Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Female killer preyed upon truck drivers. New chapter by Sue Russell, author of Lethal Intent, sheds new light on the female serial killer.

Woman drowns her five children — one at a time after her husband goes to work. Is she psychotic or a monster? Incorrect expert testimony causes murder convictions to be overturned.

Nurses continue to murder their patients. Dr. Katherine Ramsland examines the motives and some high-profile and recent cases.

Arsenic Anna: Sweet young woman lures older benefactors to their deaths.

Escape of ex-cop and convicted murderer

This Black Widow may have set the record in the killings of her husbands, lovers, and children. A new update explores how in her youth a boy's brutal treatment of her might have influenced her violent streak.

Attentive pediatric nurse, suffering from bizarre Munchausen by Proxy syndrome, maims and murders many babies before the hospital understands the problem.

The methods and motives of this special brand of female serial killer. Includes a new chapter.

She connived her way into becoming a New Orleans cop, now she sits on death row for executing three people, including another cop.

Every married man who ever thought of cheating on his wife quaked when he saw Glenn Close as the maniacal girlfriend in the movie "Fatal Attraction." In 1989, a real life Fatal Attraction burst into the New York headlines in a terrifying combination of sex, obsession and death. Attractive and sexy heiress Carolyn Warmus goes after her man and murders his wife.

Early in the trial Carolyn appeared in a short, very tight, very sexy miniskirt that had photographers snapping away and film crews tripping over each other to get a better view. A photo of Carolyn, wearing a short skirt, which exposed her nicely formed legs, appeared in the nation's newspapers and news magazines over the next few months. Always dressed to perfection in designer clothes, Carolyn paraded each day into the courthouse more like a model on a runway than a murder defendant. With her blonde hair, confident style and voluptuous body, she was a "femme fatale" right out of 1940s film noir, a woman who broke all the rules. She was a symbol of a love gone wrong, an affair that spiraled out of control until it ended in murder and betrayal. She was the rich, spoiled heiress on trial for her life who wanted a man so much, she was willing to kill to have him all for herself.

Steven Beard, a retired television executive, was startled awake to find his innards lying where his belly should have been.

Conscious but bewildered, he reached for a phone on his nightstand and dialed 911 for Austin, Texas.

Who would have guessed that his wife Celeste had manipulated her lesbian lover into being the "hit man"? She thought she had gotten away with murder, but.

Claudine Longet, the pretty French songbird, and handsome, virile ski star Spider Sabich were a beautiful couple. That is, until he was at hot end of a smoking gun and she was at the other. During the funeral, she dabbed at her eyes with a handkerchief, and now and then her shoulders convulsed.

On one hand, she had a right to be there. No one doubted that Spider had once been in love with Longet. On the other hand, she was utterly out of place. She was, after all, the woman who killed him.

She said it was an accident. His friends and family were not so sure.

A search for the truth would play out over the ensuing year. Before the last breathless gossip was whispered and the final expose written, the Sabich-Longet affair would develop into one of the decade's most riveting celebrity spectacles.

Former surgical nurse with a need for money and an obsession for extravagant shopping sprees kills several women and uses their assets to get her hair done and buy hundreds of dollars of goods.

In 1997, a Texas court found Darlie Lynn Routier guilty of probably the worst of human crimes: killing two of her natural children in cold-blood. Motive is still a mystery, but the prosecution painted her as a shrewish, materialistic young woman who, sensing her lavish lifestyle crumbling, slew her two sons Damon and Devon in a mad attempt to resuscitate her and her husband's personal economy.

In all fairness, Darlie Lynn Routier, despite some extremely damaging evidence, may be innocent, say many. Fingerprint evidence and trial errors create some doubts about her guilt.

Is she one of the most heartless criminals in the state's history or a victim of an overly-aggressive prosecution?

"Somebody just shot my kids!" The blond woman yelled to the emergency room nurses.

The two nurses teetered when they looked through the windows of the Nissan. Side panels were soaked in blood and amidst the blood lay three small children, one in the front passenger seat, two in the back. First glance told the nurses the children had been shot at very close range. Two of the children still breathed, although strenuously; the boy gasped for air. The child found slumped in the front seat appeared beyond help; despite frantic efforts by the doctors at the operating table, the damage had been lethal. She was pronounced dead moments after being wheeled to emergency.

Someone without a heart had deliberately attempted to murder three kids in cold blood, and, despite the odds, despite a fate that looked gloomy, the caretakers hastened to keep that fate at bay and beat it at its own game: with deliberate intention.

Who in the name of God could have aimed a pistol at three small children and pulled the trigger?"

The facts came to light in a most suspicious manner and unlike those explained by the mother, Diane Downs.

The stench hovered over the Sacramento neighborhood like a putrid fog, sickly sweet and pungent. Everyone knew where it came from - the yard of the pale blue Victorian at 1426 F Street, where Dorothea Puente rented out rooms to elderly and infirm boarders.

No one suspected that the sweet-faced, grandmotherly lady was systematically drugging and killing her frail boarders and burying their remains in the yard she so lovingly tended. She got away with murder for years.

