Theater Gunman Did Twisted Things to Own Home

And apparently had big issues with his daughter's wedding
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jul 25, 2015 7:10 AM CDT
Theater Gunman Did Twisted Things to Own Home
This undated photo provided by the Lafayette Police Department shows John Russel Houser, in Lafayette, La.   (Lafayette Police Department via AP)

In 2014, facing eviction from his Alabama home, John Russell Houser set out to make sure no one else could ever live in that house. He poured concrete down the drains and cemented the fuse box shut. He splattered paint and human waste all over the walls. The new owners found Houser had it booby-trapped: the gas starter tube in the fireplace was twisted out and ignited, the logs removed. "He was hoping the house would catch on fire. That's what the investigators told me," said Norman Bone, 77, who had bought the house for his daughter. Some more revelations from the AP:

  • More details are emerging about the temporary protective order granted in 2008. Houser's daughter joined his wife in seeking the order. At the time, records show, Houser was vehemently opposed to the upcoming marriage of his daughter. A judge had Houser committed, but the man told his wife he would continue trying to stop the wedding and his "threatening behavior" once he got out of the hospital. A police report included with the request for a protective order said Houser believed his daughter and her fiance, who were 23 and 26 at the time, were far too young to wed and that he was mad at his wife for not stopping the marriage.
  • Houser apparently owned and operated two nightclubs in Columbus and LaGrange in the 1980s and 1990s. But his stint as a club operator ended sourly when he was accused of selling alcohol to minors at Rusty's Buckhead Pub and had his alcoholic beverage pouring licenses revoked. Houser put up a swastika banner in protest, according to an April 28, 2001, story in the LaGrange Daily News. He told the newspaper he was "completely against" the Nazi philosophy but chose the symbol because it represents a government's ability to do what it wants.
  • It was not the last time he'd invoke that type of imagery, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center. Heidi Beirich, director of the SPLC's Intelligence Project, said he'd been on the group's radar since 2005. Last January, he wrote on one online forum: "Hitler is loved for the results of his pragmatism."
(More John Russel Houser stories.)

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