Monday, April 11, 2016

Female Serial Killers & Knives (and Other Blades)

940 – “White-necked Crow” – China – knife
1819 – Ane Nielsdatter – Copenhagen, Denmark – hatchet
1860 – Mary Jane “Bricktop” Jackson – New Orleans, Louisiana, USA – knife
1865 – Marie-Françoise Bougaran – Brest & Lesneven, France – knife
1865 – Maria Oliviero – Cattanzaro, Italy – axe
1867 – La Gizzi – Volturara district, Italy – axe, knife (or sword ?)
1877 – Elizabeth Kirkbride – Liverpool, England blade (cutting throat)
1883 – Emma Stillwell – Waterford, Ohio, USA – axe
1893 – Lizzie Halliday – Burlingham, New York, USA – axe, scissors
1908 – Belle Gunness – LaPorte, Indiana, USA – axe
1910 – Esteis Liberis – Barahona, Haiti – axe
1911 – Clementine Barnabet (Bernebet) – Lafayette, Louisiana, USA – axe
1920 – Raya & Sakina Aly Hammam – Alexandria, Egypt – axe
1921 – Ekaterina Pishianova – Chita, Russia – axe
1951 – Lala Wanh – Bhatanta, East Punjab, India – axe
1965 – Myra Hindley – Hattersley, England blade (cutting throat)
1975 Doretta Kirksey – Akron, Ohio, USA – knife
1980 – Carol M. Bundy – Los Angeles, California, USA – knife
1989 – Sara Maria Aldrete – Matamoros, Mexico – machete
1991 – Dorothy Williams – Chicago, Illinois, USA – knife
1998 – “PK” – Switzerland – knife
2003 – Jaroslava Fabianova – Decin, Czech Republic – meat cleaver
2009 – “Sao Paulo Girl” São José do Rio Preto, Brazil – knife
2010 – Irina Gaidamachuk – Yekaterinberg, Russia – axe
2012 – Silvia Meraz – Nacozari, Sonora state, Mexico – knife? (ritual blood let sacrifice)
2013 – Joanna Dennehy – Peterborough, Cambridgeshire, England
2015 – Elena Lobacheva – Moscow, Russia – boxcutter, knife

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Faust Bonino, Suspected Serial Killer Nurse – 2016, Italy

Faust Bonino, a 55-year-old nurse in Piombino, Italy was arrested March 30, 2016 on suspicion of murdering 13 patients between 2014 and 2015. Police named the investigation, which involved several months of monitoring, the "the killer on the ward.” “The victims were mainly elderly people with a variety of illnesses.” Most of them were elderly, but not necessarily sick. Bonino was stationed in a hospital’s anaesthesia and intensive care units. Traces of drugs not prescribed to patients were found in bodies of victims. [Robert St. Estephe; primary source of facts: “Italian nurse accused of 13 murders in Piombino,” BBC, Mar. 31, 2016]


For more cases, see Sicko Nurses


Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Kathleen McCluskey, Methadone Serial Killer – 2001, England

This is the story of a predator who selected male addicts as her targets.

Prosecutors described Kathleen McCluskey, resident in the famous university town of Cambridge, England, as bearing an “ambivalent attitude towards men.” She was charged of murdering four of them between 1999 and 2001 by manipulating them to overdose on methadone combined with alcohol. The woman who is described as always wearing black and “who encouraged friends to stroke a devil statue in her home” was described in the tabloid press as a “devil worshipper.”

Kathleen McCluskey was a drug addict and was prescribed methadone by a government addiction program. She was well versed in the dangers of overdose and dangerous drug combinations. In her Cambridge home, police found a copy of the British National Formulary, the “pharmacists’ bible,” which gives details of prescribed drugs and their effects.

McCluskey’s second alleged murder victim was Marvin Brodie, 32, a man who was “well-liked” but with a drink problem. She got to know him through a friend and in June 2000 went with him and some other friends to see a film. During the evening she was heard to say:

Court testimony revealed that McCluskey was overhead saying to her second victim (second of the victims who died), Marvin Brodie: “I don’t want to go to prison - I’ll kill you like I killed the rest.” She provided the man with a fatal concoction that ended his life.

Prosecutor Nigel Godsmark: “Four deaths is just too many to be a coincidence - the common factor is this lady.” He added: “In each case the defendant supplied the drugs or supplied the means of taking these drugs.”

A survivor of Catherine McCluskey’s toxic cocktail method is enlightening: “In November 2001 Peter Bakulinskjy came forward to report an incident which had happened on Christmas Day 1999. He had drunk methadone with an unknown additive at Mrs McCluskey’s home and was unconscious for five hours. McCluskey was later acquitted of administering a toxic substance - methadone - to him.”

