John and Nolena Niebel were planning a vacation for some
time in the early fall. They were also planning a
surprise birthday party for their daughter Phyllis. It would be her
twenty-first birthday, and they wanted it to be nothing but the best with cake
and ice cream and a house full of her closest friends and relatives.
Then on the night of July 21, 1948 at around midnight, Robert Daniels and John West entered the Niebel house with loaded guns. They forced the Niebel family to get into their car then drove them to a cornfield just off
Fleming Falls Road.
The two men instructed the Niebels to remove all of their clothing, then Robert
Daniels shot each of them in the head.
All together, six people died during a two-week period at the hands of Daniels and West. The rampage ended in a shoot-out where West was killed and Daniels was captured. Daniels was put on trial and electrocuted less than six months later. The brutal murders of the three members of the Niebel family caught national attention, and the two-week killing spree became known as the worst in
What happened during that hot summer of 1948 that led to these brutal killings, and why was the Niebel family singled-out to be savagely murdered? It has been over sixty years since the event, and, yet, it is not only still remembered but is a very important part of