Slaying Of 6 Family Members Shocks
April 14, 2006
Family and friends are reacting to the murders of
six family members in their Leola, Pa., home.
John Adams is a neighbor and relative of the Wise
family. He went next door Wednesday afternoon to check on the family
after he and the owner of the home became suspicious about the welfare
of the family. Adams said he arrived to find the suspect, 21-year-old
Jesse Dee Wise, also known as "Jay," in the home, along with the victims
in the basement.
"I turned on a light and started walking down the
stairs, and the first thing I saw was Arlene. I bent down just a little
and then I saw the baby down there lying on its face. I ran out, and I
told the police that they were all down there dead," said Adams.
The owner of the home and the
suspect's grandfather, Jesse Wise, 60, said he became suspicious
after his grandson gave him and Adams conflicting stories about the
whereabouts of the Wise family.
Police listed the victims as:
Emily Wise, 64, suspect's grandmother
Wanda Wise, 45, suspect's aunt
Arlene Wise, 30, suspect's aunt
Skylar Wise, 19, suspect's cousin
Chance Wise, 5, suspect's cousin
Jesse James Wise, 17, suspect's cousin
Emily Wise, Chance Wise, and Jesse James Wise were
strangled. The other victims were bludgeoned to death with some sort of
handmade club, according to WGAL-TV.
Kerry Vaden, cousin to the suspect, said the family
is doing its best to deal with the tragedy.
"It just fell out of the sky on top of us," said
Vaden. "Now we got this to deal with. Plus, we got to deal with Jay. You
know what I mean, six at one time plus Jay, too. It's hard... it's hard."
"He never had an argument with me, never had anything
with me or his grandma. I don't know what happened. I would love to know
what happened," said grandfather Jesse Wise.
According to court documents, the man charged in the
killings has confessed to the slayings.
The documents indicate that Jesse Dee Wise admitted
strangling three of the victims, and bludgeoning the others in the head
with a metal object.
Wise was shackled around his wrists and ankles as he
appeared Thursday before a judge, who ordered him held without bail.
"I was very upset, very hurt," said friend Donna
Decker. "You know, for the whole family, plus the 5-year-old, it's very
About 100 friends of the family showed up at a
candlelight vigil on Thursday to place flowers and candles in front the
"They were nice people," Decker said. "It's what made
me so close with them. You don't find too many kids out here like that
Tim Gonzales also remembered the family, especially
Jesse James, who used to play pickup games in the park.
"He's a little guy, very athletic," Gonzales said.
"(He was) tough on the biggest people. He is like one of the strongest
little men I know."
People who attended the vigil had nothing negative to
say about the Wise family.
District Attorney Don Totaro declined to comment
about a possible motive for the slayings.
Jesse Dee Wise
WGAL-TV in Lancaster, Pa., has learned more about
Police said both of his parents are dead. He had been
living with his grandparents at the home where the killings happened,
according to police.
Wise has a criminal record in Lancaster County. In
the summer of 2004, he was charged with eight crimes. They ranged from
reckless driving to a felony count of conspiracy to commit burglary.
He's also accused of breaking into the First Baptist Church of Pequea in
Salisbury Township, Pa.
New Details In Sextuple Lancaster
By Mike Hellgren -
WJZ Eyewitness News
April 16, 2006
LEOLA, Pa. (WJZ) ―
WJZ Eyewitness News has learned new information
about the man accused of killing six of his relatives in Leola,
Police arrested Jesse D. "Jay" Wise Jr. just hours
after finding the six bodies in the worst mass murder in Lancaster
County, Pennsylvania history.
As a memorial grows on the fence surrounding the home,
new information about the murders has come to light.
According to published reports, court records reveal
Wise confessed to first strangling his 17-year-old cousin, and then
beating another teenage cousin with a metal object minutes later.
Records also say he then beat his two aunts before
strangling his grandmother and his five-year-old cousin. The coroner
believes all died within seconds.
A New York newspaper reports the suspect's girlfriend
said he spent time with her after the murders and seemed happy, never
mentioning them. A family friend was also interviewed by the newspaper,
and that person claimed the suspect had "said he wanted to kill them,
but nobody took him seriously."
