Episode 2: John Francis Wille, convicted child murderer

nichole-lopattajpeg-e66849be6d85e6d6

Nichole Lopatta, Source: NOLA.com

Episode 2 of Crime Historian: the Podcast features John Francis Wille, born in 1964, who allegedly began committing murders when he was as young as sixteen years old. His most notorious crime, and the one was he was convicted of, was the kidnap, rape, and murder of 8-year-old Nichole Lopatta in June of 1985. Wille was 21 at the time.

He was partly convicted for this grizzly crime due to his own confession which explicitly described every act he and one his acquaintances, Billy Phillips, subjected Nichole to. His conviction also rested heavily on the confession of his girlfriend, Judith Walters, and her daughter, Sheila Walters. In total, at the time of the murder, four people other than Nichole were along for the car ride that began in Milton, Florida and ultimately stopped in LaPlace, Louisiana where Nichole’s body was dumped in the woods.

Reports differ on Sheila’s age at the time, but it is agreed that she was thirteen or fourteen years old when the crime occurred.  This is significant because, according to the confessions, Sheila actually helped the men kidnap Nichole, though it is not proven that she actually knew what she was doing. She reportedly also consoled Nichole as she cried on the car ride that eventually ended in her death. Listen to episode 2 for the entire story. And please, heed the disclaimer at the beginning.

Notes:

  • There was no possible way for me to cover everything in this case. Check out the sources below for further details.
  • At one point, I mistakenly refer to John Francis Wille as Willie. That’s because his name is spelled two different ways across the Internet. My bad!

Special thanks to these sources:

  1. http://www.nola.com/crime/index.ssf/2014/05/nichole_lopattas_convicted_kil_2.html
  2. http://www.leagle.com/decision/1987771514So2d257_1629/STATE%20v.%20WALTERS
  3. http://law.justia.com/cases/louisiana/supreme-court/1990/87-ka-1309-1-1.html
  4. http://www.leagle.com/decision/19901880559So2d1321_11643/STATE%20v.%20WILLE
  5. The Psychology of Interrogations and Confessions: A Handbook by Gisli H. Gudjonsson

Episode 1: Daniel Lee Siebert, the serial killer that terrorized Talladega

originalEpisode 1 of Crime Historian: the podcast features a serial killer named Daniel Siebert. During his run, he murdered between 12-13 people (he personally couldn’t remember) including two victims that were formerly attributed to Los Angeles’ South Side Slayer.

The reason this story (quite literally) hits home for me is because several of his murders occurred in a rural town, Talladega, Alabama, where I once lived and still maintain strong family ties.

Furthermore, Siebert is not a serial killer whose name is often uttered. When most of us think about serial killers, we think about Ted Bundy, Jeffrey Dahmer, or John Wayne Gacy. When I began researching Siebert a couple years ago, I was surprised to learn there was in fact a serial killer I hadn’t heard of and that he had actually rented an apartment from my husband’s grandfather. It was too eerie not to look into.

When most people think about Talladega, they think about NASCAR. Unfortunately, there is a much darker past lurking in the shadows (both in regards to criminality–and, unfortunately—history). Listen to episode one if you want to hear about Daniel Siebert’s trek from L.A. to Talladega and his unfortunate victims, including 24 year old Sherri Weathers and her two young sons, Chad and Joey.

Please, listen to the first episode and then rate it on iTunes! 🙂

https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/crime-historian/id1152728489

Sources:

  1. http://www.cjlf.org/files/Siebert/SiebertStTrialCtOpn.pdf
  2. http://www.documentingreality.com/forum/f10/daniel-lee-siebert-serial-killer-90840/
  3. http://www.murderpedia.org/male.S/s/siebert-daniel.htm