Thursday, April 17, 2014

Margarete Jäger, German Serial Killer of Eight – 1835

Note: Sources in three languages employ a great variety of spellings of the two women’s names. “Margarete Jäger” and “Sibille Catherine Renter” have been chosen as the most likely proper German forms.


FULL TEXT: The Swabian Mercury of 29th March, contains the following article, dated Mentz, 24th March:— A frightful crime is now brought before the Court of Assizes. Margaret Jaeyer, a widow, and servant to S. K. Rentner, also a widow, both about thirty-eight years of age, are accused; the first of having killed by poison eight persons, all of whom, except one, were her near relations: the latter, of having poisoned her husband at the instigation of her servant. According to the indictment, Margaret Jaeyer poisoned, in May, 1825, her uncle; in June, 1826, her mother, sixty-eight years of age; in December, 1830, her father, seventy years old; in August, 1831, her husband; in December, the same year, her three daughters, two, five, and ten years and, lastly, in August, 1833, the husband of her mistress, with her assistance. She is said to have done all this with so much caution, that no suspicion whatever was excited by the deaths of all the seven persons, and an investigation into the causes of the death of the eighth victim, would, perhaps, have led to no result had not the criminal (so it is stated in the indictment) been led by her heated fancy to make a confession, induced, as she avers, by a spectre which appeared to her, and so terrified her, that she confessed all the dreadful crimes that she had committed on the eight parsons. We have received the following account, dated 27th, March, one o’clock, A. M.— The jury has left the hall. It has found M. Jaeyer guilty on six of the eight counts in the indictments. Both M. Jaeyer and Katharine Rentner are sentenced to death. M. Jaeyer, as a parricide, must also stand on the scaffold in her shift, barefooted, and covered with a black veil, while her sentence is read to the people: her right hand will then be cut off, and she will be executed on the spot—Dutch Papers, 1st April.

[“Poisoning On A Frightful Scale.” The True Sun (London, England), Apr. 4, 1835, p. 2]


FULL TEXT: We quote this case in fall, though some of the details are rather too minute for many of our readers; but if we omitted them, the narrative would be imperfect. The cases are thus recorded in a French Journal:

A case of extraordinary depravity came on before the Court of Assizes of the Hesse-Rhenane (Mayence), on the 22d March last, and occupied the court for the four following days consecutively. It was the trial of two women, each charged with having poisoned her husband, and one of them with having, in addition, poisoned her father, her mother, three of her children, and her paternal uncle. The judicial annals afford few instances of so shocking a series of crimes as that developed in the Court of Mayence in these five days.

Gregoire Toll, and his wife Regina Hof, working people at Abenheim, in the province of the Hesse-Rhenane, the ci-devant department of Mont-Tonnere, were entitled to some considerable property upon the death of Mathias Toll, the brother of Gregoire. They had both the reputation of honest and industrious people. They had two children; a son, as a conscript, entered the French service in the year 1811, and disappeared in the Russian campaign; and a daughter named Marguerite, one of the two prisoners, who, in the absence of her brother, conceived the idea of getting possession of the inheritance, to which she would be eventually entitled, by the most infamous means. Having naturally a taste for pleasure, and the advantages of a handsome face and beautiful person, Marguerite devoted herself to fetes-champetre and other light amusements; in the enjoyment of which she was encouraged by her parents, of whom she was the idol; and when, with all their economy, they could not supply the means, she contrived to procure them by clandestinely selling the fruit or other produce of the farm, the necessary concealment of which led to falsehoods, and from thence hypocrisy became the prevailing feature in her character.

At one of these fetes-champetre she became acquainted with Leonard Jaeger, a farm servant at Abenheim, whom she married in August, 1811, against the will of her parents. Of this marriage there were seven children. Her dissipation and aversion to industry brought trouble into her family, and frequently caused a quarrel between her and her husband. Jaeger, despairing of her amendment, gave himself up to debaucheries, to enable him to indulge in which he contracted usurious engagements with some Jews, and thus the patrimony of Marguerite was dissipated in the lifetime of her father and mother, whose reproaches only inflamed the rage of their son-in-law, and caused him frequently to treat his wife with great brutality. Once, when cracking his whip in a passion, he cut out one of his eyes, and shortly after, in a fit of intoxication, he broke a leg. The least contradiction made him mad, particularly if it related to domestic affairs.

Things went on in this state until the death of Mathias Toll, the brother of Gregoire, and uncle of Marguerite Regina Hof, the wife of Gregoire, after languishing for some time inconsequence of the misconduct of her son-in-law, died in 1826, and Gregoire, the father, died 1830. The deaths of these persons, who were in years, appeared natural events, but the catastrophes which succeeded excited suspicion. Leonard Jaeger died in August, 1831, aged 37, and in the December following the grave opened for three of his daughters, aged three, five, and ten years, respectively. It was generally reported that symptoms of poisoning were discovered in the last of these deaths. The widow Jaeger conducted herself with unpardonable levity on the death of her husband, and several expressions used by her were related, which showed the little affection she felt for her children. The magistrate of Abenbeim enjoined the Justice of Pence to investigate the case. The body of Catherine Jaeger was disinterred. It was inspected by professional men. The contents of the stomach and bowels were analysed by chemists, but no trace of poison was found, and the inquiry led to no further result.

