7. The Lawson Family Murders
Christmas Day, 1929
Charlie Lawson murdered his wife, Fannie Manring, and six of their seven children at his countryside home in Germanton, North Carolina. Only 16-year-old Arthur Lawson survived that Christmas Day. They went to the local shops just days before to buy presents and new clothes for the above family photo – the last one ever taken.
During the afternoon of Christmas Day, his two daughters – 12-year-old Carrie and 7-year-old Maybell – walked beside the family barn when their father, who laid waiting, killed them with a shotgun. He then pulled their bodies into the family barn, before walking back to the house and finished off the rest of his family.
The bodies of the deceased were positioned with their arms crossed and rocks under their heads like pillows. Charlie Lawson then fled to the woods, missing for several hours, before shooting himself in the head.
Strangely his eldest son Arthur was spared – he had been ordered by his father to run errands in town and was there when the killing spree began. Nobody knows why Charlie Lawson decided to murder his own family.
6. The Ashland Tragedy
Day Before Christmas Eve, 1881
Robert and Fannie Gibbons and Emma Carico were staying at the Gibbons’ home in Ashland, Kentucky, when they were brutally murdered during an attack with an axes. The gang then set the home on fire, which lead to their neighbors calling the police – by the time help had arrived all three bodies of the victims were badly burnt.
A local bricklayer named George Ellis confessed to the crime, he also named his accomplices as his work friends – William Neal and Ellis Craft. In an excerpt from the book The Ashland Tragedy – Murder Will Out, it reads: “10 days after the terrible crime had been committed, George Ellis, who lived in Geiger hill near the Gibbons house, began to show evidence of guilt. He was taken to the hotel in question by Deputy United States Marshal, (where he) commenced telling the whole story.”
George Ellis was charged with life in prison, but on May 30th, 1882, an angry mob broke into the jail, took him outside and lynched him.
5. Murder of Margaret Bell
Christmas Day, 1901
Married couple John and Margaret Bell had lived together in Brooklyn for fifteen years. When Margaret returned from a trip to Scotland to inform her husband she was pregnant, he grew paranoid and suspected the baby was not his own.
For weeks leading up to Christmas, he threatened and bullied his wife – in hopes of getting a confession from her about the true paternity of the child.
Then on Christmas Day, he confronted her with a revolver, Margaret struggled with him over the weapon, but she was fatally shot. John intended to shoot himself after the murder but instead he walked outside in shock and confessed everything to a policeman.
4. The Los Feliz Mansion Murders
The Loz Feliz mansion at 2475 Glendower Place, Los Angeles, has been one of the area’s most talked about murder houses. In 1959, Doctor Harold Perelson, who worked as a cardiologist, struck his wife with a hammer at 4.30am. He then left her to bleed to death on the floor as he entered his teenage daughter’s bedroom and struck her with hammer too.
The blow had not killed her and she woke the neighbors as she screamed, “Don’t kill me!” She managed to escape the home and call the police. Back in the house, Doctor Perelson entered the bedroom of the two youngest children and told them, “Go back to bed – this is a nightmare.” He then took an overdose of 31 sleeping pills and was dead before the ambulance arrived.
Since this terrifying incident, according to those who have dared to get close to the house, there are still Christmas presents under a tree in the living room – all of which can be seen clearly through the downstairs windows. Nobody understood why Perelson committed such an awful crime or why the house was left completely untouched.
3. The Wholaver Murders
Christmas Eve, 2002
Five months before the murders of Victoria and Elizabeth Wholaverm their father, Ernest Wholaver Jr, was charged for multiple sexual offences but he managed to skip any jail time. His wife, Jennifer Wholaver, had previously taken out a restraining order against her husband.
On Christmas Eve, along with his younger brother Scott, they drove to the home of his wife and daughters, cut the telephone wires and shot all three of them dead. He spared the life of his nine-month-old granddaughter but left her in the home unattended.
Following the discovery of the bodies, police immediately suspected Ernest and he was arrested and charged with three counts of first-degree murder.
2. The Covina Massacre
Christmas Eve, 2008
On Christmas Eve, in Covina, Los Angeles, Bruce Jeffrey Pardo dressed as Santa Claus, entered the family home of his ex-wife and former in-laws, with a package under his arm. He then pulled out a gun, shot nine members of his former family and burned the house down with a flamethrower.
He then drove to his brother’s house and shot himself in the head. His motive was that his ex-wife had demanded too much money from him in their divorce settlement. He had complained to close friends that she was ‘taking him to the cleaners.’
1. The Murder of JonBenet Ramsey
Boxing Day, 1996
The morning after Christmas, 6-year-old JonBenet Ramsey was reported missing by her parents – then eight hours later, her body was found in the basement at her home in Boulder, Colorado. The case had several grand jury hearings, yet still remains unsolved.
According to the testimony of JonBenet’s mother, Patsy Ramsey, she discovered her daughter was missing after coming across a ransom letter in the kitchen demanding $118,000 for the safe return of her daughter. The note said JonBenet would be returned as soon as the money was paid. The instructions were not to call the police or contact any friends, but at 5.45pm that day they rang the police and also contacted friends and family.
After officers arrived, they believed she had been kidnapped from her bedroom and cornered off the area. They then suggested John Ramsey search the house for anything unusual and he headed to the basement in the house. Here he found his daughter’s body covered in a blanket and carried her upstairs in his arms.
The police were later ridiculed for allowing the father to move the body from the scene of the crime. A nylon cord had been tied around her neck, her wrists were tied above her head, and her mouth was covered by duct tape. An autopsy revealed that JonBenet had been killed by strangulation and a severe skull fracture.
Her parents were cleared of any wrongdoing and still to this day nobody knows who killed JonBenet.