Kenmore Killer Arrested After Threat at Halfway House

By Stephen T. Watson, Aug 9, 2006, Buffalo News


John Justice, the Kenmore native who killed his family and a neighbor in one of this area's most notorious crimes, was arrested this week at the halfway house where he has lived since his September release from prison.


Justice was arrested Monday by parole officers after threatening to harm staff of the Grace House transitional residence, said the Rev. Terry King, the facility's executive director.


Justice had thrived in the program -- working part time and enrolling in college -- but became angry that he couldn't yet move out of the home, King said. Now, Justice is in Erie County Holding Center and faces a hearing on revoking his parole, King said.


"Right now, he's at a safe place. . . . And I hope he gets the help he needs," King said. Justice, 38, had resided in Grace House on Bailey Avenue since last September, when he was released after serving 20 years in prison for the murders.


The Sept. 16, 1985, killings shocked his quiet neighborhood. Justice, 17 at the time, was convicted of second-degree murder for fatally stabbing his mother and causing the death of neighbor Wayne Haun in a car accident.


He was found not responsible by reason of insanity in the fatal stabbings of his father and brother but remained in prison after a January 1993 retrial.


Justice's request for parole was turned down four times before his conditional release into the halfway house.


Justice had done well in that setting, King said, working part time at a warehouse-type job and enrolling in classes for the upcoming semester at a local college campus that he would not identify.


"He came back with a lot of odds against him," King said.


He had regular therapy sessions and frequent visits from a parole officer, and he wore an electronic monitoring device.


Justice was not on psychiatric medication, King said.


Justice was directed to live for one year at the halfway house. After that, staff would work with parole and mental health officials to develop a treatment program and independent-living arrangement for him, King said.


"That wasn't to John's liking. He wanted a date specific. And he decided [Monday] was the day," King said.


Justice became agitated to the point that he threatened to hurt and kill King and other staffers.


"With his history, I take those threats seriously," King said.


King contacted parole officers, who evaluated the situation and took Justice into custody.


If Justice's parole is revoked after a hearing, he could be returned to jail for up to one year, said Scott E. Steinhardt, a spokesman for the state Division of Parole.