These proceedings might have been a salutary warning to Marguerite Jaeger if her depravity had not led her to another crime. The annihilation of the little patrimony which she derived from her father and mother reduced her to the necessity of putting her two surviving children out to service, the two others having died in 1829.

Towards the end of July, 1833, she herself entered as servant into the family of Jean Philippe Renter, an innkeeper at Worms. He was a man of substance, with a wife and four children, but this family was also a prey to conjugal strife. Renter by degrees neglected his business, and gave himself up to intoxication. Quarrels with his wife frequently succeeded, which she bore with resignation, but there was no reason to presume that she meditated to relieve herself from her situation by an attempt on the life of her husband, whose health was visibly on the decline from the immoderate use of spirituous liquors. This horrible idea, as appeared in the sequel, was suggested to her by the widow Jaeger.

Renter fell suddenly sick on the 27th of August, 1833, and was carried off in two days. A few weeks afterwards the widow Jaeger herself was conveyed to the Hospital of Worms. Her malady was considered very dangerous, and despairing of her recovery, she made a discovery to the physician of the hospital, which left no doubt that Renter had perished by poison. The Commissary of Police soon visited the widow Jaeger, and interrogated her, and received from her a fresh confession. Contrary to expectation she recovered, and repeated the same story. The investigation, commenced in the year 1831, after the suspected deaths of the three children, was resumed. This unnatural mother, wife, and daughter, explained in full detail the means employed for the destruction of her victims. Her method did not consist, like that of common poisoners, in throwing arsenic in powder into their food. She boiled a certain quantity of arsenic in a pint of water, strained the liquid when cold through a piece of linen, and mixed this water in a glass of wine, a cup of milk, or some broth, and the result was, the arsenic thus extremely divided could not be discovered in the intestines of the person to whom it was administered. Professional men to whom she explained her diabolical process made an experiment with it upon a calf and a pig. These animals died with astonishing rapidity, and their bowels on examination presented no trace of poison.

Being interrogated as to the manner in which 6he was initiated in such secrets, she pretended at first that a diplomatist, sent from a foreign power, and decorated with several orders, having lodged for some time at the inn of Renter, had communicated to her this convenient mode of getting rid of an enemy, and at the same time securing impunity for herself. More lately she said it was her own father who had imparted to her the secret; that burning with a desire to appropriate to himself the succession to the property enjoyed by his brother Mathias, he had taught her how to get rid of her uncle. That with this view he had studied the use of poisons, and discovered things which the ablest chemist considered impossible.

This woman, in her defence, displayed extraordinary presence of mind, and answered every objection; but she could not deny that she had taken the lives of her father, mother, and husband, although she employed the most singular artifice to palliate those horrible crimes. As to her children, she pretended they had been poisoned through mistake. She kept in reserve a decoction of this arsenic, prepared after a method which a person unknown, or her father himself, had shown her; and that her daughters, finding this bottle, had the curiosity to taste it, so that she had nothing to reproach herself with on account of their deaths. The life of the innkeeper of Worms she said she attempted only from compassion for the woman Renter, and after long entreaty.

The woman Renter was far from agreeing on this point with her accomplice. If •he was to be believed, she was ignorant that the fatal beverage contained arsenic. She thought it was only a drug to cure him of his passion for brandy.

The Jury found both prisoners Guilty— the former of having poisoned her father, mother, her paternal uncle, her husband, and her three daughters, and both as accomplices in the poisoning of Renter, and the Court passed upon them sentence of death.

[These cases are by no means clearly stated, nor satisfactory to medical jurists. They are within the range of possibility, though exceedingly improbable. The frequent administration of small quantities of arsenic mixed with food might induce gastroenteritis, but that very small quantities could cause a death in two days, as in the case of Renter, is contrary to the observation of the most experienced physicians and toxicologists. We have stated in our translation of the Practical Formulary of Hospitals, that Fowler's solution administered freely in agues often destroys life; but not so suddenly as in one of the cases above related. These cases remind us of the slow poisoning in former ages, if we except the case of Renter.—Ed.]

[“Extraordinary Case of Poisoning With Arsenic, in: Michael Ryan, ed., The London Medical and Surgical Journal; Vol. VII., 1835, p. 403]


The illustrated English broadside contains an edited version the same text as the True Sun newspaper article, adding the following poem:

A Copy of Solemn Verses.

In this dark and lonesome cell,
To-morrow doom’d to die,
‘We offer up our prayers to God.
For mercy now we cry.

Though our offence is very great,
For which we cease to live,

His goodness reach to all who ask,
And seek Him to forgive.

Our crimes are of the deepest die;
Such foul unheard-of crimes,
Surpassing all was ever known
Before at any time.

Father and Mother, Children three,
Husband and Uncle too,
A deady poison was prepar’d,
‘Twas certain death, tho’ slow.

The dreadful tortures they endur’d,
No mortal tongue can tell,
But when our victims ceas’d to breathe
Conscience became a hell.

Comfort and Peace affrighted fled
From our accursed place,
The Spectres of the Murdered dead,
Grinn’d daily in our face.

