A chilling Halloween display outside a Michigan home where a teen murdered his family nearly two decades ago was removed after it stirred up controversy for mirroring the circumstances of the grisly crime.
The display — outside a home on Walker Avenue near Four Mile Road in Kent County — included three gravestones surrounded by police tape, an evidence marker next to a baseball bat, silhouettes on the front door and “HELP US” scrawled in dripping red paint, MLive reported.
The display also included what appeared to be bloody handprints on the front window.
Nearly 19 years ago, on Jan. 22, 2003, then-17-year-old Jon Siesling struck his mother, Sharon Siesling, 42, with a baseball bat and then stabbed her in the neck, according to the report.
He also beat and stabbed his 15-year-old sister Katelin and knifed his 6-year-old sister Leah’s neck, the outlet reported.
All three were killed in the brutal attack.
The homeowner, who only gave her first name, Amanda, told MLive that the home had been in her family for decades, and she raised her children there. They had rented it to the Sieslings and were friends, she said.
Amanda told the outlet that everyone in the area knows what happened at the home — which she dubbed a “Walker legend.”
Drivers often slow down and point, and people sometimes yell when they pass by, she said.
“We know some people might look at [it] and say, ‘Oh my God, oh my God,’” Amanda said. “This is my way of saying, ‘We are well aware. Stop screaming at us when you’re driving past my house.’”
Meanwhile, Kathy Gordon, who went to Kenowa Hills High School with Katelin Siesling, told MLive the “truly unacceptable” display made her “want to vomit” and dishonors the victims.
The graphic decorations also drew criticism on MLive’s Facebook page.
“Dang. If you knew a person or family was slain in that house and you went ahead with that display, there is something wrong with you,” one person wrote.
“It is completely disgusting and inappropriate,” commented another. “This woman can find another way to honor her family friends who died there.”
But others defended the display.
“You can rent the house where Lizzie Borden murdered her entire family with an axe or see the car Bonnie and Clyde were killed in, still covered in blood and riddled with holes,” a commenter wrote. “The killings that happened at this house were 20 years ago. It’s time to move on. The home owners have a right to decorate for Halloween and even lean into the brutality that happened there. People have a taste for the macabre, let them enjoy it.”
“I mean it’s odd but who are we to tell her how to grieve?” another person chimed in. “She is probably exhausted of people honking the horn yelling at the house for [the] last 20 years. This is her way to troll and let people understand she knows the house history.”
The decorations were no longer up at the home Thursday, local outlets reported.
Only some pumpkins were displayed near the front entrance, WOOD-TV reported.
Jon Siesling, now 36, was a “juvenile lifter” serving a life sentence without parole, and was eligible to seek a lesser sentence because he was only a teen at the time of the slayings, according to MLive.
But late last month, Kent County Circuit Judge Mark Trusock upheld the state’s harshest sentence, noting that he had seen “nothing … as horrific as this case.”