Sunday, July 20, 2014

Fearing Female Serial Killers

Sometimes the victim sees it coming. Sometimes they try to get away – sometimes successfully; other times, not. Sometimes they live in fear hoping to avoid the fate that terrifies them.

All of the following descriptions relate to cases of female serial killers who succeeded in murdering at least three persons and in which a victim suspected or knew the killer was intending to murder him.


1803 – Sophie Ursinus – near Berlin, Germany

But in her seventieth year, the royal mercy reached her. She was liberated from prison, but restricted for the remainder of her life to the city and fortress of Olatz. Here she once more played the part, not of a poisoner, but of an innocent woman and an aristocratic lady. She again opened a handsome house, and gave entertainments; and they were frequented! Nay, such was her vanity, that she used every diligence to draw illustrious strangers into her circle. An anecdote is related on undoubted authority, which is characteristic. At one of her suppers, a lady sitting near her actually started, as she saw some white powder on a salad which was handed to her. Madame Ursinus observed it, and said, smiling, “ Don't be alarmed, my dear, it is not arsenic.”

1829 – Francoise Trenque – Arronede, Mirande Dept. (Gers Dept.), France

“Now a horrible suspicion dawned on old Trenque – a suspicion which he seems not to have cherished before. But it was too late to save him. He was dying, and knew it. He might have accused Francoise, but he was a proud man, unwilling to make public a doubt that would put shame on is family, especially as it could not benefit him. He simply sent for a notary and had his will made, disinheriting the daughter whom be knew to be is murderess in favor of her sister. He dictated his will in the intervals of blood-curdling convulsions. The parricide stood calmly by and heard it to its end. As he sank back exhausted and cried out for drink, she put one of her poisoned potions to his lips. At the contact, old Trenque gave utterance to a terrible cry.”

1843 – Sarah Dazely – Bedford, England

Fiancé cancelled wedding plans. She had been married 7 times before.

She was about to be married an eighth time when her husband-to-be, upon hearing neighbors referring to his bride as “a female Bluebeard,” decided to  cancel the wedding and bring his suspicions to the police. The three husbands were disinterred along with an infant who had died in 1840. Chemical tests revealed the presence of lethal doses of arsenic in two of the husbands while the other corpses had decomposed too much for testing to be possible. Financial gain was never identified as a motive in the murders by Sarah Dazley – she seemed to kill almost vacantly, simply to remove impediments her husbands presented in her desire to marry somebody else.

1862 – Catherine Wilson – London, England

The longer she nursed [her victims], the sicker they got. ‘Drink it up dear; it will do you good,’ she was reported to have insisted as one friend resisted a glass of sulphuric acid.

1865 – Martha Grinder – Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, USA

On the 15th of September the body of Samuel Grinder was exhumed, having been buried at Leechburg. A subsequent analysis showed that he had died from poison. He was a soldier, and was home on furlough, during which time he visited his brother George, and while there was poisoned. Before he died he said to his brother, “She [Martha Grinder] has poisoned me, and will poison the whole Grinder family.”

1884 – Catherine Flannigan & Margaret Higgins – Liverpool, England

During my daughter’s illness Mrs Flannigan frequently, administered medicine to her, which she said she obtained from the "sixpenny doctor's” in Walton road.

When she was absent her sister (the wife of the deceased man, Thomas Higgins) gave the medicine. After that I was afraid to live in Mrs Flannigan’s house any longer, and took fresh lodgings.

1868 – Marie Jeanneret – Geneva, Switzerland

Doctor speaking of nurse Jeanneret: “Don’t Have anything to do with her. All her patients die.”