At length we could no longer rest,
Beneath our guilty load,
Straightway our guilty deeds confess’d
Out monstrous deeds of blood.

Oh! Foe such foul inhuman deeds
Will our two lives atone?
Nothing on each can make amends
The injury we have done.

The torments keen and agony
That now we feel within,
Are sure we feel within,
Are sure to haunt the guilty mind,
Who lives in shame and sin.

A vast eternity now soon
Will fill our wond’ring sight,
Our earnest prayers are may it be,
All in the realms of light.

[“Eight persons murdered!: A father, a mother, two husbands, three children and an uncle, all poisoned by Margaret Joyer, and Katharine Rentner, for which horrid and monstrous crimes, they have been executed.” Published 1835, London, J. Catnach, Printer, 2 & 3 , Monmouth-Court, 7 Dials. Broadside, 1 sheet]


3. Archives du droit criminal (Archiv. Des Criminal rechts); 1835, cah. 4

Assizes de Mayence; procès de Marguerite Jager et de complice Sybille-Catherine Renter, accuseées d’impoisonnement.

[Revue étrangere et francaise de legislation et d’économie politique, par une réunion de jurisconsulates et de publicists francçais et etrangeres publie par M. Boelix, Tome Troisieme – IIIe anée. Paris, Chez Joubert, Librarie-Éditeur. 1837; p. 728]



Verhandlungen des Assisenhofs in Mainz über die der Giftmörderin Margar. Jäger und ihrer Mitschuldigen Sibille Cath. Renter zur Last gelegt. Verbrechen. geh. Gr. 8. Mainz. (Kinze.) 1835. n. 10 sgr.

[O. A. Walther, Hand-Lexicon Der juristischen literature des neunzehnten Jahrhunderts. Weimar, 1854. Verlag von Ferd, Jansen & Comp., p. 119]


Another English language source for the same article using the spelling “Jaeger”:

[“Horrible Crimes.” From The Swabian Mercury (Mar. 29, 1885), Bell’s Life in London and Sporting Chronicle (London, England), Apr. 5, 1835, p. 2]


Poison deaths:

May 1825, her uncle.
June 1826, her mother, 68.
December 1830, her father, 70.
August, 1831, her husband, Jäger ("Jaeyer")
December 1831, daughter, 2
December 1831, daughter, 5
December 1831, daughter, 10
August, 1833, Renter ("Rentner"), the husband of her mistress, with her assistance.


For more cases of this type, see Serial Baby-Killer Moms.


Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Martha Ann Johnson, Georgia Serial Killer Mom who Wanted to Get Back at Hubby – 1989

Deaths (Martha Ann Johnson’s children from 3 marriages):

Sep. 25, 1977 – James William Taylor, 23-months-sold
Nov. 30, 1980 – Tabitha Jenelle Bowen, 3-months-old
Feb. 15, 1981 – Earl Wayne Bowen, jr., 31-months-old
Feb. 21, 1982 – Jenny Ann Wright, 11-years-old


EXCERPT: “On the tape [Martha Ann Johnson] confessed to suffocating Jennyann and James as a way of getting back at her husband after they’d argued. Her actual words to the police were ‘…I was just in a rage. I was mad. It hurt.’ Of the suffocation, she explained ‘I took Jennyann to bed with me and laid on her so she could not breathe. When she stopped moving I knew it was over with.’ At another juncture she said ‘I hated him (Earl Bowen) so much for what he put me through.’ But she denied killing the two children actually fathered by him.”

[Carol Anne Davis, Women Who Kill: Profiles of Female Serial Killers, 2001, Allen & Busby Ltd, London, p. 58; spellings “Jennyann,” “Tibitha,” in original text retailed]


Wikipedia: Martha Ann Johnson (also known as Martha Ann Bowen) (born 1955) is an American serial killer from Georgia convicted of smothering to death three of her children between 1977 and 1982. Johnson was in her third marriage by the age of 22. Her first marriage produced a girl, born in 1971. Her second marriage produced a son in 1975 and her third marriage, to Earl Bowen, produced a son and daughter, born 1979 and 1980, respectively.

On September 23, 1977, Johnson claimed 23-month-old James William Taylor was unresponsive when she attempted to wake him up from his nap. He was rushed to the hospital, where he was pronounced dead. The cause of death was determined to be sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS; Sudden Infant Death Syndrome).

On November 30, 1980, Johnson claimed her three-month-old daughter Tabitha Jenelle Bowen was blue when she went to wake her up from a nap. Paramedics were unable to revive Tabitha, and her death was also attributed to SIDS.

In January 1981, 31-month-old Earl Wayne Bowen was found with a package of rat poison. He was treated and release from the hospital, after which his parents claimed he began to have seizures. On February 12, 1981, Earl went into cardiac arrest while being taken to the hospital during a seizure. He was revived and placed on life support; however, doctors pronounced him brain dead, and he was removed from life support three days later.

Johnson claimed her 11-year-old daughter Jenny Ann Wright was complaining of chest pains, for which a doctor prescribed Tylenol and a rib belt. On February 21, 1982, paramedics found Jenny Ann face down on Johnson's bed with foam coming out of her mouth, but were unable to resuscitate her. An autopsy indicated that Jenny Ann had died of asphyxia.

