Seth Privacky Murders 5 In Michigan

Seth Privacky was a eighteen year old teen killer from Michigan who would murder his entire family

According to court documents Seth Privacky during Thanksgiving weekend in 1998 would get into an argument with his father over his car being taken away due to a bad grade. Seth would take a gun out of his father’s closet and would wait for his father to leave the home

Once his father had left Seth Privacky would shoot his brother in the back of the head and waited for his father to return home. When his father returned along with Seth’s Grandfather he would shoot and kill both men. Seth would go back into the home and fatally shot his mother. When his brother’s girlfriend arrived at the home and saw the bodies she would be fatally shot as well

Seth Privacky would be arrested, convicted and sentenced to life in prison

Seth Privacky would attempt to escape prison in 2010 and would be fatally shot

Seth Privacky Videos

Seth Privacky Case

Like any year, late November of 1998 was a time for family gatherings and giving thanks, for starting off another holiday season.

It was no different for the Privacky family, which was gathering on Sunday, Nov. 29, for a late Thanksgiving.

But the events of that day were nothing anyone would be thankful for. Before the Muskegon family could sit down at the dining table, five of them would be shot dead and a manhunt would be underway for the sixth, and youngest, family member who was the prime suspect in the gruesome murders.

The Privacky family killings would go down as the worst mass murder in recent history for the Lake Michigan community. Long after teenager Seth Privacky was captured and admitted to the killings, loved ones and authorities alike continued searching for some sort of explanation for the massacre

And in what the prosecutor remarked was an ironic twist in the case, Seth Privacky himself later would die in the same manner in which he did in his own victims.

Bob Carter, who was sheriff of Muskegon County at the time, said the murders were “a devastating blow” to the rural area that is centered around the Reeths-Puffer school district.

“It just rocked everybody’s socks… it just tore everything apart,” Carter said. “Everybody was scared. I’m sure there were homes around the county that were never locked before that and maybe even until today they still lock their doors.”

The massacre

It’s believed the killings began around 12:45 p.m., but they weren’t discovered for nearly 12 hours. It was around midnight when the parents of April Boss went looking for the 19-year-old. She had been invited to a Thanksgiving dinner with her boyfriend Jedediah Privacky’s family at 1:30 that afternoon. But April never showed up to her third-shift job, and so her mother and stepfather, Julie and Tom Cooper, went to the Privacky house looking for her.

When they arrived, they saw a shadowy figure run from the garage area into the home and then spotted a man’s body on the driveway lying between two cars. As they moved toward the house, the couple saw blood in the garage and a young man bolt outside and into the darkness. Alarmed, the Coopers used the house phone to call 911.

Arriving police found more bodies inside the home. Two victims, April Boss and 78-year-old John Privacky, were found in a small back room off a garage; 19-year-old Jedediah Privacky, was in the basement and Jedediah’s mother, 49-year-old Linda Privacky, was found in an upstairs bathroom.

It didn’t take long for investigators to figure out that the body in the driveway was that of 50-year-old Stephen Privacky. All five had been shot in the head.

As other officers arrived, an 18-year-old man emerged from nearby woods and approached them. He had a story to tell.

His name was Steven Wallace and he told police his good friend Seth Privacky had called him that afternoon to tell him he had killed his mother, father, grandfather, brother and brother’s girlfriend. Wallace said he went to the Privacky house and agreed to dispose of the murder weapon – Stephen Privacky’s .22-caliber handgun – which he tossed in a pond at a park several miles away. Wallace told police he returned to the house later that night and was helping Privacky cover up the murder scene when April Boss’ parents arrived.

His shocking revelation triggered a massive manhunt for Seth Privacky as the tight-knit Reeths-Puffer school community reeled at the horrific news. The high school, where Stephen Privacky had been a teacher, and where Seth Privacky was a student, went on lockdown with fear that Seth might show up. Photos of Seth Privacky were distributed among students who might not have known the high school senior.

“They were really concerned about the kids, and were they safe — was the community safe?” Carter said.

A full confession

The day was rainy and the mood at the school was somber as news spread of the deaths of Jedediah and April, both of whom had graduated the previous year. Eighteen-year-old Janavive Simonelli was so disturbed by the grief that she left school and was driving around when she saw a hitchhiker – a solitary, soaked figure – and stopped to give him a ride. She was shocked and terrified to discover the hitchhiker was Seth Privacky.

