John Baniszewski

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John Baniszewski

Postby broommy » November 7th, 2010, 3:49 pm

This is another thing I took from the Yuku board. It was originally posted by our administrator here <hope you don't mind>. I truly believe John B. was sorry about his actions, but I do not like the way that John refers to Sylvia as "That Girl"

THE YOUNG AND DEADLY
JOHN BLAKE WAS 12 AND A KILLER IN 1965. RELEASED THREE YEARS LATER, HE SAW HIS LIFE TURN AROUND. HE TALKS OF HIS CRIME TO SHOW JUVENILES CAN CHANGE.

by NICOLLE GEHR

When Millersville resident John Blake picks up a newspaper or turns on the news and learns about children committing horrible crimes, it takes him back more than 30 years to his dark days in Indianapolis, Ind. Blake is a murderer, convicted in one of the most bizarre and sadistic crimes the state of Indiana has ever seen. In 1965, Blake, then a "confused and angry" 12-year-old boy, participated in the drawn-out murder of a teen-age girl. Today, he admits his guilt, and acknowledges that his sentence - three years in a state penitentiary - was too light. Yet Blake, now a deacon, church volunteer and the father of three, said that God turned his life around. And he believes that other troubled youths who commit adult crimes - like the teen-age boys in Jonesboro, Ark., who shot and killed four classmates and a teacher earlier this month, and the Edinboro teen who killed his teacher and wounded three others Friday - should not be abandoned, but embraced and given hope. In the summer of 1965, John Baniszewski Jr. (he later changed his last name) was living in Indianapolis with his six siblings and his mother, Gertrude Baniszewski, 37. His parents divorced when he was 9. The youngest child in the family, Dennis, 1 1/2, was fathered by another man, Dennis Wright. "The whole situation tore the family up," Blake said, his eyes distant. "My mom was a very selfish, very self-centered woman. My dad though, he was a very caring, average guy, but back then, custody always went to the mother." Blake said his mother used drugs, abused alcohol and had sex with Wright in front of him and his brothers and sisters. Blake guessed his mother moved the family eight times - all to poor areas of Indianapolis. Sick with asthma and bronchitis, his mother didn't work. The family relied on John Baniszewski Sr.'s child-support checks, and when that didn't make ends meet, Blake and his siblings often stole or begged for food. The family also sold its furniture for money from time to time. "She became a mean, hateful woman," Blake said of his mother. "Us kids grew to dislike her. My mom would make me go down to the drugstore to get her illegal prescriptions from a certain pharmacist. She was addicted. "Us kids talked about killing the other man (Wright), so our parents could get back together. But we knew we couldn't do that. It was just talk." But violent talk became more than that. That summer, Wright was sent to Germany with the U.S. Army. Blake admits he had lots of behavioral problems, which is why he believes his mother sent him to live with his father, who still lives in Indiana. In July, to make money, Blake's mother took in two teen-age boarders - 15- and 16-year-old sisters - Jennie and Sylvia Likens. Their parents operated a food concession stand that followed the circus. Jennie had polio. The parents only had known Mrs. Baniszewski for a few days before leaving the girls in her care. One day that summer, Blake came home to visit his family. He saw that his older sister, Paula, 17, had her wrist in a cast. She had gotten into an argument with Sylvia Likens. "I'm not sure how to explain it," Blake said. "I felt like nobody cared about our condition as a family or about me. My anger built up." Blake moved back with his mom and siblings in a shabby rental house. It was then that the slow, torturous killing of Sylvia Likens began. "We abused the 16-year-old," Blake said without saying her name. " … I hate to even say some of the things we did. Anything abusive or torturous was done." Sylvia was only allowed crackers and water. Newspaper clippings from Indianapolis report that she was repeatedly pushed and thrown down the basement stairs by many of the Baniszewski children - even the young ones - and their mother. But it wasn't just the Baniszewskis who abused the fearful girl. Her sister, Jennie, later told police she was forced to hit Sylvia. She was too scared to tell anyone of the abuse.
"Finally, it all took its toll, and after two weeks of intense torture the girl passed away," Blake said, his stare blank. She was killed Oct. 26, 1965. According to newspaper clippings, her body was found by police after Blake and one of his sisters dragged her upstairs and attempted to resuscitate her. Newspapers reported that Sylvia was tortured because she spread rumors at the local high school that two of the Baniszewski girls were prostitutes. But Blake said he helped kill the girl in part because he was so full of rage about his family and his life. "It all built up and just exploded," he said. Blake, his mother, his sister Paula, Hobbs, and another neighbor, Coy Hubbard, 15, were arrested. Stephanie Baniszewski, 15, was tried in a separate trial. The younger children - Marie, 11, Shirley, 10, James, 8 and toddler Dennis - were not charged, although the girls admitted at the trial of joining in the abuse of Sylvia. Blake was charged with first-degree murder - the youngest person ever to be charged with the crime in Indiana. At the trial, Gertrude Baniszewski was found guilty of first-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison. She served 20 years and died of cancer after her release. Paula, who was found guilty of second-degree murder, which was later reduced to manslaughter, was sentenced to life in