Your Worst Nightmare (2014–…): Season 2, Episode 2 - John List - full transcript

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HELLO?
WESTFIELD POLICE.

WESTFIELD, NEW JERSEY,
IS AN AFFLUENT SUBURB

JUST OUTSIDE THE BUSTLE
OF NEW YORK CITY.

HALF A CENTURY AGO,

THIS NEIGHBORHOOD OF SHOWCASE
HOMES AND MANICURED LAWNS

BROUGHT THE PROMISE
OF A PICTURE-PERFECT LIFE.

BUT THE THING ABOUT A PICTURE
IS IT ONLY TELLS HALF THE STORY.

AND IN 1971,

A TRUE MONSTER IS HIDING
BEHIND THIS STATELY FACADE.

YOU ALWAYS GOT TO WONDER
WHEN YOU SEE A MANSION

AS TO WHAT IS INSIDE,



WHAT YOU DON'T SEE

FROM THE OUTSIDE
WHEN YOU FIRST LOOK AT IT.

IT'S DINNER TIME
AT THE LIST HOUSEHOLD.

AND 16-YEAR-OLD PATRICIA LIST

IS IN CHARGE OF PREPARING
THE MEAL FOR THE FAMILY.

GREAT.
TV DINNERS AGAIN.

PATTY LIST WAS A BRIGHT GIRL.
SHE WAS ATTRACTIVE.

SHE HAD FRIENDS.

FOR THE MOST PART,

SHE APPEARED TO BE
A NORMAL TEENAGER.

PATRICIA.

MY GOD, DAD!

HOW LONG HAVE YOU
BEEN STANDING THERE?

WHERE IS YOUR MOTHER?



SHE'S UPSTAIRS.
WHERE ELSE WOULD SHE BE?

GO GET YOUR BROTHERS
FOR DINNER.

I'LL PREPARE THE TABLE.

JOHN LIST WAS NOT
A BARREL OF LAUGHS AS A FATHER.

HE'S THE KIND OF FATHER YOU'D
DESCRIBE AS STRICT AND DOUR.

HE HAD LIVED A LIFE
AS A DEVOUT LUTHERAN,

A VERY REGULAR CHURCH-GOER.

A BIT OLD FASHIONED
IN HIS RELIGION.

AN ACCOUNTANT
AND A MAN OF FEW WORDS,

JOHN LIST IS THE FATHER
OF PATRICIA, FREDERICK,

AND JOHN JR.

PRAYER AND FAMILY
ARE THE CENTER OF HIS LIFE.

CHILDREN,
BOW YOUR HEADS FOR PRAYER.

FROM THE BOOK
OF PROVERBS.

THERE ARE THINGS
THE LORD HATES - -

A LYING TONGUE,
HANDS THAT SHED INNOCENT BLOOD,

A HEART THAT DEVISES
WICKED PLANS.

THIS IS THE WORD OF THE LORD.
AMEN.

- AMEN.
- AMEN.

PATTY.

DID YOU GET THE LEAD
IN THE PLAY?

YES, I DID ACTUALLY.

UM, AND TIM'S COMING OVER LATER
TO HELP ME RUN LINES.

PATRICIA,
WE TALKED ABOUT THIS.

ACTING, PATRICIA,
IS WHAT IS LEADING YOU

AWAY FROM THE CHURCH.

AND I DON'T WANT YOU
PURSUING IT.

DAD, WHAT ARE YOU
TALKING ABOUT?

YOU KNOW
THAT I MIGHT ACTUALLY

BECOME AN ACTRESS
WHEN I GRADUATE.

PATRICIA, I KNOW THIS IS
DIFFICULT FOR YOU TO UNDERSTAND.

BUT ACTING, WELL,
IT LEADS TO OTHER THINGS.

IT'S THE WRONG CROWD
FOR YOU.

THAT AGAIN?
GIVE IT A REST, JOHN.

WE'RE ALL GOING
TO HELL ANYWAY.

HELEN AND JOHN LIST HAVE
BEEN UNHAPPILY MARRIED FOR 20 YEARS.

THINGS WERE NOT
PARTICULARLY ROSY

BETWEEN JOHN
AND HIS WIFE, HELEN.

NO ONE CALLED ME
DOWN TO DINNER.

THAT'S VERY NICE.
THAT IS VERY, VERY NICE.

HELEN WAS
A VERY DOMINEERING WOMEN.

SHE WAS NOT PARTICULARLY NICE
TO THE KIDS.

SHE DID DRINK,

AND THAT OBVIOUSLY
EXASPERATED PROBLEMS TOO.

PATRICIA,
FIX YOUR MOTHER A PLATE.

THAT REMINDS ME, JOHN.

I'M SUPPOSED TO MAKE SOMETHING
FOR THE CHURCH SUPPER,

BUT I'M NOT GONNA HAVE TIME.

JUST PICK SOMETHING UP
AT THE STORE ON YOUR WAY HOME.

HELEN, THAT'S SUPPOSED TO BE
A HOMEMADE DISH.

WELL, A LOT OF THINGS
ARE SUPPOSED TO BE,

AND THEY'RE NOT.

SHALL I MAKE YOU A LIST?

HELEN WAS MARRIED PREVIOUSLY.

HELEN'S FIRST HUSBAND
WAS A WAR VETERAN.

AND SHE REALLY RESPECTED HIM
AND THOUGHT HE WAS VERY MANLY.

SHE WANTED JOHN TO BE
MORE LIKE THAT,

AND MR. LIST WAS
JUST NEVER GONNA DO THAT.

