If These Walls Could Talk: The 5 Most Infamous Murder Mansions

Once you learn the dark deeds committed inside these palatial estates, you'll appreciate your modest linoleum split-level home a whole lot more.

December 26, 2017
Taliesin [Wikimedia Commons]

Taliesin [Wikimedia Commons]

Taliesin [Wikimedia Commons]

By: Emily Kaiser

At first glance, these five American homes are enviable and even majestic. Once you learn the dark deeds committed inside these palatial estates, you'll appreciate your modest linoleum split-level home a whole lot more.

Gardette LaPrete Mansion [Wikimedia Commons]

Gardette LaPrete Mansion [Wikimedia Commons]

Gardette LaPrete Mansion [Wikimedia Commons]

1) The Bloody Lore of The Gardette-LePrete Mansion

Location: New Orleans, Louisiana

Crime: Perhaps the strangest and most sordid story in our list, the Gardette-LePrete Mansion, also known as the Sultan’s Massacre House, was built in 1836. The home was allegedly leased to the brother of a Turkish sultan, who threw extravagant parties. Tragedy befell the home when one night, the young renter, his harem, and all of his party attendees were brutally murdered. Neighbors discovered the gruesome acts when they saw blood dripping down the front steps of the home. The killers were never identified. Last we heard the home was on the market for a cool $2.65M. Guess bloodstains don't impact property values....

Taliesin Photo [Wikimedia Commons]

Taliesin Photo [Wikimedia Commons]

Taliesin Photo [Wikimedia Commons]

2) A Gruesome Attack Forever Taints Taliesin

Location: Spring Green, Wisconsin

Crime: Renowned architect Frank Lloyd Wright built Taliesin in 1911. Three years later, one of the estate workers, Julian Carlton, murdered Wright’s lover, Maham Borthwick Cheney, and her two children with an ax. Carlton then set the home on fire with additional workers trapped inside. Adding to the horrific scene, Carlton stood with an ax outside of the burning home, waiting if anyone tried to escape. There was never a trial and no motive was determined before Carlton died in the weeks following the attack. The home is now a museum and National Historic Landmark, but we might leave this one off our next Frank Lloyd Wright historic homes tour.

Mercer House [Wikimedia Commons]

Mercer House [Wikimedia Commons]

Mercer House [Wikimedia Commons]

3. Murder At Mercer House Inspires Author & Terrifies Neighbors

Location: Savannah, Georgia

Crime: Built in 1860, The Mercer House has been home to numerous tragedies. Before the murder that would be retold in John Berendt’s novel Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, two residents died in the home. In 1913, a homeowner tripped, suffered a concussion, and died three days later, and in 1969, a boy fell from the roof and was impaled on an iron fence. The third and most notorious death was the 1981 murder of Danny Lewis Hansford. James Arthur Williams, owner of Mercer-Williams house, shot and killed his assistant and lover, Hansford. Williams was tried for the same murder four times but, after a mistrial and overturned convictions, Williams was found not guilty. The home is currently owned by Williams’ sister and is open for public tours. We're hoping the roof is not accessible during public visits....

Glensheen Estate [Wikimedia Commons]

Glensheen Estate [Wikimedia Commons]

Glensheen Estate [Wikimedia Commons]

4) Greed Corrupts at the Glensheen Historic Estate

Location: Duluth, Minnesota

Crime: The Gleensheen Estate is known for two reasons — historical significance and murder. Homeowner Elisabeth Congdon and her nurse, Velma Pietila, were murdered in Glensheen on June 27, 1977. Congdon was the millionaire heir to mining magnate Chester Adgate Congdon. At the age of 83, Elisabeth was suffocated in her bed, and her nurse was beaten to death with a candlestick. Elisabeth’s daughter, Majorie, and son-in-law, Roger, were arrested for the murders. Only Roger spent time behind bars and left a note, asserting his innocence, when he later committed suicide. Marjorie, who was set to inherit $8.5M from her mother, never got the money from her mother’s estate and has been charged with fraud and arson multiple times since being acquitted from her mother’s murder. Glensheen is now open to public tours, which include a brief mention of the murders. With a legacy like that, it's probably best that the home is off the market.

Amityville [Wikimedia Commons]

Amityville [Wikimedia Commons]

Amityville [Wikimedia Commons]

5) Family Feud Erupts in Amityville

Location: Amityville, Long Island

Crime: More than 40 years ago, six of the DeFoe family members were murdered in their home in Amityville. The homeowner couple and four of their children were found shot to death in their expensive Long Island Colonial-style home. The family’s oldest son, Ronald DeFeo, told neighbors that he found the bodies upon returning home from work. Ronald’s story soon exposed serious inconsistencies and he eventually confessed to the murders. Ronald’s defense claimed he was suffering from insanity and had been hearing voices plotting against him. Ronald was ultimately found guilty on six counts of second-degree murder and sentenced to six concurrent sentences of 25 years to life. Since his conviction, Ronald has claimed various people, including his mother and siblings were guilty of the murders. None of Ronald’s claims have been effective in overturning his sentence, and his appeals to the parole board have been denied. Ronald's of the night's events is a conspiracy theorist's dream come true.

Watch Investigation Discovery's Behind Mansion Walls on ID Go now!

Watch Now:

Next Up

Crime History: The "Intensely Ordinary" BTK Killer Who Got Away With Murder For 30 Years

Dennis Lynn Rader murdered at least ten people in Wichita and Park City, Kansas, between 1974 and 1991.

More Than Half A Century After His Assassination, Dr. King’s Legacy Lives On

On April 4, 1968, James Earl Ray shot and killed the civil rights leader while he stood on the balcony of his Memphis motel room.

Who Was Notorious Jewel Thief Jack “Murph The Surf” Murphy?

Not all of the details Murphy shared about his life can be verified, but what we know to be true is a fascinating tale about a daytime surfer who moonlighted as a high-end thief.

5 Facts You May Not Know About Infamous Serial Killer Ted Bundy

From his chilling childhood to his explosive execution, go inside the twisted world of the notorious serial killer.

5 Key Facts About The Jessica Chambers Murder Case

Jessica Chambers suffered an agonizing death: Firefighters saw her walking toward them, wearing only her underwear & burned over 93 percent of her body.

UPDATE: Fugitive Leticia Smith from ‘In Pursuit With John Walsh’ Captured In Mexico

Authorities confirm former fugitive, Leticia Smith was extradited from Mexico to California. Smith will face charges for allegedly killing her husband, Antione Smith.

Three Men Charged In Killing Of Hip-Hop Legend Jam Master Jay

The Run-DMC DJ was shot to death in a Queens recording studio in October 2002.

Fugitive Added To FBI Top 10 Most Wanted, Up To $1 Million Reward

The FBI says Jose Rodolfo Villarreal-Hernandez has ties to Monterrey, Mexico and Mexico City, Mexico and could allegedly be linked to more than 10 murders in Mexico. He stands 5 feet 4 inches tall and weighs 165 pounds and is considered armed and extremely dangerous.

Yale University Student Stabbed 17 Times In ‘Heinous’ 1998 Unsolved Off-Campus Murder

“The investigation into the homicide of Suzanne Jovin is a very active case,” authorities say.