prison, escaped once and was recaptured, and served eight years. They were the first mother and daughter inmates at the Indiana Women's Prison. Blake, found guilty of manslaughter, was sentenced to two to 21 years in the Indiana State Reformatory, an adult male penitentiary. Hobbs and Hubbard received the same sentence. The three were released on parole after three years. "I knew I deserved any punishment they would give me. A more severe punishment would have been just. I certainly did know what I was doing. I was too blinded by my anger to know about the results and consequences," Blake said, shaking his head. While in prison, Blake was sent to a minimum-security work camp. He worked with 18-to-21-year-olds. Blake believes he was sent there because officials didn't know what to do with him. Even after Blake hospitalized another inmate at the work camp in what he calls "a prank," he was not sent back to prison. The smallest infraction at work camp would normally land an inmate back in the penitentiary, Blake said.
"My age had a lot to do with this. They treated me as an adult, but reacted to me like a kid. There were no standards for me."
Granted parole a few days before his 15th birthday, Blake changed his last name. He said prison officials advised him to do so, because the name Baniszewski was so recognizable. He moved in with his dad, who remarried "the kind of mom a mom should be." His siblings were in foster homes for awhile until his father got custody. Blake went back to school in Indianapolis. Blake attributes the crime to three things: "I think a lot of it had to do with a lack of a proper family life. Also, human life was so cheap to us. And there was a lack of God in the picture. We had no sense of right or wrong." It was two months after he had been out of prison that Blake said he changed his life after finding God. "I was still angry, confused and still felt like no one cared about me," he said. "Prison did not make a change in me. There's no rehabilitation there. My world was still bizarre." One day after school, Blake was approached by a young man who invited him to Sunday school. With nothing else to do, Blake agreed and showed up at church the next Sunday. "I didn't have peace in my life, but I could recognize it." He said he found that peace through God. "I got down on my knees, and I gave my heart to the Lord. And even before I got up, I knew that my life would never be the same," Blake said, breaking into tears and sobs for the first time in the interview. "After 30 years, it still moves me." Blake began witnessing and became involved in church activities. He revealed his identity to the church. "They didn't treat me any different. I dealt with my remorse and guilt. I finally had peace and joy. I began speaking in other churches and schools … about my experiences." Blake attended two Bible colleges. One summer, he did missionary work and built houses for the needy in Mississippi. He met his wife of 24 years, Lois, a native of Washington Boro, at the second school in Ohio. "She knew my background, because I didn't make no bones about it," he said. He has served as a camp pastor. He's worked with senior citizens and people with handicaps. He is the father of three children. Blake and his wife are both deacons at New Life Assembly of God in Lancaster. He serves as head of the men's ministry group that "helps men become better fathers, better husbands." He also leads the church's version of Cub Scouts to mentor young boys. "The people that know me, know about it," he said. He talks about writing a book "about my experiences, that in spite of tragedy, you can turn your life around." He also said there is a chance he may return to Indianapolis this fall to speak at the church where he was saved and at area schools. Blake has no clear-cut answers to how harshly the two boys accused of gunning down four classmates and a teacher at a rural middle school in Jonesboro, Ark., should be punished. Part of the reason he is speaking out is to tell people that there can be a future for youngsters who commit adult crimes. He said he is proof of that. "There is hope. There is purpose. You don't have to deal with anger like this. That's what I'd tell them. But as a civilized society, we can't tolerate this. I would say some punishment has to be exerted. When you do adult things, you must face the consequences as an adult. But at the same time, there is the possibility for hope and direction there. I would love the opportunity to go down there and talk to those boys." The congregation at New Life Assembly of God seems to have accepted Blake, said Pastor Larry Greineder. "He's spoken about it in Sunday School," Greineder said. "He shares his testimony with the congregation. He never really tried to hide it." Blake also teaches Sunday School. "He's a very active member, a real part of our congregation. He made a mistake in life, and the Lord has forgiven him, and we here accept that. I think he still feels bad, but I think the Lord is really using him now to bring healing to those in similar situations." Disabled by complications from diabetes, Blake now walks with a cane or walker. The illness has dimmed his eyesight. Now on disability because of his illness, Blake worked as a truck driver, a Realtor and a self-employed landscaper. "When much has been given, much is required," he said. "That's why I feel a need to do this. I'm the first one to acknowledge that I was underpunished. That's why I think my responsibility is so great.
"I want to convey that there is hope. No, not everybody that grows up with problems will have the problems that we had. I know a lot of mercy and grace was given to me."
"I cant hear a word these people are saying cause the voice of Sylvia Likens cries out to both god and man."
http://forsylvialikensx.forumotion.com/

