Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Marie-Louise Victorine Bessarabo (Hera Mirtel), Double Black Widow – France, 1920


Marie-Louise Victorine Bessarabo was a novelist who was known by her pen name, Hera Mirtel (or, Hera Myrtel, in other English language sources).

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EXCERPT (Article 1 of 2): Héra Mrytel’s early adventures involving dead men, before the 1914 “suicide” of husband Paul Jacques, a silk merchant she had Mexico:

The corners of Héra Mrytel’s mind, in fact, had been darkening progressively ever since her youth, and hidden in the murk was a past littered with dead men. … Notoriety, not business, attended Marie-Louise’s life in Mexico.The dark-complected woman attracted several wealthy young Mexican businessmen. One, it was reported, killed himself over her rejection of her affections. On another occasion, the woman was found by federales in a remote hacienda with a dead man at her feet, a rich merchant with a bullet through his heart. Bandits, the woman claimed through hysterical sobbing, had arrived and killed her lover. The investigating officers were most sympathetic and admitted that, yes, bandits had been causing a lot of trouble in their country for decades; she received an apology and was escorted home.

[Jay Robert Nash, Look For the Woman: A Narrative Encyclopedia of Female Poisoners, Kidnappers, Thieves Extortionists, Terrorists, Swindlers and Spies from Elizabethan Times to the Present, 1981, Evans, pp. 304-305]

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FULL TEXT (Article 2 of 2): Paris, June 21 – Mme. Marie Bessarabo, poetess and playwright, was found guilty today of the premeditated murder of her husband, Georges, whose body was found concealed in a trunk at Nancy, two years ago. The court found there were extenuating circumstances.

Her daughter by her first husband who also was on trial, was found not guilty.

Mme. Bessarabo was sentenced to 20 years at hard labor.

The principal motive of the murder, it developed at the trial, was the effort of Mme. Bessarabo to obtain a commission of 600,000 francs clue to the husband for oil concessions in Mexico, where they lived prior to 1914.

The first husband of Mme. Bessarabo, Paul Jacques, to whom she was married in Mexico, committed suicide in Paris under strange circumstances in 1914.

~ Girl Accuses Mother ~

Just before the case was given to the jury today, the daughter, who was accused with her mother of killing M. Bessarabo, broke her long silence, accusing her mother of committing the deed two years ago in their Paris apartment. She said the body was packed in a trunk and checked to Nancy.

M. Moro-Giafferi, attorney for the defense, who, had urged his daughter to”tell the truth,” then turned to her saying; “Confess, or I leave the courtroom.”

The daughter, Pauline, told the court that she wanted to call the police, but the mother persuaded her to dag out Bessarabo’s own trunk, in which the two women – the mother with her light arm useless from disease – jammed the body. Then they carried it downstairs, took it from one station to another and finally shipped it to Nancy.

~Mother Livid With Anger. ~

Both mother and daughter, after their arrest in 1920, made a series of confessions, but later repudiated them. Early in the trial Pauline said there was a secret, but her mother would not let her tell it. Today’s last hour’s story confirmed the first story which the women told.

Madame Bessarabo, who is a novelist, is known as Hera Mirtel, mantained the coolest self-possession throughout the trial, but when she was accused in open court by her daughter she rose and, livid with anger, began a confused statement, attempting to show that the body in the trunk was not that of her husband. Finally her story became so wandering that M. Moro-Giafferi had the court adjourned to continue efforts to secure a confession.

[“Madame Bessarabo, Guilty Of Murder, Gets 20-Year Term - Mercy Shown French Poetess Who Slew Husband - Daughter Is Acquitted.” Brooklyn Daily Eagle (N.Y.), Jun. 21, 1922, p. 1]

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

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