This respectable Australian family man was actually a wanted killer who murdered his parents in Nebraska in 1958
· Jun 3, 2023 ·

Sometimes a neighbor is just a neighbor. Other times he's a wanted international fugitive who killed his own parents in the 1950s and has been on the run for decades.

Okay that doesn't happen too often. But it happened at least once in New Zealand.

New DNA evidence has revealed that a Nebraska teenager, who fatally shot his parents in the 1950s then escaped from prison, lived out his life in Australia as a successful businessman, devoted husband and doting father whose family only learned of his dark past after his death.

This fellow was living under the name John Damon. But it turns out he was actually Leslie Arnold, who at 16 years old shot and killed his parents over a dispute about the family car.

He subsequently confessed to the murder and was sentenced to life in prison, but he busted out in 1967.

Most guys might keep a pretty low profile after such a high-profile escape. But not Leslie Arnold:

Arnold soon settled in Chicago and married a divorcee with four daughters less than six months after his escape. The fugitive obtained phony identity papers, assumed the name of John Damon and became a salesman.

U.S. Marshals hot on his trail, one of the most wanted criminals in the country, and he was just living a normal life, like a normal dude.

The killer eventually divorced his wife, met another woman in Los Angeles and began a family with her, with the Damons subsequently moving to New Zealand and then Australia. None of them were aware of Arnold's criminal past as they began an idyllic life.

Law enforcement finally tracked Arnold down via genetic genealogy in 2022. He had died over a decade before, in 2010, but his DNA was a match for his son's.

With the case solved, Arnold's son said he suspected the murders may have been on the killer's mind in the decades after he committed them:

After Arnold's death, his son found his bible. "There were lots of highlighted lines about sin, guilt and forgiveness," he said. "I think it weighed on his mind for the rest of his life."

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