HE WAS JUST SET IN HIS WAYS.

WHAT IS THIS, JOHN?

TV DINNERS AGAIN?

IN SUCH A - -
A GRAND DINING ROOM.

HOW FITTING.

IF THEY COULD
SEE YOU DOWN AT THE OFFICE NOW.

THERE GOES THAT BONUS.

TV DINNER.

MAYBE THAT'S WHAT I'LL FIX
FOR THE ALMIGHTY CHURCH SUPPER.

HELEN,
THAT IS NOT APPROPRIATE.

PATTY, YOUR MOTHER DOESN'T LIKE
WHAT WE'RE HAVING FOR DINNER.

BUT I'M SURE YOUR GRANDMOTHER
WOULD APPRECIATE IT.

WHY DON'T YOU BRING IT
UPSTAIRS TO HER?

YES, PATTY.

I'M SURE ALMA THE HUN
IS HUNGRY UP THERE!

ON THE THIRD FLOOR
OF THE LIST HOUSE

RESIDES JOHN'S
84-YEAR-OLD MOTHER, ALMA.

GRANDMA?

GRANDMA, IT'S ME, PATTY.
CAN I COME IN?

THE DAUGHTER
OF A GERMAN IMMIGRANT,

ALMA SPENDS MOST DAYS
IN HER ROOM ALONE.

IS THAT MY DINNER?

YEAH, GRANDMA.

PUT IT ON THE TABLE.

COME.

STAND BY THE WINDOW.
I WANT TO SEE YOU.

OKAY.

SUCH A PRETTY, PRETTY GIRL.

TELL ME, PATRICIA...

HAVE YOU BEEN A GOOD GIRL?

UM, YES.
I-I THINK.

YES, GRANDMA.

YOU KNOW WHAT I MEAN
BY A GOOD GIRL, DON'T YOU?

I THINK SO.

GOOD.

WHERE ARE YOU GOING?

UM...

YOU JUST GOT HERE.

I- I KNOW, BUT - -
BUT YOU HAVE YOUR DINNER.

AND I HAVE HOMEWORK,

SO JUST LEAVE THE PLATE
BY THE DOOR

AND I'LL COME - -
COME GET IT LATER.

GOD BLESS YOU AND KEEP YOU.

JA.

THOUGH
THE GOD-FEARING LIST HOUSEHOLD

IS ANYTHING BUT JOYFUL,
NO ONE CAN IMAGINE

THE PUNISHMENT
THAT IS ABOUT TO BEFALL THEM.

HELEN, THE PILLS
ARE NOT HELPING YOU.

THEY'RE MAKING THINGS WORSE.
CAN'T YOU SEE THAT?

WELL, THEY WERE PRESCRIBED
BY A DOCTOR.

ARE YOU A DOCTOR, JOHN?

THE PILLS, THE ALCOHOL,
IT'S ALL LEADING YOU

AWAY FROM YOUR FAMILY
AND AWAY FROM GOD.

DO YOU EVER LISTEN
TO YOURSELF...

JOHN?

THE MORE JOHN AND HELEN'S
MARRIAGE CRUMBLES,

THE MORE THEIR DAUGHTER, PATTY,
SEARCHES FOR A MEANS OF ESCAPE.

I'M GONNA BE ON THAT TRAIN
TOMORROW NIGHT.

DO YOU HEAR ME?

AND IF YOU KNOW WHAT IS GOOD
FOR YOU, YOU'LL DO THE SAME.

SO WHAT'D YOU THINK?

I THINK THAT IF THEY DON'T
LIKE YOUR PERFORMANCE

- THEN THEY'RE CRAZY.
- REALLY?

THAT WAS GREAT.
I WAS ACTUALLY SCARED.

MY GOSH, REALLY?

'CAUSE I MUST'VE PRACTICED THOSE
LINES LIKE A BILLION TIMES.

NO, NO, NO, NO.
DON'T LET ME INTERRUPT YOU.

YOU'RE PRACTICING
YOUR PLAY.

RUNNING LINES.

ISN'T THAT WHAT
THEY CALL IT, DEAR?

TIMMY,
YOU DON'T SAY HELLO?

HI, MRS. LIST.

NOW, WHAT IS THIS PLAY ABOUT.

IT'S A MURDER MYSTERY
FROM LIKE THE 1920s CALLED

"THE SEAT BY THE WINDOW."

A MURDER MYSTERY?

NOW THAT IS VERY INTERESTING
THAT YOU WOULD BE PRACTICING

A PLAY ABOUT MURDER
HERE IN THIS HOUSE.

WHY IS THAT, MRS. LIST?

PATTY HASN'T TOLD YOU?

PATTY, YOU SHOULD HAVE
TOLD TIM ABOUT IT.

MOTHER, STOP.

LEGEND HAS IT
THAT THERE WAS A MURDER

THAT HAPPENED
RIGHT HERE IN THIS DEN.

ONLY IT WASN'T A DEN.
IT WAS A LIBRARY.

MOM,
THAT'S NOT EVEN TRUE.

YES, IT IS.

GOD FORBID
IT EVER HAPPEN AGAIN.

IT'S THE FALL OF 1971,

AND THE LIST FAMILY APPEARS TO
BE FALLING APART AT THE SEAMS.

THE PILLS, THE ALCOHOL,
IT'S ALL LEADING YOU

AWAY FROM YOUR FAMILY
AND AWAY FROM GOD.

