The Serial Killer Compendium, p.3R. J. Parker
The plan however, proved too elaborate and soon the two lovers settled into targeting the most vulnerable victims. Within four months, the women attacked ten patients of the nursing home and succeeded in killing five of them. Graham used a dampened washcloth to kill her patients while Wood acted as a lookout. After each murder, the women would make love in a vacant area of the nursing home, aiming to relive the excitement of the act of murder.
By April of 1987, the couple’s murderous acts ended when Graham and Wood argued over Wood’s failure to actively engage her in any of the murders. By this time, Graham had already found another lover and soon left Wood. Alone and deserted again, Wood confessed the murders to her ex-husband, who contacted the authorities. Wood and Graham were then arrested and Wood pleaded guilty, agreed to testify against Graham, and received a sentence of twenty to forty years in prison. Graham received six life sentences without the possibility of parole.
Three or more individuals who may or may not be biologically related comprise family serial killing teams. Regardless of their biological relationship, they typically live in the same house and act like a family. The dominant figure is usually a male and the team commonly engages itself in sexual serial murders that tend to be extremely violent. The active period of the team tends to be rather short, since relationships between members and co-operation collapse very easily, leading to disorganization and final apprehension.
Charles Manson, born in 1934 in Kentucky, can be argued to be one of the most perverted minds the American Criminal history has ever seen. Being both articulate and extremely intelligent, Manson was able to gather around him a group of rebellious young females and males to form the family that he never really had, a family that soon turned into a growing cult. The Manson family engaged in marathon sessions of unrestricted sex and drug use. At its peak, the family numbered fifty members, all of whom earned their living from a variety of illegal activities. The family eventually settled into an abandoned film studio ranch in California, where Manson continued to poison the minds of his young followers with an incessantly more aggressive philosophy that escalated to the beginning of a brutal murder spree.
All of the victims were stabbed and shot, and Sharon Tate, who was eight month pregnant at the time, was stabbed and hanged by the neck. In both cases, the blood of the victims were used to mark the crime scene. Two months later the police arrested a number of the Manson family members for an unrelated minor offense. Among those arrested was Susan Atkins, twenty-one, who was present in both the Tate and the LaBianca murders.
While Atkins was in custody, she began discussing details of the murders with her cellmates, conversations that helped seal the deal of the family’s criminal activities. Several members of the family were found guilty of murder and sentenced to death. The sentences, however, were commuted to life imprisonment when the Supreme Court overturned the death penalty. After the trial, members of the family who had not been arrested continued the murders of many individuals, including Manson’s defense attorney. More than twenty murders are now associated to the Manson Family and the cult that Manson had created around his name.
Issue of Sanity Serial Killer
The insane serial killer is a very subtle and controversial case as the perpetrator cannot be held responsible for his actions. This is why it is necessary to establish what differentiates an insane person from a sane person. To claim insanity is rarely valid in cases of serial murder since a sequence of murders requires both planning and a clear state of mind in order to avoid apprehension. Given the heinous nature of her crimes, the female serial killer is usually considered legally sane. In the rare case where a female perpetrator is acknowledged to have been insane, the serial killer was always an Angel of Death suffering from Munchausen syndrome by proxy, a mental disorder where caregivers deliberately exaggerate, fabricate, and/or bring on physical, psychological, behavioral, and mental health problems in others.
Bobbie Sue Terrell, at the age of twenty-two, began her nursing career in 1976. Shortly afterwards she married Daniel Dudley, but her happiness was shattered when she learned she could not have any children. She reacted to the news with a combination of anger and depression, which did not seem to go away even after they adopted a boy. As her depression and violent anger increased, she was forced to seek professional help and was put under the treatment of strong tranquilizers. The medication further deteriorated Terrell’s situation. She fed a nearly lethal dose of the tranquilizers to her own son. Fortunately, the boy survived, but this incident marked the end of her marriage.
Abandoned, confused, and suffering from manic depression, Terrell admitted herself to a mental hospital for the treatment of schizophrenia. After a year, she was released and was able to return to her profession as a nurse. She remained unable, however, to control her emotions that worsened in the stressful environment of the hospital. Her unusual behavior culminated in 1984 with the sudden death of ninety-nine-year-old Aggie Marsh, Terrell’s first known victim. Within thirteen days, Terrell succeeded in killing twelve elderly people by injecting them with lethal doses of insulin. On November twenty-fourth, 1984, local police received an anonymous call claiming that a serial killer was operating in the hospital staff. Upon arrival, they found Terrell suffering from a severe knife wound on her side that had been allegedly inflicted by the serial killer. Investigators, however, could find no other staff that could support Terrell’s story. Although Terrell’s mental history and her suffering from the Munchausen Syndrome by proxy was brought to light, it was not until 1985 that all the pieces were put together. She was finally arrested in 1985 and charged with murder. For the next three years, she was subjected to a number of psychological tests, all of which pointed towards her insanity. She was finally charged with a single count of murder, found guilty, and sentenced to sixty-five years in prison.