On December 16, 2002, McCluskey was convicted Norwich Crown Court of two of the four homicides she was charged with – on the reduced charge of manslaughter. One hearing the verdict Kathleen flew into a rage, shouting: “This is f*****g ignorance.” When female guards were called to escort the convict to her cell, she was twice heard screaming “Ignorant b******s.”

On March 19, 2003, McLuskey was sentenced to 10 years in prison for two manslaughter convictions: 4 years for killing Assali plus 6 year for killing Brodie. During the hearing the sentencing judge admonished the murderess: “You have had a sad life. I bear in mind the effect that drugs have had on you. Nevertheless, although you have a borderline personality disorder, I have to take into account that you have shown little compassion or remorse for the deaths of these two men.”


April 1960 – Kathleen McCluskey, Born Kathleen Baxter in South Yorkshire.
1976 – Left home at 16 and moved to Brighton.
1980s – Later moved to London and then Cambridge.
Dec. 1994 – Married James Wormold in Dec. 1994.
Aug. 1999 – Death of Mohammed Assadi.
Dec. 25, 1999 – Peter Bakulinskyj, 38, poisoned, survived.
Jun. 2000 – Death of Marvin Brodie.
Mar. 2001 – Death of Ray Diaz.
Sep. 2001 – Death of James McCluskey.
Oct. 2001 – Operation Falstaff launched.
Dec. 16, 2002  – McCluskey convicted of 2 manslaughter charges.
Mar. 19, 2003 – sentenced to 10 years in prison (4 yrs. For Assali; 6 yrs. For Brodie).


Mohammed Shoja Assadi, 48, known as Martin, lived alone and was a heavy drinker who was prescribed low level doses of methadone several years ago, artist.
Marvin Brodie, 32, worked occasionally as a care assistant.
Ray Diaz, 48, was a friend of McCluskey’s.
James McCluskey, 44, was her second husband. They married in September 2001, eight months after her first husband committed suicide using a vacuum cleaner pipe attached to his car’s exhaust pipe. Prosecutors later doubted the suicide ruling.


Sources: [Steven Morris, Drugs woman ‘murdered four men,’ The Guardian (London, England), Dec. 3, 2002; modified Jan. 14, 2016] [John Troup, “Black widow killer uproar,” The Sun (London, England), Dec. 17,  2002] [Chris Summers, “Secrets of a sordid world,” Mar. 19, 2003, BBC News] [“Black widow' gets 10 years for drug deaths,” Cambridge News, March 19, 2003]


Rachel Hartley, Suspected Serial Killer – 1794, Mississippi

Rachel Hartley, 1794, accused; wife of Jacob Hartley.

Suspected victims:
Jacob (John, Jr.) Hartley, died Apr. 4, 1774; son of John and Anna Catherine Hartley.
John Hartley Sr., died.
Betty Hartley, died; daughter of John and Anna Catherine Hartley.
Christina Hartley, ill, poisoned; daughter of John and Anna Catherine Hartley.

Anna Catherine Hartley, widow of late John Hartley, accuser.


Excerpts from court records dating from 1794.

EXCERPT (p. 212-13): To His Excellency Governor Gayoso, the petition of Anna Catherine Hartley showeth that whereas she understands that her son’s pretended wife is making applications to Your Exellency for her son’s property and that she understands that the said Rachel has set forth that her son made a will and left what property he had to her, for about nine days before he died, he said that all that he had in the world should go to his decrepit mother and his soul to God. Her son was not twenty years of age when he joined himself to her in marriage . . . . . . . [accuses his wife as the means of shortening her son’s days and those of others.] Had I not applied to a man on this creek I should have lost two more of my children as this man declared in his opinion that they were poisoned, and by several other circumstances and her threatenings, it appeared evident that she poisoned them. Please direct Col. Bruin to examine this affair, according to evidences and examinations and transmitting their depositions to Your Excellency. Sig: Anna Catherine Hartley. 23 Sept. 1794.

