It was Easter Sunday morning when 65-year-old Charity Ruppert began scattering chocolate eggs around her front yard at 635 Minor Avenue in Hamilton, Ohio.
Her eldest son, Leonard, was due to visit with his wife Alma and their eight children to celebrate the holiday in just a few hours. Charity’s youngest son, James, was still upstairs sleeping off yet another night of heavy drinking.
Frustrated with his inability to hold a job, Charity had recently told James he had to shape up or ship out. He was, after all, 41 years old and it had been going on for too long. Something had to give.
Scattering chocolates around the home she'd lived in for most of her adult life that morning, Charity Ruppert could never have predicted that just hours later on that day in 1975, she, Leonard, Alma and all of her beloved grandchildren would be murdered by James, in what was and still is considered the most brutal private home massacre in the history of America.
According to Hamilton police reports filed after the brutal killings, plans for what would later become known as the Easter Sunday Massacre began almost a month earlier when James bought ammunition for his many guns and inquired about silencers. Days later, he began shooting targets behind his house with what should have been an alarming regularity.
Then, James turned 41 and was given yet another ultimatum by his mother, who he suspected had never loved him truly anyway, telling James when he was younger she had always wished for a daughter instead of him.
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On March 29, the eve of a visit from his more successful older brother and his large family, James did what he always did at night and went drinking at his favourite local bar, The 19th Hole.
According to the New York Daily News, he talked to a waitress there about his problems at home and said he was determined to sort things out. She encouraged the idea and didn't think much of it when James disappeared from the bar at around 11.30pm, shortly after their conversation.
When he returned almost an hour later, the waitress asked James if he had been home and resolved the issue with Charity, he simply replied, "No. Not yet."
No one has ever been able to confirm what happened in that missing hour.