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The Abigail Johns Murders
By James D.F. Samdavid1
Wednesday, April 10, 2002
The Abigail Johns Murders
Based on a true story. Names and addresses used are fictitious
Things like this are not supposed to happen. Yet it did and right in my own back yard, closer than I would have suspected.
“Hello, this is Robert Johns and I have just been stabbed.” The caller had just phoned the Lake Forest Police Department and reported a stabbing, his own. “Sir, is the person that stabbed you still at your location?” The dispatcher asked. “No it was my wife and she has already left the area.”
“Do you need Fire Rescue to assist you?” “No, I am going to the hospital now. It is a minor wound to my shoulder. I will be okay.” He advised the dispatcher. “I will send an officer to meet you at the hospital, Mr. Johns.” “ That will be fine, and thank you officer.”
Mr. Robert Johns and his wife Abigail, were separated, and had been for almost a year now. She wasn’t living at home; she had taken an apartment in another part of the village. He was a very busy man that owned and operated a large construction company. Running the business required most of his time and it had always caused a problem between he and Abigail. That was not to say that it was the only problem between them, but it was a major concern.
Abigail on the other hand was a person that needed to be loved and pampered. She was an only child and her mother and dad have given her everything. When Robert started to stay late at the job sites and work on the weekends, Abigail started to think the worst. He had another woman, he didn’t love her, didn’t need or want her. It is not known if any of those thoughts Abigail had were in fact valid, but it is believed to have triggered the acts that had led up to the night of the stabbing of her husband, Robert.
Officer John C. Fargo walked up to the nurse’s desk at the Lake Forest Hospital and waved to Betty Jean. “Hi, Betty Jean.” Betty had just returned from a patient’s room that kept turning his light on requesting assistance. “Oh, hi John C., boy what a character we have in room 28.” She said. “Busy night huh?” “Yeah. So what brings you to the hospital tonight? I haven’t seen you since the little Watkins boy was hit by the bus a few weeks ago.” Smiling her special smile to her very dear friend.
“ I am here to see a Robert Jones, regarding a stabbing.” “Oh, you must mean Robert Johns, the contractor. Big time operator.” She said. “ Yeah could be, must have misunderstood my dispatcher. I thought he said Jones, hmm.” “He is in room number fourteen. You can of course go right in Fargo.”
The stabbing of Robert Johns was minor. The ice pick had struck his shoulder, entering approximately eleven inches above the heart. The doctor had just finished treating the patient, Mr. Johns, and had asked the nurse to dress the wound.
“Hold it.” Officer John Fargo said to the nurse. “I need to take a picture of the wound before you put the dressing on, please.” “ That won’t be necessary officer, I am not going to sign a complaint.” Robert stated.
“Someone stabs you with an ice pick and you’re not going to sign a complaint?” The officer asks. “No I am not. I did not see her, but I know she did it.”
After the dressing was completed, Officer Fargo and Robert Johns met in the cafeteria for a cup of coffee. “Now Mr. Johns you have to tell me more about the stabbing, so far it has been too vague.” Officer Fargo said. “ Please call me Bob, all my friends do.”
I know my wife and I know what she is capable of doing. It was she, but I have no way of proving it. I smelled the perfume that she usually wears as I was being stabbed. But at this point, not seeing her and all, it would not stand up in court. Robert had advised the officer. “Well, Bob I am not here to tell you what to do but watch yourself and be very careful. I would suggest that you change the locks on your doors at your office and at your residence.” Fargo advised. “Thank you John, I will do that first thing in the morning. “ By the way, Bob, does your wife own a hand gun?” “Nah. She wouldn’t have any idea of which end to use.” Bob chuckled. Little did he know how that chuckle would come to haunt him for the rest of his life.
A few days later Abigail Johns walked into Franks Hardware Store in Waukegan Illinois and asked to see a handgun. The clerk that waited on her advised her that there would be a five-day waiting period before she could make a purchase of a handgun. Had she ever fired a handgun before, or did she own one now, he asked her. “No I have not in answer to both questions, but I fear for my life, and I need protection.”
