Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

John List

Oddly Content

Even as List described himself, he referred to himself in the third-person, as "he" rather than as "I," which indicated that he's distanced himself somewhat from who he is. He also left out a significant factthat he had once had a family and that he had murdered them. Chung pointed this out and he shrugged it off.

List expressed no real remorse or pain over the fact that his children had never even had a chance to grow up and have their own families. About his mother's murder, he said that he'd fulfilled his father's request that he take care of her and not let her suffer. "Did you ever think of that?" he asked Chung, as if there was another way to interpret the event rather than as cold-blooded murder to relieve himself of a burden. (All the facts point to the latter.)

It was clear that he'd been planning the murders for a while, and had even had a conversation with his family one night at dinner regarding the disposition of their remains. He expected his own children to say how they wanted their bodies handled in the event they died. (No wonder Patty believed her father wanted to kill them.)

While he expected to be caught fairly quickly after he left the grisly scene, when that didn't happen, he felt no responsibility to turn himself in. "It was up to the police to catch me," he said. He'd even seen the tail end of the America's Most Wanted episode that spelled the beginning of the end of his days of freedom. He started to sweat, he admitted, but he figured he'd wait and see. He had already decided that he wouldn't run again. If the police caught him, then it was over.

John List, escorted by police
John List, escorted by police

It was clear that Chung thought her subject was cold and somewhat inhuman as he spoke about what he had done to his family. List seemed amused and asked her if she'd ever had a more grisly interview.

He's in prison now until the end of his days, but he seems oddly content. He does accounting work for the prison and has a structure to his daily routine that, given his rigid personality, he probably finds comforting. List apparently is writing his own book on the "tragedy that happened," although it would be difficult to imagine how emotionally close to those events he really can get.