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John DuPont's Death

John DuPont

The life and death of John DuPont:

As his last name suggests, he was an heir to the DuPont family fortune. John Eleuthere DuPont was a bird expert (ornithologist), a stamp collector, sports fan and wrestling coach. He was also a convicted murderer.

John DuPont was born wealthy in Philadelphia. His parents William and Jean divorced when he was two and he had two older sisters and an older brother. A younger brother was born after his father's second marriage.

John attended college in Miami and graduated from the University of Miami in 1965 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Zoology. He earned a doctorate in Natural Sciences from Villanova in 1973. He wrote several books and short papers on birds.

DuPont was married once at the age of 45 at September 1983 to Gail Wenk, but it didn't last long. The marriage was annulled a mere 90 days later.

After his mother died, John established a wrestling facility at his Foxcatcher Farm in the 1980s after becoming interested in the sport and other pentathlon events. He was a big-time supporter of amateur sports in the United States and a sponsor for USA wrestling.

John DuPont

In the 1990s his friends and acquaintances grew worried about his erratic and paranoid behavior, but his great wealth shielded him from any significant intervention.

Fast forward to 1997, when DuPont was convicted of third-degree murder of his friend Dave Schultz, an Olympic champion freestyle wrestler.

Dave Schultz

Schultz and his wife lived on the Foxcatcher grounds.

John DuPont pointing a gun

On January 26 John was seen shooting Shields dead in the driveway of Shields home on DuPont's estate. Schultz's wife Nancy and DuPont's security chief were present and witnessed the crime.

After the shooting DuPont locked himself in his mansion for a couple of days…

John DuPont's home

…while he negotiated with police on the telephone. They turned off his power and were able to apprehend him when he went outside to fix his heater.

He was originally ruled incompetent, as experts testified that he was psychotic and couldn't participate in his own defense. During his trial, psychiatric experts described him as paranoid schizophrenic who feared Schultz was part of a conspiracy to kill him.

John DuPont pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity. However, the court rejected his insanity defense and a jury found him guilty of third degree murder, but mentally ill.

John DuPont after his arrest

DuPont was sentenced to prison for 13-30 years, which is where he died 13 years later of pulmonary disease and emphysema.

John DuPont close to his death

DuPont is the subject of the movie "Foxcatcher", in which Steve Carell portrays DuPont.