When Abigail picked out her first weapon it was a 9mm automatic, a little heavy for her the clerk had said. She then asked for an additional small caliper handgun. He showed her a 25 automatic. That would be perfect to carry in your purse, if you want. Be careful, legally you can’t carry a concealed weapon in this state, he had informed her.
When Abigail filled out her application to purchase a weapon, she had lied. The question, have you ever been in a mental institution in the last five years, was answered, no. While in fact she had suffered a mental break down just two months after her and Robert were married five years ago. She was under constant observation and on a suicide watch for over two months, while in the Mental Institution. She was released six months later with a clean bill of health. Not to mention that her father gave a large sum of money to the Institution a few days before her release.
Abigail returned to the hardware store in Waukegan, on a regular basis and took shooting lessons from the clerk that had sold her the two weapons. The clerk, Fred Barnes, had taken a fancy towards her. Why not? She was a very beautiful woman and had all of the right equipment that a man would want. Barnes easily swayed her and he took advantage of her not only sexually but also, by selling her even more guns and ammunition. She had told Fred Barnes that she was a rich widow, yet another lie.
When Abigail broke off her relationship with Fred Barnes, only a short six months after she had stabbed her husband Robert, she was considered to be an excellent shooter with a status of an expert. She now owned four handguns, a 9mm automatic, a 25 automatic, a .380 automatic and a .357 mag. six shot revolver. She also had in excess of over 500 rounds of ammunition that she had purchased at the hardware store from Fred Barnes.
Abigail had a job, of all things as a baby sitter. She would take care of young children three or four days a week. She would go to people in the area and get the jobs by telling them she was a college student at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois and was working her way through college. She would usually watch them after school hours and sometimes a few hours on the weekends. The children all ranged in the ages of eight to ten years old.
Abigail did in fact attend Northwestern, but as an art student and that was only one day a week.
Robert had not seen or heard from his wife Abigail for almost 19 months. He really wasn’t concerned about her, after all he thought she was nutty as a fruit -cake and the less her saw or heard from her the better.
The phone rang at Robert’s residence; it was 1:30a.m. And he wondered who in the hell is calling at this hour. Robert picked up the phone, and answered,” hello”. There was no answer, he could hear someone breathing on the other end of the line, but they would not answer. He repeatedly said hello, but to no avail. Then he heard a slight giggle and the phone went dead on the other end of the line.
“My God, It was Abigail.” He said out loud. Robert never heard from his wife again.
Abigail had taken a couple of children that she was watching out for an ice cream at the local 32 flavors in Glenview, Illinois. She had an old beater of a Ford that she had picked up and the three of them drove down town together. The two 10 year olds were in the back seat strapped into their seat belts.
Abigail drove past the 32 flavors and at the end of the block she started to make a turn, but seeing the school at the end of the street decided to park and go inside the school instead.
Prior to entering the school, Abigail went to the trunk, opened it and removed two of the three automatic pistols she had lying on the floor of the trunk. She also took an extra clip for the .380 and one for the 9mm, and stuck one in her left and the other in her right jacket pockets. The clips were fully loaded with live rounds. Oh yes, Fred Barnes had prepared her well. He had insisted that she have extra boxes of ammunition as well as extra clips for the three automatics.
Abigail stuck the two automatics in her belt, behind her back and underneath her long jacket. She walked up to the rear door of her Ford and opened the door next to the curb. She looked in and told the two youngsters that she would only be a minute and then they would have their ice cream.
Abigail had no problem walking through the front doors of the school and down one of the hallways that led to the rear of the school building. She paused at one of the classrooms and took a peek through the small plate glass window. She started to open the door to enter, when she heard a child talking to another walking up the hallway towards her. The children were making fun of a little girl with them and they were calling her names. They laughed and pointed at her and made faces at the little girl. Then they all entered the classroom directly behind and across the hall from where Abigail was standing.
Abigail turned and entered the same classroom as the children had. When the teacher saw Abigail enter the room, she spoke to her immediately. “Hi, are you one of the student teachers from Northwestern?” Abigail shook her head (answering to yes). Northwestern U., had a program that allowed college students to view the teachers while they were working and this school was under one of those programs. The students from Northwestern were taking a course in child behavior, and had been coming to this school for the last few weeks. “ Just find a chair at the back and I will be with you in a few minutes.” The teacher advised Abigail.
