Easter is a time of celebration, not only for the resurrection of Jesus Christ, but also for the end of avoiding chocolate for Lent.
Unfortunately, the celebratory nature of the holiday is easily taken advantage of by criminals, and we’re not just talking about stealing Easter eggs here. These are some of the most heinous crimes ever committed on Easter Sunday.
James Ruppert and the Easter Sunday Massacre
On Easter Sunday in 1975, the day after James Ruppert’s 41st birthday, he woke up still drunk from the night before and proceeded to commit the deadliest shooting inside a private residence in American history. He first shot and killed his brother Leonard, and then Leonard’s wife Alma. When his mother tried to stop him, he shot her as well. He then proceeded to kill all eight of Leonard and Alma’s children. He is currently serving two life sentences.
Bloody Easter in Chicago
Crime has always run rampant in parts of Chicago, but on Easter Sunday in 2014, a particularly bloody Easter weekend led to the formation of a new federal crime unit. Nine people were killed during the weekend spree caused by Chicago’s gangs. Over 35 were wounded, including six children. Reacting to this news, Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy created a new specialized unit of prosecutors called the The Violent Crimes Unit, which aims to keep gunfire off the streets.
The Colfax Massacre
Perhaps the worst instance of racial violence during the Reconstruction Era, Louisiana’s Colfax Massacre occurred on Easter Sunday of 1873, when armed white Democrats attacked freed people of color at the Grant Parish Courthouse in a dispute over a particularly contentious governor’s race. The men were brutally killed after they had surrendered. Because their bodies were thrown into the river, no one knows how many black people died that day, but historians estimate the count to fall somewhere between 62 to 153.
The Murder of Sister Margaret Ann Pahl
Reverend Gerald Robinson was the chaplain for Mercy Hospital in Toledo, Ohio, where he met Sister Pahl, who was 71 at the time. On Easter Sunday back in 1980, Robinson strangled Pahl and stabbed her 31 times, including nine times in the shape of an inverted cross. But Robinson was barely questioned by police.
He even presided over Pahl’s funeral. In 2003, a woman accused Robinson of sexually assaulting her as a child and performing Satanic rituals involving human sacrifice. The unsolved case was reopened, and a sharp letter opener was found among Robinson’s things that was consistent with the stab marks on Pahl’s body. Robinson was found guilty, and he died while incarcerated in 2014.
Dana Ewell’s Inheritance
In what sounds like the catalyst of any classic murder mystery, Dana Ewell was a senior in college when he was told by his wealthy parents that he was going to be cut off after he graduated. Ewell hired his friend Joel Radovcich to murder his mother, father, and older sister on Easter Sunday in 1992 in return for some of the inheritance. Eventually, Ewell’s uncles suspected that the murders were planned by their nephew. Both he and Radovcich were arrested.
The Murder of Veronica Gedeon
The media was abuzz in 1937 over three murders over Easter Weekend, including that of famous model Veronica Gedeon. The culprit was believed to be Robert George Irwin, a sculptor who had previously been committed to an asylum for trying to emasculate himself using a razor. Later on, after being expelled from ministry school, he decided to murder his landlord Mary Gedeon, her waiter Frank Brynes, and her beautiful daughter Veronica. He was deemed “definitely insane” by the state.
Were these heinous crimes committed on Easter by coincidence, or were they more symbolic than that? Either way, this just goes to show you that murder never sleeps, even on the holiest of days.
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