Many houses that become known as “murder homes” are quickly torn down because of the awful events that took place inside. But a few such homes remain standing and have taken their place as some of the most infamous places in the country.
To determine America’s most infamous murder homes, 24/7 Tempo reviewed data provided by Realtor.com on homes in which notable murders and suspicious deaths have taken place.
After a murder is committed in a home, its value and usage can change significantly. In many cases, the property is auctioned off by the local government if the owners are deceased or incarcerated. Often, when a murder house changes ownership, the new owners will raze the building in favor of a new one without any unpleasant history.
Other murder home owners lean into the gruesome past of their property, offering tours or overnight stays to true crime enthusiasts. Even if they are not open to the public, sometimes these homes will still garner visits and even break-in attempts from people interested in the events that took place there.
For all the unpleasantness murder homes come with, they often stay on the market for years and can sell for as much as 25% lower than market value. These are the cities where you can buy a home for under $100,000.
Los Feliz Murder Mansion
> Location: Los Angeles, CA
This five-bedroom, 3.5-bath home known as the “Los Feliz Murder Mansion” is where Dr. Harold Perelson killed his wife with a hammer in 1959. The grim history of the Los Angeles home led to rumors the home was haunted, and it was vacant for many years. The home was purchased for nearly $2.3 million in 2016, then sold for $2.35 million in late 2020.
‘The Conjuring’ home
> Location: Burrillville, RI
What may seem like an unassuming farm home in Burrillville, Rhode Island, served as the inspiration for one of the most frightening horror films in recent years — 2013’s “The Conjuring.”
The film tells the true story of the Perron family, who called paranormal investigators to look into odd happenings at the house — including disembodied voices, stopping clocks, and the death of their dog. Supposedly, the home is haunted by Bathsheba, a witch who killed her own baby there.
Chris Watts’ home
> Location: Frederick, CO
The vacant home where the Watts family used to live in Frederick, Colorado, became the setting of a Netflix true crime documentary, titled “American Murder: The Family Next Door.” Chris Watts reportedly admitted to police that he killed his pregnant wife Shannan and two daughters after revealing he was having an affair. He initially misled investigators and the public but confessed after he failed a polygraph test.
With the popularity of the docuseries, the home has become a magnet for true crime fans. The home is in limbo, with a $6 million lien from the wrongful death suit Shannan’s parents won against Chris Watts hanging over it.
John Wayne Gacy’s House of Horror
> Location: Norwood Park Township, IL
John Wayne Gacy was one of the most terrifying and prolific serial killers in U.S. history. Gacy, who worked as a children’s birthday clown, killed more than 30 men and boys, burying most on his property in the Chicago suburb of Norwood Park Township.
Though the original home he used has been torn down, with a new one built in his place, buyers may be leery about living in such a ghastly location. Initially listed for $489,000 in 2019, the new home has steadily dropped in price and sold for $395,000 in April of 2021.
The Farmhouse from “In Cold Blood”
> Location: Holcomb, KS
Truman Capote is considered one of the originators of the true crime genre, with his book “In Cold Blood.” The non-fiction novel covers the 1959 murder of the Clutter family in rural Kansas, as well as the investigation, the trial, and subsequent execution of the killers. Diсk Hickock and Perry Smith killed the Clutters after trying to rob them, mistakenly believing the home had a safe full of cash.
With the popularity of the book, the house itself became popular as well, with tourists from all over the world coming to Holcomb, Kansas — with many trespassing onto the property.
Lizzie Borden Ax murder home
> Location: Fall River, MA
Lizzie Borden was the subject of one of the most famous murder investigations in American history. In 1892, her father Andrew and stepmother Abby were found murdered in their Fall River, Massachusetts, home. Daughter Lizzie was suspected of killing them with an ax and put on trial, but she was acquitted.
Unlike most owners of murder homes, the current owners of the former Borden residents have leaned into its gory past, turning the space into a bed and breakfast. Some guests have reported seeing ghosts and other ghoulish goings on — particularly in the suite where Andrew was murdered. Yet that room still remains the most requested place to stay.
Phil Spector’s Pyrenees Castle
> Location: Alhambra, CA
Music producer Phil Spector had a legendary career, working with artists like the Righteous Brothers and The Beatles. But he spent the last years of his life in prison, after he murdered model and actor Lana Clarkson in the foyer of his Southern California mansion in 2003. The French-style chateau, known as the Pyrenees Castle, was listed for $5.5 million in 2019. But like many other murder homes, its grisly history may have put off prospective buyers. It eventually sold in May 2021 for $3.3 million. Spector died in prison in early 2021.
Villisca Ax Murder House
> Location: Villisca, IA
The small town of Villisca, Iowa, is the site of one of the most gruesome unsolved murders in American history. On the night of June 10, 1912, two parents, their four children, and two neighbor children were bludgeoned to death with the butt of an ax. A traveling minister with a history of mental illness was put on trial for the killings, but was acquitted.
More than a century later, the home is largely unchanged and offers tours and overnight stays for those who are brave enough to spend the night. The home’s website boasts “audio, video and photographic proof of paranormal activity” from investigators.
Versace’s Casa Casuarina
> Location: Miami Beach, FL
World-renowned fashion designer Gianni Versace was shot to death in front of his Miami Beach mansion, known as Casa Casuarina, in 1997. The FBI said serial killer Andrew Cunanan pulled the trigger. Cunanan was on the run from the FBI, hiding out in Florida after winding up on the Ten Most Wanted Fugitives list as he was the prime suspect in at least four other killings.
The slaying of the legendary fashion designer has inspired a number of books, articles, and TV shows — most recently Ryan Murphy’s “The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story.” The villa is now a luxury hotel.