1871 – Agnes Norman – London, England – age 15 at time of apprehension. (4 deaths & 1 attempt)

Two or three children, a dog, two cats, six or eight birds, and some gold fish, had all fallen victims to Agnes Norman unnatural propensity for killing before she was discovered and arrested,” at the age of 15. One little boy, aged eleven years, testified that one night he awoke by feeling something hurting him, and upon looking up found this delectable young woman, who lived as a servant in the same house, stooping over him with one hand on his mouth, and the other tightly grasping his throat. [edited from linked source] 

1875 – Marguerite Léris Grieumard – Saint-Vincent, France

When his neighbors complained of his wife’s wrongdoing and urged him not to submit to her dominion, he told them that he was rather unhappy at being obliged to live with her, and that, however, he was careful of her, since she would be able to poison him. “I know for certain,” he said one day, “that she has poison. “

1878 Sallie Hardman (Gibbs) – Enon, Ohio, USA

Finally he went to a Dayton physician, who carefully investigated his case, and told him that something serious was the matter with his food. This confirmed his now well-grown suspicions, and he determined to leave while yet there was hope for his life. His wife recently made trips to Springfield, where it has been found that she purchased “August flowers.” These, it is said, she administered to Gibbs, and also gave him some for his mother, who had so opposed Gibbs’ marriage.

1878 – Mrs. David Drake – Westfield, Massachusetts, USA

Westfield, Mass., Oct. 6. – This place is considerably excited over an alleged case of poisoning, Mrs. David Drake being suspected of murdering her step-daughter Etta, a young woman of 17 years. The latter died on Friday, at her brother’s residence in Pochassie-street, where she had been living for about four weeks, after leaving home, it is said, because she feared for her life, her mother’s actions being strange and unaccountable. Once the girl awoke in her sleep and found Mrs. Drake bending over her, while the air was filled with a suspicious odor of ether. At another time, when she heard her mother coming in the night, she jumped out of a window without awaiting further developments, and fled to her brother’s house. Miss Etta evidently had not any poisons given to her for four weeks, but some of her friends think death resulted from slow poison administered before she left home. Her body was examined to-day by Medical Examiner Waterman and several other physicians, who found no cause for natural death, and the stomach and other portions were removed for analysis.

Miss Drake, the suspected murderess, is a strange person, accused of opium eating and fits of insanity. Her first and second husbands are said to have died mysteriously, and a son by her first husband is reported to have been found dead in bed, after retiring in apparent health, the woman having learned that his presence would be an obstacle to her second marriage. When David Drake married her, several years ago, it was with the violent opposition of his son and daughter, and after the wedding a bitter hatred sprung up between the children and their mother, no love lost on either side. It would not be strange, therefore, if in her unbalanced state of mind Mrs. Drake had taken the means to get rid of one she considered an enemy. [“Accused Of Murder By Poison. - A Woman Who May Have Killed Her Step-Daughter, A Couple Of Husbands, And A Son.” New-York Times (N.Y.), Oct. 7, 1878, p. 1]

1886 – Harriet Ann Stevens – Wangaratta, Australia

It is rumored in the district that Mrs. Stevens killed her first husband, who died with symptoms of poisoning. Her second husband, from whom she is separated, swore some time back in court, when she summoned him for maintenance, that he had to turn her adrift as she was trying to poison him.

1888 – “Peace River Female Cannibal” – Peace River region, Alberta, Canada

The woman who is the cause of the present case of cannibalism turned wehtigo [a person possesses by an evil spirit that devours mankind] some years ago and killed and ate one of her children before she was suspected. Having once tasted human blood she is supposed by the Indians to be endowed with superhuman powers, and they are in such terror of her that no attempts have been made to kill her. At intervals of four or five months her craving for human blood returns, and while in these fits it is reported she assails the first person she meets. Most of her children have fallen victims, having been slain with an ax. The half-breeds and Indians are in terror, and it is probable a police force will be sent to Peace river to arrest the man eater.

1888 – Sarah Whiteling – Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA.

Sarah Whiteling murdered family members (husband; son, 2; daughter; possibly 5 other of her own children) and poisoned three of her neighbor’s children to create a distraction.

