The Knife Before Christmas: Scott Peterson & 4 More Christmas Eve Murders

Scott Peterson [California Department of Corrections]

This year, CrimeFeed is bringing you 12 Days of Christmas Crimes to acknowledge the holidays in our unique way. Here’s the 11th!

Watch Investigation Discovery’s curated playlist of Christmas Crimes That Will Make You Say Ho Ho No on ID GO now!

For those who celebrate the holiday, December 24 is meant to represent good times, high excitement, and warm relations at the peak of each year’s Christmas season. Alas, such is not always how Christmas Eve works out — and, in the following five cases, tinsel and merriment gave way to tragedy and murder.

1. Scott Peterson Murders His Pregnant Wife Laci Just Hours Before Christmas, Dumps Her Maimed Body, Reports Her Missing

MODESTO, CA — On December 24, 2002, Scott Lee Peterson, 30, killed his eight-months-pregnant wife Laci Peterson, detached her head and limbs, stuffed the remains into a weighted bag, and then dumped her and the couple’s unborn son Connor off the side of his fishing boat into the San Francisco Bay.

From there, Peterson called the cops and feigned panic, saying “Laci’s missing!” A massive hunt ensued, all of it ultimately leading back to Scott as the culprit.

On April 28, 2003, cops picked up the narcissistic mama’s boy,” as Peterson has been since labeled, on a golf course. His dark hair was bleached blond, and his Mercedes was packed with $15,000 cash, camping gear, four cell phones, two driver’s licenses, and 12 Viagra tablets.

Peterson’s ensuing trial and capital-punishment conviction became an overwhelming media and pop-culture sensation. It remains so as, even on Death Row, Peterson maintains his innocence. Alas, according to former LAPD detective Mark Fuhrman (yes, the O.J. guy), “a mama’s boy never confesses.” [CrimeFeed]

To learn more about Scott Peterson, watch Investigation Discovery’s Scott Peterson: An American Murder Mystery on ID GO now!

Related: Murder In The Gay South — The Christmas Day Killing At The Drama Club

2. Santa-Suited Psycho Slaughters 9 With Gun & Flamethrower in “Covina Massacre”

COVINA, CA — At 11:30 P.M. on December 24, 2008, jet-propulsion expert Bruce Jeffrey Pardo, 45, knocked on the front door of Joseph Ortega, 80, and Alicia Ortega, 70 — the parents of Pardo’s ex-wife, Sylvia, 43. Their divorce had come through on December 18, just shy of a week earlier.

About 25 people had gathered inside to celebrate the holiday. Pardo, clad in a Santa Claus costume, entered the scene. When Sylvia’s eight-year-old niece ran excitedly to greet him, Pardo whipped out a 9mm semi-automatic handgun and shot her in the face. He then fired into the crowd of horrified partygoers.

Pardo then tore open a gift-wrapped box to reveal a homemade flamethrower. He sprayed the premises with race-car fuel and lit the home ablaze. Flames leapt 50 feet high, and firefighters battled the inferno for 90 minutes before containing it.

By the time Pardo fled, nine people lay dead (including his ex-wife and in-laws) and another three (including the child) were severely wounded. He drove 30 miles away, parked outside his brother’s house, and blew off his own head.

Police later destroyed Pardo’s car, which he had booby-trapped to explode, and discovered a staggering arsenal of weapons in his apartment. One officer also called it “a bomb factory.” [Los Angeles Times]

Related: Man Charged With Murder Of Actress, Yoga Instructor Missing Since Christmas Day

3. Washington Woman & Boyfriend Blow Away 6 Family Members at Holiday Gathering

CARNATION, WA — On the afternoon of December 24, 2007, Michele Kristen Anderson and her boyfriend, Joseph Thomas McEnroe, who were both 29, departed the trailer they occupied, rent-free, on property belonging to her parents, Wayne Anderson, 60, and Judy Anderson, 61.

Wayne and Judy were expecting the couple for Christmas Eve dinner. When Michele and Thomas arrived, she brandished a 9mm pistol while he came armed with a .357 Magnum. They executed the Andersons with shots to the head and face shortly thereafter, then dragged the bodies out to a backyard shed.