Abigail looked around the room and saw the three girls that had been out in the hallway that had teased the other smaller child. She stood up and pulled the .380 automatic from her waistband and opened fire in their direction. Everyone in the room started screaming and crying. The teacher was in shock; she could not believe that this was happening. Blood was all over, the children were on the floor and the ones that had been shot were crying and asking the teacher for help. Someone opened the door into the classroom from the hall and Abigail turned and fired one shot at the child that had started to enter, missing him by less than an inch.
The young boy, Warner Gladstone, who was just nine years old, ran to the front of the school and pulled the fire alarm. He then went immediately to the principal’s office and reported what had happened. He had heard the sound of gunshots as he walked down the hall, returning from the washroom. He opened the door into the classroom and a lady with a very big gun, fired a shot in his direction.
The Principle, who knew the nine-year-old, immediately called the Police Department. He advised them of what had happened and he thought that; yes some of the children had been shot.
The school and grounds were covered with police personnel within a mater of five minutes. The school was locked down and all children were kept inside. No one was to leave the building except for the wounded children with the assistance of police or fireman.
Abigail had already left by exiting one of the rear doors of the school and no one had seen her, or what direction she had taken in her escape.
The Glenview Fire Department arrived and started treating the children. All of the wounded children were transported to the surrounding hospitals. Three of the children died before or shortly after arriving at the hospitals. A total of six children and one teacher were struck by gunfire from Abigail’s automatics.
A few blocks west of the school Abigail knocked on the rear door of Julie Stark. Julie comes to the door and after seeing Abigail there, asks, “may I help you?” Get back inside, Abigail tells her as she shoves the 9mm automatic into her stomach. Be quite and you won’t be hurt.
“Mom who was at the door?” Bobby Stark asked as he enters the kitchen. Bobby was a young man of 21 and was home from college and was visiting his mother, Julie.
Abigail yells at Bobby, “you too, get into the other room.” She was directing Julie to go into the living room. Once inside the living room she made both of them sit on the floor as she looked out through the window on the East Side of the house. The school was approximately two blocks east of where Abigail was standing in front of the window. You could see parts of the schoolyard and also some of the police and fire personnel running about.
If you both behave I will not harm you, Abigail said to Julie and Bobby. Bobby was thinking very strongly about rushing Abigail and taking the gun away from her.
Julie was worried about her young daughter that was due to return home soon from school. She didn’t want Abigail to harm her or to be in the house when her daughter returns.
“Please let me go to get my child.” Julie pleaded. “Were is your child?” Abigail asked. “ Sandra is a special child and needs my help, she is at the school just down the street.” Then something strange happens. “Okay, you can go, but he stays.” Abigail points the 9mm towards Bobby. “It’s okay mom you can go, I will be alright.” Julie exits the back door after walking through the kitchen, not saying a word as she leaves. She knows if she says anything she could trigger something in Abigail and perhaps setting her off, causing her to change her mind.
Julie runs towards the school as she exits her kitchen door. She was stopped only after a few yards by police officers that were in the area. “Lady it is not safe for you here, you should return to your residence immediately.” They told her. Julie thinking the worst has happened collapses to the ground. “ Oh my God what has happened, first a lady breaks into my house and now something has happened at the school?” Julie had just seen all of the police and fireman running around in the area of the school.
“Madam, madam, has someone broken into your house, and are they armed?” Lt. Frank Ivers was leaning over to help her up. “ She is inside your home, isn’t she?” He asks. “Yes, she is, she is inside and she has a gun pointed at my son.”
“Unit 30 to headquarters I need open air. I repeat hold this channel open.” Ivers was calling his people in to close off the residence and try to assist the hostage that is now trapped inside his own residence. He asked Julie the usual questions about the house doors, windows, if any weapons were in the house and etc. No weapons, they did not believe in firearms of any sort. Julie had said.