DO YOU EVER LISTEN
TO YOURSELF...

JOHN?

FOR THE DEEPLY RELIGIOUS
JOHN LIST,

DIVORCING HIS WIFE
IS NOT AN OPTION.

TO DISTRACT HIMSELF
FROM HIS TROUBLES,

HE BURIES HIMSELF
IN HIS JOB INSTEAD.

PROBLEM IS
THAT'S NOT WORKING OUT EITHER.

JOHN HAD GOTTEN THIS JOB
AT A BANK,

WHICH WAS PROBABLY THE BEST JOB
HE'D EVER HAD BEFORE.

WHEN YOU WORK WITH A BANK
IN ANY CAPACITY,

YOU HAVE TO HAVE
SOME KIND OF PEOPLE SKILLS.

AND HE HAD NO PEOPLE SKILLS.

THERE WAS JUST A TOTAL ABSENCE
OF THE TYPE OF ABILITY

TO INTERACT WITH PEOPLE,

INTERACT ON A FRIENDLY,
RELAXED BASIS.

AND THAT'S PART OF WHAT YOU NEED
TO DO TO DO A JOB LIKE THAT.

JOHN.
GOOD, YOU'RE HERE.

DALE.

WHAT CAN I DO FOR YOU?

WELL, THE THING IS...

MIND IF I SIT DOWN?

JOHN, TO TELL THE TRUTH,
WE HAVE A PROBLEM.

AND IT'S THE SAME PROBLEM
WE'VE HAD FOR A WHILE.

WE GOT YOUR BILLING UPDATES.

THE NEW SYSTEM
IS STILL NOT RIGHT,

AND IT'S EIGHT WEEKS BEHIND.

NOW THIS IS THE THIRD TIME.

JOHN?

ANY THOUGHTS
ON THE MATTER?

I'VE BEEN DOING
EVERYTHING I CAN.

AS YOU KNOW,
THESE THINGS REQUIRE

PATIENCE AND FAITH AND - -

JOHN, JOHN, JOHN.

I'M LOW ON PATIENCE.
I'M LOSING FAITH.

AND YOU'VE RUN OUT OF TIME.

THE BOTTOM LINE IS THIS - -

WE HAVE TO LET YOU GO.

I AM SORRY, BUT THERE'S
NO OTHER WAY AT THIS POINT.

I'LL HAVE SOMEONE COME IN
AND TALK TO YOU

ABOUT
THE SEVERANCE PACKAGE.

SO THIS IS FINAL,
THIS ACTION YOU'RE TAKING?

IT IS, JOHN.
I AM SORRY.

HE WAS OUT OF A JOB
AND WAS VERY WORRIED

ABOUT THE FINANCES,

VERY WORRIED
THAT HIS CHILDREN AND HIS WIFE

WOULD BE IN POVERTY.

EVERYBODY'S SCARED
OF BEING BROKE AND BEING POOR.

BUT HE TOOK IT THAT EXTRA STEP,

THAT BEING BROKE AND POOR
WOULD BE SIN.

AND FOR JOHN LIST,

NOTHING IS WORSE
THAN COMMITTING SIN.

JOHN KEEPS HIS UNEMPLOYMENT
A SECRET FROM HIS FAMILY.

FOR WEEKS, HE GOES THROUGH
HIS NORMAL ROUTINE

AS IF NOTHING IS WRONG.

HE GOT DRESSED IN HIS SUIT.

BUT HE LEFT THE HOUSE
AS THOUGH HE WAS GOING TO WORK.

AND HE CAME HOME
AT THE NORMAL TIME

THAT HE WOULD'VE COME HOME
AFTER WORK.

HE WAS EMBARRASSED
BY WHAT HAD HAPPENED.

HE WAS EMBARRASSED
THAT HE WAS NOT ABLE TO PROVIDE

FOR HIS FAMILY.

HE KNEW THAT MONEY
WAS RUNNING EXTREMELY LOW.

I DON'T THINK HE COULD GET
HIMSELF TO FACE UP TO THEM

AND SAY,
"HEY, I FAILED AT THIS."

HEY, MAN.

YOU HAVE ANY SPARE CHANGE?

GOD HELPS THOSE
WHO HELP THEMSELVES.

BUT JOHN LIST
CAN'T SEEM TO HELP HIMSELF.

AND BEFORE LONG,
MORE TROUBLE ERUPTS AT HOME.

MOM, ARE YOU OKAY?

LOOK AT HER - -
DRUNK AGAIN.

WHAT A DISGRACE, HELEN!

DAD, STOP.

WE DON'T HAVE LONG.

PATRICIA...

IT'S ALL COMING
TO AN END!

WHAT IS, MOM?

MY GOD. MOM?

MOM, ARE YOU OKAY?

HELEN?

HELEN?

DO YOU KNOW WHERE YOU ARE?

YES, I KNOW WHERE I AM.

I KNOW WHAT
THEY WANT TO DO TO ME.

THEY WANT ME
OUT OF THE WAY.

THEY WANT TO LOCK ME UP.

MY HUSBAND WANTS ME GONE.

HELEN, YOUR HUSBAND
IS HERE WITH US NOW.

ISN'T THAT JUST LIKE HIM?

YOU COULD BE IN THE SAME ROOM
WITH HIM,

AND YOU WOULDN'T EVEN KNOW
HE WAS THERE.

JOHN, COULD I SPEAK WITH YOU
FOR A MINUTE?

PATTY, WHY DON'T YOU
KEEP YOUR MOM COMPANY.

