“Betty Jo Green of Athens, Alabama, only killed an ex-husband and a sister-in-law, but her legal defense wins the prize. Green claimed "she had another woman living in the left side of her body." She, or they, were convicted anyway and are serving a life term in the Julia Tutwiler Prison for Women.” Forgotten Tales of Alabama, The History Press, 2013]
FULL TEXT (Article 1 of 2): Athens – An Athens woman was sentenced to three life terms in prison Friday for the poisoning deaths of two relatives and the attempted murder of her fiance.
Limestone County Circuit Judge Henry Blizzard ordered that Betty Jo Green’s three life sentences run consecutively.
A circuit court found the 55-year-old former waitress guilty of two counts of murder on Sept. 30. The charges stemmed from the arsenic poisoning deaths of her husband, Glenn Orman Green, who died in 1978, and her sister-in-law, Grace Blankenship, who died in 1978.
She was also found guilty of attempted murder in the poisoning of her fiance, Arthur Self.
After Mrs. Green’s arrest in November 1984, police said she admitted putting arsenic in the victims’ coffee.
[“Woman gets 3 life terms,” Times Daily (Florence, Alabama), Oct. 17, 1986, p. 2B]
FULL TEXT (Article 2 of 2): Athens – Criminal history appeared to repeat itself Thursday with the announcement of the arrest of a Limestone County woman who allegedly used arsenic to poison her late ex-husband and to try to kill her fiance.
Sheriff Mike Blakely said Betty Jo Green, 53, of Athens was arrested Wednesday night and charged with the death six years ago of her ex-husband and attempted murder of her daughter, who was poisoned in 1979.
Arthur Self, an Athens businessman described as Green’s fiance, was admitted as Green’s fiance, was admitted to Huntsville Hospital Nov. 5 for treatment of an illness later diagnosed as being caused by ingestion of a “chronic dose” of arsenic, Blakely said.
The sheriff said medical officials notified law enforcement authorities and an investigation was launched by his office Nov. 18.
The investigation led authorities to believe that Green’s ex-husband, Glenn of Athens, who died at the age of 61 on Nov. 30, 1978, might have been murdered.
Blakeley said officials obtained authority to exhume Green’s body Wednesday morning from a grave in the old Decatur city cemetery. The body, he said, was sent to the state’s forensic sciences laboratory in Birmingham where pathologists “found a large quantity of arsenic in her.”
At that point, Blakely said, a warrant was issued for Betty Jo Green’s arrest and she later surrendered.
Late Thursday afternoon, she was taken before Circuit Judge Henry Blizzard, who set total bond at $100,000 – $50,000 each for murder and attempted murder. She was still in jail Thursday night.
The sheriff said it was possible that Green would be charged with responsibility for one or more additional deaths. He refused to identify who the other suspected victims might have been.
“It’s possible there will be other exhumations,” Blakely said.
He declined to comment on possible motives or additional evidence involved in Green’s case.
Hilley, now serving a life sentence, was arrested in 1979 but fled from Alabama before her scheduled trial and was missing for three years until she was discovered living under an assumed identity in New England.
The former Anniston secretary was charged with murder after authorities exhumed the body of her late husband, Frank. The body was exhumed after Hilley’s daughter, Carol, was diagnosed as suffering from arsenic poisoning.
[“Athens Arrest Repeats History – Arsenic charges spur memories,” Times Daily (Florence, Alabama), Dec. 14, 1984, p. 1]
1978 – Grace Blankenship, sister-in-law, died.
1978 – Glenn Orman Green, husband, died.
1979 – daughter, survived poisoning, murder attempt.
Nov. 1984 – Arthur Self, fiance, attempted murder, poisoning; survived.
For links to other cases of woman who murdered 2 or more husbands (or paramours), see Black Widow Serial Killers.