365 days of Texas True Crime: Birthday Execution
I always look forward to my birthday. I don’t care about how old I'm turning I just enjoy being with the people I love. This year there is an execution in the state of Texas set for my birthday, June 30th, and I'm not sure how I feel about that.
A passerby called 911 stating that they were driving down the road and saw a house on fire on Little Road in Kennedale, Tx. Dec 18, 2009.
As the officer approached and saw the fire he was audibly shocked, he can be heard on the dash cam of his cruiser “Woooo”, kindof a surprise, shock sound. When he gets out a man comes up to the deputy and tells him that he lives in the house with his family. He said he just came home to see the house on fire. He’s asking if the deputy knows whether or not if his family was in there or if they got out, he’s not sounding like he’s upset or frantic the way you would imagine anyone coming home to something like that would sound…he’s just chatting casually with the deputy, almost like he were just an on looker being mildly nosey. Right off the bat as I’m listening to the audio of Hummel speaking with the deputy and then with the detective that the deputy called, you can just tell this man already knows what’s happened to the other people that live in the house (feeling like something was weird the deputy called a detective out to the scene). He tells the detective that he lives there with his wife, who is pregnant, his daughter and his father-in-law. He says that he called his wife and if she did get out, he was hoping that she would give him a call back……Dude seriously? If she did get out? How do you know if she’s in there at all? How do you know that she was in there to say that you hope “if” she got out that she calls you? Keep in mind that John has supposedly been at work, and he is just coming home to his house being on fire. Did he call her from work before he headed home? Did he call her when he arrived and saw the house on fire?
The detectives are feeling unnerved by Hummel’s emotionless responses to questions about the family that would likely be found dead inside the burning house so they ask him to come to the station to talk some more. Once they arrive and make it into an interrogation room (at least that’s what it looks like) John, wearing at bowling type, short sleeved, button up shirt with some sort of skull and fire design and a fedora hat asks again “do you know if my family made it out?”. As he sits with his elbows on his knees and his wrists crossed, when he hears the detective say that not everyone made it out he simply lowers his head down and rests it on his crossed wrists. He doesn’t say anything, doesn’t ask the question that most people would ask immediately, who made it out? Are they ok? Can I go be with them? He’s just sitting with his head down, quietly. He makes a sniffling noise but it’s obvious that he’s not crying. It takes a few minutes for John to ask the question of who didn’t make it out of the house. The detectives tell Hummel they don’t know….but they do. In fact they are already suspicious of Johns involvement. As they question him about his whereabouts it doesn’t escape the detectives how calm and even his tone is when he responds. They’ve already told him that they think he’s not being completely honest with them. They ask where he was and he says he left a little after 9 p.m. so go see a friend in Joshua, a town about half an hour away. However, when asked, he doesn’t know the friends last name or his address.
When Hummel is finally told that in fact, no one made it out, he doesn’t react. He doesn’t cry, or ask any questions, he just sits patiently as the detectives express their disbelief at his lack of emotion to the news. After hearing the concern over a reaction that he isn’t giving, John does something out of nowhere. He begins to fain crying and being upset…however from the very start he sounds like a very bad actor in an audition that he’s likely not going to get the part to. There are no tears, by the way, falling from his eyes, he’s only bent over with his face in his hands, making crying noises. You can see in the video of the interrogation that as he is bent over with is face in his hands, he’s rubbing his eyes, what looks to me to be pretty hard, possibly to try and get his eyes to water. The man in the room with him is scooted up very close to him, patting him on the shoulder and telling him to let it out. There is no evidence at the time, to indicate that Hummel is involved in what has happened so he is released. John wastes no time in running. It is found out that the family they found in the fire, did not die because of the fire, rather they were already dead, beaten and stabbed to death. Just two days after the murders John tries to cross the border into Mexico but is detained and put into custody. He’s questioned again but this time when he’s asked about what happened John says, “I was stupid….I killed my family and set the house on fire”. The question of what happened is the first question that’s asked after John and the investigator are sat down in the room, I mean within seconds. He begins to tell the investigator that the catalyst for the event boils down to meeting a girl 6 weeks earlier and his desire to be single in order to carry on a relationship with her. After that the questioning about how he killed his family is deeply disturbing. His responses to all of the questions are so subdued and even toned that if you couldn’t understand English you would never guess what he was talking about. He’s not upset, he’s not crying, there is no indication as to the nature of the conversation this is being had.
On December 16th, 2009, John Hummel made his first attempt at killing his family. He put rat poison that he had stolen from Walmart in the ground beef they were using to make spaghetti. When his wife saw the meat turning green she assumed there was something wrong with it and decided to order pizza instead.
The next night John is off of work but his family doesn’t know that. He pretends to head out to work while they go to bed. He goes to a gas station when he leaves so that he can be seen on surveillance camera. He turns around and heads back to the house. He pulls his car around back and takes his watch and his boots off before he goes inside. Everyone is in bed and asleep by the time he get’s back to the house. The first room he heads to with a dull knife in his hand is his wife’s. He tells investigators that he stands in the dark in the bedroom with the knife in his hand for half an hour, trying to decide if he’s really going to do what he is there to do. I don’t believe that though, I’m thinking he may have said that because he wanted to seem as if he had second thoughts. Once he supposedly makes his decision he goes for his wife, stabs her in the neck but she wakes up and starts fighting with him. That’s when he grabs the bat and starts swinging. All in all he tells them that he stabbed her a few more times with the dull knife and with some of his replica swords he had in their room. John says that when the attacks begins he doesn’t think she knows that it’s him that’s attacking her. Again, I think he is adding things like this into his confession because he thinks they will either make him look better or make the family of the victims think that at least they didn’t have the added horror of seeing it was someone who was suppose to love them that was causing them the pain that they were in. I think perhaps that he wants the investigators to think that he didn’t want them to know it was him on purpose so as not to cause them any more harm than he already was causing. As if that took away, at least a little, from the fact that he stabbed and beat them with a bat to death…but at least they didn’t know it was me….
Anyway, he heads to the father-in-law’s room and swings at him a few times as well. When asked about his five year old daughter he says he did the same thing, and that he thinks he hit her about five or ten times. The whole time virtually expressionless in his retelling of the murder of his family. He makes the comment that he knows it was wrong but just wasn’t thinking right at the time…. Yeah ya think dude?
In the interview for the show he seems to still hold the belief that what happened was their fault. Saying that he had been out of work because of a back injury and that there wasn’t much he could do but that he was doing all that he could. He says that he felt like they blamed him for everything and as he is saying these things you can see in his face for just a moment the anger that’s just below the surface.
“In all honestly I have no problem with the death penalty, I have no problem with being put to death for what I did” In an interview for the show “Signs of a Psychopath” Season 1, Episode 8 on Investigation Discovery on February 26th, 2020 at the Polonsky Unit Texas Death Row. That's where most of my information for today's story came from by the way. Investigation Discovery interviewed John William Hummel 21 days before his March 2020 execution date, stating that before he died, he was granting one final interview with the producers of the show, not realizing his execution would end up being given a stay because of the Corona virus that was just beginning to get bad in February.
"As I sit in this cement box, I get lost amongst my thoughts
I think about all the times I’ve had, all the good, even the bad
I’m not sad, I’ll not cry
I’ll be with Jesus when I die
I’ll meet you there at heavens door, Together forever, with the ones we adore."
– a poem John wrote and recited in the interview.
During the interview John says, “when I do something right, no one remembers, when I do something wrong, no one forgets”
In March John William Hummel was granted a 60 day stay of execution. The date has since been amended to take place on June 30th.