Johnson and Bowen separated permanently, and Johnson remarried.

In December 1989, an article in The Atlanta Constitution questioned the deaths, and the cases were reopened. Investigators determined that each child's death was preceded seven to 10 days by marital problems between Johnson and Bowen.

On July 3, 1989, Johnson was arrested, and she confessed to killing two of her children. After confrontations with Bowen, Johnson would suffocate the children by rolling her 250-pound body on them as they slept. She claimed the motive was to punish her husband. Johnson claimed she was not responsible for the deaths of her two youngest children.

By the beginning of her trial in April 1990, Johnson had retracted her confession. On May 5, 1990, she was convicted of first-degree murder for the smothering deaths of three of her four children and sentenced to death. The sentence was later commuted to life on appeal. She is currently housed at Pulaski State Prison.


For more examples of Maternal Filicide as Spousal Revenge, see:

Maternal Filicide: Spousal Revenge Motive: Facts vs. Feminism (24 cases)

Maternal Filicide: Spousal Revenge Motive


Monday, April 14, 2014

Megan Huntsman, Utah Serial Baby-Killing Mom - 2014

The corpses of seven dead babies, six of them stored in shoe boxes, were found by the ex-husband of Megan Huntsman, 39,  in the garage of the Pleasant Grove, Utah house where she lived up until 2011. Mrs. Huntsman, now residing in West Valley City, was arrested early Sunday morning April 12, 2014, the day her ex-husband discovered one corpse and police later found five others, on suspicion of serially murdering the infants. She confessed to killing six of the children between 1996 and 2006 using either of two different murder methods: suffocation or strangling. One of the babies was, according to her claim, stillborn.

The Huntsman case is the 25th to be included in a list of 21st century “Serial Baby-Killing Mom” cases. Following is the list:

2002    Gloria Jean Greenfield – Warren, Ohio – 3 own babies
2002    “Toda Serial Killer Mother” – Toda, Japan – 6 newborns         
2003    Kathleen Folbigg – Mayfield, Australia – 6 victims: 4 own babies
2003    Diane O’Dell – Rome, Pa. & NY – 4 own babies
2006    Chizuko Okamoto – Hiratsuka, Japan – 4 children, 3 infants & daughter (19)
2005    Sabine Hilschenz – Frankfurt an der Oder, Germany – 9 babies, flower pots
2006    Gertraud Arzberger – Graz, Austria – 4 own babies
2006    Jolanta K. – Lublin, Poland – 5 newborns
2007    “Susann F.” – Plauen, Germany – 3 own children
2007    Céline Lesage – Valognes, France – 6 newborns
2007    Shirley Winters – Syracuse, NY – 2 babies + 5 other babies suspected
2007    Monika Halbe – Wenden, Germany – 3 babies, freezer
2009    Veronique Courjault – Tours, France – 3 own babies
2009    “Ota Ward Tokyo Serial Killer Mother” – Ota Ward, Tokyo, Japan –  4 babies
2010    Meredith Katharine Borowiec – Calgary, Canada; 3 newborns, 1 survived
2010    Dominique Cottrez – Villers-au-Tertre, France – 8 own babies
2010    “Geleen Serial Killer Mother” – Geleen, Netherlands – 3 newborns
2010    Michele Kalina – Reading, Pa. – 5 newborns
2010    Sietske Hoekstra– Nij Beets, Friesland, Netherlands – 4 newborns
2010    Bernadette Quirk – St. Helens, Merseyside, Eng. – 4 babies, claimed “stillborn”
2012    Annika H. – Husum (greater Flensburg), Germany – 5 babies
2012    Beata Z. – Hipolitowo, Poland – 5 own babies
2013    Audrey C. – Ain, Lyon, Ambérieu, France – 3 newborns
2013    Lucyna D. – Lubawa, Poland – 3 newborns



SEE: Female Serial Killers of the 21st Century: A Photo Gallery


For more cases of this type, see Serial Baby-Killer Moms.


Saturday, April 12, 2014

Chivalry Justice Checklist & Links

Lies, damned lies … and CHIVALRY JUSTICE.


There is nothing new about men preferring to believe lies told by women who have committed crimes and who have made false allegations against others. What is new, however, is the the phenomenon of women tending to prefer to believe lies told by female criminals.


This post is an evidence resource for the serious myth-buster.



Sunday, April 6, 2014

The Origin of Widow Self-Immolation (Sati, or, Suttee) in India & Its Relation to Husbandicide

It has been 2,000 years that the origin of the Indian practice of Sati (or Suttee) was first reported in Western scholarly writings as having arisen to institute a disincentive for husbandicide, in order to counter the widespread of murder of husbands by wives.


