Richard Robison, Joseph ‘Joe’ Scolaro: Family Slaughter Known As Good Hart Murders On ID’s ‘Passport To Murder’

Richard Robison, the Detroit ad exec who was savagely murdered at a cottage in Good Hart, along with five members of his family, will have his story examined on a new episode of Passport To Murder on Investigation Discovery. Airing every Friday with a new episode of murder that occurred during an American family’s dream vacation, Passport To Murder won’t disappoint with this detailed account of a Lake Michigan vacation gone wrong. The episode recounting the case of Richard Robison, and his wife, Shirley Robison, is titled, “Mystery At Good Hart Cottage.”

Cottage Vacation Turns Deadly In Good Hart

It was like something straight out of a horror movie. That’s how most people would describe what investigators found the day they went to a cottage nestled deep in the forest of the Blisswood Resort in Good Hart, where they discovered the bodies of six people who were all dead. The case made headlines all over the nation, and the murders became known as the Good Hart Murders.

Investigators were called out to the scene when a caretaker discovered a bullet-ridden body after peering inside the cottage windows. He had been alerted by neighbors in another cottage, who reported an odor so foul, they were unable to continue with their game of bridge, according to Hour Detroit.

A List Of The Victims

  • Richard C. Robison–age 42
  • Shirley Robison–age 40
  • Richard Robison–age 19
  • Gary Robison–age 16
  • Randall Robison–age 12
  • Susan Robison–age 7

Even for seasoned detectives, the scene was shocking. This was definitely a case of mass murder. But, who had done it? An autopsy report concluded that all of the victims had been shot. Two of them had also been bludgeoned with a hammer, including little Susan. There was also a suggestion that Shirley had been sexually assaulted. However, the vast state of decomposition made it nearly impossible to confirm that this was the case. In fact, police believed that the scene was staged to make it look like a robbery, and that the body had been positioned to look like a sexual assault had taken place.

At the scene, police found bullet holes in the windows, cars in the driveway, and a note with details of a planned trip to Kentucky.

More disturbing was the fact that the killings had happened almost a month prior, which accounted for the putrid odor emanating from the posh vacation home.

The Killer Was Someone They Knew

Investigation Discovery’s Passport To Murder will take viewers deep inside the investigation as it was done in 1968. The evidence all pointed to one person, Joseph Raymond Scolaro, the business partner and employee of Richard Robison. According to Up North Live, Robison was an ad executive for an advertising firm and the publisher of Impresario magazine. He was a very wealthy man who had worked hard for his position in life.

The plan was for the family to enjoy a nice family vacation for the next three weeks, which is why no one had missed the family for almost a month.

The investigation revealed that the killer had lurked around most likely waiting for the perfect opportunity to shoot and kill Richard from outside the window. Once the killer knew that Richard was down, he entered the cottage and shot and killed the rest of the family.

Authorities stated that Joseph Scolaro, the prime suspect with a prior criminal record, failed the lie detector tests, didn’t have an alibi, and couldn’t account for his whereabouts during a 12-hour period on the day the murders most likely occurred. Also, one of the weapons used in the attack could be tied to Scolaro.

Solved Or Unsolved?

Still, investigators didn’t have enough evidence to bring charges against Joseph Scolaro, also referred to as Joe Scolero. Several years later, when a new prosecutor wanted to move forward with a case against him, Joseph Scolaro killed himself and left a suicide note, stating that he hadn’t killed anyone. Though, he did acknowledge being a liar and a cheat, according to 9&10 News.

The Robison Good Hart cottage murders is reminiscent of the John List family murders of 1971. In that case, John List killed his entire family and then strategically placed their bodies throughout the home, before vanishing into thin air.

The bodies of the List family were not found for a month. Authorities looked for John List for almost two decades. The killer father had remarried and had moved to another state. He was finally brought to justice in 1989 after John Walsh featured the case on America’s Most Wanted.

Tune into the “Good Hart Murders” tonight at 10/9 p.m. Central on Investigation Discovery. Last week, the Janice Dodson story aired on Passport To Murder.

[Photo by AP Images]