Sunday, May 8, 2016

Mrs. Mary Brockwwell, Mom Who Murdered Three Daughters – Kentucky, 1905


FULL TEXT: Paducah, Ky., March 28. – Further sensations are expected to develop to-morrow, when Mrs. Mary Brockwwell, the self-confessed murderer of her three little daughters, and her accused accomplice, George Albritton, are taken before the Police Court for preliminary trial. Both were given a severe “sweating” by the detectives this afternoon. There is a report that others are implicated, and further arrests will be made.

Many believe vthat Mrs. Brockwell is sheilding the real accomplice, and is placing the blame on Albritton, who they think is innocent. Albritton persists in his declarations of innocence, while Mrs. Brockwell remained firm in her accusations that Albritton urged her on to commit the murder, by promising to marry her when the little ones were out of the way.

Nothing in the history of Paducah has aroused so much feeling as exists against the woman who committed the crime of poisoning her three little girls with morphine and coal oil.

Hazel, the eleven-year-old child, who was not given the poison, has been placed in the Home of the Friendless.

[“Further Arrests  - To Be Made In Connection With Paducah Poisoning Case. – More Parties Suspected. – Mrs. Brockwell and Her Alleged Accomplice To Be Given Preliminary Trial To-day.” The Courier-Journal (Louisville, Ky.), Mar. 29, 1905, p. 3 (portrait photo) & p. 5]

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FULL TEXT: Attorney Hal S. Corbett this morning stated that the defense in the case of Mrs. Mary Brockwell who is in jail for killing her three babes has not taken any definite steps towards securing experts to test her sanity but would be ready with a defense by the time the case was called in circuit court. Mrs. Brockwell was given a life sentence on pleading guilty but her attorneys were confident that she was insane and allowed her to plead guilty only upon condition that she be tried for insanity. The first steps will be to show that her mind is affected and that she is entitled to a new trial and when the new trial is given if this be the case the plea of insanity will be made.

[“The Brockwell Case.” The Paducah Journal (Ky.), Aug. 28, 1905, p. 5]

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Friday, May 6, 2016

Alice Platt, Suspected Missouri Serial Killer – 1896


Some sources (including in Kansas City) use the spelling “Pratt,” but “Platt” is more common and thus is presumably correct.

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3 Deaths:
Sep. 20, 1896 – Mrs. Ellen J. Torrence (6), mother of Mrs. Mussey.
Oct. 23, 1895 – Elizabeth Mussey (4).
Oct. 25, 1895 – Sue Mussey (10).

Chronology:
Oct. 24, 1896 – Alice Platt arrested.
Feb. 4, 1897 – trial begins.
Feb. 12, 1897 – Alice Platt acquitted.

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FULL TEXT (Article 1 of 4): Kansas City, Oct. 26. — Miss Alice Platt, aged 28 years, a servant girl in the household of Charles Mussey, a prominent attorney, is under arrest on suspicion of having poisoned Mrs. Torrence, Mussey’s mother-in-law, aged 60 years, and three children. She is believed to have been insane.

Mrs. Ellen R. Torrence, Mrs. Mussey's mother, died suddenly five weeks ago supposedly from stomach complaint. Soon after that Hugh, a 6-year-old son of the Mussey was saved from Morphine poisoning, and Saturday Sue, aged 4, and Elizabeth, aged 10 years, died of strychnine poisoning taken in cookies given them by the servant. The death of Mrs. Torrence and the illness of the boy Hugh were at the time supposed to have been natural. Evidence deduced tends to fasten the poisoning of all four upon the servant.

At the coroner’s office Miss Platt steadfastly maintained her innocence, but was held for developments. The only reason assigned for the alleged crime is insanity, which the Musseys have suspected of Miss Platt for some time. The body of Mrs. Torrence, which was taken to Keokuk, Ia., for burial, will be exhumed.

[“Insane Servant – Believed to Have Poisoned Four People in Kansas City.” The Knoxville Journal (Ky.), Oct. 25, 1896, p. 12]

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FULL TEXT (Article 2 of 4): Alice Platt, a domestic 25 years old, is detained at Central police station on suspicion of having administered strychnine to two daughters, aged 10 and 4 years, of Charles F. Mussey, an attorney living at 2411 Forest avenue, from the effects of which they have both died. The younger daughter, Elizabeth, died at 6 o’clock Friday evening, and the older, Sue, died about noon yesterday. Coroner Bedford, after making a thorough investigation of the circumstances of the children’s death, ordered the Platt woman’s arrest. She was arrested by Detectives Ennis and Johnson at the home of her sister, Mrs. J. E. Lowe, 1530 Euclid avenue. She denies knowing anything about the death of the children.

Sue and Elizabeth Platt returned home from school Friday afternoon, and went into the kitchen, where it is said the Platt woman gave them some cake, which they ate. Later they went, in company with a neighbor girl named Minnie Brendel, to W. J. Coleman’s grocery store at Twenty-fourth street and Forest avenue, where they ate some apples. Upon their returning home at 5 o’clock, little Elizabeth drank a glass of water the servant girl gave her, and was almost immediately taken violently ill with pains in the stomach. Her condition became so serious that Dr. T. W. Overall was summoned from Twenty-third street and Lydda avenue, but despite his efforts and those of Dr. John Wilson, the family physician, who arrived soon afterward, she died in an hour in great agony. Dr. Overall at first thought her death due to bilious colic, but upon making a hasty examination of the case, decided, with Dr. Wilson, that death was due to strychnine. The other daughter. Sue, who was taken violently ill a few moments after her sister, with exactly the same symptoms, died about noon yesterday. Dr. Wilson remained with her during the night, but was unable to save her. Dr. C. S. Merriam was called in Friday evening after the death of Elizabeth Mussey, and was in attendance upon Sue Mussey yesterday with Dr. Wilson. Both physicians agree her death was due to strychnine. She was given an emetic before she died, and vomited.