EXCERPT (p. 213): Catherine Miles was at the house of her late father, Mr. John Hartley, about nine months before the death of her brother, Jacob Hartley, and she heard him at that time declare that he willed property to his mother and his soul to God. Rachel Hartley was present and laughed heartily. She believed that her brothers, Jacob and John, and her sister, Betty, were poisoned. When asked what reason she had for so believing, she answered that she was told so by Mr. Nicholas Sirlott, a neighbor who was called in to administer some relief to her brother John and her sister Christina and who didn’t relieve them. Q. What reason had he that Rachel Hartley was responsible? A. I have reason to believe that she did administer it because she threatened to take satisfaction on the family. She said she would have satisfaction if it was seven years afterwards. She declared to the truth of what Hezekiah Harman deposed of the dead bodies of her sister and her brother, Jacob. Catherine Miles, signed with a mark. Bayou Pierre, 8 Oct. 1794. Before P. Bryan Bruin.

[May Wilson McBee, The Natchez Court Records, 1767-1805, Abstracts of Early Records, 1953, Greenwood, Mississippi; reprinted, 1979, Baltimore, pp. 212-215.]


Monday, March 28, 2016

Laura Humber, 12-Year-Old Would-Be Mass Murderess – 1900, Wisconsin

FULL TEXT: Chippewa Falls, Wis., May 22. – Laura Humber, 12 years old, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. John Humber, was brought into court here yesterday charged with attempting to murder her parents and three sisters. The girl broke glass into fine particles and placed it in several articles of food about to be served, but the glass was discovered by one of the sisters before any of the food was eaten. According to the father’s story the girl is utterly depraved. He states that she had tortured to death three domestic animals and a dozen chickens, and destroyed nearly all the family’s wearing apparel. Judge Condit committed the girl to the Industrial School in Milwaukee.

[“Girl Of Twelve Attempts Murder. - Laura Humber, of Wisconsin, a Remarkable Case of Degeneracy.” The Daily Inter-Ocean (Chicago, Il.), May 23, 1900, p. 1]

Monday, March 21, 2016

Lue Burns, Black Widow Who Shot to Death Two Husbands – 1941, Missouri

FULL TEXT (Article 1 of 2): John Palmer (Jack) Burns, owner of a small jewelry shop in downtown East St. Louis, was shot and killed last night by his wife, Mrs. Lue Burns, following one of the petty quarrels which had disrupted the Burns household at 735 Post place, East St. Louis, the last five years.

He was her fourth husband. Nine years ago Mrs. Burns shot and killed her third husband, Shelby Clay, at their home in Madison, after he had attacked her with a butcher knife. A witness to both tragedies was Gene Rodemich, Mrs. Burns’ son by her second marriage, a second cousin and namesake of Gene Rodemich, the late dance band leader.

Burns, 44 years old, was shot four times and was dead on arrival at Christian Welfare Hospital. Mrs. Burns, 38, was treated at St. Mary’s Hospital for hysteria and for a bruise on the head suffered in the scuffle with her husband, and then removed to jail.

Chief of Police Michael J. O’Rourke told reporters police had been called to the Burns home several times in the last year by Burns, who told them he was worried because his wife complained people were persecuting her.

Mrs. Burns had been been committed by court orders to the Illinois State Hospital at Alton twice for brief stays within the last five years on complaint of her husband. In both instances she was discharged when alienists reported that she was not insane.

~ Police Called Before. ~

She apparently had not grasped the fact that she had killed her husband until this morning, when she asked about her son. Told that he had been released on bond but would appear at the  Coroner’s inquest, she said: “Is Jack dead? I didn’t mean to kill him. I was afraid of people.”

~ Quarrel After Dinner. ~

The quarrel last night began shortly after dinner, Mr. and Mrs. Burns were in the living room. Rodemich, a student, had gone upstairs to study for his midyear examinations. The negro maid, Leonia Harris, was washing dishes in the kitchen.

The maid told police she heard Mrs. Burns begin to denounce her husband because he had forgotten to bring home some new clothes for her which had been delivered at the jewelry store.

“Mr. Burns told her he was tired of having her packages delivered to the jewelry store,” the maid sad. Mrs. Burns told him she needed the clothes for work tomorrow, and Mr. Burns to stop cursing his mother, and he and Mr. Burns started to fight. Mr. Burns slipped into the downstairs bedroom, and the next thing I heard was a shot.”

~ Fired Six Shots. ~

Mrs. Burns had gone to the bedroom to get a .32 caliber revolver which she had brought several months ago. As the scuffle between Burns and Rodemich moved into the hall, she fired at Burns.She fired six shots in all, then told her son to call police.

When police arrived they found Burns lying outside the house on the back steps. He had been shot in the left eye, chin, throat and chest. There were powder burns on his face, indicating he had been shot at close range.

Mrs. Burns was lying on the dining room floor. She had a cut on her head and was moaning hysterically. The revolver was clutched in her right hand.