“She's a villain,” said Mrs. Martin, the next door neighbor of Mrs. Whiteling. “Thank the Lord for saving our children from her, though one of my little boys is sick in the country now since he ate candy which was given to him by Mrs. Whiteling. My boy was taken sick at the same time as her Birdie and when her child died Mrs. Whiteling told a neighbor she was surprised that my child was still living. My husband one night caught her giving candy to two of her little ones, who were in a coach on the sidewalk. He was suspicious then and he threw the candy into the street I thought it very strange that she kept feeding our children on candy. When her husband and children died she never cried, and she rocked herself in a chair while the bodies were washed and dressed by kind hearted neighbors. When her first child died so mysteriously I wanted her to have a post-mortem made, but she refused.”

1891 – Jane Dorsey – Indianapolis, Indiana, USA

When John Dorsey was on his way to get a license to marry the woman he met his brother on the street and told him where he was going. “You might as well go on and order your coffin too,” said the brother.

1894 – Mrs. Julian Butler – Hamburg, Michigan, USA

An inadvertent poisoning by a female serial killer: “The physician tasted the food prepared by Mrs. Butler and was taken violently ill, the symptoms being burning at the stomach and vomiting. Dr. Smith carried with him some of the food prepared, telling the woman she was suspected of having poisoned the man. The food was sent to Ann Arbor, where a chemical analysis showed the presence of strychnine and arsenic.”

1894 – Mary Cowan – Dixmont, Maine, USA

A warning to Mrs. Cowan that were her husband to die there would be an investigation saved the life of husband #3.

1895 – Anna Bell ("Annabell") – Fairfield County, South Carolina – age 14 at time of apprehension. First murder at age 11. (2 deaths)

At the age of 11 she murdered a baby. At the age of 14 she murdered and dismembered another, then tortured a 6-year-old boy in an effort to force him to confess to the crime she had committed.

1903 – Anna (Caroline) Przygodda – Allenstein, East Prussia, Germany

The fifth husband gave evidence against his wife, who greeted his appearance in the box with a glance of the deadliest hatred.

[Herr Przygodda] stated that she frequently uttered mysterious threats that she would get rid of him as easily as she had his four predecessors. Some of the dishes she prepared for him had a peculiar taste, and this caused him to suspect that she was attempting to poison him. The case was adjourned.

In the village of Bobbau,* near the Russian frontier, a woman names Przygodda, keeping an inn there, has been arrested on a charge of murder. Sitting at dinner with her husband, she was observed to put a white powder with his food. This excited the husband’s suspicions, especially as it suddenly occurred to him that he was the woman’s fifth husband, and that his four predecessors had all died suddenly.

1906 – Mary Maher – Dunkitt, County Kilkenny, Ireland – age 11 when discovered (3 murders, 1 attempted murder; suicide)

While her parents were away, Mary made a determined effort to kill her only surviving sister, Maggie, aged 8. Maggie has narrated her terrifying experience in the following statement:— Mary put John out, locked the front door, tied my hands together with bootlaces, and brought me into the bedroom. She then told me to say my prayers. Mary next put gloves on her hands, and told me to make no noise. She knocked me on my back, got on top of me, put one hand on my mouth and another on my neck, and tried to choke me. I could not roar. I next found myself in bed; one of my teeth knocked out, and others loosened the door open and Mary gone. The bootlaces were off my wrists; I was bleeding from my throat.”

1906 – Martha Petromany – Knez, Romania (”Hungary”)

Then the poisoner [Martha Petromany], who knew all the family affairs of the villagers, sent an assistant among them and offered to remove obnoxious persons. Kneez was rapidly becoming depopulated by poison, and many fled from it in terror.

1908 – Belle Gunness – LaPorte, Indiana, USA

“She made me love her,” said Colson, “and she scared me at the same time. I was suspicious of her on account of the way her husband, Peter Gunness, died.” [Harold Schechter, Hell's Princess: The Mystery of Belle Gunness, Butcher of Men, 2018]

“The fact that I had no money, I now believe is the only thing that saved me from being murdered by Mrs. Gunness,” said George Anderson, of Tarkio, Mo., to-night. He has come to offer his testimony, and letters written him by Mrs. Gunness, to the authorities.”

