Thursday, September 1, 2011

Man, What A Twisted Family Tree...!


When reading about this family and the crimes they committed, it's hard to believe they managed to stay free as long as they did!

You have to wonder if the madness ran in the family, or was it just the mother? They were all pretty sick if you ask me.

This type of story makes you sad to know there are people like this on the loose in the world. At the same time, it scares the hell out of me! This is almost as though these folks were straight out of the pages of some work of fiction, and not real people! Unfortunately, that is not the case!

From the good folks at History.com, this story certainly gives us all something to think about!

Sept. 1, 1981:

A teenage boy murders his father


Fifteen-year-old Eric Witte shoots his father, 43-year-old volunteer firefighter Paul Witte, in the family's Indiana home. Although Eric admitted to shooting his father, he claimed that the gun had accidentally gone off when he tripped on a rug. The bullet hit his father, who was lying on a couch across the room, in the head. The shooting was ruled an accident, and Eric was released.

Three years later, Eric's grandmother, Elaine Witte, 74, was killed with a crossbow. A few months after the murder, the entire family was arrested in California for forging Elaine's signature on her Social Security checks. In the subsequent trial, the bizarre story behind the murders came to light.

Eric's mother, Hilma Marie Witte, had tried to kill her husband, Paul, by lacing his food with rat poison and Valium. When this proved unsuccessful, she convinced her son to shoot his father by telling him that Paul was going to divorce her and that they would end up living in the streets. She later persuaded John "Butch" Witte, Eric's younger brother, to kill his grandmother by convincing him that Elaine planned to kick them out of the house. John, who witnessed his father's murder at the age of 11, was 14 when he killed Elaine Witte. At the trial, John stated, "My mom said I could strangle her or use my crossbow. It was up to me."

A few hours after killing his grandmother, John went to court with his mother to inquire about receiving disability benefits from his father's death. When they returned home that night, they began cutting up Elaine's body with a knife and a chainsaw. Marie and her two boys then scattered the dismembered body throughout California.

John and Eric were given 20- and five-year sentences, respectively, and were released in 1996. Hilma Marie Witte received a 90-year sentence.

Now, many of us have some slightly bent branches in our family tree, but I'm pretty sure none of us have anything like this! I know that if I did, I wouldn't admit it!

Just way too many crazy folks in the world, I'm thinking!

Want some fresh coffee? We can sit outside, if you can take the heat!

21 comments:

Sissy said...

I'll forego the coffee for awhile; just a bit of nausea after reading this account.

Ben in Texas said...

Only thing I can say is I hope that family isn't producing any more kids into this World. Good grief!! My first thought was hang em all.
Wish someone would follow or track John, the young son, and see how he turns out later in life.

Dizzy-Dick said...

Very scarry family!! They beat the Adam's Family and the Munsters for sure.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Sissy - an ugly story that really illustrates the Bad Seed really do exist out there. Just - evil, pure evil in their souls. $$$ is all they cared about.

JoJo said...

I know a family like that. Makes your skin crawl just for the fact you knew them. Still makes me sad, for the victim.

Didn't you get your rain? you can all come an have coffee here on the porch its a nice 66 this morning. Doesn't seem cold at all.

HermitJim said...

Hey Sissy...
Does make you a little sick to the stomach, doesn't it?

I really appreciate you coming by today!


Hey Ben...
Yep, the last thing we need is more of this type on the streets! There is more than enough of their kind running free as it is!

Come to think about it, I have some in my neighborhood!

Thanks, buddy, for coming by today!


Hey DD...
Yessir...that they do! Makes the made up monsters all look pretty tame!

Guess there will always be this type around!

Thanks, my friend, for coming by today!


Hey Anon 7:34...
Probably more of them around than we want to know about!

As the old say goes "Be afraid...be very afraid!"

Certainly got my attention!

Thanks for coming by today!

HermitJim said...

Hey JoJo...
Pretty sad for anyone getting on the wrong side of this family!

We have rain coming down as we speak! Started this morning and is supposed to stay all weekend! That's fine with me!

Thanks, sweetie, for coming by today!

Kellie said...

when I read the heading; I began to immediately began to think about how my mothers husbands sisters daughters husband married my mothers husbands sisters sons wife.

but I see it isn't THAT kind of twisted family tree.....

and wile some of my family members HAVE done some really twisted things (lie in court, leave when wife got pregnant) I do not think that any have been THAT twisted.

its always interesting to read your blog! :)

HermitJim said...

