Saturday, January 11, 2014

Betty Jo Green, Alabama Serial Killer - 1984

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]


4 victims:
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.


1931 – Betty born.
1953 – Betty marries Raymond Frazer Cooley.
1978 – Raymond Frazer Cooley (58), husband, dies; no suspicion of murder in the 1984 investigation.
Jul. 15, 1979 – Grace Blankenship (60), dies.
Nov. 30, 1978 – Glenn Orman Green (61), dies.
Dec. 6, 1981 – W. E. “Bill” Brooks (50) dies.
Nov. 5, 1984 – Arthur Self (56), fiancée, hospitalized, paralyzed; recovery, released.
Dec. 20, 1984 – Arthur Self, re-hospitalized. tests show arsenic poisoning.
Nov. 18, 1984 – Sheriff initiates investigation.
Nov. 30, 1984 – Glenn Orman Green (61), exhumed.
Dec. 12, 1984 – Glenn Green exhumed; arsenic found. 
Dec. 12, 1984 – Betty Jo Green (53) arrested, Limestone County Jail.
Dec. 19, 1984 – Grace Blankenship exhumed; arsenic found.
Jan. 8, 1985 – W. E. “Bill” Brooks, employer, exhumed, autopsy finds arsenic but not considered cause of death.
Feb. 1985 – Betty Jo Green indicted on 3 charges: Glenn Green, murder, Grace Blankenship, murder; Arthur Self, attempted murder.
Mar. 4, 1985 – Betty Jo Green declared mentally competent.
May 22, 1986 – arraignment postponed.
Sep. 30, 1986 – Betty Jo Green convicted on all 3 charges.
Oct. 17, 1986 – Betty Jo Green (55) sentenced to 3 consecutive life sentences.







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



  1. Whether the person poisoned died or was made ill & survived, & regardless of gender or any demographic, where, exactly, is there any actual evidence of "misandry", or any bigotry, of any kind, whatsoever, in any of these individual cases of poisoning?? And for those of you that didn't notice, two of the ppl that this women, supposedly, poisoned, one of which survived...the other did not, as this story tells it, are female!

    There was also no mention made of motive; hmm!

    (Which is to say that the story makes no mention of motive, even tho the blog itself, given it's name & it's overall subject matter, screams an implication of one.)

    Something tells me that the writer(s), and/or the creator(s), of this blog, given the name & the overall subject matter of it, have, at least, a strong distrust, perhaps a full-on hatred, of women! So, this blog, rather obviously, has more to do with misogyny than misandry.

    Nice FAIL. Duh.

    1. The history of misandry (and the misandry of politically correct [Marxism-derived] history) is a complex thing. The erroneous assumptions of scholars based on faulty models, frequently ideologically oriented ("gender" theories, social constructionism, Frankfurt School derived theories such as patriarchy, post-colonial theories), have led to gaping lacunae in our knowledge of the relations between the sexes, and more particularly, on the incidence and varieties of VbW (Violence by Women). The wildly inaccurate depiction of VbW that continues to be promulgated (due to misandric feminist theories, or chivalry, or fear of censure) may not matter to many people who imagine that women's violence is the result of "patriarchy" or "socioeconomic factors" and the like, yet it should be pointed out that an enormous share of victims of Violence by Women are girls, boys, woman, and innocent men whose lives are valued by female friends and relatives. The celebration of the killing of men by women (backed by the a priori assumption that it is justified under "social justice" theory) is now standard in politically correct circles and thus is encouraged by educators. Most of the posts on this blog presents factual information (not theories) that contradicts the prevailing ideology -- presented as factual history -- that is current. Perhaps a person who dislikes discussions of misandry may find the documents of use. This would be welcomed. Yet the very fact that so much important information (contradictory to the status quo "herstory") has been ignored by mainstream history (both academic and popular) ought to cause any person of high intellect and high curiosity to pause and ponder. VbW (Violence by Women) is a topic deserves attention. It is a woefully underserved area of inquiry.

    2. This woman lived next door to me. She watched me while my mother worked. I can still see the inside of her apartment. I ate and drank cookies, tea and many other things she prepared. My mother had trace amounts of arsenic in her system from being poisoned while drinking coffee with that crazy lady. She enjoyed seeing people suffer, no matter the gender but her main focus was always women. There are many women she poisoned that were not mentioned. To know someone that is capable of that level of evil changes you. I was 6 when I met her. I was 14 when she was arrested. Hey motive was simple. Jealously and a blatant disdain for anyone who got more attention than her.

  2. I know Ms. Betty personally. She is 88 let it go. Release her! Worse has been done. She has served her time.

    1. She is eligible for release, but none of her family members will take her! I personally know 1 of them.

  3. That is not true you have absolutely no idea what you were talking about. I would take her in a heartbeat and every family member knows that so obviously you don't know anything. Get your facts straight before you comment.

  4. She was evil. She killed my friend'a Grandpa and Aunt. She also poisoned others. She was let off easy.
    Imagine my surprise when I find out that my grandfather's cousin is a Black Widow who killed my best friend's family members.
    There's a lot of mental Illness in the family but sorry. She did ok in life. She has a job, she made friends, and she did ok. She was jealous asanother poster mentioned She deserves to remain in prison. She has no family left and the few who remain are deeply saddened and ashamed that she is part of our family.
    It's not that deep. She wanted to watch these people suffer because she's evil