“I think the woman is still alive, and that she set fire to the farm house herself. I believe the oldest girl knew of her mother’s crimes. She acted strangely. She would eye me with a pitiful look, and when I glanced at her during a meal she was white as a sheet.”

Anderson is a Swede, thirty-nine years old. Two years ago while at Montleith, Mich., he answered one of Mrs. Gunness’ advertisements, posing as a wealthy farmer. She wrote him to come on, and he did so. The second day she asked him point blank how much money had. He said he had a 320-acre farm. She told him to sell the farm and bring the money to her, and they would be married. He went away for a few days, an returned one night without notifying Mrs. Gunness. He found a man, who he now believes is Ray Lamphere, in her company. He confessed to her that he had no money. She was incensed, but told him he had no money. She was incensed, but told him to spend the night at her place. He went to bed, but was awakened, and found the woman bending over him. He spoke, and she ran from the room. Greatly frightened, he did not close up his eyes after that, and at daylight left the place. [Washington Post (D. C.), May 12, 1908, p. 1]

1908 – Martha Rendell – Perth, Australia

Nearly a year after the death of Arthur Morris, his brother George ran away from his father to his mother, and when found by the police said, “I would not stay to be poisoned like the rest.”

1911 – Clementine Barnabet (Barnebet) – Lafayette, Louisiana – A ritual human sacrifice cult, led by an 18-year-old.

The mysterious  series of killings instilled fear in the breast of every negro in south Louisiana and south Texas. In many communities blacks would not stir from their homes at night, and doors of negro cabins that never before had known a lock were barred.

1911 – Annie Crawford – New Orleans, Louisiana, USA

“It was established that Annie Crawford is a drug victim and probably is addicted to morphine. It is also established that Annie Crawford had access during the last three weeks to morphine and was in a position to obtain it in practically any quantity during that period. During the indisposition of Elise Crawford she bitterly complained that her food, and drink was doped. I have charged Annie Crawford with the murder of her sister Elise.”

1911 – Louise Vermilya – Chicago, Illinois, USA

Miss Elizabeth Nolan deposition: Frank Brinkamp, when dying at the Vermilya home, refused to drink the mineral water his mother offered him. The Nolan girl states that Brinkamp suggested to his mother that she had better call in Boyen and let him finish the job. [The Inter Ocean (Chicago, Il.), Nov. 7, 1911, p. 1]

The cunning shown by Mrs. Louise Vermilya, accused of the murder of Policeman Bisonette and under investigation in connection with the successive deaths of eight other persons, in mixing arsenic with her own food in sight of the guards, has cast the fear of being dosed upon everyone charged with the safeguarding of the prisoner.

Since learning that they had been seasoning their food with pepper from a tin can which stood beside a similar can filled with enough poison to cause the deaths of a hundred men the police guards and matrons have had no food prepared on the Vermilya premises. The meals of the watchers are cooked at a nearby restaurant in the presence of a policeman and brought in by a waiter under guard.

The woman’s bed and bed clothes, her sleeping garments, her hair and everything else about her that could conceal poison have been examined. The police are aroused and are determined that she shall stand trial on the charge of murdering their comrade.

1912 – Frieda Trost – Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA.

“I’m afraid,” Trost said. “There is something in her eyes when she looks at me. They frighten me.”

“I’ve got to get out of here,” he confided to a servant while Mrs. Trost was out of the room. “A while ago she asked me where my black suit is, the one I was married in. She thinks I am gone already. I must get to a hospital.”

Later he fell out of bed and staggered into the street. Two workmen saw him and carried him, babbling, back into the house. He died that night.

1921 – Frau Buchmann – Zurich, Switzerland.

