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Johnny SATTERWHITE

 
 
 
 
 

 

 

 

   
 
 
Classification: Mass murderer
Characteristics: Revenge - Separated from his wife for a week
Number of victims: 4
Date of murders: November 18, 1996
Date of birth: 1959
Victims profile: His son, Christopher, 10, and his stepchildren Johnny Gary, 13, Terrance Gary, 14, and Mary Gary, 16
Method of murder: Shooting
Location: Laurens, Laurens County, South Carolina, USA
Status: Committed suicide by drowning himself the same day
 
 
 
 
 
 

On November 18, 1996, having been separated from his wife for a week, millworker Johnny Satterwhite, in a desperate act of revenge, killed his son and three stepchildren before committing suicide.

After the collapse of his 12-year marriage with his wife Bertha, Johnny, a resident of Laurens, South Carolina, criptically wished his estranged wife a merry Christmas. He also told her that she would be alone in 97. On the side he asked his employee to remove her from his life insurance policy.

Sometime during the weekend of November 18 Johnny shot the four children in their beds. He then asked a friend to tell Bertha that he had left four packages in the house waiting for her and then drove to a nearby reservoir to commit suicide.

 
 

Father Suspected of Killing 4 Children and Self

The New York Times

November 19, 1996

LAURENS, S.C. A millworker charged with murdering his son and three stepchildren in their beds was found dead today in a reservoir after leaving a message for his estranged wife to pick up ''four packages'' at home, the police said.

The millworker, Johnny Satterwhite, 37, apparently drowned himself after his wife, Bertha Satterwhite, discovered the children's bodies, along with his note, on Sunday afternoon.

''Basically it told her to have a Merry Christmas, used some profanity and said she would be alone in '97,'' Laurens Police Chief Robin Morse said of the note.

Mr. Satterwhite also asked his employer on Friday to remove his wife as beneficiary of his life insurance policy, Chief Morse said. The couple, married about 12 years, had been separated for at least a week.

Late Sunday, Mrs. Satterwhite discovered the bodies of their son, Christopher, 10, and of Johnny Gary, 13, Terrance Gary, 14, and Mary Gary, 16, who were Mr. Satterwhite's stepchildren. The authorities could not explain why the children had the last name Gary.

Mrs. Satterwhite had been called by a mutual friend of the couple who told her to go to the family home, saying ''there were four packages'' left for her by Mr. Satterwhite, Chief Morse said. He said the friend who relayed the message was apparently unaware of the killings.

The boys had each been shot twice in the head and the girl was shot three times. All four were lying in their pajamas in bed.

Chief Morse did not know an exact time of death but said the children could have been killed as early as Thursday since they were not at school on Friday.

A search of the small one-story house found a .22-caliber revolver, which was bought Thursday at a local pawn shop, along with a box of low-noise cartridges. The police also found Mr. Satterwhite's note to his wife in the living room.

Warrants charging Mr. Satterwhite with murder were issued before his truck was found five miles north of Laurens today. The police used bloodhounds to search the woods nearby, and his body was pulled from the Clinton city reservoir a few hours later.

No cause of death had been determined, but there were no indications of foul play, Laurens County Coroner Zack Seymour said. An autopsy was scheduled for Tuesday.

 

 

 
 
 
 
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