She was too hysterical at Police Headquarters to tell a coherent story, but she told police that fights in her home were frequent and that she and her husband had come to blows as recently as two weeks ago. She and Burns, who had operated the jewelry store at 320 Collinsville avenue for 16 years, were married seven years ago.

~ Similar Considerations. ~

The circumstances under which she killed her third husband were somewhat similar in those of last night. She and Clay quarreled frequently, and she shot him four times after he had slashed her on the arm with a knife. A verdict of justifiable homicide was returned at the Coroner’s inquest.

She told police her second husband was Edwin Rodemich, a railroad engineer, and a brother of Gene Rodemich. She said he was drowned about 18 years ago when he fell off the cab of his train into an ashpit filled with water.

Mrs. Burns was unable to recall the name of her first husband, whom she had married as a young girl. “His name just doesn’t come to me,” she said.

[“Kills Her Fourth Husband, As She Did No. 3, In Row – Mrs. Lue Burns, 38, Shoots East St. Louis Jeweler Four Times as Son Looks On.” St. Louis Post-Dispatch (Mo.), Jan. 24, 1941, p. 1]



FULL TEXT (Article 2 of 2): Mrs. Lue Burns, in their home at 753 Post street, was found not guilty of murder late yesterday in City Judge William F. Borders’ court.

The jury of six men and six women deliberated three hours. On the first ballot, the Post-Dispatch learned, one juror voted for conviction of murder, six for conviction of manslaughter, and five for acquittal. The second ballot showed seven for conviction of manslaughter and five for acquittal. Four additional ballots were taken.

Forewoman of the jury was Mrs. Mildred Weidmann of Belleville, wife of a State grain inspector. She told reporters she was unable to recall how the men and women on the jury divided on the early ballots.

Mrs. Burns, 38 years old, heard the verdict with no show of emotion, except that her face reddened. Later, talking with reporters, she laughed and smiled, and said: “Justice always wins.”

She had told the jury she killed Burns as he was choking her 21-year-old son, Gene Rodemich, who had intervened when her husband “hit me, beat and kicked me.” The quarrel began, she testified, after dinner, when she asked her husband to return to his jewelry shop in downtown East St. Louis to get some parcels, purchases of lingere which she had ordered delivered C. O. D. to the store.

The weapon with which she killed Burns was a revolver she purchased last October “to protect myself.” Burns was shot four times, but in her testimony she did not recall how many shots she fired.

Mrs. Burns shot and killed her third husband, Shelby Clay, when he attacked her with a kitchen knife. Her second husband, Edwin Rodemich, a locomotive engineer, was killed when he fell from his cab.

[“Mrs. Lue Burns Acquitted Of Killing Husband – Verdict Reached on Sixth Ballot After Three Hours – Defendant Says, ‘Justice Always Wins,’” St. Louis Post-Dispatch (Mo.), Mar. 14, 1941, p. 3A]






For links to other cases of woman who murdered 2 or more husbands (or paramours), see Black Widow Serial Killers.


Sunday, March 13, 2016

Katie Horlscher, 16-Year-Old Serial Poisoner – Pennsylvania, 1893

FULL TEXT: A diabolical plot to poison a whole family was unearthed by Detectives Crawford and Geyer yesterday, and Katie Horlscher, sixteen years old, who lived with her uncle and guardian, John Horlscher, at 623 Montgomery avenue, was arrested as the principal in the crime. She was given a hearing before Magistrate Clement and was committed for a further hearing next week. On the strength of the girl’s statement a warrant was sued out for the arrest of Mrs. Harriet Ritter, of 709 Fern street, Camden, as an accessory, and Justice Cassidy committed her to await requisition papers, when she will be brought in this city for trial.

Katie is the orphan child of Mr. Horlscher’s brother. Both her parents died when she was taken in charge by her maternal grandmother, Mrs. Trexler. She will be entitled to an estate amounting to several thousands of dollars when she becomes of age, and Mrs. Horlscher is the guardian of her person and estate under an order of the Orphan’s court. Katie has had the advantage of a good education for one of her years, but was inclined to be wayward, and fearing her grandmother was unable to exercise a proper care over the girl, Mr. Horlscher took her into his own family in August, and since that time has subjected her to strict discipline. The girl chafed under the rigid restriction which was placed upon her actions, but her uncle was all the more convinced that theywere necessary and gave no evidence of relaxing in the least.

