking up on other cues.”

Described as a thrill killing, the murder became known widely as “The Mont Vernon Murder.” It was gruesome, with Kimberly hacked to death with 32 blows to her head and torso; Jaime suffered 18 wounds herself. Christopher himself used a knife, while one of his accomplices used a machete. When later interrogated about the murder, Christopher was excited to talk about it. Donna Brown, Christopher’s attorney, said that, “Something rose up from inside him to the surface and could not be controlled.”

Christopher entered a plea for insanity. He personally blamed his homeschooling upbringing for his actions, saying that he “wanted to get out, and have a real social life.” However, on March 25, 2011, a jury rejected that plea and Christopher was sentenced to life in prison without parole. Christopher had three other accomplices, who are all serving prison time as well — one of them, Steven Spader, is also serving a life sentence.

Kishon Green

In February 2008, 34-year-old Kishon Green stabbed his 10-year-old son and his son's 13-year-old half-brother to death.

In February 2008, 34-year-old Kishon Green stabbed his 10-year-old son and his son’s 13-year-old half-brother to death.

Kishon’s parents, James and Rachel Green, said they tried to teach Kishon as a kid to “live based on the Bible’s teachings” and had “love and affection” for him. Growing up, Kishon had difficulties with school, his IQ being 70 — “the generally recognized borderline for mental retardation.” As a young child, he ranked low on tests in elementary and middle public schools. He eventually was withdrawn from school and homeschooled for his high school years, eventually receiving his high school diploma as a homeschooler.

Kishon had a long history of cocaine and alcohol abuse. He personally blamed the murders on his drug use, explaining that, “I have a heart. I’m not a cold-blooded killer.”

Three weeks before the killings, Kishon had moved back in with the boys’ mother, Tiffany Courtney. The day of the murders, he had borrowed Tiffany’s car for a job interview and then picked up the boys at school. He killed the boys, hid their bodies in a closet and a bathroom, and then proceeded to pick up Tiffany from work. After getting in an argument with her, he attacked her as well, stabbing her repeatedly as well as striking her with a baseball bat. He smoked a cigarette, washed his hands, changed his clothes, and then left Tiffany’s apartment. Tiffany managed to call 911, still unaware her sons were dead.

In June 2012, despite opposition from prosecutors, a judge ruled there was “overwhelming evidence” that Kishon was “mentally retarded” and thus could not be sentenced to death. The following August, Kishon pled guilty to capital murder of the two boys and attempted murder of his girlfriend. He was sentenced to prison for life without parole.

Jake Evans

In 2012, Jake Evans — a 17-year-old boy from Aledo, Texas — killed his mom and sister.

In 2012, Jake Evans — a 17-year-old boy from Aledo, Texas — called 911. In a calm, monotone voice, he informed the operator that he had riddled his mother and sister with bullets.

According to the local sheriff, the motive for the murders was “a big mystery.” While Jake’s father was out of town and his two older sisters were not home, Jake used a .22 revolver to kill his mother (48) and sister (15). The sheriff noted that Jake “reloaded the .22 revolver at least once during the shootings.” He then called 911 and had a 25-minute phone call with the operator. When the operator asked if he knew they were dead for sure, he simply answers, “Yes.” Chillingly, he adds,

It’s weird, I wasn’t even really angry with them. It just kind of happened. I’ve been kind of planning on killing for a while now… This is probably selfish of me to say, but to me, I felt like they were suffocating me in a way. Obviously, you know, I’m pretty – I guess – evil.

Jake and Mallory (the sister he murdered) were both being homeschooled at the time. Jake was withdrawn from Aledo High School his sophomore year for homeschooling, Mallory from McAnally Intermediate in 2010. His family lived on two acres in a gated community and his mother was herself a public school teacher and assistant principle for 15 years. They attended a Methodist church in Aledo for years, but recently changed to a Catholic church. Former classmates of Jake described the teenager as the “nicest kid,” albeit “quiet, shy.”