The Unexplained Killer
The motive of the ‘unexplained’ serial killer has never been satisfactorily understood even after the perpetrator was discovered and arrested. A female perpetrator can fit the category of the unexplained if she is “a woman who systematically murders for reasons that are wholly inexplicable or for a motive that has not been made sufficiently clear for categorization.” In the great majority of these situations, even the killer herself is unable to identify an understandable motive for her crimes.
Christine Falling, as is often the case with serial killers, had a disruptive and impoverished childhood. She was born in Florida in 1963, to sixteen year-old Ann and sixty-five year old Thomas Slaughter. Falling was developmentally disabled, prone to obesity, suffered from fits of epilepsy and aggression, and was never able to acquire developmental skills beyond those of a sixth grader.
Due to the extreme poverty of her parents, Falling and her older sister were given up for adoption to the Falling family. Not long afterwards, the two girls found themselves in a children’s home due to their constant conflicts with their adoptive parents. By that time, Falling had already demonstrated her violent nature, her favorite pastime being the torturing and killing of cats to see if they really had nine lives. At the age of twelve, Falling left the children’s home. Two years later she married a man ten years older than her, but the marriage soon collapsed after a series of violent encounters between the couple. That sparked off new and mysterious behavior in Falling. Within the next couple of years she visited the hospital multiple times with an endless series of medical conditions that medical staff was never able to diagnose. Despite the fact that Falling was apparently suffering from mental illnesses, she had gained a status as a good baby-sitter.
At the age of seventeen, however, Falling began to attack and murder the children that were placed under her care. On February twenty-eighth, 1980, Cassidy Johnson, two years old, died from what was assumed encephalitis. Autopsy reports showed that the girl had actually succumbed to a brutal skull injury. The police interviewed Falling, but since no evidence could be brought against her, the matter was not pursued. Shortly afterwards,
Even though the death of four-year-old Jeffrey Davis was also deemed suspicious, no widespread investigation was carried out, allowing Falling to attack a new victim. Within three days after Jeffrey’s death, Falling was asked to baby-sit Jeffrey’s two year-old cousin, Joseph Spring, while the bereaved family attended Jeffrey’s funeral. Joseph’s death was attributed to a viral infection, and thus Falling once again escaped capture. After the double murder, Falling moved to Perry, Florida where she found a job as a housekeeper in the home of seventy-seven year-old, William Swindle. On the first day of her job, Swindle suddenly died in his kitchen. Due to his old age and his deteriorating health, there was no suspicion of foul play, and Falling continued her killings. Her next victim was her eighteen-month-old niece who allegedly stopped breathing while under Falling’s care. Once again, the vicious serial killer was able to escape apprehension. A year later, in 1982, Travis Coleman, only ten weeks old, also stopped breathing while Falling was attending to him. An autopsy was requested, and it was discovered that the infant had died from suffocation. The authorities immediately questioned Falling and she confessed to having killed Travis and three other babies as well by what she described as ‘smotheration.’ According to her testimony, she’d heard voices that had ordered her to kill the babies by placing a blanket over their faces.
Falling was found guilty of these murders and sentenced to life imprisonment. Even though her motives have not been acceptably explained, and she was known to have suffered from mental illnesses, Falling was not classified as legally insane.
Chapter 33: The Unsolved Killings
Unfortunately, not all cases of serial killings are solved. It has already been shown that Black Widows and Angels of Death are able to evade apprehension for significant periods. Other times their identities remain unknown forever; their crimes are suddenly brought to a halt, either because the perpetrator died, or because the perpetrator was imprisoned for other felonies, or, for other unknown psychological factors. At any rate, the serial murders remain unsolved.
William Hodges Bingham and his family worked in Lancaster castle in England. After thirty years as a caretaker in a supervisory position, in 1911 Bingham died suddenly. Within a few weeks William Bingham’s daughter, Margaret, was also found dead. Despite being in very good health, Margaret's brother also died shortly afterwards. An autopsy report was requested, and it was found that he had died from arsenic poisoning.
Because of the arsenic poisoning, a post-mortem examination was done on Bingham and his daughter. The report showed that they too had died from poisoning. The only surviving relative of the family, Edith Bingham, was accused of the three murders, but was soon acquitted as insufficient evidence could be found against her. As Edith would inherit the estate from her deceased relatives, it was commonly accepted that she was the killer; however, the case remained officially unsolved.
Females, the loving and caring protectors of our species and the ones that are more susceptible to danger, are in fact the most dangerous as they are the least suspected of the serial killers. Like their male counterparts, they show no remorse and have no mercy for their victims. Should we still call them the weaker sex? I think not.