OKAY.

HI.

PATTY?

HOW ARE YOU FEELING?
DO YOU NEED SOME WATER?

PATTY.

YEAH?

JOHN,
I'VE SEEN THIS BEFORE.

THIS TEMPORARY BLINDNESS
IS SYMPTOMS OF MENTAL ILLNESS.

AND THIS IS NOT EASY
FOR ME TO SAY, JOHN.

YOUR WIFE HAS SYPHILIS.

HELEN HAD BEEN MARRIED BEFORE

AND HAD REPORTEDLY CONTRACTED
SYPHILIS FROM HER FIRST HUSBAND.

HE HAD GOTTEN IT
IN HIS WAR SERVICE IN KOREA.

IT'S NOT VERY DIFFICULT TO
TREAT SYPHILIS WITH PENICILLIN

IF YOU GET IT - -
IF YOU IDENTIFY IT EARLY ENOUGH.

BUT SYPHILIS, IF NOT TREATED,
AFFECTS THE BRAIN.

AT THIS STAGE
ITS INCURABLE, JOHN.

THESE SYMPTOMS
WILL COME AND GO.

SOME DAYS
SHE'LL BE THE OLD HELEN.

BUT REALLY,
THE DAMAGE IS DONE.

I'D RECOMMEND THAT YOU GET
TESTED TO BE ABSOLUTELY SAFE.

BUT REALISTICALLY,
AT THIS POINT THE LIKELIHOOD

THAT YOU'RE GONNA CATCH IT
IS VERY, VERY SLIM.

IT'S DORMANT IN THAT REGARD.

THANK YOU, DOCTOR.

THERE'S NOT MUCH LEFT
HOLDING UP THE LIST FAMILY.

JOHN IS JOBLESS,

HELEN IS SUFFERING
FROM AN INCURABLE DISEASE,

AND SOON PATTY
BECOMES PAINFULLY AWARE

THAT EVERYTHING
IS FALLING APART.

WHAT ARE YOU READING,
PATRICIA?

DAD, HAVE YOU SEEN THIS?

IT SAYS THAT WE HAVEN'T PAID
ON THE HOUSE OR THE CAR

AND THEY'RE GONNA
TAKE 'EM.

IN EVERY LIFE, PATRICIA,
THERE ARE TRIALS.

THIS IS OUR TIME OF TRIAL.

YOUR MOTHER'S NOT WELL.

SHE'S STRAYED FROM GOD.

AND HER BODY AND HER MIND
ARE REBELLING AGAINST HER SIN.

PATRICIA, I DON'T WANT YOU
TO STRAY FROM GOD

THE WAY
YOUR OWN MOTHER HAS.

DAD, THEY'RE GONNA TAKE
THE HOUSE AND THE CAR.

OKAY?

WHY?

WHAT ARE WE GONNA DO?

THE LORD DOES NOT LET
THE RIGHTEOUS GROW HUNGRY,

BUT HE THWARTS
THE CRAVING OF THE WICKED.

DAD, STOP.

HIS FINANCIAL SITUATION
WAS DIRE.

HIS MOTHER
HAD HELPED SUPPORT HIM,

BUT THERE WAS REALLY
NO MONEY LEFT.

BY NOVEMBER OF 1971,

THE LISTS CAN BARELY AFFORD
TO PAY THE ELECTRIC BILL.

AND THEY'VE DEFAULTED
ON THEIR MORTGAGE.

HOPE AND FAITH
HAVE FORSAKEN THEM.

I WANT YOU TO LISTEN
VERY CAREFULLY

FOR WHAT I'M ABOUT
TO TELL YOU, JOHN.

TOMORROW MORNING I WANT YOU
TO GO DOWN TO THAT CHURCH

AND TAKE MY NAME
OFF THE MEMBER ROLES.

I DON'T BELIEVE ANYMORE.

I'M NOT SURE
I EVER REALLY DID.

HELEN, YOU'RE SICK.

YOU DON'T KNOW
WHAT YOU'RE SAYING.

I KNOW EXACTLY
WHAT I'M SAYING, JOHN.

AND I WANT MY NAME
OFF THOSE MEMBER ROLES NOW!

IT ALL COMES
TO NOTHING ANYWAY.

LOOK AT YOU.

YOU'VE BEEN IN CHURCH
YOUR WHOLE LIFE,

AND IT HASN'T DONE
ANYTHING FOR YOU.

YOU'RE NOT EVEN
A REAL MAN ANYMORE.

HAVE YOU TALKED TO YOUR PASTOR
ABOUT THAT LITTLE PROBLEM?

YOU ARE A CURSE!

YOU'RE DISEASED!

AND YOU'RE A BURDEN
ON EVERYONE AROUND YOU.

AND NOW YOU WANT TO MOVE AWAY
FROM THE LORD

AND TAKE THE CHILDREN
WITH YOU?

I WON'T ALLOW IT!

JOHN WAS VERY UPSET THAT HELEN
WASN'T GOING TO CHURCH

BECAUSE IMAGE
WAS IMPORTANT TO HIM.

ANYTHING THAT TOOK AWAY
FROM THAT, YOU KNOW,

HE JUST COULDN'T LIVE WITH.

I WILL NOT ALLOW IT!
I FORBID IT!

YOU POOR, STUPID - -

YOU ARE A LOUSY INFLUENCE
ON YOUR CHILDREN!

HE WAS NOT GOING TO LET ANYBODY
THINK THAT HE WAS A FAILURE.

