Monday, November 18, 2013

Connett Family Tragedy

Archie Vernon Connett is my fifth cousin once removed. His father was murdered in 1914; but as hard as it may be to believe, that is a story for another day.  My cousin, Archie, is a murderer...of his own three children: Michael, aged 4, Theresa, 2 and baby Carl, only 4 months old.

The photo spread on the front page of the Oakland Tribune the day after the murders

I think I'll let the Oakland Tribune story, which was published on December 24, 1952, tell the initial story. In future posts, I'll fill in as many details as I've been able to discover.

Front page of the Oakland Tribune on December 24, 1952

High School Teacher Kills 3 Children, Stabs Wife, Then Self

One of San Lorenzo High School's "best teachers" killed his three children and critically wounded his estranged wife and himself late yesterday when he went beserk in an argument over Christmas.

The teacher, Archie V. Connett, 38, and his wife Wynona, 28, are in the Santa Clara County Hospital.

Dead are their three children: Michael, 4; Theresa, 2; and Carl Paul, 4 months.

Deputy Coroner Gilbert C. Sowers, of Santa Clara County, said the youngsters apparently were held by their feet and their heads bashed against the floor or walls of Mrs. Connett's home at 10345 Ann Arbor Avenue, Cupertino.


Mrs. Connett was beaten and her throat slashed. Connett slashed his own throat and wrists and took poison. Reported near death last night, he is said to be "holding his own" today. Mrs. Connett is expected to recover.

Connett is an English and physical education teacher at San Lorenzo High School.

Connett has been living at 15057 Hesperian Boulevard, San Lorenzo. He and his wife had been separated since March.

Four days ago Connett went to Mrs. Connett's home. Mrs. Connett took the baby and went to the home of friends in Palo Alto, while Connett stayed with the other two children.

Mrs. Connett said she returned yesterday with the baby and asked her husband to leave, telling him he could come back Christmas morning for breakfast and the opening of gifts.


But Connett flew into a rage and struck her with his fists. Michael, the oldest child, tried to intervene. Then Connett slashed her throat with a boning knife and she fled, crying: "Don't hurt the kids."

Mrs. Connett ran across the street to the home of Mrs. Alice Kean, who said at first she didn't recognize the woman because she was covered with blood, her lips and head bruised.

Mrs. Kean and other neighbors gave her first aid and called the sheriff's office and ambulance.

Deputy Ray Pantiga said Mrs. Connett was already in an ambulance outside when he arrived. Neighbors told him that the three children were still in the house with Connett.

Pantiga went to the front door and looked through the Venetian blinds. On the front room floor he saw one of the children in a pool of blood.

He went to the rear of the house and found the back door open. Entering the kitchen, he found the body of Theresa. She apparently had tried to escape and was caught.

In the living room were the bodies of both boys were on the floor.

Pantiga began a search of the house and found the door to one of the two bathrooms locked. He smashed it open and found Connett lying on the floor unconscious, bleeding from wounds in his throat and wrists.

Archie Connett did live and stood trial for the murders of his three children and the attempted murder of his wife.  Surprisingly, he was not given the death penalty or a life sentence and remarried in 1970. In 1978 he died at 64 years of age.

This story will be continued...

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