The following crimes are far more gruesome and tragic than Part I, even without throwing Xmas into the mix. Have a read, and then give your family members an extra hug or two when you see them throughout the festive season. Ignore trivial fights and arguments, and be grateful that you (likely) don’t have friends, neighbours, relatives, or local Santa’s like these…
Merry Xmas to you all!
12. Marketplace Mayhem Germany, 2011 – Market goers in downtown Berlin could be forgiven for trusting a middle-aged Santa handing out free drinks. However, the festive cheer soon turned sour when the grateful drinkers started throwing up. The bad Santa had spiked the cocktail with a date-rape drug. Unfortunately he jumped on a reindeer and disappeared into the night sky before he could be captured.
11. Bad Santa
United States, 2004 – A local Santa Claus didn’t take kindly to 74 year old Annie Nelson, who he alleged stole chocolates from him. In front of horrified onlookers, Elkin Clarke, donning a bright red suit, took to Annie with a 2×4 plank of wood, repeatedly beating her about the head. She lost consciousness and was taken to hospital in a critical condition. She passed away six agonising weeks later. Clarke was convicted of murder, felony murder, aggravated assault, aggravated battery and simple assault. He was found guilty and sentenced to life in prison.
10. Silent Night
Wales, 2012 – 38-year-old Charmaine Macmuiris had only been seeing David O’Sullivan for less than three weeks. Charmaine was supposed to be wrapping Christmas presents with her family, when a last minute request saw her meet the bricklayer at a local pub for a drink on Christmas Eve. At the pub, the two got into an argument and David threw a beer over Charmaine, before taking her back to his place. O’Sullivan was overwrought with jealousy at the erroneous perception that Charmaine was seeing another man.
A second argument resulted in Charmaine ending up on the lounge room floor. David took her to the bedroom and stabbed her 10 times. He then went out for beer and pizza while she died on the bedroom floor.
She was found on Christmas morning by David’s parents. David O’Sullivan was sentenced to life, with a non-parole period of 14 years. Charmaine Macmuiris left behind three children.
Israel, 2012 – Gabriel Cadis was the head of the Orthodox Church Association in Jaffa, Israel. In November, 2012, he won a third term as leader of the Greek Orthodox in Jaffa and was viewed as an important figure in local politics. During a parade outside a church celebrating the Nativity of Jesus, an unidentified man wearing a Santa Claus outfit stabbed Cadis and then took off. He died on his arrival to hospital. Six Israeli-Arabs were arrested and four members remain in custody. One of the suspects was a man who also ran for the position of chairman of the Jaffa Orthodox Church Association and lost to Cadis twice. Investigations are still ongoing. A senior leader of the Jerusalem Orthodox Patriarchate described the perpetrator as a killer of “Christmas joy” and one who “killed the human and spiritual values embodied by Father Christmas – who makes children happy on Christmas Eve.”
8. Love Thy Neighbour
United Kingdom, 2010 – Joanna Yeates was a landscape architect who went missing on December 17, 2010. Her body was discovered a week later, on Christmas Day. The murder investigation was one of the largest ever undertaken in Bristol. Officers were inundated with thousands of phone calls and exhausted every lead. They examined over 100 hours of surveillance footage and almost 300,000 kilograms (300 tonnes) of rubbish collected from the areas near the young woman’s flat.
Although police first suspected the landlord of foul play, they eventually arrested a 32-year-old Dutch engineer on January 20. Vincent Tabak was Joanna’s neighbour. He was into violent pornography and the police found a videotape of a woman who bore a striking resemblance to Joanna. When Joanna’s body was found, she had been violently strangled and she was wearing a similar top to the woman in the video.
Tabak was found guilty of murder and sentenced to life in prison, with a minimum term of 20 years.
7. Senseless Slaying
United States, 2013 – On Christmas Eve at around 1 in the morning, Ilona Flint and Salvatore Belvedere were both shot in the head in the parking lot outside a department store in San Diego. Flint managed to called the police but died soon after. Salvatore was rushed to hospital but died three days later.
