The Triple Murder of the Egan Family (1964)
At around 9:30 Thursday night, December 31, 1964, (New Year's Eve) the Egan family was found murdered at a rest-stop, on Interstate 81, two miles North of Watertown
. William Jay and his wife had pulled in to clean their car's windshield when Jay noticed Barbara Egan's body on the ground near a car.
Police found the three Egan's shot twice in the head, "gangland fashion" in the vernacular of the day.
Peter W. Egan Jr. was 27 and his wife Barbara Ann, was 24; both lived in Sackets Harbor. Peter's brother, Gerald Francis , was 19 and lived in Watertown.
The two brothers were found slumped over in the front seat of their 1955 Mercury Station Wagon and Barbara was found on the gravel on the right side of the car, face-down and not in view of cars on Route 81. One of her boots was on the ground in front of the vehicle, and she was still in curlers.
The two brothers were shot with a .25 caliber pistol, while Mrs. Egan was shot with a .38 caliber pistol, the shells from the 25 caliber were found on the ground.
When the police got there the family Pekingese dog was found unharmed in the vehicle, sitting on top of the front seat and partially on one of the dead men's shoulders.
All three Egans had a number of moderately minor police records including local burglaries, Police said the brothers made frequent trips to Buffalo. Because of the gangland style killing the F. B. I. was brought in. The F. B. I. suspected Peter W. Egan of being involved in the sale of a stolen car out of Florida and found later in the Town Of Brownville.
Three arrest were made in March 1968, but only one person, Joseph R. Leone, came to trial. He was acquitted after a trial in Jan. 1970. The trial did bring famed defense attorney F. Lee Bailey to Watertown as a witness for the people in support of lie detectors as evidence.
Notorious Jefferson County Crime