House after a murder (not the Gregory kind of House)

Hello Everyone,

I was reading a sad news story out of Arizona today about some moron who shot his girlfriend, her son, his girlfriend and their two year old daughter killing everyone and then himself. The article showed pictures of the house and it appeared to be a nice home in an upper middle class development, the ones with zero lot lines. This will be a well known incident in the city were it happened, so I got to thinking about what happens to the house. I would think not many want to live in a home where 4 people and a child died by gunshots.

What happens to these kinda of homes? Do they sit forever vacant, their values plummet to a fraction of true worth? How about neighboring homes? Did this idiot killer destroy their values as well? Since it is in a development that is zero lot lines I wouldn’t expect that it will be abandoned forever, nobody living in that sub division will want to watch it fall apart from neglect. Perhaps they just raze the thing, build again or leave an open lot? I would say maybe make the land into a memorial park, but again, people live there and no one wants to live next to a reminder of something like that.

Just curious, anyone know of an infamous house near where you live? What did they do with it? Obviously I am not referring to houses like the Lizzie Borden house, that type is nationally known and preserved as a tourist trap.

I’ve been by the LaBianca house where some of Manson murders took place.

According to this site:

Eventually the price on a ‘murder house’ will drop to the point where someone will buy it despite any stigma attached. One of the members of the new family living there will go nuts and murder everybody though.

A friend of mine had to help clean out an apartment after his buddy committed suicide. Not pretty, he used a moose rifle in the mouth to take off most of the top of his skull. The usual, despondent over a woman…

Some professional crew had been in to clean up and mop up the blood and guts. He was helping move out the furniture. They went to lift the sofa and - glurp - he found the cleanup crew had missed a piece of brain.

Afterwards they clean off the walls, patch the bullet holes, repaint, and presto! Ready for the next tenant. Maybe it sat empty for a few months, but apartments were at a premium, so I doubt it.

I suppose it depends on the notoriety of the crime. The Manson murders are stll famous decades later. Most murders are forgotten unless some thoughful neighbour brings it up when you move in.

The house I used to own, it occurred to me from time to time that the previous owners’ teenage son had been found dead choked on vomit; he was cleaning an engine with solvent in an enclosed space. I think it was the furnace room, I hadn’t though about it for a long long time until I was halfway through writing this post; and I lived in the house for 20 years.

OTOH, a notorious house like the one Paul Bernardo and his main squeeze killed and disassembled two teen girls in St. Catherines - torn down after the police gutted it to be sure there we no other videotapes still hidden behind the walls.

So every house has a different story.

Several years ago, a similar murder happened in a house near where I used to work. It was a modest 30-40 year old ranch house in an upper-middle class suburb. It sat vacant for a while, and eventually was razed and replaced by a bigger, fancier house. But a lot of the houses in the area were being demolished and replaced in the same way, so that might have been the fate of the murder house in any case.

I’ve heard that police officers often buy those houses - not that they’re morbid, just that it doesn’t bother them as much. They aren’t concerned that a random killer is going to show up to slaughter the next inhabitants, etc. If others aren’t so interested in buying then they may get a nice house for a good price.

When I was house-hunting, one place I visited had a line in the packet that the previous owner “peacefully ended his life” there (he was old and his wife had passed away). This is California, so anything that can materially affect the desirability of the home is supposed to be disclosed (I assume they wouldn’t have put that information in there, otherwise). The house was nice and knowing that the owner had killed himself didn’t freak me out or put me off considering the place.

When we listed our California house for sale in 2005, we had to inform the Realtor if anyone had died in the house, by any means.

Some people are creeped out by dead, even if someone died by natural causes in a nonviolent way.

If your example house has a mortgage on it, it would depend on the lender. Obviously the first thing a lender would do would be to sell it. If it doesn’t sell, then the lender would have to make the decision to make any changes or bulldoze the house completely.

I don’t know if a vacant lot has to be listed as “somebody died here.”

There was a murder / suicide in a house in my neighbourhood about four years ago. It was eventually torn down after a couple of years and the lot still sits empty.

John Wayne Gacy’s house was leveled and a new one built in its place - with a fresh address #. I’ve driven by the lot a few times.

I frequently drive by a house that was the scene of a locally sensational murder. It sat empty for about a year, but now is being lived in. A teenager of the family survived, it may be that he is living there.

If you are freaked out by being in a room in which someone has died, don’t go to a hospital. I can pretty much assure you that someone has died in every patient room, sometime or another. Same thing for pretty much every bed within a hospital. (Sorry if I’ve freaked anyone out)

Yeah, I don’t see how that one could have sold for more than about $2 after he stored so many corpses in the crawlspace. Yuck!

I wouldn’t think the fact that someone just died would be a problem, the fact that it was a scene of a multiple murder that would be a problem. Even if the deaths didn’t bother you, I would think that the notoriety of the event would.

If I read that sentence I wouldn’t think it meant he committed suicide; just that he grew old and died there. It would be a funny thing to read in the particulars, though.
The most notorious “murder house” in the UK of recent times was 25 Cromwell Street in Gloucester, where nine bodies were found, victims of Fred and Rose West.

The police pretty well tore the house apart searching for bodies, and it was demolished, along with its semi-detached neighbour, soon afterwards. Now there’s a footpath and garden there. Street View.

However, the Wests’ previous home, where their first victim was buried under the floor, fetched above its guide price at auction a few years later.

Related BBC article, which also mentions the house where a school caretaker killed two young girls (another big story from a few years ago) was demolished.

There was a murder in a home on the very same block where I grew up – you could stand on our back porch and hit the house with a thrown rock, if you wanted to.

This was long after I moved out. It was, of course, a shock – one of our neighbors a murderer? It had gruesome aspects, too. Apparently, after the guy had murdered his girlfriend, he cut off her head and kept it in the fridge.
Nevertheless, the house wasn’t stigmatized. It sold, and is occupied again. Nobody wants to turn down an inexpensive house within easy commuting distance of the big city.

Here is a case that is relevant to stigmatized property:

I was the first person to rent this guy’sapartment after he murdered and dismembered his boyfriend. The agent I used to find the place said the law required them to tell me what happened there.

I stopped telling girls about it because they refused to come back to my place when I did!

It’s still there, although the street name and the apartment complex name have changed over the years.

Conklins final meal sounds pretty good: Filet mignon wrapped with bacon; de-veined shrimp sautéed in garlic butter with lemon; baked potato with butter, sour cream, chives and real bacon bits; corn on the cob; asparagus with hollandaise sauce; French bread with butter; goat cheese; cantaloupe; apple pie; vanilla bean ice cream and iced tea.

If you REALLY want to creep girls out, make them that exact meal and then tell them about the incident and that it was Conklins last meal.

Out of curiosity I drove by the Gacy house site last year. Gacy’s house had to be torn down regardlesss because it was so thoroughly dismantled by police recovering evidence that it would be cheaper to start over than try to repair it.

The Christian/Newsom murder house in Knoxville was bought by an adjacent trucking company, demolished, and it used as storage. Judging by pictures it wasn’t much of a house.

The Amityville house still stands. They’ve replaced the distinctive “eye” windows and changed the address and landscaping to try to discourage gawkers.

Remember that Malcolm in the Middle episode where they find they’re living in a murder house?

The only thing that would bother me about buying a house that was the site of a sensational murder is the likelihood of slack-jawed jackholes driving by to look at it.

One of our houses was the site of a (natural) death. As long as the guy wasn’t stuffed and mounted over the mantelpiece, we didn’t mind.