On the night of November 17, 1950, Ernie Ingenito entered the house of his in-laws and opened fire on his wife Tessie and her parents. He then walked across the street and unloaded several rounds into other members of her family, including a nine-year-old girl. Still not satisfied, Ernie drove to Tessie's uncle's home in a neighboring town and shot the adult occupants there. When he was finished, five people were dead and four wounded. Was Ernie insane? Was he enraged, moved to desperation by his meddling, overbearing in-laws? Or was he simply a cold-blooded murderer who would stop at nothing to have his own way? This factual account, pieced together from interviews, legal documents, and letters, probes the mind of an unrepentant killer and follows the riveting story from the night of the tragic massacre to years of bungled trials and appeals that would decide his fate.
Patricia A. Martinelli lives in southern New Jersey and is the administrator of the Vineland Historical and Antiquarian Society.