In time, Scott Anderson, Michele’s 32-year-old brother, showed up with his wife Erica, 32, and their children, Olivia, 5, and Nathan, 3. Michele, who later said her rampage had been triggered because her brother owed her money, blasted Scott multiple times and killed him. Erica ran to protect the kids, but Michele shot her, too. Erica did manage to dial 911 before dying.

Finally, Joseph McEnroe executed the two children at point-blank range, reportedly while apologizing to them. Michele later explained that she marked the kids for death to eliminate witnesses, and that having seen their parents murdered would have “scarred them for life.”

A neighbor discovered the massacre two days later. While police teams were still on the scene, Anderson and McEnroe pulled up to the house, pretending to not know what was happening. Cops arrested them on the spot.

Both Anderson and Michele eventually confessed to the calculated bloodbath and are serving life sentences without the possibility of parole. [Seattle Times]

Related: It’s a Ho-Ho-Holdup — Bad Santas Rob Banks, Sell Drugs & More In Christmas Crime Roundup

4. Chicago Pimp Kills Teen Escort on Christmas Eve, Dumps Her in Garage

CHICAGO, IL — Less than a week after 16-year-old Desiree Robinson confessed to a friend on Facebook that she was being “pimped,” authorities discovered her recently deceased body on the blood-soaked floor of a neighborhood garage. Robinson’s killer had beaten her savagely and slit her throat. It was Christmas Eve 2016.

Robinson had been missing since she ran away from her grandparents’ home in late November. It would later come to light that Joseph Hazley, 33, was selling Robinson for sex, largely by using an online escort service.

Tragically, on December 24, Anotonio Rosales, 33, contacted Robison online for a “date.” Hazley and his girlfriend then delivered the teen to the very garage where Rosales, who at first refused to pay for the encounter, murdered the teenager.

Rosales has been charged with first-degree murder. Hazley is in jail on federal sex-trafficking charges. [Chicago Tribune]

Related: Bullets Wrapped In Christmas Paper Left As Threat To Music Shop Owner

5. Alabama Killer Awaits Execution for Murdering Wife & Dad-in-Law on December 24

MONTGOMERY, AL — At 6:45 P.M. on December 24, 1993, Jeffery Lynn Borden brought his three children to the home of Roland Harris, the father of his estranged wife, Cheryl Borden, who was also on the premises.

As Cheryl came out to the car to gather the kids’ belongings for a celebratory Christmas Eve sleepover, Borden produced a .380 caliber semiautomatic pistol and shot her to death. Upon hearing the gunfire, Roland Harris ran to help his daughter, and Borden murdered him, too. The children witnessed the killings and bolted inside, screaming.

Police quickly arrested Borden, and he’s been on Death Row for nearly 15 years, fighting relentlessly to get his capital conviction overturned. While he was slated to receive a lethal injection on October 5, 2017, federal courts granted him a stay of execution. As a result, this Christmas, Jeffery Lynn Borden remains alive. [AL.com]

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Main photos: Scott Peterson [California Department of Corrections]

  • Martha Bartha

    Happy Kwanzaa!

  • Lolana

    Lots of people have an opinion about Scott Peterson, but many of those people have no idea that the defense had an excellent case. The only television that explores the defense case took years to make and was only released this summer. It’s called The Murder of Laci Peterson and is a six part docuseries available from A&E (it’s on Amazon as well). One of the most fascinating things about the case is the tape from the prison phone call between inmates who knew the burglars who pulled off the major heist Dec 24th across the street from the Petersons’ house. The person on the tape, from Modesto’s Airport District, knew the burglars and told the inmate Laci had walked up on them and one of them threatened her. Somehow this just never got covered in the thousands upon thousands of hours of TV coverage, but it’s a fact. It’s also a fact that Scott Peterson was not the one who called police; that was Laci’s stepfather. Also, Laci’s remains were not found in a weighted bag, and the prosecution never said Peterson took off Laci’s head, hands and feet. The theory, actually, was that they became detached in the water. But beyond these really embarrassing gaffes, that headline is a real shame. How would you feel presenting a printed copy of this article to any one of these crime victims? What a cheap shot to make a headline and on Christmas at that. Good god man.