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Not sure where to put this - If someone becomes the sole heir of a substantial estate because they killed off all other possible inheritors wouldn't that be considered profiting from a crime?

I am reading the transcripts from the 2003 Parole Hearing for Ronald Defeo Jr. For those who don't know who he is, he shot and killed his entire family in 1774, his parents and his 4 brothers & sisters... He is serving 25-Life.

Now, here's the thing. Part of what is taken in to consideration for convicts applying for parole is whether or not they will be able to support themselves. In addition to having a job lined up with a family member he had also inherited his grandmothers entire estate when she died and has over $100,000 in cash waiting for him. However, he was the only heir because he killed the rest of them - So, isn't his inheriting that estate profiting from his crimes?

**Please let me know I am simply curious because I would assume it would be illegal for him to have the estate. If you kill your husband, for example, the state can seize any and all bank accounts, properties and insurance policies which you would inherit from that death, so I was thinking this would be similar.

***Also please let me know that this questions isn't meant to be a discussion about Defeo himself. Nor am I saying I don't think he should have the money or inheritance that's waiting for him when and if he is ever released. Personally I don't think he should ever have been convicted in the first place, but since he was I'm simply trying to understand the legal aspects surrounding this inheritance.

Answer Question

Asked by SabrinaMBowen at 9:59 AM on Jul. 1, 2011 in Money & Work

Level 40 (122,988 Credits)
Answers (6)
  • I would assume you are correct but with the way this country is running (afraid to hurt anyone's feelings), he is prob in the right somehow.

    Answer by zoejains_momma at 10:01 AM on Jul. 1, 2011

  • When he brought it up in his parole hearing, the officials simply made sure it was still in an account for him. They never once mentioned that he had no right to it. And from what I remember (although I can't find the dates now) his grandmother died in the 80's and the money has been sitting all this time for him gathering interest. Which is why I'm confused, I would think he's not legally able to have that money, but in fact he didn't kill HER to get it, nor is that the reason he killed his family. And I don't know if that matters or not.

    Comment by SabrinaMBowen (original poster) at 10:05 AM on Jul. 1, 2011

  • I don't know the story, but since she was free to will the estate to someone else or a non family member, maybe this is why he is still able to inherit it? In the case where you kill your husband, they don't have the chance to adjust their will and the wife is the natural beneficiary...but here, she knew her family was dead and he is the one that killed them and didn't make other arrangements for her estate.

    I don't know, it is an interesting legal question.

    Answer by Mom-2-3-Girlz at 10:37 AM on Jul. 1, 2011

  • Well, isn't not directly because of the crime. He didn't kill her. And that is probably the loophole in which he was able to get it.

    Answer by BabyBugsmama at 12:22 PM on Jul. 1, 2011

  • It's ^^

    Answer by BabyBugsmama at 12:23 PM on Jul. 1, 2011

  • Interesting. I don't know. I know with life insurance if you kill the person you can't get the life insurance from it. But I'm not sure if it goes to someone else (maybe another heir?) or if it just stays with the insurance company.

    Answer by Erica_Smerica at 5:48 PM on Jul. 1, 2011

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