A sensational poison trial at Geneva, after two days’ hearing, closed at Zurich, when a handsome Swiss woman named Buchmann, dressed in the latest fashion and wearing expensive jewels, was sentenced to imprisonment for life for poisoning two husbands with arsenic during the last three years, and also attempting to administer arsenic to a prospective third husband. The latter’s suspicions were aroused, and he informed the police, who exhumed the bodies of the two victims.

1921 – Dessie Keyes – Elm Mott, Texas, USA.

Mr. Keyes recalled the fact that Mrs. Aven had told her sister that Mrs. Aven had told her sister in Ft. Worth a few days before she died that she was going to be poisoned.

1922 – Nellie Sturmer Koulik – Chicago, Illinois, USA

John Stermer, 22, Nellie’s son, became ill in 1918 when his father died, but recovered. He declared he thought his mother had poisoned him.

1923 Maria Clothida Cravana (Gaione) Turin, Italy

“In January 1919, Giovanni Gaione, the husband, fell ill with the same sinister symptoms. The doctors called in to visit him eventually diagnosed his case as one of poisoning by corrosive sublimate. On February 3, 1919, while the husband was still living, his father, Giovanni Battista, telegraphed to the King's Proctor of Novi Ligurs begging him to make inquiries. A few lays later Maria Gaione's husband died. There was an autopsy, but death was ascribed to pulmonary pleurisy. The father-in-law, entirely dissatisfied with this finding, continued to press for a more searching inquiry, and in August 1919 Maria had again to face an examining magistrate.”

1925 – Helen Geisen-Volk – New York, N. Y., USA

Children in the baby home conducted by Mrs. Helen Auguste Geisen-Volk, indicted for manslaughter as a result of the death of William Winters, one of her charges, cringed in terror at the name of “Aunt Helen,” witnesses today told Assistant District Attorney Ryan, Mrs. Geisen-Volk’s severe methods of discipline caused this the prosecutor was told.

The witnesses, Mrs. Irene Meroff and Mrs. Frances Birch, quoted Mrs. Geisen-Volk as saying: “Babies and animals should be disciplined all the same. When they become unruly, I hold them under water or push them in closets or bang them. I’ve trained children for 20 years that way.”

1925 – Birdie Strome – New Carlisle, Ohio, USA

Esta Strome died under mysterious circumstances after predicting that she would succumb at a certain date and on a specific hour. An examination of the girl’s vital organs is said to have disclosed evidences of poisoning.

1926 – Renette Cure Bussey – New Orleans, Louisiana, USA

Verdia told court attaches just before her death: “Mamma gave me something to eat on a piece of bread and told me to eat it.  In a little while I was spitting up blood.  She said she’d whip me if I told anybody.” (Verdia Bussey, 5 years old, died Feb. 21, 1926).

1926 – Maria Vukitch – Kikinda, Serbia ("Jugoslavia")

“From across the frontier …they procure strong poisons, which are unobtrusively slipped into their husbands’ food or drink. As soon as the existence of the secret society became public, many husbands and prospective husbands left town.” 

1928 – Nora Edwards – Poplar Bluff, Missouri, USA

John W. Edwards: “Then one day her daughter, Mildred, who is six was playing around the house and found a little box of white powder behind the piano. My 16-year-old daughter, Mary, looked at the box and saw it was labelled poison. Mildred grabbed the box and took it to her mother who placed it under her apron. Later Mary told me about it. My wife said she found the box on the street and meant to show it to me. Then she threw it into the stove. There was a terrible smell when it burned. Some time later Mary found a bottle containing white powder in my wife’s trunk. I took a little out of the bottle back so nobody would notice the difference. I took the sample to a doctor who informed me it was poison.”

1929 – “Brazilian Black Widow” – Fernando Noronha Island, Brazil

Privileged: Only three women are confined on Brazil’s Murderer’s Island. The worst was there for killing three husbands and the 200 male convicts let her alone.