 
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Re: John Baniszewski

Postby admin » November 7th, 2010, 8:48 pm

Don't mind at all. I hope that you don't mind me changing the title to his full name.


It helps with the search engines. :text-google:
e-mail: webmaster@sylvialikens.com

 
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Re: John Baniszewski

Postby broommy » November 8th, 2010, 12:50 am

admin wrote:Don't mind at all. I hope that you don't mind me changing the title to his full name.


It helps with the search engines. :text-google:


Not at all. I just hate typing that name out. :D
"I cant hear a word these people are saying cause the voice of Sylvia Likens cries out to both god and man."
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Re: John Baniszewski

Postby Fungi » November 9th, 2010, 4:08 am

Re-read this interview, and missed a couple of things from before. It says that Stephanie was tried in a separate trial, but that was not true. The charge against her was dropped before her trial.

"According to newspaper clippings, her body was found by police after Blake and one of his sisters dragged her upstairs and attempted to resuscitate her."

I've never read a clipping saying that John dragged her upstairs. I'd like to read that. According to testimony, Stephanie and Richard Hobbs both said that they carried her upstairs, and not John.
Anyway, I have the utmost respect for John. He admitted and was apparently remorseful for his part. Unlike the rest of the Ban Clan.

 
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Re: John Baniszewski

Postby broommy » November 9th, 2010, 2:20 pm

I also respect John. I think that he was really sorry for what he did. I don't like how he refers to Sylvia as "that girl", but that aside, he sounds like he spent his life dedicated to public service to make up for what he did.
"I cant hear a word these people are saying cause the voice of Sylvia Likens cries out to both god and man."
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Re: John Baniszewski

Postby Cathy » November 11th, 2010, 3:23 am

I don't know if I could say I respect Johnny Baniszewski. More like I appreciate his coming forward and apologizing for what he did which is much more than what the rest of them did. He said he had alot of anger and he probably did, but I think in away that's an excuse. Reading the cruel things he did to Sylvia before she died just turns my stomach. I think none of them will just admit they found it fun treating her less than a human being.
"Never underestimate the power of human denial."

 
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Re: John Baniszewski

Postby broommy » November 11th, 2010, 2:11 pm

John was really young. I am not excusing what he did, but 12 is an age where someone could be easily influenced. I believe that a person can be forgiven for almost anything if they are truly sorry, and change their behavior.
"I cant hear a word these people are saying cause the voice of Sylvia Likens cries out to both god and man."
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Re: John Baniszewski

Postby Fungi » November 12th, 2010, 2:24 pm

I agree with you you Cathy. I think all of the kids enjoyed torturing Sylvia. Even the younger ones like Marie and Shirley seemed to enjoy watching her suffer. At least John admitted and regrets what he done, even though he never said he enjoyed it.

abbu

 

Re: John Baniszewski

Postby abbu » December 10th, 2010, 2:07 pm

I read another article with John, where he DID admit to enjoying it: "I enjoyed hearing her cry". Also, during the same interview, he said although he never physically visited Sylvia's grave, he often visited mentally.

I don't respect him either. He truly was an evil child, and caused Sylvia extreme suffering. But I am glad he felt remorse for what he did, and I'm glad he publicly apologized for his participation. During the interview, it was reported that several times, he would stop talking, and sob "uncontrollably", when thinking about what he and his family did to her. He also said he wished he could apologize in person to the Likens family, but he didn't want to cause them more pain.

I think he was genuinely sorry for what he did. I think Sylvia will have forgiven him, and I even think he may have seen her again.

 
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Re: John Baniszewski

Postby Fungi » December 13th, 2010, 8:53 pm

Do you have that article Abbu to send to me, or do you know where it is?

