What if the very place you call home has witnessed brutal crimes? Could you sleep well at night in the same room where people were bludgeoned to death? Apparently, some people are willing to forget or weren’t informed about the past their residences hold. In this article, we continue our two-part series on murder houses people actually bought and are living in.
Murder Houses Home to People Today
6. The Menendez Home
Privileged brothers Lyle, 21, and Erik, 18, shot their parents with shotguns in their Beverly Hills mansion on August 20, 1989. Entertainment executive Jose Menendez, the brothers’ father, was shot in the head at point-blank range. The boys’ mother, Kitty, was shot multiple times while trying to escape.
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The brothers confessed to the murders, but their defense lawyer claimed that the brothers were driven to murder by a lifetime of physical and sexual abuse at the hands of their parents. The jury thought otherwise, rejecting the defense lawyer’s theory as it is believed that they committed the murders in order to inherit their father’s wealth. Judge Weisberg sentenced the brothers to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
The murder house where the crimes occurred has been sold twice since the murders: first in 1993 to mystery television writer William Link and then in 2001 to a telecommunications executive named Sam Delug. In 2002, major renovations occurred at the home, but the exteriors look generally the same.
7. Jeffrey Dahmer’s family home
August 2014—the childhood home of serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer was still on the market after being listed six months earlier.
The murder house, which rests in a wooded area along West Bath Road in Bath Township, Ohio, is currently home to Chris Butler, inventor of the American new wave music in the ’80s, songwriter, and guitarist for the Waitresses. The band is best known for the hit song “I Know What Boys Like.”
The 2,170-square-foot house has three bedrooms and three bathrooms and was priced at $295,000. At the time when Butler first came across the house and intended to purchase it, he had no idea it was the murder house. “I had no idea it was the Dahmer house,” Butler said in an interview. “This place appealed to me because it was mid-century modern, and also, there was no yard, so no lawn to mow. It’s all woods. At the time I was looking for a place where I could make noise and not piss anybody off, and this place had enough isolation.”
Butler mentioned that the realtor didn’t tell him right away that the house was the Dahmers’. “They let me fall in love with the house first, and then came . . . the phone call.”
It was here that Dahmer murdered his first victim, Steven Hicks, in 1978. Hicks’s remains were scattered outside the house. Dahmer was arrested in 1991 and confessed to killing, raping, and cannibalizing young men and boys since 1978. He was killed in 1994 in prison by another inmate.
8. The Amityville Horror House
On November 13, 1974, Ronald DeFeo Jr. shot and killed his father, mother, two brothers, and two sisters at 112 Ocean Avenue, in their large Dutch Colonial house situated in a suburban neighborhood in Amityville, on the south shore of Long Island, New York. He was convicted of second-degree murder in November 1975.
In December 1975, George and Kathy Lutz and their three children moved into the house. After 28 days, the Lutzes left the murder house, claiming to have been terrorized by paranormal phenomena while living there.
Since The Amityville Horror was released in 1979, the site has seen more than its share of thrill seekers, paranormal enthusiasts, and true crime aficionados, but Amityville town officials and local residents are unhappy with the attention that the book and movies bring to the area and tend to decline requests to discuss it publicly.
As for the house itself, it has undergone restoration and an address change to deter visitors. The famous quarter round windows have been removed, and the place looks considerably different from its depiction in the films. (For the 2005 film version, the house was renamed 412 Ocean Avenue.)
The murder house was put on the market in 2010 with an asking price of $1.5 million, and it was eventually purchased for $995,000. When the departing owner had a moving sale at the house, hundreds of people turned up and were allowed inside but were not to visit the upstairs rooms or the basement.
9. In Cold Blood Murder House
A house at the center of four brutal murders sits at the end of Oak Avenue on 7 acres of pastoral farmland in Holcomb, Kansas.
In November 1959, the Clutter family was murdered by two ex-convicts on parole, Richard “Dick” Hickock and Perry Edward Smith. The men heard from a former cellmate who used to work for the family that Herb Clutter kept large amounts of cash inside a safe in his house. Once inside, the pair became enraged when they did not find a safe and ended up slitting Herb Clutter’s throat and shooting him, his wife, and their two young children with a shotgun.
Weeks after the killings, the pair was found and arrested after a jailhouse snitch revealed their identities. Both were hanged on April 14, 1965.
The Clutter family, Hickock, and Smith became known worldwide after Truman Capote’s book In Cold Blood was released. The house was purchased in 1964 by a cattle rancher named Bob Byrd. A movie of the same name followed in 1967 and was filmed inside the house with permission from Byrd.
In 1990, Leonard and Donna Mader purchased the murder house from two of Byrd’s relatives who lived there after his death. In 2006, fed up with all the visits from true crime enthusiasts, they put the home up for auction but failed to find a bidder. The home is presumed to still be owned by the Mader family.
Rumors persist that, like most murder houses, the Clutter home is haunted by the ghost of the teenage daughter of Herb Clutter, but the current owners claim no paranormal activity takes place there.
10. The Wonderland Avenue Murder House
In 2008, a listing for a two-bed, two-bath rental nestled in a highly desirable area in Laurel Canyon and priced at $3,000 a month appeared on Craigslist.
However, four people were bludgeoned to death as they slept in that house in July 1981. The prime suspect was legendary porn star John Holmes.
At the time, the residence was a notorious drug den, and its inhabitants were part of the Wonderland Gang, a group of drug dealers involved in the Los Angeles cocaine trade during the late 1970s and early 1980s. Holmes was a frequent visitor to Wonderland Avenue and would purchase or scrounge cocaine from the gang.
The gang conspired to rob Eddie Nash, a reputedly powerful organized crime figure in the Los Angeles area. The brutal home invasion was an inside job set up by Holmes, who was friends with Nash. The gang then robbed the house. Nash was threatened, and his bodyguard was shot in the back during the incident.
It was a lucrative haul for the gang as they made off with more than $1,200,000 worth of cocaine, heroin, quaaludes, cash, antique guns, and jewelry, but that victory was short-lived. In his memoir, Behind the Candelabra: My Life with Liberace, Scott Thorson states that following the robbery, he witnessed Holmes being tied to a chair in Nash’s home and beaten up until Holmes identified the people behind the robbery. Two days later, Nash and his henchmen, including Holmes, then went to the Wonderland Avenue residence and bludgeoned the Wonderland Gang to death with hammers and steel pipes.
The exterior of the murder house was used in the 2003 film Wonderland, and the house has also been a frequent stop for Hollywood murder tours.