1929 – Juliana Foeldvary – Nagyrev, Hungary

“In to-day’s hearing Mme. Foldvari denied all previous admissions. When reminded by the prosecutor that a Mrs. Krek, a neighbor, had heard Mme. Foldvari’s mother cry just before her death. “The devil fly away with these cookies my daughter made me. They made me ill.” Mme. Foldvari’s reply was.” 

1929Hattie Stone – Belair, Maryland, USA

Edward Stone was poisoned by his wife, Hattie. A co-worker reported: “Ed wouldn’t touch a morsel of it. He threw it out, saying, ‘This is one time she didn’t get me.”

1931 – Rose Veres – Detroit, Michigan, USA

Then it was discovered that the window Mak went up to fix needed no fixing; that he wore shoes when he went up and none when he came down, that he had told neighbors he was afraid of Mrs. Veres and was sure that she was going to kill him; that there were marks on his head which looked like blows; and something in his stomach which might not be just liquor.

1932 – Anna Allas, Mary Chalfa, & Gizella Young – Munhall, Pennsylvania, USA

Aunt Mary and Gizella had taken her to Homestead to buy shoes. Then they had started through the woods to visit a friend. “And when we stopped to rest they started beating me with a black jack”, Stella sobbed. “I broke away and ran”.

1933 – Florica Duma (“Duma Fluroca”) – Vilagos, Arad region, Romania

“Mrs. Fluroca’s husband testified that he knew the nature of her activities, but feared her so much that he was not only afraid to reveal them, but would not eat food himself until she tasted it first.”

1938 – Anna Marie Hahn – Cincinnati, Ohio, USA

“Anna’s husband came forward to inform police that his wife had stolen the prescriptions from Dr. Vos, forged his signature on them, and then ordered the poisons from local druggists, sending her twelve-year-old son to fetch the prescriptions. Phillip Hahn said that Anna had twice tried to insure his life for $25,000 but that he had refused. He himself had been taken ill after that, with the same symptoms as the old men Anna had cared for; somehow he survived. [Jay Robert Nash, Look for the Woman: A Narrative Encyclopedia…, 1981, p. 179]

1940 – Emma Heppermann – Wentzville, Missouri, USA

Here is the way the newspaper described his testimony: “She told me three times she wanted to kill me,” he testified. “One day, in the midst of a quarrel, she said she wanted to cook me some soup.” Schneider leaned close to the jury and said, “I sure am glad I didn’t eat any of that soup.”

1946 – Bertha Gossett Hill – Rome, Georgia, USA

“Mrs. Hardin kept scolding.” If I drink this it will kill me. Bertha, you’re killing me!” But Bertha made her drink the orange juice,” Mrs. Carrie Poole told the jury. [Ruth Reynolds, “’Practical’ Bertha Buys Insurance Just Before Death Strikes Family,” The Sunday Press (Binghamton, N. Y.), Nov. 13, 1949, P. 13-C]

1948 – Lillie Winter Fairfield, Illinois, USA

After her son, Donnie, died of poison, Mrs. Jean Martin took her other child, Judy, away from Grandma Winter’s farmhouse.

1949 – Gertrude Inez Brennan – Indianapolis, Indiana, USA

“Thomas Stretch, 63, Canton, N. J. farmer, contacted police and said he had received three letters from Mrs. Brennan, one only a day before her arrest.
Stretch said he visited Mrs. Brennan and her sons and “they treated me fine.”
“I looked over her farm and even stood by the pigpen. If I had any money I might have been alongside the men who were buried there,” he added.