EXCERPT: Secret poisoning seems to have been a common crime in India from the earliest times. Few of our readers are probably aware that the Suttee, which we have taken such trouble to suppress, was originally introduced (certainly before the time of Strabo [64/63 BC – c. AD 24], who lived at the commencement of our era) as a check upon the practice common amongst Indian women of poisoning their husbands. Passing over seventeen centuries we have the evidence of Captain Hamilton, who traded in India between 1688 and 1723 (quoted by Dr. Chevers) that the same system was then in existence:

“In Canara (he observes) there are several customs peculiar to itself, and many of them are spread abroad to remote countries. Here it was that the custom of wives burning on the same pile with their deceased husbands had its beginning. It is reported that, before the Brahmins invented this law, poison was so well known and practised that the least quarrel that happened between a married couple cost the husband his life, and this law put a great stop to it; and now custom so far prevails that, if any faint-hearted lady has not courage enough to accompany her spouse to the other world, she is forthwith shaved and disregarded, and obliged to serve all her husband’s family in all kinds of drudgery.”

[“IV. – A Manual of Medical Jurisprudence for India.” in The British and Foreign Medico-Chirurgical Review or Quarterly Journal of Practical Medicine and Surgery. Vol. XLIX. January-April, 1872. London, J. A. Churchill, New Burlington Street, 1872.]


EXCERPT: When [Dr. Bell] stated that the Hindoo women still sacrificed their lives on the funeral piles of their husbands, he should have added, had he had any decent regard for truth, that fewer instances of such victims now occur throughout all India, than many of ourselves can recollect of wives in England being burnt at the stake for the murder of their husbands, and for coining; that the Hindoo custom never was a law, but only connived at to check the horrible, (and in all countries too common) crime of husbandicide, and to inure paradise to the voluntary victim: for I insist that the practice is both voluntary and rare; whereas, the wife with us suffers a cruel death, and is besides damned to all eternity!

[“Misrepresentations of the Character of the Hindoos,” from “Reflections on the Conversion of the Natives of India to Christianity.” The New Monthly Magazine and Universal Register, Vol. II, from July to December, 1814, pp 27-33; excerpt: p. 29]


According to Diodorus the practice of sati started because Indians married for love, unlike the Greeks who favoured marriages arranged by the parents. When inevitably many of these love marriages turned sour, the woman would often poison the husband and find a new lover. To end these murders, a law was therefore instituted that the widow should either join her husband in death or live in perpetual widowhood. (Diodorus Siculus, Bibliotheca historica, 19.34.1-6). Modern historians believe Diodorus' source for this episode was the eyewitness account of the now lost historian Hieronymus of Cardia. Hieronymus' explanation of the origin of sati appears to be his own composite, created from a variety of Indian traditions and practices to form a moral lesson upholding traditional Greek values (A. B. Bosworth. The Legacy of Alexander: Politics, Warfare, and Propaganda under the Successors. Oxford University Press, pp 174-187).


For a look into the mind of a serial husband-killer in modern India, see:



husbandicide - yes, it is a real, if archaic, English word.


Husband-Killing Syndicates

HUSBAND-KILLING SYNDICATES: The vast majority of victims of these conspiracies were husbands, yet some were wives or other family members, including children.

Among the cases listed below you will find news reports with such headlines as “Husband Poisoning by Wholesale” (1882), “Ten Husband Poisoners” (1890), “A New Business; Husband Poisoning on the Scale of a Commercial Enterprise” (1891), “Killing Off Husbands” (1895), “Epidemic of Poisoning in Hungary; Eighteen Men Killed” (1901), “Women Formed Club to Murder Husbands” (1903), “Woman Kills 300 At Wives’ Behest” (1909), “Exterminating Husbands” (1911), “Wanted to Be Widows So They Hanged Their Husbands” (1933), “Used Fly Paper to Kill Husbands” (1935), “How Wives Gained Power by Mass Murder of Husbands” (1937).

In the following collection are 30 cases which took place in eastern Europe (Croatia, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Ukraine, Yugoslavia) between 1882 and 1939.

► ● ◄ ● ► ● ◄ ● ◄ ● ► ● ◄ ● ► ● ◄ ● ► ● ◄

Leader: La Toffania (or, Topffania, Tofana, Toffana); teacher Hieronyma Spara
Method: liquid poison sold in vials
Victims: large numbers; mostly husbands

Leaders: Hyeronyma Spara, Gratiosa, La Toffania; Spara, Gratiosa & 12 other hanged in 1659
Method: liquid poison called "Tifana water"
Victims: over 700

Leader: Giovanna Bonanno; executed Jul. 30, 1789
Method: poison, a mixture of spring water, white wine and arsenic, intended to kill lice, purchased from apothecary then resold; 3 stages of dosage
Victims: 6 confirmed (4 men, 2 women), many more suspected

60 women hanged for poisoning husbands with arsenic

1868: FRANCE - Marseilles
Leader: Monsieur Joye, herbalist
Method : arsenic
Victims : 3 husbands whose wives purchased poison from Joye

Leaders: Thekla Popov, active more than two years (1880-1882), Anna Minity, Sophia Ivanovitch;
over 100 women implicated; court cases continued into at least 1889
Method: bottles of "red liquid poison" priced at 50-100 florins
Victims: over 100

Leader: Kathi Lyukas (or "Kate Nagy"), murder two of her own husbands; Lyukas confessed to 6 other murders (20 other deaths suspected to be caused by her); Lyukas was hanged Nov. 30, 1882
Method: arsenic baked into little cakes
Victims: convicted of 26 murders

