Cook County State’s Attorney Richard A. Devine announced the charges filed against a Chicago Nazi who has acted upon his Nazi philosophy and plotted to kill people whom he perceived to be a threat to the purity of the “Aryan” race. The Nazi man was charged for the murders of individuals, targeting professionals who he believed to be assisting those people who did not look “Aryan” to alter their appearance in order to look “Aryan.”
Jonathan Haynes is a Nazi man and a double murderer who intended to be a serial killer in the furtherance of his ideology. The defendant has been charged with three counts of First-Degree Murder, and one count of Burglary.
The defendant’s first victim, Frank Ringi, was reported to be a hairdresser from San Francisco. He decided to go after the hairdresser to stop fake blonds. After successfully murdering his first victim in May of 1987, the defendant moved to Chicago in order to pursue his plans of eradicating people who help non-“Aryan” individuals to look like one. As such, the defendant began conducting surveillance of his second victim – Charles Stroupe of Lake Forest, the President of Wesley-Jensen that manufactures blue-tinted lenses. The defendant had developed an elaborate plot to kill Mr. Stroupe on August 2, 1993, and escape; however, the defendant failed despite the numerous attempts to kill his second victim. Later on, the defendant decided to pursue a third victim, in which he targeted Dr. Martin Sullivan – a 68-year old plastic and reconstructive surgeon in Wilmette. Dr. Sullivan ran the Center for Plastic Surgery, located on the second floor of the building at 3612 Lake Avenue in Wilmette, Illinois, along with Dr. John Smith.
On August 6, 1993, a new patient by the name of John Rothman had set up an appointment for a rhinoplasty consultation with Dr. Sullivan. The defendant arrived for his appointment at around 2:15 pm, dressed in a dark gray suit with a light gray dress shirt and a black t-shirt underneath, while also sporting some glasses. The defendant was asked to complete a form for the office’s data and was subsequently brought into the examination room #1, which only had one door. Dr. Sullivan and the defendant have been left alone in the room, from which several moments later, gunshots, wall pounding, and glass shattering were heard from. The defendant pulled the trigger of the gun seven times, firing six bullets. Soon, the defendant ran out of the room, looking very frightened. Dr. Sullivan was found bleeding, with blood on his tie, asking for his co-workers to “call an ambulance”. A call was made to the 911, to which the Wilmette Police Department, along with the paramedics, came to respond to the scene of the crime a few minutes later.
The autopsy revealed a graze wound to the right side of Dr. Sullivan’s head, three gunshot entrance wounds to the chest, and three exit wounds to the back. Investigations on the examination room revealed several facts, including the presence of stippling, which indicates that the shots were fired at a close range – around 18 to 24 inches away. Furthermore, fired bullets were recovered from the floor and walls of the scene of the crime.
The defendant was arrested two days later, with the help of Mitchell Lifson, who provided vital information on the man who posed to be John Rothman. On the evening of August 6, 1993, Mr. Lifson saw the reports looking for the defendant, who he had encountered earlier that day. Mr. Lifson reported that at around 10:45 am of the same day, a man named John Rothman came into the office of the State Representative Jeff Schoenberg, to which Mr. Lifson was the administrative aide for. The defendant allegedly insisted on speaking directly with Rep. Schoenberg but was declined too. A few hours later, Mr. Lifson noticed the defendant in the parking lot of a shopping center, and decided to take note of the man’s details who happened to be standing next to an old light-colored Volkswagen Beetle with Maryland plate number ZSS 499. The written information on the defendant was submitted to the Wilmette Police Department.
Skokie Police Officer Gary Axel saw a car, during his patrol on the early morning hours of August 8th, that matched the description provided to the local police agencies in search of the defendant. Officer Axel called for backup and subsequently pulled the Volkswagen over in a driveway at 5050 Dempster. When asked to report his name, he claimed to be Jonathan Haynes. The defendant was then taken to the Wilmette Police Station, where he requested a pen and some paper to write out a statement. For 50 minutes, the defendant was brought into a cell where he focused on writing. In his self-written statement, the defendant confessed to the three crimes he committed.
“I Jonathan Haynes confess to the murders of Frank Ringi, San Francisco, in May of 1987 and Mr. Sullivan in August of 1993, and to the attempted murder of Mr. Charles Stroupe, also in August of 1993,” said Jonathan Haynes in his self-written confession. Included in the statement is a detailed reason for his motivations for the following murders, which sought to explain the defendant’s fundamental sympathy with the Neo-Nazi movement.
On August 11, 1993, further investigations by the officers from the Skokie and Illinois State police Departments led to the discovery of the defendant’s boarding house at the 1945 Sherman Avenue in Evanston. There were numerous pieces of evidence found in the apartment, including some audio cassette tapes, in which one was marked “taped confession.” The defendant made the taped confession and intended for it to be sent to the cosmetics industry executives as a warning and threat to the growing and perpetuation of the Fake Aryan beauty. In his taped confession, the defendant mentioned several murders which he committed.
“Two people are dead, and I killed them, and I”m quite happy with my murders, and I don’t know that I’ll commit anymore. I can’t really aim for the top level. It’s just that I – – I selected my victims quite carefully with theoretical justification.”
The Honorable Judge Earl Strayhorn found Jonathan Haynes guilty of three counts of First-Degree Murder and one count of Burglary. Furthermore, the defendant was found eligible for the death penalty and therefore sentenced the defendant to death.
The Illinois Supreme Court affirmed the defendant’s indictment for intentional murder and burglary and subsequently affirmed the defendant’s sentence of death on October 24, 1996. The defendant is asking for clemency under the notion that the Illinois Supreme Court failed to consider whether the defendant’s death sentence was disproportionate, excessive, or otherwise, inappropriate.
Cook County State’s Attorney Richard A. Devine submitted a response in opposition to petition for executive clemency of the defendant stating: “the People of the State of Illinois respectfully request that this Board and Governor Ryan deny executive clemency to Jonathan Haynes.”
Cook County Assistant State’s Attorneys Mark Shlifka, Jon Walters, and Peter Fischer were all commended for their excellent work on the case. The Wilmette Police Department was also thanked for their collaborative work in the investigation of the case.
Updated: September 14, 2020