While shoppers scurry around for last minute gifts, families prepare for stressful travels, and Santa double checks the naughty list, someone will probably be planning a murder. Murders happen every day, but when they happen on Christmas it seems so much worse. Christmas represents family, celebration and life. But, sometimes those things don’t matter to certain people. To those people, the holiday is the perfect time to cause a memorable tragedy. Here are 5 brutal Christmas murders that will make you nervous about this year’s family gathering.
High School Baseball Star Kills Mom
William Aydelott was a star pitcher for his high school baseball team. He was being recruited for college and had plans for a bright future. But, on Christmas Eve in 2013 the 17-year-old snapped and ruined his life forever.
The 6’3 athlete was armed with a baseball bat and a knife when he approached his mother, Sharon, that fateful night. He swung his bat, striking her head and body. Then, he slashed her throat and plunged the knife into her eye. Sharon was discovered in a pool of blood by a friend, and her son was eventually arrested for her murder. He reportedly confessed to the crime with a smile on his face.
The relationship between the mother and son had strained in the months before her death because Sharon was divorcing Aydelott’s father. Aydelott also was upset because his family believed he was on drugs, and had signed him up for a drug rehabilitation program.
Despite the brutality of his crime, Aydelott was declared not guilty by reason of insanity in 2016. A psychiatrist told the jury that Aydelott was schizophrenic and had suffered hallucinations that horrific night. He is currently at a mental institution, but he could be a free man in the future.
A Murder in Belfast
A simple remark between a group of friends led to a brutal crime on Christmas Eve. It was 2014 in Belfast, Ireland when Matthew Goddard and brothers William and James Turner were having a laugh over drinks. Goddard made the mistake of insulting one of the brothers, and soon found himself on the floor. The Turners stomped, kicked and punched Goddard as he lay helpless below them. Then they took his electric guitar and smashed it over his head, breaking it into pieces.
Goddard died from his injuries. The brothers rolled his body up inside a curtain, and left him at the bottom of the stairs to be found on Christmas day. They were eventually arrested and sentenced to life in prison.
Lawson Family Murders
The Lawson family was in the holiday spirit when they travelled into the city of Germantown, North Carolina for shopping and family photos on Christmas Eve in 1929. The next day all but one of them would be dead.
The day after their outing, patriarch and tobacco farmer Charlie Lawson stalked each of his family members and took their lives. He waited by his tobacco barn and preyed upon his two daughters, Carrie and Maybell, as they passed by. He shot each of them with a shotgun, and then bludgeoned them for good measure.
After, he shot his wife who waited on the front porch. He then entered his home and shot three more children before bludgeoning his infant child to death. Hours later he would take his own life in the woods.
No one knows why Charlie murdered his family that day, but there are many theories. Some believe his actions were premeditated, which is why he took his family for one last portrait the day before. Prior to the murders, Charlie suffered a head injury that is believed to have affected his mind. Whatever the reason, the murders were a Christmas tragedy that have remained a huge part of North Carolina’s history.
The Covina Massacre
Some divorces are so nasty, they can lead to extreme violence. In 2008, Bruce Jeffrey Pardo was enraged over his divorce from Sylvia Ortega Pardo. He decided that he would hurt her and her entire family in the only way he knew how: with a flamethrower.
Pardo showed up at Sylvia’s parent’s home in Covina, California on Christmas Eve. He was dressed in a Santa suit, which is why Sylvia’s 8-year-old niece let him inside without question. He was carrying presents, but they weren’t filled with toys. Instead, the boxes contained a homemade flamethrower and handguns.
The scorned man fired into the party of unsuspecting guests, sending them fleeing for cover. After he opened fire on the crowd, Pardo drenched the home in gasoline and set it on fire with his flamethrower. Nine people died that night, including Pardo’s ex-wife.
After, Pardo drove to his brother’s home and killed himself.
In 1996 the world became obsessed with 6-year-old JonBenet Ramsey. She was a bubbly little girl who was paraded around in beauty pageants and made up to look too sexy for her age. And then she died. She was brutally murdered on Christmas Day, and her death remains unsolved.
Her death has become one of the biggest mysteries of this century, and it most likely will never be solved. Mistakes were made by police from the very beginning, the crime scene was tarnished, and any physical evidence that could have been used to solving her death was ruined.
While on the outside her murder appears simple, it’s much more complex. There is an odd 3-page ransom note sprinkled with movie quotes, a half-eaten bowl of pineapple on the kitchen table that no one claims to have dished out for JonBenet that night, and extremely odd behavior by her parents. Not to mention, the Ramsey’s opened their home to visitors, and JonBenet was seen by numerous eyes in the pageant scene.
There are so many questions, possible suspects and motives, and no answers. JonBenet will forever remain an innocent 6 year-old girl who was killed on Christmas day.