Hamilton, Ohio – Easter Sunday, March 30, 1975—probably sometime near the time of day you’re reading this article, James Ruppert was in the process of killing his entire family.
James was an excellent marksman so there was no better way to execute his mother, brother, sister-in-law, and each of their eight kids than to shoot them point blank, as if they were nothing more than a row of empty and discarded tin cans. And that’s precisely what he did, starting with his brother Leonard.
Next came Leonard’s wife, Alma, followed by James’ own mother, Charity. And, before either of the children could escape disaster, James shot and killed them, including four-year-old John the youngest of the Ruppert brood.
Leonard Ruppert, his wife, Alma, and their children.
The massacre took no more than five minutes.
James positioned his weapons throughout the house, staging the scene much as would a Realtor who carefully and meticulously places items in preparation of showing a house to potential clients.
A place for everything and everything in its place.
Then, when he was satisfied that everything all was in order, James called the police and calmly stated, “There’s been a shooting.”
Ruppert crime scene photo – living room
Officer Bob Minor was the officer who responded to the call. Officer Terry Roberts would arrive a few moments later, as backup.
Officer Minor, no stranger to gruesome homicide scenes, had never witnessed anything close to the carnage he saw inside the Ruppert House—the once neat-as-a-pin living room cluttered with the corpses of Charity Ruppert’s precious grandchildren, and a kitchen so full of dead bodies that Minor couldn’t make his way through without stepping on an arm, leg, or a torso. There was so much blood, Minor later told me, that it had begun to seep through the floorboards, dripping into the basement.
Ruppert crime scene photo – kitchen
James Ruppert was originally found guilty of eleven counts of 1st degree murder. However, on appeal, a three-judge panel found Ruppert guilty only of the murders of his mother and brother. They ruled him not guilty by reason of insanity for the nine other deaths.
Rupoert was sentenced to a minimum of 10 years, to a maximum of a life sentenced. He entered the Ohio state prison on July 30, 1982. He’s been denied parole at each hearing.
James Ruppert’s next parole hearing is scheduled for February, 2025.
James Ruppert inmate photo in 2015
James Ruppert inmate photo in 2020
Twenty years after the Ruppert murders, a second gruesome murder occurred in a two-story duplex across the street from the house at 635 Minor Avenue, the home where James killed his family.
It was at 622 Minor Avenue where Timothy Bradford slashed the throat of his girlfriend, Tina Mott, killing her.
622 Minor Ave. I stood in the front yard of the Ruppert house to take this photo.
Bradford, in attempt to cover his tracks, slowly and methodically used 19 knives, a hacksaw, a meat cleaver, and a pair of pliers to dismember his girlfriend’s body. He later scattered most of her remains in a nearby field and lake.
Bathtub where Timothy Braford dismembered and skinned the body of his girlfriend, Tina Mott.
Two young boys found Tina’s skull while fishing.
Marks on the skull indicated the use of a serrated knife blade to scrape away flesh and tissue.
Per a negotiated plea agreement, Timothy Bradford was convicted of voluntary manslaughter and abuse of a corpse.
He was sentenced to 12-25 years for his crimes. He enter Ohio’s state prison system on September 24, 1997, just over a year after he murdered Tina Mott. He, too, has been denied parole at each hearing, including the last in June of 2015.
Bradford is scheduled for mandatory release on December 6, 2023. He will have completed serving his full 25-year sentence at that time.
Timothy Bradford’s 2015 inmate photo.
Timothy Bradford’s current inmate photo.
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I wrote about each of these murders and the story was published in the true crime anthology, Masters of True Crime, Chilling Stories of Murder and the Macabre.
Masters of True Crime is also available as an audio book.