On December 26, Salvatore’s brother, and Ilona’s fiancée, Gianni is reported missing. Police had few leads and it wasn’t until January 17 that Gianni’s body was found decomposed in the trunk of his own car over 90 minutes away from San Diego. Police report that Gianni was also shot in the head. Sal and Gianni’s family set up a website filled with as much information about the case as they could, desperate for anything. They held fundraisers and offered a reward. Finally, in June 2014, the police arrest 29-year-old Carlo Gallapo Mercado.
In November 2014, Mercado was found not competent to stand trial and ordered to receive treatment at a State Hospital for 3 years until he can stand trial. The motive remains unclear. In mid-December, the families of the victims have filed a lawsuit against the Mall arguing they did not provide sufficient lighting or working security cameras for the patrons of the mall.
6. Murderous Mother
United States, 2013 – On Christmas Day, something inside mother of four Connie Villa snapped.
She forced her children, aged 13, 8, 5, and 3, to ingest prescription drugs. When her oldest daughter Aniarael refused to, Connie strangled her with her bare hands.
Connie then contacted her ex-husband Adam, the father of the three youngest children, and persuaded him to come to the house. When he arrived, she stabbed him numerous times. Adam managed to escape, although without the children in tow, and called police on his way to the medical centre.
When police arrived at Connie’s flat, she was holding a knife and suffering from self-inflicted stab wounds to the chest. Her three children were by her side.
The three children survived. Connie plead not guilty, although reportedly told police that she was trying to prevent Adam from gaining custody of all four children. After her actions on what is supposed to be one of the more joyous days of the year, I’d be surprised if she sees those kids again for a long time.
Connie Villa is still facing 11 felony counts, including first-degree murder and four counts of attempted first-degree murder. As of June 2014, the DA is seeking the death penalty.
5. A Grisly Undertaking
Scotland, 2013 – 33-year-old Garry Lockhart returned home at 2am on December 28, full to the brim with alcohol. The undertaker’s blood alcohol level was at least 3 times over the driving limit when he stumbled through the front door of his home at 2am. At 4am, he was supposed to look after his young son when his wife Janet went to work. Recognising that her husband clearly wasn’t in a state to perform his fatherly duties, Janet’s understandable concern lead to an argument. Garry fatally strangled his wife.
He then went upstairs and smothered his 2-year-old son to death. His reasoning? He didn’t want the boy to grow up without a mother or father. Garry then planned to commit suicide to join his family in heaven, although that plan failed. In October 2014, Garry was found guilty on two counts of murders and sentenced to spend the rest of his life in prison.
4. Texas Christmas Massacre
United States, 2011 – On Christmas Day, six members of an Iranian-American family had just finished opening their gifts, when Santa Claus turned up. One of the family members, Fatemeh Rahmadi, had recently left her husband Aziz Yazdanpanah as she became aware that Aziz was visiting prostitutes while away on business trips. She had left him in a house that had barely any furniture & no electricity. He was struggling financially and despite being known as a generous and caring man, especially for his children, he was angry at his wife leaving, and at his sister-in-law for what he perceived as her interference in his marriage.
Sometime before 11:30am, Aziz turned up dressed as Santa Claus. And then around 11:30am, a faint and breathless Aziz called authorities asking for help. They turned up to the Dallas apartment to find seven bodies, all with fatal gunshot wounds, surrounded by wrapping paper, including that of Aziz.
Along with his estranged wife Fatemah, Aziz had killed his two teenage children, as well as his sister-in-law, her husband, and their 22-year-old daughter.
3. The Grinch
United States, 2008 – On Christmas Eve, 45-year-old Bruce Jeffrey Pardo dressed as Santa Claus and decided to visit his in-laws and their extended family. All 25 of them.