Leader: Persa Czirin; considered the poison supplier; released for lack of evidence
Method: poison
Victims: Multiple husbands of women who acquired poison from Czirin
Leader: An “old woman” poison-seller & racketeer
Method: poison(unidentified as of yet)
Victims: 7, y men lured into marriage to be murdered for their assets

1888: SERBIA - Erdevik, District of Smyrna (Syrmia), Bingula & the Mitrovitz district (Austro-Hungarian Empire, Serbia)
Leader: Makrena Stankovic; deaths occurred in 1880, 1883, 1884, 1884, 1885, 1886 and 1888
Accomplice: Milika Plavsic, aided 2 husband-killers
Method: Poisoned with arsenic derived from fly-paper cooked into christening cakes served on christening day to the father; elsewhere reported as poisonous spiders in dumplings
Victims: more than 10 

1890: SERBIA {"HUNGARY") – Mitrovitz (Sremska Mitrovica)
Leader: Esther Sarac (“witch or herbalist”); 10 women arrested
Method: arsenic extracted from flypaper
Leaders: Frau Kernaez, Frau Kurjakow, Frau Rivnicski
Method: arsenic
Victims: 10 

1895: HUNGARY – Peceska
Leader: Maria Hevesy; was paid 100 florins for arranging murder
Method: Ex-con hired to carry out murders
Victims: multiple married men

1897: HUNGARY – Hodmozoe (Hod-Moyo-Vasarheky; Hódmezővásárhely)
Leader: Mari Azalai Jager
Accomplices: "a band of poisoners" 3 men & 2 women (including Gulyas Kis-Samuel, male)
Method: Three poisons, belladonna, arsenic and chloride of mercury
Jul. 24, 1897, Budapest: Trial of 12 women & 2 men; 4 sentenced to death; 1 to life in prison (man who killed his mother); 1 to 6 years in prison
Victims: estimated at over 100

Leaders: George Korin, apothecary, ringleader, and Dr. Johann Mayer, village physician
Perpetrators: Maria Nikodem (murdered 2 husbands); Lisa Triku (murdered 4 husbands)
Method: arsenic
Victims: 14
Leader: Nikola Bettuz (seeress)
Method: secret poison (Bettuz refused to disclose its composition)
Leader: Petar the Magician
Method: poisoned brandy
Leader: Coroner Hanusch, formed a "club" of wives who wished their husbands dead.
Method: poison supplied by the coroner, who would certify victim died of heart disease
Victims: at least 6 husbands 

1905: HUNGARY – Czongrad (Csongrad)
Leaders: Female poison-maker and a group of women (names currently unavailable)
Method: poison
Victims: husbands and wives, including a couple who each bought poison to murder one another

1905: HUNGARY – Hodmezo-Vasarhely (Hod-Moyo-Vasarheky; Hódmezővásárhely)
Leader: Balapa (reputed witch)
Customers: Women who wished to kill husbands or infants
Method: poison
Victims: 6 men; 20 infants

Leader: Frau Sivacky
Method: poison
Victims: 9 husbands critically ill; other deaths; 12 women arrested

1906: ROMANIA ("HUNGARY") – Knez (Knecz, Kneez),Temeczvar (Timișoara, Temesvár)
Merthod: arsenic, sold for $4.50 per portion
Victims: 25 bodies exhumed; Catherine Biber murdered 3; an unnamed widow murdered 4 husbands consecutively 

1909: UKRAINE ("RUSSIA") - Samara
Leader: Madame Popova; claimed all victims were husbands who had abused their wives
Method: poison in food or drink placed there directly by Madame Popova
Victims: 300 (all husbands) 

1911: HUNGARY – Szegedin (Szeged)
Leader: Maria Gerzan, professional nurse
Accomplice: Levai, murdered husband
Method: poison, claimed to be for killing vegetable parasites
Victims: All victims were married men

1912: SERBIA ("HUNGARY") – Lippa (Lipova, Arad county)
Leader: Frau Kapruczan, murdered her first 4 husbands, 5th alive at time of arrest; 6 other women arrested
Method: not yet ascertained
Number of victims: 9 men (including leader’s 4 husbands)

1926: SERBIA {"HUNGARY") – Nagy Kikinda (Kikinda)
The “Lucretia Club,” a charitable organization was dedicated to sharing information about husband-murdering techniques
Leaders: 6 women (names presently unavailable)
Method: poison
Victims: 2 confirmed, 4 others investigated

1927 – RUSSIA – Navoia (district yet unidentified)
Leader: Sophie Safarine
Method: poison
Victims: 58 husbands (entire population of husbands)

1928: SERBIA ("JUGOSLAVIA") – Vladimirovac; Panchova, Banat ("Banyat") region
Leader: Anuja de Poshonja (Anna Pistova), "The Witch of Vladimirovac", AKA: Anyuka Dee, the “Banat Witch”
Method: "vegetable poisoning"; arsenic 
Perpetrators: includes Stana Ludushka (3 victims: 2 husbands; one uncle) 
Victims: 13, all husbands (50 in one account); 50 year career probably involved scores more