...WILL NOT ALLOW IT!
I FORBID IT!

WITH THEIR FINANCES
IN SHAMBLES...

WHAT ARE YOU READING,
PATRICIA?

...AND THEIR FAITH
SLIPPING AWAY...

I DON'T BELIEVE ANYMORE.

...TENSION
AROUND THE LIST HOUSEHOLD

HAS FINALLY REACHED
FEVER PITCH.

NOW YOU WANT TO MOVE AWAY
FROM THE LORD

AND TAKE THE CHILDREN
WITH YOU?

I WON'T ALLOW IT!

JOHN LIST WAS BURNING
WITH RESENTMENT

ABOUT HIS OBLIGATIONS,
HIS FAILURES.

SO HE BEGAN TO PONDER
ALL OF THIS

AND TO THINK ABOUT WHAT REALLY
WAS THE EXIT STRATEGY.

AND ON THE MORNING
OF NOVEMBER 9, 1971,

LIFE IN THE LIST HOUSE
CHANGES FOREVER.

YOU GUYS, COME ON.
WE'RE GOING TO BE LATE.

TIM IS DRIVING US TODAY,
SO YOU NEED TO BE READY.

WE'RE NOT GOING TO WAIT
FOR YOU.

ALL DRESSED
AND READY FOR SCHOOL.

LET ME LOOK AT YOU.

FREDERICK...

YOU'RE GETTING SO BIG.

LIKE A LITTLE MAN.

THANK YOU.

YOU, YOU'RE ALREADY THERE.

THANKS, DAD.

DAD, WE'RE GONNA BE LATE,
OKAY?

LOOK AT THE LADY
OF THE HOUSE.

ALL RIGHT.

WELL, TIM IS HERE
SO WE HAVE TO GO, OKAY?

BYE.

GOD BLESS YOU ALL.

WHAT'S WRONG, JOHN?

AREN'T YOU GOING IN
TO WORK TODAY?

NO.

WELL, YOU'RE GONNA LOSE

THAT BIG BONUS
YOU'VE BEEN WORKING FOR.

WE GOT TO PAY FOR ALL THOSE
TV DINNERS SOMEHOW, JOHN.

YOU WON'T BE EATING
ANYMORE TV DINNERS.

ON NOVEMBER 9, 1971, JOHN LIST
SHOT HIS WIFE IN THE HEAD.

THIS IS A CRAZY THING TO DO.
THIS IS AN EVIL THING TO DO.

BUT IT HAD, IN HIS
KIND OF BLOODLESS IMAGINATION,

A KIND OF LOGIC TO IT.

"IF I WERE ONLY RID OF ALL
OF THIS, I WOULD BE FREE."

HEY, MR. LIST.

IT'S MICHAEL.

WITH THE UNION COUNTY
DAILY NEWS.

HERE TO COLLECT
FOR THE DELIVERY.

YES, OF COURSE, MICHAEL.

WHY DON'T YOU COME IN,
AND I'LL GET MY WALLET.

OKAY.

WAIT RIGHT HERE.

HERE YOU ARE, MICHAEL.

UM, ACTUALLY THAT'S $20,
MR. LIST.

$10 IS ALL I HAVE ON ME,
I'M AFRAID, MICHAEL.

WE'LL HAVE TO GET YOU
NEXT TIME.

AND I ALMOST FORGOT.

WE WON'T BE NEEDING
THE NEWSPAPER FOR ABOUT A MONTH.

I'M TAKING THE FAMILY
TO NORTH CAROLINA.

MY WIFE'S MOTHER IS ILL,
DYING I'M AFRAID.

I'M SORRY
TO HEAR THAT.

WELL, I'LL GET THE OTHER $10
FROM YOU NEXT TIME THEN.

MOTHER, IT'S JOHN.
MAY I COME IN?

JA.

COME IN, SON.

COME IN AND SHUT THE DOOR
BEHIND YOU.

I DON'T WANT YOUR HELEN
COMING IN UP HERE.

DON'T WORRY, MOTHER.

SHE WON'T BE BOTHERING YOU
ANYMORE.

GOOD.

SO WHAT'S THE MATTER?

NOTHING, MOTHER.
NO TROUBLE.

WHAT WAS ALL THAT NOISE
DOWNSTAIRS?

I DROPPED SOMETHING
IN THE KITCHEN.

JA.

MOTHER, MAY I ASK YOU
A QUESTION?

IS THERE SIN
THAT GOD WOULD NOT FORGIVE,

COULD NOT FORGIVE?

SO, WHAT HAS YOUR DEAR WIFE
DONE NOW?

NO.
NOTHING LIKE THAT, MOTHER.

BUT IN GENERAL,
IF THE SINNER TRULY REPENTS,

WILL GOD FORGIVE,
NO MATTER WHAT THE SIN?

FAITH IN GOD ALONE WILL BE
FORGIVENESS AND SALVATION.

YOU'VE KNOWN THAT SINCE
YOU WERE A LITTLE BOY.

LET ME OPEN THE WINDOW

AND GET SOME FRESH AIR
IN HERE FOR YOU, MOTHER.

LOVELY.

BELIEVE IN THE LORD JESUS
AND YOU WILL BE SAVED,

YOU AND YOUR HOUSEHOLD.

ACTS 16:31.

IF THE SINNER REPENTS,
THE SIN IS FORGIVEN.

JA.

I HOPE YOU'RE RIGHT.

JA.

GOD BLESS AND KEEP YOU,
MOTHER.