Police found the victims at least three days after
their deaths in the basement.
"Every time I really hung out with him, he was just a
laid back, really cool, nice guy," says Jerry Dunn, a friend of the
Wise's grandfather is a founder of the Federation of
Black Cowboys in New York--a group that's mentored hundreds of inner
city youth. He reportedly bought the home from an Amish family in hopes
of finding a better place to raise his family.
WJZ Eyewitness News learned that
Wise has several other criminal cases pending against him, including
robbery and resisting arrest.
Police recovered two 17-inch pieces of metal from the
home. The coroner says that after he examined the bodies, he found no
concrete evidence that anyone was strangled.
Surviving family members have planned a memorial
service for the victims in New York. They'll be buried in Virginia.
Man Accused of Killing 6 Faces New Charge
By Mark Scolforo - The Washington
The Associated Press
Friday, May 26, 2006
LANCASTER, Pa. -- A man charged
with killing six relatives in the family home also
had attempted to travel to New York to kill his
grandfather and was stopped only by car trouble,
prosecutors allege in a new count filed Friday.
The bodies of Jesse D. "Jay" Wise
Jr.'s relatives were not yet discovered when police
say Wise and a 16-year-old girl drove toward New
York in his slain grandmother's Mercedes sport-utility
The girl, Angelica Gillogly,
testified in a preliminary hearing Friday that Wise
told her he was going to bring drugs back from New
York and that he "had to finish what (he) started."
His grandfather, Jessie L. Wise, was in Brooklyn,
away from the family home in Leola, a small village
about 60 miles west of Philadelphia.
The SUV broke down outside
Philadelphia early April 11, and a friend gave Jay
Wise and Gillogly a ride back to Lancaster County,
Wise's grandmother, two aunts, an
uncle and two cousins had been stabbed, bludgeoned,
possibly strangled, and left wrapped in sheets and
blankets. Their bodies were found a day later in the
basement of the home.
Wise, 21, was quickly apprehended
nearby. Investigators have not offered a motive for
A judge on Friday determined
there is enough evidence to try Wise, both on the
six homicide charges and the new attempted homicide
Jessie L. Wise, reached by phone
Friday, declined to comment.
Gillogly testified she was under
the influence of drugs or alcohol the night she and
Wise headed east, but Lancaster County prosecutor
Craig Stedman objected and the judge stopped her
short. Gillogly also was prevented from saying
whether Wise also had been on drugs or alcohol.
Police have said Wise confessed
to killing his relatives, ages 5 to 64. His
girlfriend, Jackie Boots, testified Friday that he
also told her about the slayings before his arrest.
The testimony contradicted Boots' account in
interviews with The Associated Press last month in
which she said Wise had given her no hint about the
It took three or four days for
the bodies to be discovered, during which time
authorities allege Wise used his victims' cash,
checks or credit cards to go shopping.
Penn. man pleads guilty to killing 6 relatives
Life sentence; he used metal club on victims, then
went on shopping spree
June 15, 2007
Pennsylvania - A man pleaded guilty Friday to six
counts of criminal homicide and was sentenced to
life in prison for fatally beating and stabbing six
family members inside their Pennsylvania home.
request of the surviving family members, prosecutors
said they agreed not to seek the death penalty
against Jesse D. "Jay" Wise, 22, in the April 2006
killings, which occurred at the home the family
emotional statement to the court, Wise expressed
deep remorse for the killings.
committed the crimes I am accused of, and I in no
way intend to shirk any of the guilt," he said.
Authorities said Wise confessed to killing his
grandmother, two aunts, two cousins and an uncle
inside their home. All six bodies, wrapped in sheets
and blankets, were found in the basement. The
victims ranged in age from 5 to 64.
in the house, police found evidence of the brutality
of the deaths — blood on walls and ceilings, bone
fragments and a bloody, makeshift metal club.
wanted to kill his grandfather in New York,
authorities have said. But that plot was foiled when
his dead grandmother's Mercedes-Benz broke down
while he was on the way, police said.
allegedly used the victims' money to go on a
shopping spree after they died, and newly purchased
clothes were found in his bedroom.
victims had roots in New York, where Jesse Wise's
grandfather Jessie L. Wise operates an excavating
business and is active with the Federation of Black
Cowboys, a club of urban horse enthusiasts.