1929: HUNGARY – Nagyrév (in Jasz-Nagykun-Szolnok county), Tisza Valley (Tiszazug)
Leaders: Júlia Fazekas (murdered 2 of her own husbands), Balint Chordas, (“Czordas”), and Susi Oláh (murdered 2 of her own husbands)
Method: arsenic extracted from fly-paper, rat poison containing arsenic, toadstools.
Victims: estimates vary from 30 to 100.
Other female serial killers: Maria Varga, murdered 6 members of her family in addition to two husbands; Maria Aszendi, Julia Dari, Juliana Foeldvary, Maria Kardos, Julianne Lipka, Mrs.Louis Oser, Frau Palinka, Esther Szabo

1930: HUNGARY – Fajsz (Bács-Kiskun county)
Leader: Name not discovered as yet
Arrests: 5 women arrested, 1 committed suicide
Method: Poison
Leader: Mme. Stanke; poisoned 3: husband, Julie Talinik, Mr. Talinik,
Arrested: Repisky (farmer), poisoned father in 1928; Victoria Szenesi, arrested
Method: poison
Victims: 6 known, others suspected to be discovered upon investigation
Leader: Viktoria Foedi Rieger, nicknamed “Smoking Peter.” She was a cross-dresser who passed as a man; "The Devil Woman of Pista"
Method: hanging arranged to simulate suicide
Victims: 22 suspected

Leaders: Florica Duma & Ilona Kovacs
Method: Arsenic extracted from fly-paper
Victims: 6 persons, men and women

1935: HUNGARY – Debreczen
Leader: Julianne Nagy
Method: arsenic extracted from boiled fly-paper
Victims: at least 11

1939: USA – Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Active: 1932-1938; “Arsenic Incorporated”
Sentencing: 2 executed; 12 life terms; 7 lesser sentences
Leaders: Morris (Evil Eye) Bolber, Paul Petrillo, Herman Petrillo, Horace D. Perlman.
Operatives: Mrs. Rose Carina, Mrs. Carina Favato, Mrs. Josephine Sadita
Method: arsenic
Victims: over 100

Leader: Petcovic couple
Method: poison
Perpetrators: 16 tried
Victims: mostly men (husbands, fathers, nephew)

Identification: The Tene-Bimbo Gypsy Clan
Leader: Mary Tene Steiner
Others: Sylvia Mitchell (New York City), Angela Tene Bufford (San Francisco)
Victims: 9 elderly men
Method: digitalis poisoning (causing heart attack)

2011: COLOMBIA Medellin
“The Black Widow Gang”
Leader: José Adrián Henao Giraldo
Members: Luz Elena Carvajal Cataño, Suleyma Giraldo de Zapata, Emilse Yulima Emilsen Rojas Castaño, Oliveryen Hincapie López.
Method: includes drowning
Victims: 3 confirmed, 5 under investigationan



A note on names: It should be note that names of persons and places from there regions are spelled in numerous different ways since a great many ethnicities resided these and used a great variety of languages. For example, Serbian was spoken in Serbia, but German was the official language of the ruling empire while the following other languages being spoken there include Albanian, Hungarian, Romanian, Slovak, Rusyn, Croatian, Ukrainian, Bulgarian, Romani, Czech, Bosnian, Vlach, Bunjevac, Macedonian, Montenegrin.

Further, English language transliterations of these names use many different spellings for the same name and vary in their choice of which original language form as the basis for their transliteration. In short, working with English language sources is extremely messy and confusing work.



Important article on Hungarian poison syndicates:

Jánoki Dávid, “Arsenic norms, collective secret, and double roles during the interrogations” (A történelem kérdései; Az írás, amint érvényét veszti, a Recenziók menüpontban található linken elérhető lesz.), Amazing History (website) 2012. November 23., Vác, Hungary 


Some motives for murder among the Eastern European murder syndicates::

1886 – Persa Czirin (professional poisoner) – [A] wholesale epidemic of poisoning had broken out among the women of the place who administered arsenic to their husbands whenever they wanted to marry somebody else. The first of the trials came on at Panosova recently, and ended with the conviction of a young pleasant woman, Draga Radovancey, who was sentenced to be hanged. An old peasant woman, Persa Czirin, who supplied the poison, was released for want of sufficient evidence. [“Wholesale Poisoning of Husbands.” The Southland Times (Invercarghill, Southland, N. Z.), Jun. 14, 1886, p. 4]

1889 – Thekla Popov (professional poisoner) – [Serial poisoner] Thekla Popov’s clients were, however, not always married women. Sometimes she had dealing with young girls who quarrelled with their sweethearts, and who, from jealousy or rage, had determined to kill them. [“Secret Poisoning. - Awful Crimes Of Borgias Recalled By Hungary’s Horror.  Murderous Nostrums Of Old. - Terrible Women Who Divorced Themselves By Deadly Potions. - The Evil Worked By Fortune Tellers.” Pittsburgh Post (Pa.), Dec. 14, 1889. p. 12]

1889 – Draga Kukin – Amongst other things he overheard was Kukin’s widow [Draga Kukin] saying to her accomplice, “Well, I am young and pretty. He was old and ugly. Why should he not die?” [“Secret Poisoning. - Awful Crimes Of Borgias Recalled By Hungary’s Horror.  Murderous Nostrums Of Old. - Terrible Women Who Divorced Themselves By Deadly Potions. - The Evil Worked By Fortune Tellers.” Pittsburgh Post (Pa.), Dec. 14, 1889. p. 12]