1949 – Marie Besnard – Loudon, France

“By 1947, Marie Besnard had fallen out of love with her husband, Leon, and was stricken by an intense infatuation with a German man who had recently emigrated to London. Marie turned her lethal attention to her husband and began to provide him with a special dessert similar to the one that claimed the lives of the Lallerons. However, Leon Besnard became suspicious of his wife’s attention and mentioned to a close friend that he thought Marie was trying to murder him. Unfortunately, Leon became Marie Besnard’s twelfth victim before he was able to tell his story to the local authorities.” [Michael D. Kelleher and C. L. Kelleher: Murder Most Rare: The Female Serial Killer, 1998, p. 29]

“In late October [1947], Leon died at home, but not before confiding in a friend, Madame Pintou, that he was being poisoned by his wife. "She murdered me," he gasped, as he lay dying, and the story swiftly made its way around Loudun.” (source)

1952 – Roberta Elder – Atlanta, Georgia, USA

Willie Elder, Jr., 20-year-old son of the late minister, told the court that Mrs. Elder had administered medicine to each of the three people who died, and added that he stopped eating at the house after his father’s death. When asked why, he replied, “I thought if she poisoned them she might try to get me too.” He testified that he had also gotten sick twice at the breakfast table after eating.

1954 – Nannie Doss – Tulsa, Oklahoma, USA – 2 own children + grandchild, 4 husbands, 2 sisters, mother

“Suspecting she had killed them, he fled from her, taking eldest daughter Melvina with him and leaving newborn Florine behind. His mother also died around this time. Doss took a job in a cotton mill to support Florine and herself.”

1979 – Ada Wittenmyer – Dickson, Tennessee, USA

Canadian rancher Henry Joneson said he sent 12 letters and a $1,150 check to Mrs. Wittenmyer before learning last week that the address she had given him was the prison and not the retreat she had told him it was. The Tomahawk, Alberta, man said he answered Mrs. Wittenmyer’s ad in [an] agricultural publication in April that read: “Widow wishes to start new life – will relocate.” When Mrs. Wittenmyer telephoned him after her second poisoning conviction, Johnson said he told her,” … I found out everything and goodbye.” 
1984 – Emily Lynette Kirby Bell – Alexandria, Louisiana, USA 
[Tanzy Clifford Reeves] claimed at one point prior to their marriage that Lynette was trying to kill him, according to friends. Reeves cooked a pot of gumbo one day, and Lynette fixed him a bowl to eat. Reeves tasted the gumbo and noticed something was wrong with it, he told friends and relatives. Reeves poured the gumbo into a jar and supposedly brought it to a chemist friend of his who worked at a laboratory to be tested, one of Reeves’ earlier wives told police. Reeves claimed to relatives that the that chemist told him there was enough speed in the gumbo to “kill 10 people.” That was not the only time his food was spiked with drugs. Mrs. Blevins recalled that on occasions her mother would tell her not to eat a certain food. “I watched Clifford Reeves pace the floor for four days,” Mrs. Blevins said. “He said to me, ‘Baby, I feel I’m full of speed. I can’t sleep.’ And Momma and Susan got hold of some kind of speed and put it in blackberry cobbler, and he had eaten it and he had eaten it and he had been up for days.” Mrs. Blevins said she never really ate at her mother’s house after she learned from Lynette about “the Reeves treatment.”
1989 – Tammy Eavans Corbett – Brighton, Illinois, USA
At the same trial for the two newly discovered murders the daughter of Richard Eavans told of a harrowing story of what she had witnessed and heard. The girl, 12 at the time of the trial, said she was afraid to tell anyone because she feared Tammy “would get her.” The girl told of how when she was “was staying with her father and Corbett on two separate occasions she saw Corbett hold her hand over their mouths of Robert and Amy. Authorities have requested that the girl remain unidentified. Both babies had reacted by kicking and struggling. . . . When Corbett put her had over Robert’s mouth, she said. “This is for you Ricky [Richard Eveans Sr.].” The girl told her father that moments before Tammy smothered the 3-year-old that she said something like “You’re going to die,” or “I hope you die.” [9-22-90, SLPD] 
1996 – Kristen Gilbert – Northampton, Massachusetts, USA

“He [Assistant U. S. Attorney William Welch] was afraid what Gilbert might do now she had heard Perrault and Harris testify against her. Welch added that he had presented to the court a history of violence by Gilbert “towards ex-boyfriends.” [M. William Phelps Perfect Poison: A Female Serial Killer's Deadly Medicine, p. 363]