He turned up to the house bearing gifts. And by gifts, I mean a flamethrower and several handguns. As soon the door opened, Pardo fired the handgun at eight-year-old Leticia Yuzefpolsky, as she ran to greet him. He then fired indiscriminately into the house at fleeing party-goers. It was suggested some victims were killed execution-style as they weren’t able to flee. After the handgun ammo was spent, Pardo unleashed the flamethrower and sprayed gasoline to set the home alight. Nine people died in total. Some from gunshots and some from fire. Three others were wounded, including Leticia, a teenage girl who was shot in the back, and a 20 year old woman who leapt from a second floor window. The resulting fire soared around 50 feet into the air and took 80 firefighters over an hour to extinguish it. Identification of the victims had to be done using dental and medical records.
Pardo got out of his Santa suit and drove to his brother’s house where he was later found dead from a single self-inflicted gunshot wound.
2. Black Christmas
United States, 1929 – From the outside, it appeared as though Charles Davis Lawson was treating his family to something special just before Christmas. They had barely any money but he bundled his wife and seven children into the car, and drove them into town. He bought them brand new clothes and they had a lovely family portrait done.
On Christmas Day, he shot Carrie (12) and Maybell (7) behind the tobacco barn with a shotgun. He then made sure of it by bludgeoning them both to death.
Next on the list was his wife, Fannie. She was on the porch when she was gunned down. Marie heard the shots and screamed, as most 17-year-old girls would do. The two boys James (4) and Raymond (2) took their older sister’s scream as a cue to hide. It didn’t help. Charlie shot Marie, before finding the two boys and killing them both. Charlie then moved on to 4-month-old bub Mary Lou.
You could argue 16-year-old Arthur was given either the best, or the worst, Christmas present. His life was spared. Charlie had purposefully told his son to run an errand for him. As the gunshots were echoing around the farm and out into the local area, neighbours and a police officer had started to gather near the farm to work out what was happening. Arthur returned to the horror of seven dead family members, lying with their arms crossed and a rock under each head.
Body number eight was Charlie. He’d walked out to a tree on the farm and shot himself. Beside him lay several letters to his own parents. The police also noticed footsteps suggesting he may have paced around the tree for some time before finally shooting himself.
Although there was speculation that Charlie had witnessed a mob hit, and they came to eliminate him and make it look self-inflicted, the theory was quickly rejected as none of the evidence supported it.
1. Christmas Carnage
United States, 1987 – Ronald Gene Simmons didn’t just limit his carnage to Christmas Eve or Christmas Day. He decided to use the entire festive season.
On the 22nd, in his own home, he shot dead his son Gene and Gene’s wife Rebecca. He then fatally strangled their 3-year-old daughter. He then killed four more of his children. Eddy, Becky, Loretta and Marianna, one at a time, were strangled and then held under water.
On the 26th, more family members decided to visit Ronald for Christmas. His son Billy, and Billy’s wife Renata were gunned down. He then strangled and drowned their 20-month-old son.
He then shot his own daughter Sheila, who he’d had an incestuous relationship with, before killing her husband. Simmons had fathered a daughter, with Sheila (his daughter, for those keeping score), and he killed that little girl too. His 21-month-old grandson was next. Simmons laid his dead family members in the lounge room. One by one, he placed them in a row, and covered each with a blanket. Except for two grandsons who were wrapped in plastic and left in the trunk of an abandoned car nearby.
But Simmons was far from done. On the 28th of December, he walked into a law firm and killed the receptionist, who had previously rejected his advances. He took off from there and headed to an oil company where he shot and killed one man, and seriously wounded another for reasons unknown. Next stop was another office, where he wounded another woman.
He was finished. He casually chatted to another secretary in the office as he waited for the sirens to near. When police approached, he put his gun down and was arrested without incident.
Ronald Gene Simmons killed 16 people and wounded another 4. He was sentenced to death, and was lethally injected 2 and half years after his murderous rampage.