Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

The Family of Winnfred Wright

An Iron Fist

Wright ruled his household with an iron fist, controlling every element of the women's lives, including their wardrobes, reading materials, diets and even the emotions they were allowed to express. While he could have sex with whomever he pleased, he didn't want other men looking at his women and made them cover their heads with scarves and their bodies with loose-fitting clothes. He told them that he didn't want them to look like sluts.

The women's diet was vegetarian, with little dairy and no alcohol.  Here again, Wright was a hypocrite who regularly gorged himself on ice cream and beer. And while Wright would lapse into angry rants about the oppression of blacks, the only emotion the women were allowed to demonstrate was happiness and love.

Although Wright liked to define The Family as an African-style matriarchy with women in charge, it was really a dictatorship, and he demanded unquestioning obedience from his subjects. What he'd pawned off to the women as an alternative reality based on interracial love and harmony was a façade. As time passed and his wives churned out more and more babies for his tribe, he became more and more despotic.  Once again, his anger consumed him.

He walked around the house with a riding crop and whipped them if he was unhappy with their behavior. He raped them at gunpoint, punched them in the face and broke their noses and tied them up with duct tape, according to court records. During these psychotic tantrums, he'd remind the women that they had to pay for the bad karma of their white ancestors, who enslaved black people.

The women wore sunglasses to hide their black eyes from their co-workers, and Wright nailed boards over the windows of their home to hide his monstrous behavior.

To further isolate the women and make them dependent on him, he told them they couldn't trust anyone outside "The Family" and urged them to cut off connections with old friends. When the women's parents became alarmed at the their daughters' bruises and cowed personalities and tried to persuade them to return home, Wright said the parents were racists who couldn't stand the thought of their white daughters having babies with a black man.

When Wilson's parents threatened to block her trust fund, she hired a lawyer and they quickly backed down. 

In addition to the trust fund income, Wilson and Bremner had regular jobs - Wilson made $80,000 a year for managing a painting company and Bremner worked at a firm that sold health supplements. The combined revenue not only helped ever-expanding clan move into a two-story house in the city's foggy Sunset district in the early 90s, it also subsidized Wright's growing crack habit.  According to Susan Weber, who later escaped the clan, The Family's patriarch would smoke $1,200 worth of crack in two days.

And the more crack he smoked, the more violent and erratic Wright became.

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