Wise has said he moved the family to the quiet of
Pennsylvania Dutch country to keep the children away
from the bad influences of the city.
Man Pleads Guilty To Murder Of 6 Family Members
Jun 15, 2007
A man who beat and stabbed six relatives to death
and hid their bloody bodies in the basement as he
partied and went on a shopping spree pleaded guilty
to murder Friday and was sentenced to life in prison
Jesse D. "Jay" Wise avoided the possibility of
execution, prosecutors said, because surviving
family members asked them not to seek it.
Prosecutors said Wise, 22, killed his grandmother,
two aunts, two cousins and an uncle over a four-day
period in April 2006 and left their bodies in the
basement while continuing to spend time in the home
the family shared in Leola. The youngest victim,
cousin Chance Wise, was 5.
Wise has a history of drug abuse, but neither the
state nor the defense could suggest a possible
motive for the killings. "I think that's going to be
one of the mysteries we're stuck with," prosecutor
Craig Stedman said.
In court, Wise expressed remorse. At one point, he
appeared to be crying as he said he was praying for
forgiveness, and said he was not seeking it on his
"Hate is like a cancer that slowly devours your
heart and your soul," he said. "I just want to make
it clear I didn't understand what life was about,
what it was. I had no appreciation for it at all. I
know what it is to be lost."
The victims had roots in New York, where Jay Wise's
grandfather Jessie L. Wise operates an excavating
Jessie L. Wise has said he moved the family to the
quiet of Pennsylvania Dutch country to keep the
children away from the bad influences of the city.
Reached by phone Friday afternoon, Jessie L. Wise
declined to comment.
Stedman said authorities believe the killings
occurred over April 8-11, with Jay Wise killing his
first victim when no one else was home and
committing subsequent murders to cover up that crime.
Police found the bodies, wrapped in sheets and
blankets, on the basement floor, a gruesome scene
the prosecutors compared to a horror movie.
Elsewhere in the house, they found evidence of the
brutality of the deaths -- blood on walls and
ceilings, bone fragments and a bloody iron bludgeon.
He used the victims' money to go on a shopping spree
after they died -- newly purchased clothes were
found in his bedroom. Prosecutors said he also went
to parties and saw girlfriends during the period
when the murders occurred.
Wise also pleaded guilty to attempted homicide and
was sentenced to 10 to 20 years for driving toward
New York with the intention of killing his
grandfather. That plot was foiled when his dead
grandmother's Mercedes-Benz broke down on the
Pennsylvania Turnpike, police said.
Stedman said surviving family members unanimously
told him they were against the death penalty as long
as Wise pleaded guilty to six counts of first-degree
murder and accepted responsibility.
In court papers, defense attorneys said Wise's IQ
tested at 120, far above average, but that long-standing
chronic depression and substance abuse rendered him
He spent much of his high school years in juvenile
detention and was using cocaine and other drugs
daily at the time of the murders, his lawyers said.
In court Friday, he insisted on wearing prison garb
and bowed his head as the judge accepted the plea
and imposed the sentence.
"Words cannot express my anguish over what I've
done," Wise wrote to his lawyers earlier this year.
"Whatever sentence I get I will accept and frankly I
don't believe the death penalty is punishment enough
for what I've done."
Asked after the hearing whether he thought Wise's
remorse was genuine, Stedman said: "He's obviously
extremely intelligent, which to me makes this even
The victims were his grandmother, Emily Wise, 64;
aunts Wanda Wise, 45, and Agnes A. Wise, 43; cousins
Chance and Skyler Wise, 19; and an uncle, Jessie
James Wise, 17.
Stedman said Jessie James Wise, who was stabbed 36
times and strangled, is believed to have been the
first victim. The other five all were beaten in the
head. Jay Wise told the judge Friday that he acted
He was ordered to pay restitution that included the
$33,000 cost of their funerals.