In January 2013, Jake gave a written confession to the murders. He said he was inspired by Rob Zombie’s 2007 Halloween remake. He also confessed that he intended to kill not only his mom and younger sister, but also his older sisters and grandparents.

Jake was “charged with capital murder and denied bail.” His case was in limbo in August 2013 due to proposed changes to Texas’s capital murder statute.

Shanna Lynn Dreiling

In May 2002, 16-year-old Shanna Lynn Dreiling from San Diego, California was shot and killed by police after she and an accomplice hijacked a car, abducted two individuals, and shot one of the abductees and left him to die.

In May 2002, 16-year-old Shanna Lynn Dreiling from San Diego, California was shot and killed by police after she and an accomplice — dubbed “a modern-day Bonnie and Clyde” — hijacked a car, abducted two individuals, and shot one of the abductees and left him to die.

Shanna lived in the Ocean Beach area of San Diego. She was described by family and friends as “an outgoing and nurturing teenager who loved shopping and clothes” and “wanted to grow up to be a writer or a school teacher.” At the age of 4 she lived with her grandparents. She did not know her birth father until the age of 10 and her mother was going through a divorce with another man. She was enrolled in public school as a child and was popular there.

At the age of 10, Shanna began exhibiting self-destructive behavior as a result of numerous life traumas, including the loss of her beloved uncle to AIDS, her mom getting re-married, and the loss of her grandfather to lymphoma. During her freshman year in high school, Shanna “had fallen in with the meth crowd.” Her family noticed, however, and put her in counseling and changed schools a number of times.

In 2001, Shanna’s family decided to homeschool her. While this seemed to help for a while, it unfortunately enabled her to rekindle her drug use. Mary Ann Smith, a mentor of Shanna’s, said that, “They shouldn’t have let her do home school. There is too much free time… [Shanna's] mother couldn’t make her stay home and do her work. They shouldn’t have let her out of their sight.”

On the day of her death, Shanna and 25-year-old Aaron Palacios of Mira Mesa went on a crime spree. They kidnapped a college student from San Diego State University at a gas station, hijacked his car, then shot him in the shoulder and left him on the side of the road. (The student survived.) Then they drove to the home of Grant Carr, a biomedical researcher, and held him hostage. They forced Grant into his station wagon and prepared to leave in it. Grant’s wife managed to escape and called 911. As Shannon and Aaron were preparing to leave with Grant, police arrived and shot out the station wagon’s tires. After a 3-hour standoff (during which Grant escaped), Shannon raised a gun to Aaron’s head and was then shot five times by police.

An autopsy report done on Shannon determined she was under the influence of numerous stimulants, including methamphetamine.

In February 2003, Shanna’s family filed a claim of $10,000,000 against San Diego police. Her family alleged the police used excessive force and lacked cause  to shoot the teenager, saying Shanna did not raise her gun until after officers began firing. Aaron, Shanna’s accomplice, was charged the previous month with attempted murder and kidnapping. On May 25, 2003, he was sentenced to 5 consecutive life terms.

Dillon Cossey

In 2007, 14-year-old Dillon Cossey from Plymouth Township, Pennsylvania was arrested for plotting a "Columbine-style attack" on a local high school.

In 2007, 14-year-old Dillon Cossey from Plymouth Township, Pennsylvania was arrested for plotting a “Columbine-style attack” on a local high school.

Dillon was enrolled in public school through middle school. He experienced bullying and frequent torment. As a result, his guidance counselor referred him in 2005 to a support team. This team met with his mother, 46-year-old Michele Cossey, who expressed at the time she was concerned about — among other things — her son’s “military obsession.” In 2006, the district said it “was actively and constructively working with the family until the family chose to withdraw the child from the Colonial School District.”

