Most people who make an irrevocable financial decision know what its like when the gnawing doubts set in. So it was with John Zett. He arrived in America from Bohemia, worked as a coal miner, saved his earnings and by 1906 realised his life-long dream of buying a farm.
As he signed the title deeds he decided to put the farm, at Rockville, Connecticut, in his wifes name. It was a spur-of-the-moment decision, and within days he was regretting it. As the doubts bit harder and harder he decided the only way out of his dilemma was to murder his entire family.
First he battered his wife to death with a hammer, then his granddaughter, aged five. Next he lay in wait for his son Andrew, 22, to come home from work, but in the ensuing hand-to-hand struggle the younger mans strength prevailed, and Andrew overpowered his father.
Zett was convicted of the double-murder and hanged on Monday, December 21st, 1908. He was almost certainly of unsound mind, and in a more enlightened age his life would have been spared. Worldwide Hangings from True Crime Library.
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