HE SHOT HER,
A WOMAN WHO CARED FOR HIM

AND LOVED HIM
AND GAVE HIM EVERYTHING.

HE KILLED HER.

HE LEFT HER THERE.

HE WENT DOWNSTAIRS,

GOT IN HIS CAR
AND WENT TO THE BANK

AND WITHDREW MONEY
FROM HIS MOTHER'S ACCOUNT.

THEN HE CAME HOME
AND MADE HIMSELF A SANDWICH.

AND HE WAITED FOR HIS CHILDREN
TO COME HOME FROM SCHOOL.

WE SHOULD GO HANG OUT
WITH DANIEL.

YEAH, OKAY.

OKAY, SO LET'S GRAB
A BITE TO EAT,

THEN YOU GET THE BASKETBALL
AND, -

BOYS, COME IN HERE PLEASE.

I NEED YOUR HELP
WITH SOMETHING.

COMING.

NO!

DAD, NO!

THE BOYS CAME HOME.

ONE BY ONE, HE SHOT THEM
AND PLACED THEM IN THE BALLROOM.

THANKS
FOR WALKING ME HOME.

SURE.

YOU THINK
YOU CAN COME OUT LATER?

I...

COME ON.
JUST SNEAK OUT.

I DON'T KNOW, YOU KNOW?

MY - - MY MOM
HAS BEEN REALLY SICK.

AND MY DAD
HAS BEEN ACTING CRAZY.

I JUST DON'T WANT TO MAKE HIM
MAD RIGHT NOW, YOU KNOW?

BUT - - BUT YOU CAN COME UP NOW
IF YOU WANT.

NAH, I DON'T THINK I CAN.

BUT IF YOU THINK
YOU CAN COME OUT LATER,

JUST CALL ME
AND WE CAN MEET AT THE SPOT.

OKAY.

SEE YA.

SEE YA.

MOM?

GOD SAVE YOUR SOUL,
PATRICIA.

WITHIN THE SPACE
OF PROBABLY SIX HOURS OR SO,

HE DESTROYED HIS ENTIRE FAMILY.

YES. HELLO?

THIS IS JOHN LIST
CALLING TO INFORM YOU

THAT PATRICIA LIST WILL NOT BE

AT DRAMA CLUB REHEARSAL
THIS EVENING.

I'M SORRY TO SAY THAT
A FAMILY MEMBER HAS FALLEN ILL.

HE EXCUSED THE KIDS FROM SCHOOL.

HE STOPPED NEWSPAPERS
AND MILK DELIVERIES.

HE THOUGHT OF EVERYTHING.

HE LEFT LIGHTS ON.
HE LEFT CLASSICAL MUSIC ON.

AND THEN, TO MAKE A BIZARRE
SITUATION EVEN STRANGER,

HE PUTS THE BODIES
IN SLEEPING BAGS.

AND BINGO, HE'S GONE.

IT'S BEEN ONE MONTH

SINCE JOHN LIST SHOT AND KILLED
HIS ENTIRE FAMILY

AT THEIR HOME
IN WESTFIELD, NEW JERSEY.

NOW THEIR NEIGHBORS
ARE STARTING TO WONDER

WHAT'S HAPPENED TO THEM.

PATTY SENT 'EM
POSTCARDS WHEN SHE WENT AWAY,

EVEN IF IT WAS JUST A WEEKEND.

AND SHE'D BE BACK
BEFORE THEY GOT THE POSTCARD.

NOBODY'D GOTTEN A PHONE CALL.
NOBODY'D GOTTEN A POSTCARD.

LITTLE BY LITTLE
THE NEIGHBORS NOTICED

THAT LIGHTS WERE GOING OUT
AND GOT SUSPICIOUS

AND CALLED THE POLICE.

HELLO?
WESTFIELD POLICE.

THE THING
THAT STRUCK ME THE MOST

WAS THE STENCH OF DEATH
THAT WAS THERE.

IT JUST PERMEATED EVERYTHING.

THEY'RE ALL RIGHT HERE,
CAPTAIN.

TWO SONS, WIFE,
AND THE DAUGHTER.

ALL OF THEM SHOT THIS WAY,
WITH THE SMALL CALIBER?

WE THINK A. 22.
THE CORONER WILL SAY FOR SURE.

YOU'D EXPECT THE BODIES
WOULD DECOMPOSE CONSIDERABLY.

BUT WHAT JOHN DID BEFORE HE LEFT

IS HE TURNED THE THERMOSTAT
DOWN TO 50 DEGREES.

AND BY DOING THAT, IT PRESERVED
THE BODIES TO A CERTAIN EXTENT.

THERE WAS NO SIGN OF JOHN LIST.

BUT HE DID LEAVE
ONE THING BEHIND

ALONG WITH THE BODIES
OF HIS ENTIRE FAMILY.

I FOUND THIS
IN THE KITCHEN.

A DETAILED LETTER.

CAPTAIN, THE THING IS ADDRESSED
TO A PASTOR REHWINKEL.

DON'T YOU THINK WE SHOULD
AT LEAST LET HIM READ IT FIRST?

THERE'S FOUR DEAD BODIES
IN THIS HOUSE

AND NO SIGN OF THE KILLER.

DON'T YOU THINK
WE SHOULD READ IT FIRST?

"DEAR PASTOR REHWINKEL,

I AM SORRY TO ADD THIS
ADDITIONAL BURDEN TO YOUR WORK."

THAT'S WHAT HE'S SORRY ABOUT?

KEEP READING.