1897 –  Marie Jager (Azalai Jager Mari) (professional poisoner)  – It has transpired that the woman was much sought after, because when children were unwelcome they lived but a little while when Azalai Jager Mari was called in attendance. How many infants she destroyed it is impossible to guess. [“A Woman Who Has Poisoned More Than 100 People,” The World (New York, N.Y.), Jul. 11, 1897, p. 29]

1900 – Nikola Bettuz (professional poisoner)  – In some instances it was found that the object of the women was to obtain the insurance on the lives of their husbands. [“Slay Their Husbands - In Hungary Wives Tired of  Their Spouses Kill Them by Using a Mysterious Poison.” (Buda-Pesth Cor. Chicago Chronicle.) Fort Wayne Sentinel (In.), Oct. 20, 1900, p. 1]

1901 – Kissoda, Romania[Note: not just husbands, but “lovers” as well] Instances in which wives rid themselves of inconvenient husbands and girls did away with lovers whom they no longer wanted increased there appallingly.  [“Epidemic Of Poisoning In Hungary. - Eighteen Men Killed.” The Capricornian (Rockhampton, Queensland, Australia), Jan. 12, 1901, p. 38]

1907 – Julia Wunicsitch – Julia Wuicsitch poisoned her husband because he could not buy her a new dress. [“Town Poisoned - And Wiped Out of Existence by Modern Lucretia Borgia. - Fair Young Fiend - Poisoned Her Rich Old Husband So She Could Marry a Young Lawyer, Whom She Also Poisoned. - Then With Another Woman She Went Into the Wholesale Poisoning Business.” The Manning Times (S. C.), Mar. 20, 1907, p. 6]

1907 – Marthas Petromany (professional poisoner)  – She married a wealthy farmer some five years ago solely on account of his possessions. A young man of talents and good prospects who was the leading local lawyer became her ardent admirer. Mme. Petrubany’s highest desire was to see her old husband out of the way to marry the lawyer and combine his superior social station and the old man’s property. [“Town Poisoned - And Wiped Out of Existence by Modern Lucretia Borgia. - Fair Young Fiend - Poisoned Her Rich Old Husband So She Could Marry a Young Lawyer, Whom She Also Poisoned. Then With Another Woman She Went Into the Wholesale Poisoning Business.” The Manning Times (S. C.), Mar. 20, 1907, p. 6]

1929 – Anyuka, Dee (AKA Anna Pistova, etc.) – A murder trial has begun at Panchova, Jugo-Slavia, where 93-year-old Anyuka, Dee is charged with having murdered more than fifty men. She is known throughout the district as the “Banat Witch.” Legends throw a veil of mystery around her lonely life, and as the wives of wealthy farmers liked to go to her for help in cases of illness and also to consult her on other difficulties, she drew a large income, which enabled her to lead a life of comfort. Recently it was said that Anyuka Dee, in addition to saving lives with herbs, also destroyed them with arsenic if she were paid to do so. [“A Jugo-Slavian ‘Witch’ - Faces Murder Trial,” The Advertiser (Adelaide, Australia), Aug. 12, 1929, p. 17]

1929 – Suzie Olah (professional poisoner)  – Not wishing to risk another trial [for performing abortions], Aunt Suzie apparently decided to supplement her earnings in a new fashion. She began a series of child poisonings. There would be a discreet dosing, a little funeral, a tiny grave – and a mouth less to feed. Aunt Suzie worked exclusively with arsenic extracted from flypaper. It seemed effective. She decided to enlarge her sphere. She found wives who had grown tired of their husbands, children who coveted the property of their elders, mothers with ailing sons. Aunt Suzie would whisper that she knew a way. [John MacCormac, “Murder By Wholesale: A Tale From Hungary,” New York Times (N.Y.), Mar 16, 1930, p. XX3]

1929 – Maria Kardos – After marrying and divorcing two husbands she found herself at the age of forty with a 23-year-old son, whose health had made him a burden. Moreover, she had fast taken a young lover and did not wish to have this constant reminder of her own age. She consulted Aunt Suzie. The first dose of arsenic only made the boy ill. One fine Autumn day she had his bed moved outside in the courtyard. “I gave him some more poison in his medicine,” she told the police. “And then, suddenly, I remembered how beautifully my boy used to sing in church and I thought I would like to hear him once more. So I said: ‘Sing, my boy. Sing me my favorite song.’ He sang it in his lovely, clear voice.” The song ended in agony. The poison had done its work. [John MacCormac, “Murder By Wholesale: A Tale From Hungary,” New York Times (N.Y.), Mar 16, 1930, p. XX3]

1935 – Julianna Nagy (professional poisoner)  – They all got their wish, dying from her food. The old maid induced the old man to marry her by the simple process of threatening to resign as cook. But there were five children to inherit which would not leave much for the widow in case something should happen to Nagy. Therefore Julianna bought more fly-paper with which she made little angels, one after the other of all the five children.