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In the News Priest forgives suspect in confessional stabbing The Rev. Michael Massaro was stabbed after hearing confessions Police say his alleged attacker called Massaro the Antichrist Massaro says he forgives the woman, who appears to be troubled Knife's blade missed vital organs by centimeters Georgia professor sought in shooting death of wife, two others Nationwide alert issued for UGA marketing professor George Zinkhan Zinkhan suspected in shooting deaths of wife, two others, at theater reunion Marie Bruce, 47, wife of the suspect, was one of the victims, police say Other victims identified as Tom Tanner, 40, and Ben Teague, 63 Suspect apparently dropped children off at a neighbor's house before fleeing Local, state and national alerts are out for George Zinkhan, 57 Plane ticket to Netherlands dated May 2, FBI says FEMALE SERIAL KILLERS "Some women fake orgasms, but others fake whole relationships." (Sharon Stone) Quiet & Hidden killers Kelleher & Kelleher (1998) argue that female serial killers are more successful, careful, precise, methodical, and quiet in committing their crimes. They examined 100 cases since 1900 and found an average duration of 8 years before being caught -- double that of the male serial killer. 86% of them assumed a secondary follower role during criminal events by either working with a male or female accomplice females usually account for about 15% of all violent crime and 28% of all property crime. however, there has been about a 140% increase in the number of crimes committed by women since 1970 embezzlement (41%), fraud (39%), forgery (36%), and larceny-theft (33%). females who were incarcerated for murder were twice as likely as men incarcerated for murder to have killed an intimate (husband, boyfriend, or child). Female serial killers account for only 8% of all American serial killers, but American females account for 76% of all female serial killers worldwide. Methods 1. Poison (80%) 2. Shooting (20%) 3. Bludgeoning (16%) 4. Suffocation (16%) 5. Stabbing (11%) 6. Drowning (5%) Motives 1. Money (74%) 2. Control (13%) 3. Enjoyment (11%) 4. Sex (10%) 5. Drugs, Cult involvement, cover up, or feelings of inadequacy (24%) THE KELLEHER TYPOLOGY Kelleher & Kelleher suggest a different typology, one based on whether the female serial killer acts alone or in partnership with others. Acting alone Black Widow - systematically kills multiple spouses, partners, or other family members Angel of Death - systematically kills people who are in her care for some form of medical attention Sexual Predator - systematically kills others in clear acts of sexual homicide Revenge - systematically kills out of hate or jealousy Profit or Crime - systematically kills for profit or in course of committing another crime Acting in partnership Team Killer - kills or participates in the killing of others in conjunction with at least one other Other typologies Question of Sanity - kills in apparent random manner and later judged to be insane Unexplained - kills for reasons that are totally inexplicable or for unclear motives Unsolved - a pattern of unsolved killings that may be attributed to a woman (or women) Deductive Characteristics of the Typology: Acting alone: Killers of this type are often mature, careful, deliberate, socially adept, and highly organized. They usually attack victims in their home or place of work.They tend to favor a specific weapon, like poison, lethal injection, or suffocations. Acting in partnership: Killers of this type tend to be younger, aggressive, vicious in their attack, sometimes disorganized, and usually unable to carefully plan. They usually attack victims in diverse locations. They tend to use guns, knifes, or torture. BLACK WIDOWS These killers usually begin their criminal career after age 25 and then they start a decade or longer cycle of systematically killing spouses, partners, family members, and indeed, anyone with whom they develop a personal relationship. The typical cycle is 6-8 victims over a period of 10-15 years, although in places where law enforcement is lax, the victim count may go up as high as 13. Poison is the preferred weapon of choice, dosing the victim with a wide variety of lethal substances to mimic more medically appropriate and diagnosible illnesses to collect life insurance & inheritance proceeds. ◦ (In these case histories, the years in parentheses refer to active years in the killing cycle.Victim counts, average career lengths, typical ages, and other numbers are derived from the Kellehers' book, Murder Most Rare. Belle Gunness (1896-1908) aka "Lady Bluebeard" was the first 20th Century Black Widow. She was never brought to justice. On a farm outside of Chicago, she killed 49 people, including multiple husbands, ranch workers, and children who were put up with her thru adoption agencies. Most of the people died from poisoning, diagnosed as acute colitis, although many others met with freak accidents on the farm.Toward the end, she collaborated in an arson cover-up with one of the ranch workers who was also set up as the patsy while she faked her own death.The patsy died in prison, innocent of any crime other than the arson he participated in. Margie Velma Barfield (1969-1978) a 53year old grandmother, killed 7 husbands, fiances, and her own mother in Lumberton, North Carolina. She burned some victims to death while they slept (made to look like smoking in bed), arranged prescription drug overdoses for others, and resorted to arsenic made to look like gastroenteritis for others. She was executed by lethal injection in 1984, the first woman to be executed in the U.S. since 1976. ANGELS OF DEATH These killers usually begin their criminal career at age 21 and operate in a localized setting, typically a nursing home, hospital, or other place where death is a regular occurance. In such places, murder can be easily disguised, the offender enjoys the power of selecting who will live or die, and there is easy access to all sorts of life-sustaining and life-threatening equipment and supplies.The