I'd like to read that one.

abbu

 

Re: John Baniszewski

Postby abbu » December 14th, 2010, 11:01 am

Brian Gaddis once sent it to me, but I seem to have deleted it. I will ask him for it again.

 
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Re: John Baniszewski

Postby Fungi » December 15th, 2010, 7:32 pm

abbu wrote:Brian Gaddis once sent it to me, but I seem to have deleted it. I will ask him for it again.

Would be greatly appreciated. It would be nice to have him here as a member. He is the Encyclopedia Man as far as information on Sylvia is concerned.

 
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Re: John Baniszewski

Postby Cathy » December 16th, 2010, 2:19 am

Johnny Baniszewski talked so highly of his father as a good parent in the article. I wonder why he never told his father just how bad the living conditions were in that house and how they had to beg for food.
"Never underestimate the power of human denial."

 
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Re: John Baniszewski

Postby broommy » December 16th, 2010, 11:36 pm

I am not saying that John was not evil as a child, but there are many children that do horrible things and grow up to be better people through learning experience. Most children do not do things that are as horrible as John did, but he was a part of a mob led by older children and his mother. John suffered as a result of what he did, as he should have. He spent his life being a mentor to children. This very well may have been his way to prevent things like this from happening again.
I believe that it is entirely possible to begin your life as one person, and through learning experience, completely end it as another person with different views and values.
John did not have to come forward and give that interview. He could have hid like the rest. Instead he sacrificed some of his anonymity to help others. That is why I respect him.
"I cant hear a word these people are saying cause the voice of Sylvia Likens cries out to both god and man."
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abbu

 

Re: John Baniszewski

Postby abbu » December 23rd, 2010, 8:18 pm

Still haven't asked Brian for the article, completely forgot. Will do later today though.

 
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Re: John Baniszewski

Postby aliveNChristgal220 » December 25th, 2010, 6:47 pm

broommy wrote:John was really young. I am not excusing what he did, but 12 is an age where someone could be easily influenced. I believe that a person can be forgiven for almost anything if they are truly sorry, and change their behavior.


I agree, and I truly hope his repentence was sincere :eusa-pray:

 
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Re: John Baniszewski

Postby Fungi » December 25th, 2010, 8:00 pm

Thanks Abbu, and anything that Brian can contribute would be greatly appreciated.

 
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Re: John Baniszewski

Postby Chester Arthur » December 28th, 2010, 8:18 am

Of all the Blake kids, John is the only one to have the guts to take responsibility for what he did and who has truly repented. Most of the other kids are either in complete denial about it or just want this case to be forgotten. If he was still living, John would be the only kid in that family that I would want to join forums such as these. I think he would have had the honesty to tell us what it was really like in that house at that time. And I think it is very possible that he has seen Sylvia again and that she has forgiven him.
My heart will always cherish
that cheerful happy sound
and my love will never perish
for my faithful basset hound!

abbu

 

Re: John Baniszewski

Postby abbu » December 28th, 2010, 8:19 pm

@Fungi - Brian sent me the link to an old thread on the Yuku board, and all three of the John Blake interviews have been posted in there.

http://forsylvialikens.yuku.com/topic/4 ... tml?page=1

 
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Re: John Baniszewski

Postby Fungi » December 30th, 2010, 12:09 am

Thanks Abbu, but I've already seen those on there. Those images are way to small to read clearly.

abbu

 

Re: John Baniszewski

Postby abbu » December 30th, 2010, 12:19 pm

Damn. I posted the interview in the discussion section of my Sylvia memorial group on FB. But when I made a new account it disappeared.

 
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Re: John Baniszewski

Postby mandersdawn » February 12th, 2011, 1:46 pm

Cathy wrote:I don't know if I could say I respect Johnny Baniszewski. More like I appreciate his coming forward and apologizing for what he did which is much more than what the rest of them did. He said he had alot of anger and he probably did, but I think in away that's an excuse. Reading the cruel things he did to Sylvia before she died just turns my stomach. I think none of them will just admit they found it fun treating her less than a human being.


Amen, I couldn't have said it any better myself. I respect his actions in stepping forward and taking full responsibility for his actions and expressing remorse, but I don't think that I could ever respect him as a person. I love that he dedicated his life to helping troubled youths, there's a sense of poetic justice in that. So while I cannot fully respect the man because of what he did to Sylvia, I can respect his efforts to try to make up for his actions towards her.

Also, while 'the girl' did upset me a little, I can see how the guilt could be enough to keep him from saying her name.

