M6 is launching this Tuesday, September 15 a new mini-series of four episodes entitled An ordinary man, around the famous and very mysterious case of Xavier Dupont de Ligonnès. On the night of April 3 to 4, 2011, this father kills four members of his family in Nantes: his wife Agnès and three of his children Arthur, Anne and Benoît. The next day, April 5, he did the same with his other son Thomas, before hiding the bodies and fainting in the wild. A case that recalls another, that of John List.

Weapon, scenario … many points in common

The facts are so similar that it is easy to say that Xavier Dupont de Ligonnès was able to draw inspiration from them. In the United States, in 1971, John List returns home and kills his wife, his mother and two of his children with a gun, just like Xavier Dupont de Ligonnès. A first striking similarity which is far from being the only one.

Like John List who then killed his last son later, after spending a special time with him (they attended a football math), the Nantes killer had dinner at the restaurant with Thomas the day before his assassination.

What makes the “Nantes massacre” and the John List affair so close is also the coldness of the two fathers. The American stayed in the house, like the Frenchman, and both made every effort to make people believe that their loved ones were still alive. A process that allowed them, in particular, to save time on the investigators to escape.

The same outcome?

This is where we no longer know if the two cases remain similar, because there are today two theories concerning Xavier Dupont de Ligonnès: some think that he is still alive, others are convinced that he is ‘has committed suicide. And John List, what did he do? He started from scratch. He remarried and managed to escape justice for eighteen years. It is finally thanks to an American television program which deals with legal cases with calls to witnesses that he was found. An ex-friend recognizes it, it’s the end of freedom. He was sentenced to five consecutive life sentences and died in 2008 behind bars.

Today, “the ordinary man” as M6 likes to call him with his new series – Xavier Dupont de Ligonnès is played by Arnaud Ducret – is perhaps dead, perhaps alive, no one knows. But, if he was really inspired by the John List affair, the wildest fantasies are allowed.