Hey Kellie...
I think that many of us have some of those in our family tree, but nothing like the ones in the story!

I appreciate your kind words today...and the visit as well! Always good to see you!

Basic Humanity said...

Wow this is some pretty crazy stuff. It's hard to say based on just that who the real evil ones are. Makes you wonder what the boys' upbringing was like and how long their mother had been putting evil thoughts into their minds. Very sad and scary stuff.

Also just want to say hello Jim. I've been reading for a month or so now, and trying to read over the posts from the beginning too. Your blog is really interesting and gives me a lot of food for thought.

Scott Giesler said...

Me and my brother we actually friends with butch and lived right down the road from them in trail creek. Butch was kinda of an odd person. He was into dungeons and dragons and all that fantasy shit. When we found out about the murder of his grandma, just couldnt believe it, we were both in shock. Especially after staying the night over there after she was murdered

Jaye said...

.......These are actually my 2nd cousins once removed. Their father, Paul, was my first cousin 3x removed; his mother Mary (not stepmother) was a sister of my great-grandmother. She died pretty recently, about 2011. Paul lived with my grandpa and his family for a little while when he was young.

I have never met these cousins. Fortunately.

Mr. Smith said...

I know Eric and his 3 kids personally. Work with them. Just found out about this today. Explains alot.

Unknown said...

Mr. Smith, are you serious about knowing Eric? Want to know more..

robert zimmer said...

The show evil lives here was on last night and featured Eric Witte telling the story of killing his father. But he changed the motive never saying anything about doing it for money .Just that they were victims of awful abuse and they wanted it to stop. That they were hit all the time and mentally abused all the time

Unknown said...

I think the mother was evil and don't really blame the young teen boys she manipulated. Sick and evil woman using her kids to do her dirty work.

Ellashue said...

I read in an article that John is deceased. The mother was trying to say that she had letters where John said she was not involved but the judge said that it was heresy as John would not be there to confirm or deny the letters.

Ellashue said...

Found a post by Eric: Hans Dieter “John David” “Butch” Witte died from complications of diabetes.

Mary Howard said...

My dad and Mr. Whitte were best friends. I grew up with John and Eric was younger. When Mr. Whitte got shot my dad knew it wasn't an accident. This is a really big deal around our house. I remember they had horse trailers on our property and my dad delivered them to their house within 24 hours of Mr. Whitte being shot. He told us we weren't allowed to talk to those boys anymore and he didn't want any of them on our property. It took a while for the police to get to the bottom of it but somehow my dad knew. Mr. Whitte was brutal. The boys were kind of pitiful . I'm sorry to hear one of them died but I hope the other one has found some peace.

Anonymous said...

I feel sad for Eric and Butch. I pray that Eric has found some peace. I went to Fairhaven with him and our last names start with W so he and I were always assigned next to each other. What I remember is that we were all abused....at home, and then school. There was just this foreboding air that we were doomed. Jesus loved all good children & that wasn't us. FCA instilled a fear that we were going straight to hell if we didn't obey our parents, and our young brains believed that. I imagine Eric and I had very similar home life as well, my mother hated my abusive dad....so she escaped, by working many hours at the mill; leaving us with with our drunken dad. I remember praying for God to help me and my brothers escape; but that didn't happen. I now don't believe in God. I didn't kill my dad, he did that to himself (drank himself to death) For a time I was sad, but once I became a parent...OMG I was instantly angry. At my mom for turning a blind eye, and my dad for well everything. At FCA, because they put this sense of falseness, in me that I just wasn't a good christian; so this was why bad things happened to me. Now when I think about Eric, I wonder if he would agree. If he were to read this, I would want him to know that I have empathy for him and Butch. I think they did what they were told...by church and school & their parents.I am sorry that as a child there was no-one to tell...NO ONE!!! A kid in the 70's had no voice, at least who cared if you were beat.

Becca Ashlock said...

I'm sorry for the abuse you endured Anonymous. I agree up to late 80's to early 90's you didn't discuss child abuse. It was the dirty hidden secret kids did not have a voice.
I hope what you went through has given you strength as a parent & person for others.
I don't agree with what was done here but These boys were manipulated by their mother from the start. A mother should nurture & protect their children.
I hope these two boys got help & found peace.