Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Robert Spangler: Black Widower

What Really Happened:
Nancy & the Kids

By 1974, Bob Spangler was bored out of his mind. His kids were out of control, his wife had a life of her own, but he was just a worker bee, droning through life.

Then he met Sharon at work. She was vivacious and sparkly, and he was more than smitten with her, he was obsessed. He moved out of the house, and for nine months he rarely even saw the children. He was busy with his new life, his new love.

But divorce was going to be horribly expensive after all those years of marriage. There had to be another way.

Slowly, a cure for his problems began to formulate in his mind.

He moved back in with Nancy and the kids to try to reconcile, or so he told everyone. The kids had lost respect for him and weren't shy about offering up that opinion.

He carefully set the stage for his little play, typing a suicide note on the typewriter in the basement. He told Nancy it was a Christmas letter and set it in front of her. Without reading it, she signed her initial. Then he staged a big fight with her on the evening of December 29, and made sure that there were witnesses to it.

The suicide note Spangler wrote for his wife.
The suicide note Spangler wrote for his wife.

Then on December 30, he placed a footstool in front of the open closet door where he kept his .38 revolver and lured Nancy to the basement. He had her sit in front of the typewriter, told her he had a surprise for her, and to close her eyes. Excitedly, she did as she was told, and he shot her in the forehead.

Then he sneaked upstairs and shot Susan once in the back.

David was more difficult, because Bob had to shoot him in the chest, and David didn't die right away. He wrestled with his dad, but Bob couldn't shoot him again, because he knew Nancy wouldn't have done that.

So he smothered his son with the boy's own pillow.

Then Bob left the house, drove around for a while and eventually went to see the animated "Lord of the Rings."

"It seemed like a good idea at the time," he said of the massacre.


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