Man who killed 11 family members in Easter shooting dies at 88

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) – An Ohio man serving a life sentence for shooting 11 family members, including eight children, on Easter 1975 has died.

James Ruppert, 88, died Saturday at the Franklin Medical Center of the Columbus prison system. The Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction announced his death Monday, saying Ruppert apparently died of natural causes, but the official cause of death is pending.

At the time of the shooting, Ruppert was living with his mother at her home in Hamilton. He reportedly struggled with alcohol and was unemployed.

Ruppert’s brother, sister-in-law and their eight children were visiting for the holidays when his brother asked him about his car, a comment Ruppert took as an insult because he believed his brother – a successful engineer – was judging him.

Authorities said Ruppert used three pistols and a rifle to fire 44 rounds, with 40 hitting his victims. The bodies of the eight children – who ranged in age from 4 to 16 – were found scattered among the two rooms on the first floor of the house:

A psychiatrist would testify that two hours after the shooting, Ruppert was lying on a couch contemplating suicide, but that it would have been a mortal sin and Ruppert didn’t want this to be his last act, so he called the police instead.

After three trials, Ruppert was convicted of two first degree murders in 1982 for the deaths of his mother and brother, but was found not guilty of insanity in the other murders. He served two consecutive life sentences and was paroled several times.

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