The Torture Mother
On October 26th, 1965, sixteen-year-old Sylvia Likens was found dead. A 911 call was received about a girl who had stopped breathing. When the police arrived at the house, Sylvia was found dead, lying on a mattress. She was half-naked, and lying on a bed soaked with urine. Her body bore scars, burns, and welts, and the words, "I am a prostitute and proud of it," were engraved into her skin. The owner of the house was Gertrude Baniszewski. She claimed that Sylvia had been staying in the house during the summer with her sister, Jenny, and that she had brought the death and torture onto herself by running away. Baniszewski said that she was attacked by a pack of boys, and died shortly after returning home; however, Sylvia’s sister Jenny had a different story to tell.
The actual story was that the Baniszewski had money problems. Gertrude had been trying to keep up the home and feed seven children at the same time. Her income consisted of working at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway selling soda pop, and small child support payments from her ex-husband.
Gertrude was given twenty dollars per week to watch the Likens children who were traveling with the Florida circus, and they had moved in with Baniszewski in July of 1965. When Sylvia and Jenny’s parents were late with the first week’s payment, Gertrude Baniszewski decided to give Sylvia and Jenny a beating, and while beating them she shouted, "I took care of you bitches for nothing!" Even though she was paid the next day, it did not bother Gertrude one bit. Her cruelty escalated over the next few months. The methods went from beatings by hand to paddles, belts, and even wooden boards, and she enforced harder punishment on Sylvia.
Baniszewski also recruited others to help her beat the children. Her first helpers were two of her own children. Then she even used some of the neighborhood children. One of them used her as a human punching bag, flinging her into concrete walls and down flights of stairs as a way to practice his martial arts throws. At Baniszewski’s instruction, they even ground the glowing tips of cigarettes into Sylvia’s flesh, inflicting over one hundred and fifty burns.
Sylvia urinated on the mattress one night, and the basement was made her prison. She was starved of food and forced to eat and drink her own feces and urine. Next, she was forced to insert a coke bottle in her vagina as a part of a bizarre strip tease. With a heated needle, Baniszewski proceeded to etch the words into Sylvia's belly. Sylvia died after being knocked down onto the concrete floor when she was trying to get the attention of the neighbors.
Gertrude was sentenced to life in prison for first-degree murder. As she was a model prisoner, however, she was up for parole in 1985. The news of Baniszewski's parole hearing sent shockwaves through the Indiana community. Jenny Likens and her family appeared on television to speak out against Baniszewski, as did members of two anti-crime groups, Protect the Innocent, and Society's League against Molestation. They travelled to Indiana to oppose her parole and support the Likens family and began a sidewalk picket campaign. Over the course of two months, the groups collected over forty thousand signatures from the citizens of Indiana demanding that Baniszewski be kept behind bars.
Despite efforts to keep her in prison, Baniszewski walked out December 4th, 1985, and traveled to Iowa where she later died from lung cancer in 1990 at the age of sixty.
There is a very beautiful memorial website for Sylvia that you should check out http://www.sylvialikens.com/
She was a beautiful person and was denied the right to live a long and happy life.
Marie Bullard was born on October 23rd, 1932, in Cumberland County, North Carolina, and is an American Serial Killer.
She claims she was molested by her father, starting when she was thirteen. The stories, however, are disputed by seven of her siblings who deny all charges of abuse in any form, by either parent, and it must be granted that Margie's early development seemed normal for the given time and place. She dropped out of high school in her junior year and then eloped with Thomas Burke at the age of seventeen. Settling in Paxton, she bore two children.
The dilemma started after fifteen years of marriage when Thomas Burke's luck turned for the worst overnight. He was discharged from his job and consequently injured in a car crash. He then began to drink heavily in order to drown his sorrows. Marriage became a sort of warfare, with Margie hiding her husband's whiskey – sometimes she would pour it down the sink – and finally committing him to the Dorothea Dix Hospital, in Raleigh, as an alcoholic. She worked at a local mill to support the family and relied on prescription tranquilizers.
Thomas returned from the hospital sober and sullen, bitter at his wife's betrayal. In 1969, after he was burned to death in bed, authorities dismissed the death as accidenta
Three years later, in 1971, Margie married Jennings Barfield. Only six months after getting married, he died suddenly, and his death was attributed to natural causes. It would take seven years for the authorities to exhume and re-autopsy Barfield, revealing a lethal dose of arsenic in his system. By the time she murdered Barfield, Margie was dependent on prescription drugs, inaccurately mixing her pills, and as a result she was hospitalized four times for overdose. Although she was a drug addict, she maintained an active interest in religion and taught Sunday school at the local Pentecostal church on a regular basis.
Margie had another problem: she was always short on cash, so she started writing bad checks to cover her addiction. She appeared many times in court for this only to receive slaps on the wrists. She continued, however, and in 1974 forged her mother's name for a thousand dollar loan application. Panicking when she realized the bank might try to contact the real Lillie Bullard for verification, she decided to eliminate the problem by feeding her mother a lethal dose of insecticide. Yet again, the death was attributed to natural causes.
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