It was in 7th grade that Michele withdrew Dillon from public school to be homeschooled. During this time, Michele directly helped Dillon obtain weapons — this despite her own expressed concern in 2005 that he had a disconcerting military obsession. She illegally bought Dillon “a .22-caliber handgun, a .22-caliber rifle and a 9 mm semiautomatic rifle with a laser scope.” (His father, 56-year-old Frank Cossey, also attempted to buy him a rifle in 2005.)

While homeschooled, Dillon had very few opportunities to interact with people outside his home. He reportedly was “so totally desocialized, he has no friends.” For his home education, his mother “let him get his lessons off the Web.”

Inspired by the bullying he experienced in public school, Dillon developed a plan to attack a public high school, Plymouth Whitemarsh High School. On his MySpace page, Dillon listed the Columbine school shooting as an interest and paid tribute to that shooting’s masterminds, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold. His massacre plans were prevented when he attempted to recruit another boy. The attempted recruit tipped off the police. When police searched Dillon’s room, they found an entire inventory of weaponry, including not only guns but swords and a bomb-making book.

Dillon was charged with conspiracy and solicitation to commit murder as well as  conspiracy to commit terrorist acts. He was sentenced in December 2007 to up to 7 years in a juvenile treatment center. After his sentencing, Dillon told the judge that, “I am very sorry, but I do want to get help. I also hope that me and my family as a whole can get help.”

Michele Coffey also received multiple charges, including 3 felonies for buying weapons for a minor. The judge that sentenced Dillon sharply reprimanded her, saying Michele instilled in Dillon “a ‘me and Mom against the world’ attitude.”

Hugo Clayton

In November 2003, Hugo Clayton — a 14-year-old boy from Guatemala — stabbed his adopted mother to death over a dispute about working in his adopted father’s painting business.

Hugo’s early childhood in Guatemala was bleak: he was an orphan and spent much of the first 7 years of his life on the streets, then 5 years in an orphanage. He suffered from “major depressive disorder, reactive attachment disorder, generalized anxiety disorder and brief reactive psychosis.” Hugo was adopted in 2002 from Guatemala by 33-year-old Debra Jean Clayton and her husband Keith, a couple living in Lexington County, South Carolina. The Clayton family were raising 8 children (5 biological, 3 adopted), all whom Debra Jean homeschooled while her husband worked. The family was religious.

James Metts, a Lexington County sheriff, reported that the teenager killed Debra Jean because “he was upset about restrictions that were imposed him…for disobeying his parents.” The restrictions were language-based: Hugo was being required by his parents “to speak only English.” His act of disobedience was refusing “to go to work in the family painting business.” Keith said the family was “an army at war with Satan.”

On the day of the murder, Hugo stabbed Debra Jean multiple times with a knife, then hid the knife under his bed. Debra Jean ultimately died from bleeding to death. A memorial service was held for her at the Calvary Chapel in Lexington.

On November 14, 2003, Hugo was charged with murder, the charge later being changed to voluntary manslaughter. In July 2005, Hugo — then 16 — pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 10 years in prison. Keith was at a loss to explain his adopted son’s actions, saying, “He was a good kid when he lived here. It’s just inexplainable.”

Lukah Probzeb Chang

In August 2013, police in Pendleton, Oregon arrested 23-year-old Lukah Probzeb Chang for both murder and attempted murder.

In August 2013, police in Pendleton, Oregon, arrested 23-year-old Lukah Probzeb Chang (also known as Danny Wu) for murdering one young woman and attempting to murder another.

Lukah grew up on a North Carolina farm and his father was the pastor of a Baptist church. He was homeschooled and also attended a private Christian school his senior year from which he was expelled. In 2006, his family moved to Thailand for a year as Christian missionaries to set up a church in a refugee camp. After being expelled from private school his senior year, he joined the military. He served in the Marines at the Marine Corps Base Camp in Pendleton, California but deserted his post as of July 9, 2012. He then moved from his home in Oceanside, California, turning up in Oregon.