"I KNOW THAT WAS HAS BEEN DONE
IS WRONG,

FROM ALL THAT I HAVE BEEN TAUGHT
AND THAT ANY REASON..."

...THAT I COULD GIVE
WILL NOT MAKE IT RIGHT.

I WASN'T EARNING ANYWHERE
NEAR ENOUGH TO SUPPORT US.

EVERYTHING I TRIED
SEEMED TO FALL TO PIECES.

TRUE, WE COULD'VE GONE BANKRUPT
AND MAYBE GONE ON WELFARE.

BUT KNOWING THE TYPE OF
ENVIRONMENT FOR THE CHILDREN,

PLUS THE EFFECT ON THEM KNOWING
THEY WERE ON WELFARE,

WAS JUST MORE THAN I THOUGHT
THEY COULD AND SHOULD ENDURE.

WHAT ARE YOU READING,
PATRICIA?

WITH HELEN
NOT GOING GOING TO CHURCH,

I KNEW THAT THIS WOULD HARM
THE CHILDREN EVENTUALLY.

AND WITH PATTY BEING SO
DETERMINED TO GET INTO ACTING,

I WAS ALSO FEARFUL
AS TO WHAT THAT MIGHT DO

TO HER CONTINUING TO BE
A CHRISTIAN.

THIS MAKES ME THINK THAT
PERHAPS IT WAS FOR THE BEST,

AS FAR AS THE CHILDREN'S SOULS
ARE CONCERNED.

IF THEY WERE NO LONGER
CHRISTIANS,

WHAT WOULD BE GAINED?

OF COURSE
MOTHER GOT INVOLVED

BECAUSE DOING WHAT I DID
TO MY FAMILY

WOULD HAVE BEEN A TREMENDOUS
SHOCK TO HER AT THIS AGE.

BELIEVE IN THE LORD JESUS
AND YOU WILL BE SAVED.

THEREFORE, I FELT IT BEST

SHE SHOULD BE RELIEVED
OF THE TROUBLES OF THIS WORLD.

I'M SURE MANY WILL SAY,

"HOW COULD ANYONE DO
SUCH A HORRIBLE THING?"

MY ONLY ANSWER IS,
IT ISN'T EASY.

"P. S....

MOTHER IS ON THE THIRD FLOOR.

SHE WAS TOO HEAVY TO MOVE."

WHAT'S THE DATE
ON THE LETTER?

NOVEMBER 9th.

ONE MONTH.

THERE'S A SAYING
THAT IF YOU DON'T SOLVE A CRIME

WITHIN 48 HOURS,

IT'S MUCH LESS LIKELY
TO BE SOLVED.

WE NEVER HAD
THE 48-HOUR OPPORTUNITY.

WE HAD 28 DAYS

BEFORE WE EVEN LEARNED
THAT THERE WAS A HOMICIDE.

THAT GAVE JOHN LIST A GOOD
HEAD START IN HIS NEW LIFE.

ONE MONTH AFTER THE LIST
FAMILY WAS GUNNED DOWN IN COLD BLOOD,

POLICE HAVE DISCOVERED
THEIR BODIES

INSIDE THE FAMILY'S
WESTFIELD, NEW JERSEY, HOME,

AS WELL AS A LETTER OUTLINING

THE KILLER'S MOTIVE
FOR THE CRIME.

WELL, THERE WAS NO QUESTION
THAT JOHN LIST WAS THE MURDERER

BECAUSE HE GAVE MORE DETAIL
THAN ANY OTHER PERSON

THAT I HAVE EVER SEEN.

BUT JOHN LIST HAS SKIPPED TOWN.

AND WHERE HE IS NOW
IS ANYONE'S GUESS.

HE HAD A BIG HEAD START

BECAUSE HE HAD A MONTH
TO GET OUT OF THE COUNTRY.

I NEVER THOUGHT JOHN LIST
WOULD BE CAUGHT.

AS WEEKS TURN INTO
MONTHS AND MONTHS TURN INTO YEARS,

THE HOPE OF EVER FINDING
THE MAN RESPONSIBLE

FOR THE GRISLY MURDERS

OF HIS OWN MOTHER, WIFE,
AND KIDS

FADES TO ALMOST NOTHING.

BUT INVESTIGATORS NEVER GIVE UP.

WE HAD PUT THE JOHN LIST STORY

INTO TABLOIDS THAT WOULD BE
FOUND IN A SUPERMARKET.

AND EVENTUALLY,
THE STORY GOES NATIONAL.

AND WHEN A POPULAR TV
PROGRAM AIRS DETAILS OF THE CRIME,

THE VERY NEXT DAY,
THE FBI RECEIVES A CRITICAL TIP.

SPECIAL AGENT THIGPEN.

MA'AM, IF YOU COULD,
JUST SLOW DOWN FOR ONE SECOND,

I'M GOING TO NEED
TO GET SOME DETAILS.

NOW WHAT DID YOU SAY
YOUR NAME WAS AGAIN?

THE TIPSTER WAS A MRS. FLANNERY.

AND SHE CALLED, AND VERY
MATTER-OF-FACTLY SHE SAID,

"JOHN LIST LIVES
AT THIS ADDRESS

IN RICHMOND, VIRGINIA.

HE MARRIED
ONE OF OUR NEIGHBORS."

YES, MA'AM.

NO, THAT'S VERY HELPFUL.

COULD BE NOTHING.
IT COULD BE SOMETHING.

YES, MA'AM.

THANK YOU FOR CALLING IN.

