Michael Farrar filed for divorce from his alcoholic and increasingly eccentric wife, a gifted oncologist who had quite working, Dr. Debora Green. She told her estranged cardiologist husband he would only get custody of the children over their dead bodies.
On October 25, 1995, in an act of arson, Debora Green murdered two children and attempted to murder a third, Kate (10) by telling her to jump from a window of the burning house and then “accidentally” failing to catch her. She had, over a period of months, been slow-poisoning her husband with ricin, resulting in severe symptoms requiring brain surgery and multiple heart surgeries. The husband, Mike Farrar, a cardiologist, was hospitalized on three occasions in August and September after a trip to South America. The motive was revenge. Her husband had filed for divorce from his alcoholic wife in June 1995.
The case does not meet the definition of a serial killing in that there were not three discreet murders, but the case is so extreme and perverse that it needs to be studied in conjunction with standard female serial killer cases.
Excerpt from a very long article on Wikipedia:
Debora Green (née Jones; February 28, 1951) is an American physician who pleaded no contest to setting a 1995 fire which burned down her family's home and killed two of her children, and to poisoning her husband with ricin with the intention of causing his death. The case was sensational, and covered heavily by news media, especially in the Kansas–Missouri area, where the crimes occurred. Though Green has petitioned for a new trial twice in recent years, her requests have not been successful.
Green married Michael Farrar in 1979 while practicing as an emergency physician. The marriage was tumultuous, and Farrar filed for divorce in July 1995. Between August and September 1995, Farrar repeatedly fell violently ill, and despite numerous hospitalizations his doctors could not pinpoint the source of his illness. Green's emotional stability deteriorated and she began to drink heavily, even while supervising her children. On October 24, 1995, the Farrar family home, occupied by Green and the couple's three children, caught fire. Kate Farrar and Debora Green escaped without harm, but despite the efforts of firefighters, Timothy and Kelly Farrar died in the blaze. Investigation showed that trails of accelerant in the house led back to Green's bedroom, and that the source of Michael Farrar's intractable illness had been ricin, a poison served to him in his food by Green.
Upon her arrest on November 22, 1995, Green was charged with two counts of first-degree murder, two counts of attempted first-degree murder, and one count of aggravated arson. She was held on $3,000,000 bail—the highest ever required at that point in time by Johnson County, Kansas—and maintained her innocence throughout pre-trial motions and a show cause hearing. However, when the defense's own investigators verified the strength of forensic evidence against Green, she agreed to an Alford plea to all charges. On May 30, 1996, she was sentenced to two concurrent forty-year prison sentences. Green has petitioned for a new trial twice since her conviction. Her first request, which she eventually withdrew, was based on a claim of having been rendered incompetent for plea bargaining by the psychiatric medications she was taking at the time of her hearings; her second, which was denied by a judge, claimed that the evidence used to convict her of arson had been rendered obsolete by scientific advances.
1979 – Green marries Michael Farrar.
Jul. 1995 – Farrar filed for divorce.
Aug. 1995 – Ricin poisoning begins.
Sep. 25, 1995 – Police found some castor bean seeds (risin) in Green's purse Sept. 25 when they were called to the Farrar/Green home for a domestic disturbance.
Oct. 24, 1995 – Arson: Kelly (13), Tim (6), die; Kate (10) survives.
Nov. 22, 1995 – Green arrested.
May 30, 1996 – Green sentenced to two concurrent forty-year prison sentences.
MORE: Female Serial Killers & Arson
MORE: Female Serial Killers & Arson