During Friday night Sue was conscious, and talked to those about the bed-side. She expressed great sorrow at her sister’s death, but. when questioned as to who gave her the poison, could not state.

The death of the Mussey children is shrouded in a cloud of suspicion of murder, which at present rests upon the shoulders of the Piatt woman. Mrs. Mussey’s mother, Mrs. Ellen J. Torrence, died rather suddenly at the Mussey homestead September 20, and her body was burled at Keokuk, Ia. Dr. Wilson, who attended her, said her death was due to congestion of the lungs, due to asthma. Her body, however, will be taken up and the stomach examined for traces of poison. Mr. Mussey’s cow died under suspicious circumstances a few weeks ago, and it is thought she was poisoned.

What motive can be ascribed to the Platt woman for causing the death of the Mussey children is not known, and the police are at sea in the matter.

Her parents live at Carrollton, Mo., and she came to Kansas City a year ago, entering almost immediately the service of Mr. Mussey. She was sent from the house yesterday morning at the request of Mrs. Mussey, who expressed a nervousness at having her about, and went to the home of her sister, Mrs. Lowe, where she was arrested. She is a small woman, with large eyes, which are exceedingly soft in their expression, and are easily held under control while the young woman converses. She was closely questioned by inspector Flahlve yesterday, but bore up well. Coroner Bedford also cross-examined her, but could get nothing but a denial in toto of any knowledge whatever of the Mussey children’s death. She confessed to being addicted to the temperate use of morphine, but said she was never completely under its influence. She has always been attached to the Mussey children, of which there were four. Sue, age 10; Hugh, aged 6; Elizabeth, aged 4, and Charles William, aged 2. Her sister, Mrs. Lowe, who accompanied her to Central police station yesterday after her arrest, stated that, while visiting at Carrollton four years ago, Alice fell on the ice, injuring her spine to such an extent that her mind was affected. She would be rational at times, but when her violent spells would come upon her she would be almost insane, and rave like a mad woman. She took treatment for mania several months ago, and had her hair cut off at the suggestion of a physician. Since that time she has not been well, and her doses of morphine have been more frequent.

The children’s funeral will be held at the residence this afternoon at 2 o’clock. Dr. Neal will officiate. Burial will be in Forest Hill cemetery.

[“It May Have Been Murder. – Elizabeth and Sue Mussey Die of Strychnine Poisoning. – Alice Platt, a Domestic, Suspected of Having Killed Them – Declares Her Innocence – The Funeral This Afternoon.” The Kansas City Journal (Mo.), Oct. 25, 1896, p. 3]

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FULL TEXT (Article 3 of 4): Kansas City, Feb. 12. – Alice Platt, the servant girl in the family of Charles F. Mussey, who for the past week has been undergoing a trial for poisoning the two Mussey children, has been set free, the jury this morning returning a verdict of not guilty. The trial was rather sensational and the court room was constantly crowded room was constantly crowded with spectators. The announcement of the verdict created the wildest enthusiasm. Alice Platt went into hysterics and fell fainting into the arms of her sister, while the audience cheered.

[“Alice Platt Innocent. – A Jury Acquits Her of the Charge of Poisoning.” The Leader-Democrat (Springfield, Mo.), Feb. 12, 1897, p. 1]

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FULL TEXT (Article 4 of 4): The Alice Platt trial presented an opportunity for an exhibition often witnessed of the sympathy of women with persons accused of crime – a sympathy which seems to be extended without regard of the personality of the accused or of any circumstances pertaining to them except that they are charged with offenses against the law; and it is remarkable that the more horrible the offense charged, and the stronger the chain of evidence to prove it, the more general and ostentatious are the demonstrations of affection and admiration on the part of the female attendants in the court room. This sympathy and its visible exhibition does not always cease with the trial, but follows the convicted to the prison and, as far as possible, to the scaffold. Wicked, heartless, cruel murderers, in whose black record there was not one single extenuating act, have before now been showered with roses and been made the recipient of such attentions as “patient merit” very rarely receives. It is certainly hard to understand how the mere accusation having poisoned two young children, whether the charge was provable or not, could lend attractiveness to a woman. Between two women, one a mother who had lost two children by sudden and awful death and the other charged with having murdered them, it would be natural to suppose that the sympathies of women would go out to the mother. That the contrary result may happen has been shown in our own Criminal court, as it has been demonstrated in other Criminal courts before and doubtless will be again. It is one of the impenetrable mysteries of life.

[“One of the Mysteries.” The Kansas City Star (Mo.), Feb. 13, 1897, p. 4]

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http://unknownmisandry.blogspot.com/2012/02/female-serial-killers-of-19th-century.html


For more cases of this category, see: Female Serial Killers of 19th Century America (as of January 20, 2014, the collection contains 61 cases)

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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]

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For more cases, see Sicko Nurses

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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.”


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CHRONOLOGY:
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).

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4 SUSPECTED HOMICIDE VICTIMS:
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.

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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]

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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.

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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.]

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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]