John Koberstein murdered Anne Bonacella and her 8-year-old daughter on the day of the girl’s first communion

Police tape

The Lake Erie Murders are back on Investigation Discovery, profiling a particularly nasty crime in Rome, NY, near Syracuse. The murders of Anne Bonacella and her 8-year-old daughter at their home in May 1987 sent a wave of fear and horror through the town.

Two months later, a 5-year-old girl was found strangled in her bed just a few blocks away, a discovery that only served to heighten fears. A woman’s corpse was later found in the town, she was nude and had been badly beaten, bitten on the face, and her throat had been cut.

Prison snitch places blame on John Koberstein

An inmate in Oneida County jail would later come forward to place the blame on Rome resident John Koberstein. He claimed that Koberstein had confessed to the murders while the two of them were incarcerated together.

The inmate was Robert Stolo, a Vietnam veteran, and a petty repeat offender, he allegedly came forward due to a feeling of guilt. He would also go to testify against a third inmate in the 1985 murder of Kimbelry Simon.

Stolo told investigators that Koberstein confessed to killing 11 people, including 33-year-old Anne Boncella and her young daughter, Crystal Nadeau, on the day of the girl’s Communion in May 1987. He also admitted to beating and slitting the throat of 40-year-old Patricia Woodroof.

Koberstein killed Boncella when she rejected his sexual advances

Koberstein had killed Boncella and Nadeau because they had rejected his sexual advances. Koberstein told of how he had wrapped his arms around Boncella, but when she threatened to tell his girlfriend, he stabbed her with a screwdriver. He killed the 8-year-old girl because she had recognized him.

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Based on Stolo’s testimony Koberstein was convicted of murdering Woodroof, Boncella, and Nadeau. He is serving three life sentences but still maintains his innocence.

More from The Lake Erie Murders

Follow the links to read about more horrific crimes from The Lake Erie Murders. Leslie Williams was a habitual criminal who savagely murdered four teenage girls in Michigan in the early 1990s. When he was finally arrested, he told a reporter that he should be “locked up.”

Then there was the murder of 11-year-old Shauna Howe, whose death at Halloween in 1992 terrified this quiet tightknit community in Oil City, Pennsylvania. Her murder remained unavenged for 12 years until brothers James and Timothy O’Brien were locked up for this brutal crime.

Catch The Lake Erie Murders at 10/9c on Investigation Discovery.

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