This legendary countess is remembered for murdering women for fun and bathing in their blood to make herself more beautiful. Was there any truth to this heinous legend or was this a story concocted by her powerful political enemies?

Many people think of mass murderers as men and most of them are, but here are some famous women mass murderers. Some of the psychology and motivations are different from male mass murderers.

The science of detecting poisons, the favorite weapon of Black Widows and women who kill. Dr. Katherine Ramsland presents the history of this science and the major cases it solved.

New York classic story of a black widow and a psychopathic ladies man who create havoc in their community with pedophilia, arsenic poisoning and bad parenting.

Texas pediatric nurse takes over the care of babies and murders them by injecting one after another. Almost as criminal is how the hospitals and staff ignored the problem until Genene's shift became known as the Death Shift.

The mother of the first victim saw Jones kneeling at the foot of her daughter's grave, sobbing and wailing the child's name over and over. She rocked back and forth, apparently in deep anguish, as if Chelsea had been her own daughter.

A pair of elderly women seemingly pulled from the script of Arsenic and Old Lace stand accused of the insurance-motivated murder of two Los Angeles vagrants.

Headmistress of exclusive Madeira School for wealthy girls kills her unworthy lover, Dr. Herman Tarnower, the famous Scarsdale Diet doctor.

The eyes that stare out from the Florida prison mug shot are unmistakably those of Joyce Lemay Cohen. Once as pretty as a fashion model, she has retained some of her attractive features umber-colored eyes, lush lips and noble cheekbones. But her hair is shorn, and she has gone gray. Something she would never have tolerated in the lavish life she once led. But after 15 years in prison, any remaining glimmer of glamour went dull long ago for Cohen.

At age 24 she married a rich older man, Stanley Cohen, who introduced Joyce, his fourth wife, to a jet-set way of life. They lived in an historic mansion overlooking Biscayne Bay in Miami's ritzy Coconut Grove section. They drove Jaguars and flew in their own jet. They vacationed in one adult sandbox after another the Bahamas, Ocho Rios, Jamaica, Las Vegas and Cancun, Mexico. Mrs. Cohen became accustomed to the fine things in life designer clothing, satin sheets, servants.

She enjoyed her husband's wealth. She enjoyed his "Miami Vice" lifestyle. She enjoyed his social status. But over time the marriage began to lose its sheen. He was playing around on her and she was doing too much cocaine.

Eighteen-year-old Judith Neelley lured teenagers to a horrible death, but only after they had been raped and tortured. It was the consensus of those who listened to the various witnesses that Judith was the brains behind the most serious of the couple's offenses. It was she who had persuaded Alvin to participate with her in the brutal crimes, not the other way around. When they had lured Lisa Millican into their car and molested and killed her, it was Judith who injected her with liquid drain cleaner and who then shot her.

She was also the person who shot John Hancock and left him for dead. The question for a jury was whether she had done so because she herself was psychologically disturbed or whether she had been forcibly subordinated to Alvin in such a manner that she would do whatever he wanted, even when he was not around. They had decided that she was aware of what she was doing and had not been under anyone else's power.

Texas's controversial murderess

Katherine Mary Knight, though not the first person to skin and eat her lover, was arguably the most depraved monster in Australia's grizzly homicidal history.

Once a loving little girl, she grew up around and, from a young age, worked in slaughterhouses. Her most cherished possession was a set of razor sharp boning knives, which she kept in pride of place above her bed. Given her future violence, is fair to say that this period in her life played a major role in the molding of the monster that she would become.

But even today, the many visitors to Aberdeen's murder house still ponder how a middle-aged housewife, mother and grandmother could perpetrate such evil.

Tragic crib deaths appear to be the reason that Kathleen Folbigg's babies died, but then her husband finds her terrifying diaries.

Lana Turner was a true movie queen — beautiful, glamorous, classy, and a damned good serious actress to boot. What she lacked was good judgment when it came to men. After her fourth unsuccessful marriage with only her daughter, Cheryl, to show for it, Lana was ready for something different.

His real name was Johnny Stompanato, but he called himself John Steele. He had the wavy hair and olive-skinned good looks of a movie star with a physique to match. When she found out that he was a gangster, bankrolled by the famous Mickey Cohen, she made the mistake of not ending the relationship right away. He was at once appealing and very dangerous — forbidden fruit, but poison fruit from the standpoint of publicity.

Embarrassing publicity caused Lana to be seen in public less and less with him, particularly at the Oscar Awards ceremony when she had been nominated. Angry that he couldn't escort her on her night in the spotlight, Johnny left her bleeding and bruised in her bed.

Unable to get out of this messy and dangerous relationship without career-damaging publicity, Lana didn't take any legal action. But Cheryl, 14, emotionally torn apart by Johnny's brutality to her mother, took a knife and stabbed him to death.

The coroner's inquest into Johnny's death was the most anticipated television event ever. Depending on how Lana played this "role of a lifetime," her daughter was either going to walk away a free woman or be charged with the death of her mother's boyfriend and spend the rest of her life in jail.

