Lifestyle & Human Interest

Look Inside: Site of Horrific Murder Quietly Changes Hands Again


Most people like to know the history of a home they’re about to purchase. While the choices of former owners are clear to see in some design choices, there are less-visible details that are good to know about: Things like potential foundation issues, former rodent infestations and gruesome murders.

Knowing that someone had been murdered by a serial killer in the 1970s in the house might give a potential buyer cold feet. But unless you know the story of Joseph Kallinger, the cute house on 124 Glenwood Avenue in Leonia, New Jersey, might look like the perfect place to settle down and raise a family.

It’s unclear whether the newest owners of the home know the house’s past, but according to the New York Post, it’s changed hands several times and was most recently bought in February this year for $587,500.


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And that seemed true for Joseph Kallinger and his young son, Michael, who approached the house on Jan. 8, 1975, pretending to be salesmen.

Once they were in the home, Kallinger threatened the family, eventually forcing them to strip, tying them up and taunting them. According to The New York Times, he was armed with a hunting knife and a revolver.

At some point, a 21-year-old visiting nurse named Maria Fasching arrived to check on a patient. She refused to comply with Kallinger’s orders.

Kallinger dragged Fasching to the basement, cut her throat, stabbed her in the back and left her body.

He and his son fled the scene as police arrived, but they were caught a few days later, according to the Associated Press. Kallinger had a history of crime including killing one of his sons, 14, killing a 10-year-old neighbor kid, multiple armed robberies and carrying out orders he said were from God.

“You are an evil man, Joseph Kallinger, and a violent criminal from whom society needs protection,” Judge John C. Dowling said before sentencing. “I say not evil just because of your crimes but because you actively involved a 12-year-old boy in these infamous deeds. To so corrupt your own son is utterly vile and depraved.”

Michael pleaded guilty to armed robbery and spent time at a reformatory. He later moved out of state and changed his name.

Kallinger died on March 25, 1996, in the Cresson prison infirmary after experiencing a heart attack and choking on his own vomit.

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“The world is just a little better place, now that he’s dead,” Valerie Collins, Fasching’s sister, said, according to the AP. “But we as a family suffer to this day. We will never stop suffering.”

But none of that is reflected in the bright interior of the charming house in Leonia with “hardwood floor throughout,” “french doors” and “crown molding.”

According to the New York Post, New Jersey state law does not require any deaths in the home to be disclosed, even when they’re traumatic as Fasching’s was. Then again, perhaps the best sort of justice and revenge is for families to live happily in a place that once saw such horror.

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