Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Neil Entwistle

Similar Situations

Jean-Claude Romand
Jean-Claude Romand

Entwistle and his wife had recently rented their home in Boston, and since she was no longer teaching, the entire financial burden fell on his shoulders. They had a new baby as well, which upped the ante. Three mouths to feed, high rent, deep debt, no income, and high expectations: in certain men, it's a formula for disaster. Certainly, others have made similarly tragic choices when faced with no way out from the pressures of financial ruin.

  • Frenchman Jean-Claude Romand began with a small lie. He failed his final medical exams but said he'd passed. He got away with it, and through a succession of frauds, devised the persona of a humanitarian doctor for the World Health Organization. He offered "investment opportunities" to his family and friends, and with their money, he supported a nice lifestyle for his wife and two daughters. Finally, when pressured by questions he couldn't answer, on January 9, 1993, Romand murdered his wife, children, parents, and dog — to "spare" them the grief of realizing his deceptions. Psychiatrists noted his need to make a favorable impression and decided that he'd lied to stave off despair.

John List
John List

  • In 1971, John List from Westfield, NJ murdered his mother, wife, and three children after a long period of deception about his failing finances. Although unemployed, each day he "went to work" and then sat for hours at the train station. All the while, he felt enormous pressure that inspired a fantasy and then a plan. He killed his family and fled to start a new life.
  • So did Christian Longo in Oregon in 2001. After a series of failures, with the prospects of a dim future tied to an hourly-wage job, Longo had killed his wife and three small children, then left the country. He posed as a reporter from the New York Times and quickly found another girlfriend before he was finally captured.

Christian Longo
Christian Longo

  • In Utah, Mark Hacking apparently lied wholesale to family and friends about his credentials and his plans. When his wife, Lori, who was five months pregnant, finally confronted him in an outright fabrication about being accepted to medical school, he shot her, dumped her body in a trash bin, and told everyone she had disappeared while jogging.

None of these men chose suicide as an option; instead they harmed family and then decided to live a new life. Prior to the murders, all of them had spun a web of deceptions, apparently without guilt. As well, when time ran out, they had preferred wholesale slaughter to 'fessing up to their lies and miscalculations. What is wrong with such men? Do they have any excuse?


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