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Jesse Dee WISE Jr.






A.K.A.: "Jay"
Classification: Mass murderer
Characteristics: Parricide
Number of victims: 6
Date of murders: April 8-9, 2006
Date of arrest: April 12, 2006
Date of birth: July 24, 1984
Victims profile: 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
Method of murder: Strangulation / Beating with some sort of handmade club
Location: Leola, Pennsylvania, USA
Status: Pleaded guilty. Sentenced to life in prison without parole on June 14, 2007

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Slaying Of 6 Family Members Shocks Small Town

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 sad."

About 100 friends of the family showed up at a candlelight vigil on Thursday to place flowers and candles in front the home's fence.

"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 today."

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 Jesse Wise.

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 Murder

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, Pennsylvania.

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 suspect.

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 Post

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 vehicle.

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, police said.

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 the slayings.

A judge on Friday determined there is enough evidence to try Wise, both on the six homicide charges and the new attempted homicide count.

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 killings.

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

LANCASTER, 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.

At the 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 shared.

In an emotional statement to the court, Wise expressed deep remorse for the killings.

"I 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.

Elsewhere 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.

Wise also 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.

Wise allegedly used the victims' money to go on a shopping spree after they died, and newly purchased clothes were found in his bedroom.

The 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.

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.


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 without parole.

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 own behalf.

"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 business.

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 mentally ill.

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 more disturbing."

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 alone.

He was ordered to pay restitution that included the $33,000 cost of their funerals.



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