“Kristen Gilbert, 33, worked on Ward C of the Veteran's Affairs Medical Center in Northampton, Massachusetts.  When she was there, it seemed that too many patients died from cardiac arrest.  In 1996, three nurses came forward to report their fear that there was a killer among them.  … One nurse said that she'd heard the first man who'd died cry out, ‘Stop! Stop! You're killing me!’” [Katherine Ramsland, Angels Of Death: The Female Nurses: Just for the Fun of It,” CrimeLibrary]

2001 – Josephine Gray – Rockville, Maryland, USA

Stribbling told friends weeks before he was killed in 1974 that his wife had tried to shoot him in the head one morning while they were in bed together. He survived because the gun misfired, Assistant U.S. Attorney James Trusty said. [Dennis O'Brien, “A feared woman, 3 killings and allegations of voodoo; She collected benefits, is charged with fraud,” Baltimore Sun (Md.), Dec. 8, 2001]

When police searched Gray's home in 1990, they found "dolls with pins in them" and other voodoo paraphernalia, Gansler said. Witnesses also have told police they feared Gray because of her voodoo, according to Gansler and court papers. [Dennis O'Brien, “Montgomery police charge woman with murder in deaths of two husbands; Voodoo fears undermined earlier cases against her,” Baltimore Sun (Md.), Jan. 5, 2002]

Witnesses at trial testified that William Gray stated on numerous occasions that his estranged wife was trying to kill him and that she had assaulted him. [“Josephine Gray, known as “The Black Widow,” re-sentenced to 40 years in insurance fraud case; Caused the Deaths of A Husband and Lover to Collect Life Insurance Proceeds,” US Fed News Service, Aug. 7, 2006]

Gray was charged in the 1974 and 1990 Montgomery County killings, but authorities said the charges in each case were dropped when witnesses, frightened by rumors that Gray practiced voodoo, refused to testify against her. [Gail Gibson, “Woman guilty of insurance fraud; She collected $165,000 after deaths of 3 men,” Aug. 17, 2002]

Before they were killed, Norman Stribbling, William Robert Gray and Clarence Goode each told friends that a dangerous woman was after them. All three were shot to death, Stribbling in 1974, Gray in 1990 and Goode in 1996. [Dennis O'Brien, “A feared woman, 3 killings and allegations of voodoo; She collected benefits, is charged with fraud,” Baltimore Sun, Dec. 8, 2001]

2012 – Melissa Friedrich (Weeks) – Pinellas Park, Florida, USA & Canada

EXCERPT: A Nova Scotia justice of the peace says he asked police to warn his life-long friend, 75-year-old Fred Weeks, that he might be in danger the day after Weeks married a woman known as the Internet Black Widow.
But George Megeney says police told him they couldn't get involved because the woman had served her time for killing a previous husband and defrauding a boyfriend she met online. She was known at that time as Melissa Russell.
"I wanted Fred to know the situation that he might be in. You know, he could be in danger," Megeney said in an exclusive interview with CBC-TV’s the fifth estate. He said he asked the police to intercept Weeks and his new bride as they left a ferry in Newfoundland while on their honeymoon. But the police told him there was nothing they could do because "it would be an  invasion of that lady’s privacy because she had no warrants, she had done her time.
Four days later, after a short honeymoon in Newfoundland, Weeks was rushed to hospital from a bed and breakfast in Sydney, N.S., where he and his new bride had spent the night. Two days after that, police charged Melissa Weeks with attempting to murder her husband and with "administering a noxious thing." [Anita Elash, “Police were asked to warn husband of ‘Internet Black Widow’; Melissa Weeks now behind bars charged with attempted murder,” CBC News, Oct 5, 2012]

2014 – Daniela Poggiali – Lugo, Italy.

“Poggiali’s colleague who took the pictures later claimed she only did so because she was afraid of her vindictive nature.”


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