George Geschwendt is a mass murderer responsible for six deaths, including five members of a family of seven, in the 70s.
Geschwendt was born September 7, 1951. Growing up, he lived in the Trevose-Feasterville area of Bucks County, a suburb of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Living in a home on Dara Faith Road, he lived across the street from the Abt family with his mother and brother. He had an emotionally damaged childhood, where his father had chased him and his other siblings around with a knife and also tried to run him over with a car. He was also bullied by two of the Abt children, sons Michael and Clifford, who would shoot at him with a BB gun and tease his mother for her broken English, among other incidents. Finally, while he was 24 years old, Geschwendt snapped and purchased a .22-caliber gun and ammunition, later claiming it to be stolen.
The Abt Family Massacre
On March 12, 1976, Geschwendt broke into the Abt home while the family was away, gaining access by smashing a kitchen window and climbing through. Cleaning up the broken glass, he then concealed himself in a notably efficient position: hiding behind a piano, he was able to watch both the kitchen door and the living room door. He laid in wait for his tormentors, but they never arrived home. Instead, he murdered their father John Abt, 49; their mother Margaret Abt, 46; their sisters Margie, 19, and Kathy, 13; their brother John, Jr. 14; and Margie's boyfriend, Garson "Gary" Engle, 20. He would do this by shooting them in the head with the gun one by one as they entered the house, wearing ear protectors all the while. He then threw each body in the basement of the home to hide each subsequent murder. He gave up his pursuit of Michael and Clifford because the phone kept ringing. He left the home, but not before shooting the family's St. Bernard dog, Heidi, whom he concealed from sight by covering it with articles of clothing. Geschwendt then hid the gun, his bloodied clothing, and rubber gloves. Geschwendt arrived home using a circuitous route, delibertately taking it in order to avoid any detection.
Upon arriving home, Geschwendt concealed his gun, the rubber gloves used during the mass murder, and his bloodied clothing in his motorcycle's saddlebags. The next day, he disposed himself of the evidence linking him to the murders. First discarding the shoes and gloves at the Delaware River, he then washed his clothes and supplying them to the Goodwill Industry. Three days after that, he threw the gun, the used shell casings, and the remaining ammunition into the nearby Neshaminy Creek. Michael Abt eventually discovered his family's' bodies in the basement. About a week after the killings, Geschwendt was asked by local police to come to the station for questioning about the alleged theft of his gun. He was given a polygraph test, which showed his answers as being "deceptive". Once told of the test's results, he confessed, describing what happened before, during, and after the shooting in full detail. He also voiced his sorrow that he couldn't murder the entire Abt family.
After his arrest, Geschwendt was confined in the county prison in Doylestown, PA. During his trial, his lawyer attempted to use the insanity defense, claiming Geschwendt was a paranoid schizophrenic. Geschwendt called the killings his "only achievement in life" according to a psychiatrist. A jury convicted him in less than 30 minutes and sentenced to him death on six-first degree murder counts. However, this sentence was reduced to six consecutive life sentences after Pennsylvania's death penalty was found unconstitutional. In 1991, Geschwendt tried unsuccessfully to gain a new trial. In the original trial, the jury was not given the option of not guilty by reason of insanity. A magistrate recommended a new trial in 1991, but an appeals court found that Geschwendt did receive a fair trial and should not have a new trial. He currently is imprisoned in a prison in north-central Pennsylvania.
Using a .22-caliber gun, Geschwendt waited in the Abt home for the victims to return from school and work. He shot each victim in the head, cleaned up, and threw the bodies in the basement.
All of the following were killed in the March 12, 1976 attack at the Abt home.
- The Abt family (also killed their dog):
- John Abt, 49 (father)
- Margaret Abt, 46 (mother)
- Margie Abt, 19 (oldest daughter)
- Kathy Abt, 13 (youngest daughter)
- John Abt, Jr., 14 (son)
- Garson "Gary" Engle, 20 (Margie Abt's boyfriend)
On Criminal Minds
In the Season Seven episode The Bittersweet Science, Reid references Geschwendt's mass murder as Garcia presents the case, comparing how he cleaned up the crime scene, similar to the actions by the prominent unsub.