Jesse Anderson

From Real Life Villains Wiki
Jesse Anderson
Full Name: Jesse Michael Anderson
Alias: Mike Anderson
Occupation: Various
Hobby: Weightlifting
Goals: Kill his wife and get away with it (failed)
Crimes: Murder
Type of Villain: Racist Killer

Jesse Michael "Mike" Anderson, Jr (May 3, 1957 – November 30, 1994) was an American prison inmate who stabbed his wife Barbara to death in what investigators described as a "crime of passion". He was murdered by fellow prisoner Christopher Scarver while serving a life sentence.


Anderson grew up in a "nice residential area" of Alton, Illinois. He had two sisters, Karen and Debbie. He attended Alton Junior High, and later Alton High School. Anderson's father Jesse Senior died of a heart attack when he was a teenager, and his mother remarried. Anderson didn't get along with his stepfather Willard, the Milwaukee Journal reported, and left town soon after graduating in 1975. In 1988, he married Barbara Lynch and they had three children. The Journal reported that he had one previous marriage to Debra Ann, but Anderson filed for divorce alleging domestic abuse. Debra won the custody battle and Anderson was forced to pay child support until Debra's new husband adopted the children.

Friends said that Anderson was an avid family man who enjoyed weightlifting and golfing. At the time of his wife's murder, Anderson had worked as a part-time salesman for about five years and was co-owner of Cedar Creek Lawn Service, a profitable lawn mowing company incorporated by Anderson in March 1992. He was treasurer of the Lions Club and did volunteer work at the Divine Word Catholic Church. Anderson was also interested in holding political office; in 1988 he made an unsuccessful bid for a seat on the Cedarburg Common Council, and three weeks before his arrest he lost a bid for the Ozaukee County Board. Despite his future as a convicted murderer, Anderson's only previous brushes with the law were speeding tickets in 1989 and 1990.

On April 23, 1992, the Andersons left the house for a night out and went to watch a movie. After dinner at T.G.I. Friday's, the couple were getting back in the car when according to Anderson two black men attacked them and stabbed Barbara five times in the head, sending her into a coma. He claimed that they had also stabbed him repeatedly in the chest. One stab wound punctured his lung and put him in the hospital, although most of his wounds were superficial and not life-threatening in any way. Barbara died two days later. A baseball cap and fishing knife found at the scene were claimed to belong to the killers.

However, police found that the wounds inflicted on Anderson's wife more closely resembled a "crime of passion" than a random mugging or gang killing. Suspicion now fell on Anderson, and after the details of the crime were made public he was incriminated as the killer. A university student contacted police to say that the baseball cap Anderson claimed to have knocked from the head of the assailant belonged to him, but he sold it to Anderson a few days earlier. The red-handled fishing knife was traced to a military surplus store, which said Anderson had bought it weeks before the killing. Police arrested Anderson for first-degree murder and held him on a $1 million bond. He was ultimately found guilty and sentenced to life imprisonment with a chance of parole in sixty years. Anderson was imprisoned in Columbia Correctional Institution.

On November 28, 1994, African-American prison inmate Christopher Scarver was left unattended while cleaning a toilet alongside Jeffrey Dahmer, a serial killer and cannibal who targeted black men. Scarver reportedly had a confrontation with both Dahmer and Anderson, allegedly being "disgusted" by their crimes against black people (although Anderson's wife was not black, many people hated him for wrongly accusing black men of the crime). Afterwards, Scarver took a steel bar from the weight room and followed Dahmer to the locker room before hitting him over the head with it. He then tracked down Anderson and beat him into a coma. Both Dahmer and Anderson died of their injuries.


  • Anderson's motives for the killing were never officially revealed, although investigators believed it was a crime of passion and some have said the motive was racism, pointing to the story of the two black men and characterising it as a Racial hoax. Some have even compared it to the Charles Stuart case, where Stuart murdered his pregnant wife for life insurance and then blamed the killing on a black man.