typical cycle is 8 victims over a 1-2 year period, although if the offender is mobile, the number of victims may be 16 or more.Their short careers are usually due to a tendency to brag about their actions. Terri Rachals (1985-1986) a 23-year old intensive care nurse in Albany, Georgia was indicted on 6 counts of murder in 1986, but only sentenced to 17 years imprisonment for aggravated assault. Her defense was successful in portraying her as suffering from "fugue states" and in claiming that her elderly victims had begged her to help them die. Her pattern was to inject potassium chloride to mimic the effects of cardiac arrest. Georgia officials suspected her of 20 such acts, and used statistical probability evidence in the prosecution. A (recanted) confession she made to officials was suppressed because of her mental condition. Newspapers in 1986 called her the "murderess of the century". Everyone was surprised by the lenient jury verdict. SEXUAL PREDATORS Sexual Predators that are female and act alone are so rare that there has only been one in U.S. history. Aileen Wuornos was only the tip of the iceberg or a portend of things to come. This is speculation, but like their male counterparts, female sexual predators are usually in their 30's or middle-aged, geographically mobile, suffer from a fantasy-driven compulsion to kill, and usually have at least 6 victims before being caught sometime in their average 3-year career. Aileen Wuornos (1989-1990) a 33-year old veteran prostitute, killed 7 men in Florida, each of the encounters starting out as an ordinary proposition for sex.Then, at various points while engaging in sex, she would perceive the relationship as becoming abusive, pull out a .22-caliber handgun, and shoot her victims repeatedly in the chest, or sometimes in the back of the head. She would then rob her victims and hide their bodies in the woods along the I-95 corridor.The first victim was a known rapist, two of the victims were retired or reserve police officers, one was a rodeo worker, one was a missionary, and the rest were truck drivers or delivery men. Authorities suspected her of 2 additional murders, but the bodies could not be found. She was easily tracked down via police sketches and the careless paper trail she left behind in pawning the property of her victims. She confessed to 6 murders, but claimed self-defense in all of them. At the 1992 trial, her lesbian lover of six years (who also assisted in her apprehension, but never participated in the murders) provided testimony against her, destroying her self-defense claim. The jury felt no sympathy for her history of childhood sexual and physical abuse. She was sentenced to the electric chair for 4 of the murders. REVENGE These killers that are female and repeat offenders are rare. More common are one-time crimes of passion motivated by revenge. What makes the revenge serial killer different is that they are driven by a deeper, more overwhelming anger, bordering upon the pathological, with little or no cooling-off period, implying a certain kind of obsessive attachment to the darker qualities of revenge that goes beyond what we normally mean by "motivated by revenge". Such persons usually begin their criminal careers at age 22, and their victims are either family members or symbolic of an offending organization. There is a noticeable consistency in the victimology. ◦ The typical pattern is about 3-4 victims over an average period of 2 years or less, although some careers may extend up to 5 years in length. Although the revenge killer is usually able to control their passions enough to successfully conceal their crimes, they are also sometimes careless and demonstrate a lack of planning. Ironically, when apprehended, they show great remorse, almost as if to compensate for their excessive flights into the darker realms of revenge Ellen Etheridge (1912-1913) was 22 years old when she married a Texas millionaire and inherited an instant family of 8 stepchildren. She became incurably jealous of her husband's devotion to their children and poisoned (arsenic) 4 of them, two at a time, about six months apart. Autopsies revealed poisoning in the latter pair, and she was arrested and confessed. She was sentenced to life imprisonment. Martha Ann Johnson (1977-1982) was a 22-year old, 250-pound woman in Georgia with 4 young children who, after every argument with her husband, would roll her weight onto one of the children while they slept and suffocate them. She claimed they died of SIDS. She went unprosecuted until 1989 when an Atlanta investigative reporter dug up a medical report on one of the children which labeled the death suspicious. A 1990 trial and subsequent confession resulted in her receiving the death penalty. PROFIT or CRIME These killers who are female and repeat offenders are rare or unknown. Some of them are presumed to be organized contract killers available for hire if someone wants to have their spouse or business competitor murdered. Others have set up a localized scam operation to rob victims of their assets and lives. They are considered to be the most intelligent, resourceful, and careful serial killers. Their career usually begins around age 25 or 30 and lasts for about 10 years. They usually claim about 10 victims before they make enough to retire, but greed may drive the total upwards to as high as 25. They use a variety of methods to kill, and are highly dispassionate about the murders they commit. There are more known cases of this type overseas than in the United States. Madame Popova (1879-1909) (age unknown) operated a murderfor-hire service in Russia that specialized in liberating married women from cruel husbands for a fee. She murdered over 300 victims, by using poison, her own hands, a weapon, or hiring an assassin. Russian police were tipped off by a liberated woman who experienced a moment of remorse. She was executed before a firing squad Dorothea Puente (1986-1990) was a 57-year old, charming and attractive California woman who spoke Spanish fluently and supered an apartment house in Sacramento. She