Aside from Katie, Mrs. Horlscher’s family consisted of his mother, Catharine Horschler, his wife and two sons, Thomas, three years old, and Charles, two years old. On January 3 little Thomas became violently ill. He was seized with cramps in the stomach, accompanied by vomiting and purging, and Dr. Wood was called to prescribe for him. The medicine relieved the child, and a few days later both Mr. Horlscher and his wife were attacked with similar symptoms. A few days after little Charlie was also taken sick, and within a week the grandmother fell a victim to the same trouble. Katie was also taken sick at the time her grandmother was stricken, but soon recovered.

The physician was unable to tell what the trouble was, but Mrs. Horlscher became suspicious and placed a watch upon Katie. He was unable to confirm his suspicions, and reported the case to Captain Miller, who decided [illegible line] work it up. After an investigation of a few hours the detectives decided that Katie was the guilty one, and she was placed under arrest. She at first decided that Katie was the guilty one, and she was placed under arrest. She at first denied all knowledge of the affair, but after spending a few hours in a cell at the Central, she broke down and made a full confession of her crimes, which would be almost incredible if her statements were not corroborated by facts.

She said she was dissatified with her home because her uncle would not permit her to attend parties or go out at night. About Christmas she visited Mrs. Harriet Ritter, an old acquaintance who lived at 709 Fern street, Camden, and told her troubles. Mrs. Ritter advised her to put her uncle out of the way, and gave her a bottle of red powder which she was to put in the coffeem whisky or soup eaten by her uncle.

At a subsequent visit she gave hera bottle of white powder which was to be used in the same way, and Katie also alleges that Mrs. Ritter told her that if she came into possession of any money at any time she was able to take it to her and they would have a good time. She says she felt very sorry when the people were taken sick, and at one time she had placed the powder in the soup she was on the point of telling them that they should not eat it, but she changed her mind. She said the reason she became sick herself her grandmother compelled her to eat some of the soup, but she did not take enough to do her much harm and soon recovered from the effects, although she was very sick for a short time. When little Charlie was taken sick her uncle told her that it he died he would have the body opened and find out the cause of his death. This frightened her, and she threw the balance of the poison down the sink in order to destroy all evidences of her crime.

Katie talked freely of her crime and answered all the questions asked her by the detectives with apparent frankness. She did not appear to realize the enormity of the crime with which she was charged, and talked of her attempt to murder the whole family as if it were a matter the whole moment. The officers say that she does not show the evidence of a total depravity which might be assumed from the nature of her crime, but rather of careless disregard of the consequences of her act, or what the result would be to herself. The detectives have been unable to discover what poison was used by the girl, but from the symptoms of the people who were sick it is believed to have been arsenic.

Mrs. Ritter, who is charged with complicity in the crime, was formerly Miss Hines, who lived on Lawrence street near George, and was a near neighbor at Katie’s grandmother, when she was a child. She and the little school girl became warm friends, and the friendship thus established has still existed. Hattie Hines, as she was then known, did not enjoy the most spotless reputation, and when she married and removed to Camden the mantle of charity was thrown over her early escapades, and so far as is known by her friends on this side of the river, she has not been charged with any indiscretions since her marriage, but her former friends and acquaintances have been made against her by Katie Horlascher.

The detectives say the case against Mrs. Ritter is a very strong one, as the story of Katie of receiving the powders from her is corroborated by one of Katie’s girl friends, who was present when the bottle was handed over and heard the directions given by the woman for the use of the “extract,” as it was called by her in the conversation. Mrs. Ritter admitted knowing Katie and having received two visits from her during the winter, but she positively denied having either instigated the poisoning or knowing anything of the case. The evidence will be presented to the Grand Jury to-day, for the purpose of having an indictment found, upon which requisition papers will be based.

All the members of Horschler’s family have recovered from the effect of the poison except his wife and mother. The grandmother is still confined to bed is not entirely out of danger, but her physician has strong hopes for her recovery. The wife is able to be around the house, but is still suffering from the effect of her illness, and no fears are entertained for her.

[“A Youthful Borgia – Deliberate Attempt by a Young Girl to Poison a Young Girl to Poison a Whole Family. – She Confesses the Crime – A Camden Woman Arrested by the Detectives as an Accessory. – The Victims Will All Recover -  The Prisoner Says Her Uncle and Guardian Would Not Allow Her to Run Out at Night.” The North American (Philadelphia, Pa.), Feb. 11, 1893, p. 1]


Jan. 3, 1893 – Thomas (3); poisoned, survived.
ca. Jan. 6, 1893 – Mr. & Mrs. H.; poisoned, survived.
ca. Jan. 9, 1893 – Charlie, H., 2; poisoned, survived.
ca. Jan. 14, 1893 – “grandmother” poisoned, survived.