On August 14, 2012, Lukah stabbed a 19-year-old motel maid, Amyjane Brandhagen, to death. Almost a year later, on August 9, 2013, he attempted to beat another woman, 53-year-old Karen Lange, to death with a metal pipe. Karen was jogging on a public jogging path. Police were originally at a loss to solve the motel murder; DNA, however, linked the motel room to the pipe used in the jogging attack. Video surveillance from the jogging attack identified Lukah, then known as a homeless person who went by “Danny Wu.” Lukah decided to hide at the Pendleton Convention Center, where two food service workers discovered him in a kitchen and reported him to the police.

During his trial, Lukah never explained why he murdered the first woman and attempted to murder the second woman. According to police, he “did not appear to suffer from mental illness, alcohol or drug problems,” though he “regularly warned people to stay away from him.”

Lukah pleaded guilty to both murder and attempted murder and was sentenced to prison for 35 years to life. He will be 58 before he can ask the Oregon Parole Board for reassessment.

Erin Caffey

Erin Caffey (far right) was 16 years old when she made plans for her boyfriend and two of his friends to kill her family.

Erin Caffey (far right) was 16 years old when she made plans for her boyfriend and two of his friends to kill her family.

Erin came from a conservative and protective family. Her family began homeschooling her when she was 13 after her family moved from Alba, Texas, to Celeste, Texas, to be closer to Miracle Faith, a conservative Baptist church where her parents worked as ministers. Erin initially started the eighth grade at public school, but her parents were horrified when a girl at school tried to kiss Erin. The Caffeys reacted by ”abruptly pull[ing] their children out of school a month into the academic year, and Penny began teaching them a Bible-based curriculum at home.”

Bisexuality was a serious threat in the minds of the Caffeys. Erin’s father Terry said his family was “shocked by a culture of bisexuality,” blaming that bisexual culture for confusing his daughter “before she finally veered off into the premarital relationship that turned deadly.”

For Erin, homeschooling resulted in “an isolated existence for an otherwise social girl whose life was largely circumscribed to Miracle Faith and her parents’ house, six miles from town.” Erin reportedly “didn’t have many friends.” This isolation apparently took its toll. When Erin turned 16, in July 2007, she was allowed to work at the local Sonic. One of her co-workers observed that, “She was so sheltered. It was like she was seeing the world for the first time.”

Erin met her soon-to-be-boyfriend (and later murder partner) Charlie at Sonic. A high school senior, Charlie was known as hotheaded, but he had never been arrested previously and had no serious discipline problems at school. Erin’s parents, however, did not approve of Charlie. After Erin and Charlie dated for a few months, Charlie presented Erin with his grandmother’s engagement ring. It was not a formal proposal, but he was nonetheless making clear his desire.

The semi-proposal infuriated Terry and Penny. From then on, the Caffeys limited Erin’s time with Charlie to “once a week, in their home, under their watch.” Erin became furious and planned to run away. In February, after Penny grounded Erin for talking to Charlie without permission and took away Erin’s keys and phone, Erin decided — and told Charlie — that “killing her parents…was their best option.”

And so they tried to.

On March 1, 2008, Erin, Charlie, and two of Charlie’s friends drove to Erin’s family’s house. Erin waited in the car with one friend while her boyfriend and the other friend went on a shooting and stabbing spree, following which they set fire to the house. During the attack, “Penny Caffey, 37, and her sons Mathew, 13, and Tyler, 8, died.” Terry Caffey, 41, however, “was shot five times but escaped.” Terry survived.

In January of 2009, Erin was charged with “capital murder for her role in the deaths of her mother and two young brothers.” In 2012, Erin’s father told “Nightline” that he has “learned to accept the death of his family, and has even reconnected with his daughter, Erin, who orchestrated the massacre.” Erin will not be eligible for parole until she is 59, but her father visits her every few months in prison.

New York Times bestseller Keith Elliot Greenberg wrote a book in 2011 about the murder titled Love Hurts: The True Story of a Teen Romance, a Vicious Plot, and a Family Murdered.