Simonelli played it cool and took Privacky to the home of one of his friends where he asked to be dropped off. Then she called police.

Finding no one home, Privacky – who had spent the previous night in nearby woods — hid out in a pole barn behind his friend’s home. That’s where police found him and arrested him around 1 p.m.

During an interview with Muskegon County Sheriff Detective Capt. Dennis Edwards, Privacky first claimed his brother, Jedediah, had committed the murders. But soon he gave a full confession. Edwards later would describe Privacky’s demeanor as “flat, like nobody’s home.”

Privacky recounted a disagreement he’d had that morning with this father, who he said he argued with frequently. His father had said the 18-year-old needed to move out. As Seth put it, his father told him that his parents didn’t love him anymore. It had come after months of arguments during which Privacky said his mother and brother would take his father’s side.

Seth Privacky said that out of anger and rage he retrieved his father’s gun, went to the living room and shot Jedediah in the back of the head as the teen was sitting on a couch. He dragged his brother’s body to the basement and waited for his father to come home. When Stephen Privacky arrived with his father, John – whom Seth was not expecting – he ambushed them in the garage and shot them both in the head. It took two shots to kill his grandfather.

Next, the 18-year-old went upstairs where his mother had just gotten out of the shower. Linda Privacky also was shot in the head.

The last to die was April Boss, who had seen the dead bodies of Privacky’s father and grandfather when she arrived for what she thought would be a Thanksgiving dinner. Seth Privacky said he shot Boss in the head as she entered the kitchen. He claimed he didn’t know she was coming to dinner either.

When Privacky’s friend Steven Wallace arrived, they devised a plan to try to remove the bodies and bury them. After dragging the body of Privacky’s father out to the driveway, they determined it was too heavy to lift into the trunk of a car they had lined with garbage bags. So they came up with another plan to make the killings appear part of a robbery. They were in the process of removing valuables from the home – including a TV, VCR and stereo -when Boss’ parents showed up.

Wallace ended up being tried for being an accessory after the fact. He was acquitted after successfully convincing jurors that he helped Privacky out of fear for his own life.

“I don’t think that set very well with the community overall,” Carter said. “The law said he wasn’t guilty.”

Seth Privacky ended up pleading guilty to five counts of first-degree murder. Before sentencing Privacky to life in prison without parole, Judge James Graves Jr. told the teenager “you turned what should have been a pleasant Thanksgiving weekend into your own killing field.”

The judge also denied Privacky’s bizarre request for time to see the world before he had to report to prison.

Privacky served 11 1/2 years behind bars. On July 25, 2010, he and two other convicted murderers overpowered a semi-truck driver making a delivery to the Kinross Correctional Facility in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula where they were incarcerated. The trio hijacked his truck and drove it through double fencing surrounding the medium-security prison and, once outside, fled on foot.

The other two inmates ended up surrendering. Privacky, who was 30 years old, was running across the street from the prison when a corrections officer shot him dead.

Privacky had been shot in the head – a fact that wasn’t lost on Tony Tague, the prosecutor who had handled the murder case a dozen years earlier. Tague called Privacky’s manner of death “ironic.”

Carter said when he learned of Seth Privacky’s death he felt a measure of closure to the entire tragedy.

“I felt that at least now that part of it is being laid to rest,” he said.

Unanswered question

Nearly 20 years after he killed his family, Seth Privacky remains an enigma. Many have searched for reasons why a seemingly normal teenager would massacre his entire family. He had been described by classmates as quiet and soft-spoken. Yet from jail, he had written members of a rock band he was in, including Wallace, that his new-found notoriety could be the break the band needed “to make it big.

After the murders, a family friend told investigators that Stephen Privacky had considered his son a psychopath without a conscience. Another friend said Stephen and Linda Privacky were concerned their son was heading for big trouble. After a couple juvenile theft charges and accusations of vandalism, they had taken their son for counseling, and he was prescribed an anti-depressant.

“I think it probably had to do with substance abuse as well as mental illness,” Carter said of Privacky’s crimes.

One of Linda Privacky’s friends faithfully visited Seth while he was in prison. At the time of his death, Patti Moran described Seth Privacky as “kind, humble, intelligent, artistic and spiritual.” In 2007, Privacky had claimed he had found Christianity.

Wallace said that while they were growing up, Privacky was a seemingly normal kid. Following Seth Privacky’s death, Wallace said he regretted that he had never asked Seth why he killed his family.

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