Julie asked if she could go to the school, as she wanted to check on the safety of her daughter. Lt. Frank Ivers assigned an officer to assist Julie in getting to the school and for her to gain entry. The school was still locked down and the police were not taking any chances.
“Why don’t you just hand me the gun and let me help you?” Bobby said to Abigail, back at the residence. “ You try and take my gun and you are dead.” “What is up stairs?” Abigail asked Bobby. Bobby got up to show her and she thought he was reaching for her gun, (and he may have been) she fired two shots from the 9mm hitting Bobby with both shots. Bobby fell to the floor and blood started coming from his stomach and thigh, as he lay in pain.
Lt. Ivers heard the shots and dropped to the ground, as well did the rest of the officers that was close by his side. The shots were muffled, but loud enough to hear and to know what it was.
Abigail found her way upstairs and entered one of the most beautiful bedrooms she had ever seen. Apparently this was Sandra’s bedroom, and it was as if she was looking at a picture inside the book of Alice in Wonderland. The bed had a cover overhead, with ruffles and the chairs and coverings all matched in a light pink color. The dresser was white and trimmed in pink. It was so beautiful. Abigail felt tranquil for the very first time in her life.
“Attention in the house, this is the Glenview Police Department, you are surrounded come out with your hands up and you will not be harmed.” Lt. Ivers had used a bullhorn in trying to communicate with Abigail Johns.
There was no reply from inside the house. They had heard the shots earlier and had no idea what was going on. Lt. Ivers used the bullhorn two more times to no avail.
Suddenly there was another shot that came from inside the house. This one seemed louder than the first two and from higher up. Again the officers hit the dirt and waited. After a few minutes Lt. Ivers gave the command to enter the house, but to do so quietly. Not to make any announcements, and to get the hostage out. Shooting the home invader if necessary. Lt. Ivers had gotten a sudden urge to enter the house; he felt that the hostage’s life depended on it. How little did he know, that Bobby was loosing a lot of blood and that his life was in extreme danger, needing assistance.
Three officers entered through the unlocked kitchen door and found Bobby lying on the floor in the living room. One of the officers, Jack Schriber asked him where the girl was, the one that was armed. Bobby pointed to the stairs that led upstairs. Schriber asked if anyone else was in the house, and Bobby shook his head, no. Two of the officer’s grabbed hold of Bobby and drug him out through the kitchen and onto the rear lawn. Schriber stood by at the bottom of the stairs until more officers arrived to assist.
Lt. Frank Ivers, Schriber, and three other officers started up the stairs to the second floor. As they reached the second floor landing they saw someone kneeling on the bedroom floor at the other end of the hall. The subject was kneeling on the floor with the front of their body pressing into the bed covers.
Lt. Ivers called out. “ Drop your weapon and you won’t be hurt. Put your hands up.” “Do it now.” The subject did not respond. The five officers approached the subject with extreme caution. Seven people had already been shot and who knows how many more they may find.
Once inside the bedroom, they found Abigail had taken her own life by sticking the 9mm inside her mouth and pulling the trigger. When the weapon was checked and cleared for safety reasons, the chamber and clip were empty. She had saved the last bullet for herself. Or had she?
Sandra Stark never slept another night in her bed, or entered her bedroom. The Starks moved out of the residence to a motel and sold the house without ever sleeping there again.
Bobby Stark recovered from his wounds and speaks out on gun control every chance he gets. He now walks with a slight limp.
Fred Barnes the gun clerk and teacher to Abigail made this comment; “ What do you expect from a spoiled bimbo?”
I saw Robert Johns eight years later when he came into the dealership that I was now working for and I called him by name. “Well, how nice of you to remember me and to call me by name.” If he only knew why I had remembered him.
© James Samdavid1 Fullington
April 10, 2002
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|Reviewed by m j hollingshead
|excellent narrative, real life is downright frightening at times.|
|Reviewed by Sharron Tyrrell
|This is some story it is very scarey John and causes a person to really think. I hate to think that something like this could happen at my school but I guess none of us are safe from this no matter what precausions we try to take|
|Reviewed by Masarat Daud
|I AGree with Theresa...it truly was awesome!|
|Reviewed by Theresa Koch
|This was awesome writing~*|