The John List project: About reporting

Father Wants Us Dead, NJ Advance Media Review of the John List murders in 1971 and their legacy, was the culmination of a year of effort.

Reporters Rebecca Everett and Jessica Remo have contacted more than 100 people associated with the case and interviewed nearly 50 of them. They also reviewed hundreds of pages of documents obtained from the FBI, police and prosecutors. The result, released Sunday, is a 15,000-word investigative retrospective of the depraved crime 50 years after it happened.

The story is part of a larger reporting project, which will include a serial podcast examining the Westfield murders. It will be launched in early 2022.

The reporting in this story is primarily based on interviews with the following sources:

Family, Friends and Neighbors: Tim Syfert, Bill Cunnick, Rhonda Conway, Susan Jankowitz, Ed Saridaki, Chris Day, Charles Jones, Rick Baeder, David Baeder, Ellen Brda, Brion Devlin, Dave Devlin, Dana DeVoe, Juliet DeVoe and Craig Stock .

People involved in the investigation, capture and trial: Bernard Tracy, Robert Kenny, Jeffrey Paul Hummel, Kevin August, Randy Neidecker, John Walsh, David Baugh, Brian Gillet, Michael Mitzner, Steven Simring, Alan Goldstein and William L ‘ E. Wertheimer.

Those who knew List, including in her second life: Kathleen “Kay” Ciarfello, Randy Mitchell, Les Wingfield, Reverend Joseph Vought, Ludwig “Lou” Silbermann, Jerome Kendall, George Corbett, Harry Camisa, Pamela Brause, Burton Goldstein and Wendy Collins. And additional sources: Gabe Gluck, Robin Kampf, Edward “Chip” Saresky Jr., Gail Wittke Houston, Michael Stone, Frank Chupko, as well as several sources who requested that their names not be used.

Secondary sources include documents from the FBI, Westfield Police, and the Union County District Attorney’s Office; Simring’s report on his psychiatric assessment of List; letters provided by Wendy Collins and the family of Wally Parsons; the book “Collateral Damage: The John List Story” by John List and Austin Goodrich; and archived news articles from The Star-Ledger, The Courier-News, The Daily Journal, The New York Times and The Richmond Times-Dispatch.

Journalists conducted additional background research, including the following books: “Death Sentence” by Joe Sharkey, “Thou Shalt Not Kill” by Mary S. Ryzuk, and “Righteous Carnage” by Timothy B. Benford and James P. Johnson.

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Rebecca Everett can be reached at [email protected].


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