A Frenchman whose killing spree of his entire family and his parents' dog inspired a book and two movies is set to be freed from jail after nearly three decades.
Jean-Claude Romand, now 65, was convicted of killing his parents, wife, and children in 1996 after he was defrauded other family members by pretending to be a medical student and then a researcher at the World Health Organization.
Romand spent 18 years impersonating a medical student at a Lyon medical school after he was allowed to repeat his first-year for 12 years starting in 1974. He had failed to turn up to his first-year exam and, despite more than a decade of study, he never ended up taking the exam, the BBC reported.
THE TRIAL OF JEAN-CLAUDE ROMAND IN BOURG-EN-BRESSE (Photo by Stephane Ruet/Sygma via Getty Images)
He told friends he was following normal medical studies.
However, in the 1980s, Romand continued lying to his family, saying he had gotten a job at the Geneva-based WHO as a researcher. Instead, he was spending his days driving near the France and Switzerland border area, telling his wife – with whom he had two children in the late 1980s – and family he was on foreign work trips.
According to the BBC, Romand lived off money from the sale of the apartment his parents purchased for him while in Lyon. When that money ran out, he began convincing family and friends to invest their savings into schemes he had access to as a so-called WHO employee.
However, by 1992, some of his victims started getting suspicious and demanded their money back.
In January 1993, Romand killed his wife with a rolling pin before shooting and killing his 7-year-old daughter and 5-year-old son. That same day, the BBC reported, he traveled more than 50 miles to his parents’ house and killed them both along with their dog.
Authorities said he returned to his home, set it on fire and swallowed sleeping pills.
A picture taken on January 12, 1993 shows the burned house of French citizen Jean-Claude Romand in Prévessin-Moëns, where he murdered his wife and two children. – Jean-Claude Romand, sentenced to life in 1996 for the murder of his parents, his wife and children, has filed an application for parole to be examined on September 18, 2018 said judicial source on September 6, 2018. (Photo by Pierre BESSARD / AFP) (Photo credit should read PIERRE BESSARD/AFP/Getty Images)
Firefighters rescued Romand. He confessed to the multiple murders and was convicted in 1996.
He became eligible for parole in 2015 and was granted release in April.
His horrifying killing spree inspired a book – "L’Adversaire" ("The Adversary") – which was published in 2000 and was adapted into a film two years later. A second film, "L’Emploi du Temps" ("Time Out"), about a fired executive who deceives his family by pretending to go to the office every day, came out in 2001.
According to the BBC, Romand’s former brother-in-law criticized his release, telling a French radio earlier this month: “The word ‘free’ is hard to hear … For me, he’s won.”