convinced the Dept. of Social Services to refer clients to her, and operated a state-subsidized room & boarding facility where she systematically bilked the residents out of their Social Security income to the point of killing 25 of them (officially listed as missing) and collecting their Social Security checks even after their deaths. Neighbor complaints about the stench in the backyard led police to dig up 7 bodies, and she was charged with 9 murders (2 other bodies were found in the river). The trial lasted until 1993 and was a tortuous affair involving a change of venue and whether the public wanted to execute a woman who was now 64 years old. She was sentenced to life imprisonment. TEAM KILLERS TC represent about one-third of all female serial killers, and they come in 3 forms: ◦ (1) male female teams, ◦ (2) female teams, and ◦ (3) family teams. The male female team is the most common, and the crimes are often sexual in nature, with the female member typically being about 20 years of age and the career being a short 1-2 years. All-female teams tend to be active for 2-4 years, and the members are usually older, around 25 years of age. Family teams tend to be short-lived, about 1 year or so, and the female members are typically young, about 20 years of age. For all three categories of team killers, the average victim count is 9-15, and a variety of methods are used, including guns and knifes. Bonnie Parker & Clyde Barrow (1930-1934) were a Depression era 17-year old and 21-year old couple that started out in Dallas, Texas, eventually forming a gang that stole cars, robbed grocery stores, and banks in Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Missouri, Iowa, and Arkansas. They shot and killed 16 victims, 13 of which were police officers, and Bonnie is reported to have enjoyed putting a few extra bullets in the cops. Both were gunned down in a hail of bullets during a police ambush outside of Shreveport, Louisiana "Ken and Barbie of Murder and Mayhem." TORONTO (AP) — A judge Wednesday lifted all restrictions against a woman who served 12 years in prison for her role in the rape and murder of three teenagers, considered one Canada's most notorious crimes. The ruling by Quebec Superior Justice James Brunton means Karla Homolka, who was convicted of manslaughter in 1993, does not have to report regularly to police, can go where she wants and see whom she pleases. Homolka, 35, received the relatively light sentence of 12 years in prison for helping her ex-husband rape and murder teenagers Kristen French, 15, and Leslie Mahaffy, 14, in the early 1990s. In return, she agreed to testify against ex-husband Paul Bernardo, a Toronto bookkeeper serving a life term in an Ontario prison for two counts of first-degree murder. In sentencing Homolka, the court also considered her role in the 1990 death of her 15-year-old sister, Tammy, who died on Christmas Eve after Homolka held a drug-soaked cloth over her face while Bernardo raped her. Homolka told the court and psychiatrists she was a battered wife who took part in the rapes and murders to protect herself and her family. Months after prosecutors made the plea bargain, however, Bernardo's attorneys handed over homemade videotapes by the couple that indicated Homolka was a willing participant, drawing the ire of Canadians. QUESTION OF SANITY These killers who are serial offenders and female are few in number. Angel of Death offenders are most capable of launching a successful insanity defense, especially if the psychological disorder is Munchausen syndrome by proxy, a common symptom among this type. In general, however, the insanity defense strategy in a serial killing case is rarely successful. A lot depends upon which insanity test is used, and whether the jury can be understanding or not. Jane Toppan (1880-1901) was a 26-year old nurse from Boston, Massachusetts who gave lethal injections of morphine to 31 hospital patients, and was suspected of having killed an additional 70 patients over the course of a two-decade career. When apprehended, she said she wanted to kill more people than anyone who has ever lived before, but could only provide details to solve 31 crimes. Her history of suicide attempts helped her win an insanity plea, and she was eventually confined to a state mental hospital for 40 years until she died in custody. UNEXPLAINED These female serial killers are motiveless killers. Neither themselves nor the authorities can come up with an explanation for why they did it. Stella Williamson (1923-1933) was a 75year old spinster and recluse from Johnston, Pennsylvania who left a mysterious note behind when she died. The note said for authorities to check a trunk in the attic. In it, the preserved bodies of 5 newborn infants were found. It was assumed that the victims were her own illegitimate children from affairs she had during her younger days, but there has never been an explanation for these crimes. UNSOLVED These female serial killer cases are similar to cases like "the Green River Killer" or the "Zodiac Killers" which were never solved.The most common feature is that the cases have stumped officials for years like the nonserial Black Dahlia case The Butcher of Kingsbury Run (1935-1938) was a suspected female serial killer responsible for 12 murders along a stretch of railway wasteland between Cleveland and Pittsburgh. All the victims were castrated and decapitated in a way to suggest the work of a butcher. Police thought they had a suspect, who worked as a meat butcher, but he had an airtight alibi. Many people think it was the work of a female. The Michigan VA Hospital Murders (1975) involved 5 murders and serious injuries of numerous other patients by injection of a muscle relaxant. The drug was somehow administered via a routine intravenous tube even while the patients were being closely observed by hospital officials who had called in the FBI and CDC to help. It was suspected that a technologically savvy Angel of Death was operating in the hospital, but no suspects were ever found.
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