ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

4 True Crime Books About People Who Murdered Their Family

Updated on June 8, 2016

1. Brothers Blood: A Heartland Cain and Abel by Scott Cawelti

Jerry Mark grew up farming alongside his three brothers on their father’s Iowa farm. As the boys reached adulthood, the oldest would head north to Canada, another brother would suffer from schizophrenia, and Jerry would go to law school only to toss it aside for a hippie lifestyle; leaving the third son, Leslie “Les” Wayne Mark.

Brother's Blood by Scott Cawelti
Brother's Blood by Scott Cawelti

When family patriarch Wayne Mark was diagnosed with cancer and the outcome inevitable, he called his nomadic son home and there announced that Les was officially taking over the family business.

Filled with jealousy, greed, anger, and humiliation at being passed over for a younger sibling, Jerry fumed and sulked and then began planning.

Over a thousand miles Jerry would travel to cold-bloodedly slay his brother, his sister-in-law Jorjean Marks, 5-year-old niece Julie Julane Mark, and toddler nephew Jeffrey Wayne Mark in the wee morning hours of November 1, 1975.

When police arrived at the Leslie Mark Farm to find the brutally murdered family, a shiver went through them; the Clutter Family murders of only 16 years before still fresh in their minds. Vowing to get justice for this well-liked family, investigators went to work and it didn’t take long to figure out that Les’s big brother Jerry was the culprit.

Jerry used his skills as a defense attorney to create the perfect crime, but he didn’t count on the determination of police. And that, simply put, washis fatal error.

Scott Cawelti grew up in Cedar Falls, Iowa, with the Mark kids; Jerry being just one year his senior. He too felt the shock that flowed like water through the town when Les and family was murdered and Jerry, Les’s own flesh and blood, stood charged with the crime.

Now he tells the story of the Cain and Abel Murders, as they came to be dubbed by local media, in his 2011 true crime book appropriately named Brother’s Blood.

Just as the crime gives a feeling of déjà vu, so does the writing as Cawelti uses creative licensing to develop dialogue between characters. However, since the banter is created from interviews it stays pretty much parallel to the facts.

2. Whisper to the Black Candle: Voodoo, Murder, and the Case of Anjette Lyles by Jaclyn Weldon White

When Anjette Lyles‘ first husband died, the Macon, Georgia community pitied the young woman and her two young daughters. And when her second husband died a few years later, they grieved with her yet again; thinking how terribly dreadful it was that Anjette should be widowed twice in such a short a relatively short time.

Whisper to the Black Candle by Jaclyn Weldon White
Whisper to the Black Candle by Jaclyn Weldon White

But when her when her mother-in-law suddenly fell ill, people gave Anjette a sideways glance. Indeed Mrs. Lyles was elderly but something just didn’t sit well with the situation at hand; especially when the old woman expired. And when Anjette’s oldest daughter became sick so quickly following her grandmother’s death, Macon tongues begun to cluck rapidly among those who frequently visited Anjette’s diner and others.

Whisper to the Black Candle by Jaclyn Weldon White chronicles the case of Macon’s popular restaurateur who became one of the first white women in Georgia sentenced to death in the twentieth century.

Aside from the events surrounding such a character as Anjette Lyles, Whisper to the Black Candle is an extremely interesting historical true crime; a time before desegregation in deep south Georgia and before women were allowed to serve on a jury. In addition, avid crime and punishment followers will be amazed at the testimony permitted during this trial – quite a variance from today’s rules of evidence some fifty plus years later.

3. House of Secrets by Lowell Cauffiel

Eddie Lee Sexton, Sr. wasn’t smart enough to recruit a following, so he formed a cult with the only ones he could control: his family.

House of Secrets by Lowell Cauffiel
House of Secrets by Lowell Cauffiel

Sexton, with the willing aid of his wife,Estella “May” Sexton, performed satanic rituals within the home, habitually beat the children, and subjected their children to incestuous sexual abuse – producing three children with two daughters.

Lowell Cauffiel’s House of Secrets is an addicting read from the very beginning and for the very same reason that Eddie Sexton was able to get away with such atrocities for so long: the stories yielded from inside this home are unimaginable, unbelievable.

But they are real.

At least the majority.

Unfortunately no one but those who lived it will ever know one hundred percent what went on in that home as memories are warped and the twelve children often dispute one another’s stories; and, sadly, have a penchant for lying – no doubt a learned behavior from their parents.

Irregardless, DNA proves that, at the minimum incest occurred. And the bodies of Joel Good (Pixie Sexton’s, daughter of Eddie and May, husband) and their 9-month-old baby, Skipper Lee, are evidence of murder.

The twists and turns leading to the arrest and conviction Eddie Lee Sexton and his wife are sickening, yet engrossing; reading like fiction, with tales of satanism, manhunts, conspiracies, cons, and family feuds and cover-ups that put television soaps to shame.

4. Zero at the Bone: Story of Gene Simmons Mass Murderer by Bryce Marshall and Paul Williams

Ronald Gene Simmons had once been an Air Force Sergeant but those days were long gone. Now he was a tyrant; a cruel, evil man who took pleasure in tormenting and humiliating his family. Except Sheila, one of his daughters.

Zero at the Bone by Bryce Marshall and Paul Williams
Zero at the Bone by Bryce Marshall and Paul Williams

Forcing her into an incestuous relationship, Sheila bore her father’s baby. Despite the “relationship” and Gene’s efforts to control her, Sheila would one day reject him for another man. She was determined to start her own life, free of her cruel father.

Realizing that Sheila was free, Gene went on a rampage that killed fourteen members of his family: wife, children, sons and daughters-in-law, and grandchild. Tossing their bodies into a hole in the family home’s backyard, Gene then took his rampage to town where he continue to murder in cold-blood.

Bryce Marshall and Paul Williams tackle the enraging and heartbreaking story of Gene Simmons in their 1991 true crime Zero at the Bone.

Where Are They Now? Warning! May Contain Spoilers!

  • Eddie Lee Sexton has been unsuccessful in his numerous appeals and remains on death row in Florida’s Union Correctional Institution.
  • Estella May Sexton is presently incarcerated in the Ohio Reformatory for Women. Her first parole hearing was in February 2011 where she was denied release. Her next parole hearing won’t occur until December 2017.

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)