MAY I HELP YOU?

I THINK YOU KNOW
WHY I'M HERE, MR. LIST.

I CERTAINLY DO NOT KNOW
WHY YOU ARE HERE, MR....

MR. FBI.

YOU GOING
BY ROBERT CLARK NOW, JOHN?

TELL ME,
HOW DO YOU COME UP WITH THAT?

LISTEN, SIR.
I DON'T KNOW ANY - - MR. LIST?

STAND UP, TURN AROUND,

PUT YOUR HANDS ON YOUR HEAD,
AND INTERLACE YOUR FINGERS.

SIR, THERE'S BEEN
SOME KIND OF A - -

I- I DON'T KNOW ANY JOHN - -
MY NAME IS - -

DO IT OR I'LL PUT YOU
RIGHT ON THE GROUND.

JOHN LIST ASSUMED THE IDENTITY

OF A PERSON
BY THE NAME OF ROBERT CLARK.

HE GOT HIS SOCIAL SECURITY
NUMBER, SO HE WAS ABLE TO WORK.

AND, QUITE IRONICALLY,
HE BECAME THE SAME PERSON - -

WORKING IN FINANCE
AND ATTENDING A LUTHERAN CHURCH.

YOU THINK I'M GONNA LET YOU
SNOWBALL ME AFTER ALL THIS TIME?

NO, JOHN.

YOU HAVE TO ANSWER
FOR YOUR CRIMES.

TIME TO GO.

HE BASICALLY WENT ON TO CREATE
ANOTHER LIFE FOR HIMSELF.

NOT A WHOLE LOT MORE SUCCESSFUL
THAN HE WAS BEFORE.

NO NEW CHILDREN
AS A RESULT OF THE MARRIAGE

AND NO FURTHER HOMICIDES,
BUT CONTINUED TO LIVE AND DO

WHAT HE DEPRIVED HIS CHILDREN
AND FAMILY OF BEING ABLE TO DO.

HIS CAPTURE MEANT
THAT DARK CLOUD

THAT HAD HUNG OVER WESTFIELD
SORT OF HAD MOVED AWAY.

AND IT FELT TO ME LIKE,

YOU KNOW, WAS SOMETHING
THAT COULD BE PUT TO REST.

IT WAS DONE.

IN APRIL OF 1990,

JOHN LIST STANDS TRIAL
FOR THE MURDERS

OF HIS WIFE, THREE CHILDREN,
AND HIS OWN MOTHER.

IT WAS WATCHING A ROBOT.

HE WAS SITTING THERE,
NO EXPRESSION ON HIS FACE,

CERTAINLY NO REMORSE
ON HIS FACE.

HE WAS ABSOLUTELY EMOTIONLESS.

THIS IS EVIL, YOUR HONOR.

AND SOMETIMES THERE'S SOMETHING
EVEN WORSE THAN THE EVIL

THAT THIS DEFENDANT
DISPLAYED ON THAT DAY.

AND THAT IS TO DENY
ITS EXISTENCE.

HIS DEFENSE
WAS A DIMINISHED CAPACITY,

WHICH IS SOMETHING
SHORT OF AN INSANITY DEFENSE.

SAYING THAT AT THE TIME
THAT HE DID THIS,

HE WASN'T IN HIS RIGHT MIND.

I BELIEVE THAT YOU HAD

NO GREATER CASE
OF PREMEDITATED MURDER.

THE PREMEDITATION STARTED
MONTHS, IF NOT YEARS, BEFORE.

HE ADMITTED
TO ALL OF THE DETAILS,

THOUGHT OUT, OF THE ESCAPE.

YOU CAN'T BE THAT CUNNING
AND THAT CAREFUL.

NEITHER THE JURY NOR THE JUDGE

BELIEVED JOHN LIST'S
DIMINISHED-CAPACITY DEFENSE.

WHEN FACED WITH A SICK
WIFE AND ONE THAT PROBABLY BECAME

EXTREMELY DIFFICULT
TO LIVE WITH,

HE FOUND DEATH TO BE A MORE
PLAUSIBLE ALTERNATIVE TO DIVORCE

BECAUSE HE IS A MAN
WITHOUT HONOR.

HIS ACTS STAND AS A PERMANENT,
PATHETIC, AND PROFANE EXAMPLE

OF SELFISHNESS, HORROR,
AND EVIL.

AND IN THIS END,

THE ONLY RATIONALIZATION
HE GAVE FOR THESE MURDERS

IS HE WAS DOING THEM A FAVOR
BY LETTING THEM DIE

IN A STATE OF GRACE.

I ASKED HIM
THE OBVIOUS QUESTION,

"WELL, WHY DIDN'T YOU
KILL YOURSELF"?

AND HE GAVE ME THE ANSWER.

"WELL, SUICIDE IS A SIN."

GO FIGURE.

ON APRIL 12, 1990,

JOHN LIST IS SENTENCED
TO FIVE LIFE SENTENCES.

BUT HE DIES AFTER SERVING
JUST 18 YEARS.

I DON'T THINK HE SUFFERED
A WHOLE LOT

IN THE 18 YEARS
HE WAS ON THE OUTSIDE.

I DON'T THINK HE SUFFERED
A WHOLE LOT

ON THE 18 YEARS
HE WAS ON THE INSIDE.

AND THAT'S THE SHAME OF IT,

BECAUSE FOR SOMEBODY
WHO DID WHAT HE DID,

HE SHOULD'VE HAD
PLENTY OF SUFFERING.