Jenn Carson: Daughter of serial killer Michael Bear Carson feared she inherited 'monster genes'

Jenn Carson: Daughter of serial killer Michael Bear Carson feared she inherited 'monster genes'
Jenn Carson is the daughter of Michael Bear Carson who was convicted of 3 murders between 1981 and 1983 in America (Screenshots True Crime Daily, NBC 10 News/YouTube)

PHOENIX, ARIZONA:  A woman said she lived in fear in her youth that she would inherit her father's "monster genes" after finding out he was a serial killer. Jenn Carson, 48, said her once-loving "hippie" father Michael Bear Carson changed completely after he met her abusive stepmother.


Bear, along with his second wife, Suzan Barnes brutally killed at least three people in California. The husband-wife duo was infamously known as the 'San Francisco Witch Killers' as they claimed that their victims were witches. 


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In an interview with the People, Carson said that she had a fairly happy childhood with her dad, whose real name was James Clifford Carson and like most fathers, he used to read to her and braid her hair. "My perception then was he was loving," she said of her father. "He was fun."


Michael Bear Carson and wife (Screenshot/NBC 10 YouTube)
Michael Bear Carson and wife Suzan Barnes (Screenshot/NBC 10 YouTube)

Jenn Carson's early life

Carson spent her childhood days in Phoenix, Arizona, where her mother, Lynne Carson, was a teacher and her dad was a stay-at-home marijuana dealer. In 1978, her parents got divorced and it was after this, Bear came across Suzan, a wealthy divorcée and mother of two at a party. He married her in the next year and the duo increasingly became volatile. 


"Around that time, I have a lot of memories of him unraveling," she said, noting that her stepmother was "very dominant in the relationship." Jenn, a preschool student at that time, thought Suzan to be "the wicked witch". She said that her father slowly stopped giving attention to her and soon changed his name to Michael Bear and became a completely different individual whom she failed to recognize. She recalled the first time she slept over at Suzan's house, which was filled with potted trees and not much else. Jenn had to spend the rest of the night sleeping in a sleeping bag on the floor.  

She said that the creepy, bare-bones décor reminded her of "the haunted forest from the Wizard of Oz." Jenn was reportedly starved and beaten when she visited Suzan's house during the weekends. "I've had glimpses of memories my whole life of her pushing me under bath water — like holding me under and I couldn't breathe," she told People. "I'm in this house of horrors. She's not feeding me. She's telling me that I'm the devil. I'm going to go to hell. I deserve to die."


Jenn Carson reveals abuse she faced to her mom

Finally, after tolerating the torture for such a long time, Jenn finally decided to let her mother know about the horrific abuses she had to endure from Suzan, It even included her stepmom scatching her back and leaving open wounds with "five jagged nail marks."

Lynn became convinced that Bear and Suzan were planning to kill her and her daughter when she learned that they were planning to leave the country. Lynn and her daughter were on the run and were hiding in Southern California when the Secret Service showed up at their door in 1982. 


Jenn's mother Lynne Carson (YouTube/True Crime Daily)
Jenn Carson's biological mother Lynne Carson (Screenshot/True Crime Daily YouTube)

Micahel Bear Carson and Suzan Barne's killing spree

Michael and Suzan believed that were meant to kill 'witches' around the world. They killed Karen Barnes, 23, in 1981, by bashing her head in with a frying pan and stabbing her 13 times in her San Francisco apartment. The next year, Michael shot Clark Stephens, 26, to death and burned his body in Humboldt County. 


Detectives soon found their manifesto following his death which included a plot to assassinate then-President Ronald Reagan. Jenn recalled how her mother was interrogated for many hours by the authorities who asked her about Michel's political ideologies or whether he ever talked about killing the president.

In 1983, John Hellyar, 30, picked up the couple while they were hitchhiking. Suzan stabbed Hellyar when a fight broke out in the car. Michael then shot him point-blank in the back, killing him. Police were called during Hillyar's murder, and they were arrested. 


The deranged duo admitted to killing Barnes, Stephens, and Hellyar, but they are also suspects in nine other killings. Both of them were found guilty of three counts of murder and are still in prison serving their 75-year sentences. 

'I feared that I would grow up and kill people'

Jenn started having nightmares about Michael's victims when she came to know about her father's crimes. She worried that she had inherited his "monster genes" and struggled with suicidal ideation and severe depression. "By 9, I viewed every adult as a potential killer," she told People. "The whole world terrified me. I also feared that I would grow up and kill people."


Jenna credits her mother and stepfather, Michael Gonzales, with helping her to overcome the trauma. Jenn has her doctoral degree in social work and became a trauma expert, as well as an advocate for children of prisoners. "I want people to understand that this type of shame is so corrosive," Jenn said. "And that's why I tell my story."

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 Jenn Carson: Daughter of serial killer Michael Bear Carson feared she inherited 'monster genes'