 
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Re: John Baniszewski

Postby aliveNChristgal220 » February 12th, 2011, 3:30 pm

mandersdawn wrote:
Cathy wrote:I don't know if I could say I respect Johnny Baniszewski. More like I appreciate his coming forward and apologizing for what he did which is much more than what the rest of them did. He said he had alot of anger and he probably did, but I think in away that's an excuse. Reading the cruel things he did to Sylvia before she died just turns my stomach. I think none of them will just admit they found it fun treating her less than a human being.


Amen, I couldn't have said it any better myself. I respect his actions in stepping forward and taking full responsibility for his actions and expressing remorse, but I don't think that I could ever respect him as a person. I love that he dedicated his life to helping troubled youths, there's a sense of poetic justice in that. So while I cannot fully respect the man because of what he did to Sylvia, I can respect his efforts to try to make up for his actions towards her.

Also, while 'the girl' did upset me a little, I can see how the guilt could be enough to keep him from saying her name.


That's a really good point! Oh and welcome to the forum!

 
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Re: John Baniszewski

Postby Cathy » February 14th, 2011, 12:57 am

mandersdawn wrote:
Cathy wrote:I don't know if I could say I respect Johnny Baniszewski. More like I appreciate his coming forward and apologizing for what he did which is much more than what the rest of them did. He said he had alot of anger and he probably did, but I think in away that's an excuse. Reading the cruel things he did to Sylvia before she died just turns my stomach. I think none of them will just admit they found it fun treating her less than a human being.


Amen, I couldn't have said it any better myself. I respect his actions in stepping forward and taking full responsibility for his actions and expressing remorse, but I don't think that I could ever respect him as a person. I love that he dedicated his life to helping troubled youths, there's a sense of poetic justice in that. So while I cannot fully respect the man because of what he did to Sylvia, I can respect his efforts to try to make up for his actions towards her.

Also, while 'the girl' did upset me a little, I can see how the guilt could be enough to keep him from saying her name.


Hi,mandersdown, and welcome:) Yeah, I think even saying Sylvia's name might have been very painful for him. He did some really horrible stuff to her and the guilt must have been alot to bear. I'm glad he did,and I appreciate his coming forward. Can't feel much sympathy for him, though.
"Never underestimate the power of human denial."

 
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Re: John Baniszewski

Postby ConnieAvila » February 14th, 2011, 2:26 pm

Thank You Broomy for posting this article!!

I DO WANT TO EXPRESS THAT ALTHOUGH JOHN BLAKE (BANISZEWSKI) HAS DONE HIS PART IN COMMUNITY SERVICE AT HIS CHURCH & BECOMING A SPEAKER, I STILL DO NOT CARE TO RESPECT HIM!! I BELIEVE THAT HIM TRYING TO CHANGE HIS LIFE AROUND WAS DEFINITELY THE BEST THING HE COULD DO FOR HIMSELF. HOWEVER, AFTER ALL THESE YEARS THAT HAVE PASSED, HE ADDRESSES SYLVIA AND REFERS TO HER AS "THAT GIRL" DOES NOT SIT WELL WITH ME. SYLVIA DIED TRAGICALLY IN A WAY THAT MOST HUMAN BEINGS WILL NEVER EXPERIENCE. JOHN BLAKE OWES HER THE "RESPECT" SHE DESERVES!! MANY PEOPLE CONTINUE TO LOVE SYLVIA LIKENS, INCLUDING MYSELF & I WOULD THINK THAT JOHN IS AWARE OF THAT. YES HE WAS A CHILD OF 12 YEARS BUT HE WAS FULL OF ANGER & EVILNESS...

IF HE TRULY HAS GOD IN HIS LIFE THEN HE SHOULD NOT FEAR SAYING "SYLVIA LIKENS". HE SHOULD HAVE THE PEACE OF GOD IN HIS LIFE BY NOW. IF HE'S TRULY REMORSEFUL FOR WHAT PAIN HE'S CAUSED, THEN HE NEEDS TO RECOGNIZE SYLVIA AND STOP REFERRING TO HER AS "THAT GIRL" IN HIS INTERVIEWS!!! I DON'T BELIEVE HE IS FULLY AT PEACE BUT I AM GRATEFUL TO GOD "ALMIGHTY" THAT HE NEVER HURT ANYONE ELSE!!

THE BEST TO ALL OF YOU & THANKS AGAIN BROOMMY FOR THIS ARTICLE. I GREATLY APPRCIATE IT!!

CONNIE AVILA
ACTRESS/BEVERLY HILLS, CA

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