Women in the electric chair

This classic has to be one of the most enduring murder mysteries America has ever produced. Elderly Andrew Borden, still in his heavy morning coat, reclines on a mohair-covered sofa, his boots on the floor so as not to soil the upholstery. As he naps, his wife, Abby, is on the floor of the guestroom upstairs, dead for the past hour and a half, killed by the same hand, with the same axe, that is about to strike him, as he sleeps.

The bloodiness of the acts is startling. Along with the gruesome nature of the crimes is the unexpected character of the accused, not a hatchet-wielding maniac, but a church-going, Sunday-school-teaching, respectable, spinster-daughter, charged with parricide, the murder of parents, a crime worthy of Classical Greek tragedy. Many people believed she killed her father and stepmother, but recent forensic research suggests that she didn't.

Fred and Jennifer Trayers' nearly 20-year marriage was marred by infidelity, and eventually culminated in a bloody scene that left Fred dead.

Did Madeleine Smith poison her lover? A Victorian mystery.

Marie Hilley is a mystery. Her presence still hovers over her family and friends, and with it the deeply painful questions with no answers. What made her do such ghastly things? What motivated her complicated stories and alibis? Was there anybody that she truly loved? And, finally, who was the real Marie?

Those who should have known her best knew her least. Marie murdered her husband, but it didnt stop there. She poisoned her daughter and other close relatives. Her murderous escapades undermined what should have been the most sacred of family relationships. When it appeared she would finally be brought to justice for her crimes, she disappeared and began life anew with an assumed identity. One persona after another, discarded when it no longer suited her needs. The story of Marie Hilley is a study in deceit, pathological obsession and serial murder.

The story of a desperately lonely overweight woman who lets herself fall into partnership with a man who murders women for money. The so-called Lonely Hearts Murders, entwined in voodoo magic and kinky sex, becomes one of the most sensational cases of the 1940s.

New "Lonely Hearts" movie with John Travolta, Salma Hayek, Jared Leto and James Gandolfini is a satisfying case study. The film interweaves a detective's perspective to the story of the killer team.

Murdered between 15-21 of her close relatives by arsenic poisoning. Why? For money, personal dislike or they got in her way over something she wanted.

Marybeth Tinning was a familiar sight in Schenectady's trauma centers. She usually came running into one of the city's emergency rooms, confused and hysterical, typically with one of her eight children cradled in her arms, either dead or near dead. The medical staff knew Marybeth well.

Some hated her. Others felt great sorrow and pity for her. That's because from January 3, 1972, the day her daughter Jennifer died, until December 20, 1985, when Tami Lynne was found dead in her home, all eight of Marybeth Tinning's children died suddenly and usually without any rational explanation.

Marybeth, now sixty-four, faced the parole board in New York with some support from very unusual sources.

Profiler Pat Brown describes this bizarre form of psychopathic behavior that particularly affects women.

Lonely Hearts lady loved her men to death

Masterminds of Philadelphia's Poison Ring run a Black Widow training camp preying on Italian immigrants.

Lawyer with many emotional problems and history of instability takes revenge on her ex-husband after nasty divorce and custody battle. While the murder was premeditated, many stupid mistakes on her part doomed her defense.

Obsession with babies leads to unthinkable acts of violence. A look at recent and high-profile cases and the mind-set of women who become prenatal predators.

The last woman hanged in Britain

The real story of lust, greed and murder that inspired the great film noir classics Double Indemnity, The Postman Always Rings Twice and Body Heat.

Sante Kimes and son Kenneth lived the same outrageously bold life of crime that made their predecessors Bonnie and Clyde famous for generations. This incestuous duo meticulously planned elaborate multimillion dollar scams and executed their wealthy victims without a scintilla of remorse.

Minuteman activist Forde claims to have been racially profiled, falsely arrested and the victim of her controversial politics, but investigation revealed a narcissistic personality disorder, strong ties to a drug cartel and the coldblooded murder of a child.

Cold case detectives finally solve the 23-year-old murder case of Sherri Rasmussen, but evidence implicates one of their own.

Sixteen-year-old Sylvia Likens was found murdered with "I'm a prostitute and proud of it" burned onto her stomach. The perpetrators of her slow, tortured death turned out to be the family that was caring for her and several neighborhood children.

A new attempt to bring the story of this 1965 murder to the screen is underway for 2007, but does it give us any insight into how mother and group of children could commit such a horrible crime?

Sue Basso

Depraved woman traps mentally handicapped man so she can use him as slave and kill him for insurance.

Carol found Doug to be suddenly quite controlling. He demanded that she do what he wanted and threatened to abandon her if she did not comply. He wanted a sex slave, someone who would see to all of his needs, mundane and bizarre. She gave in, expecting that in return he would be true to her. But he soon told her that he was tired of having sex with her and needed something new and more exciting. He brought prostitutes home, and to please him Carol went along with it.

It was a long hot summer for LAPD. Bodies of young women were found mutilated, even headless, and dumped along the embankments around the freeway ramps.

Soon a call came into the station from a woman who implicated her boyfriend in the killings but who refused to offer details that could help to locate him. She could have been just a crank caller, but she was correct about how the murders had been done. She knew details that had not been released to the media. But the switchboard cut her off and she did not call back. If she had, some lives could have been saved and she might not have taken the path she did.

It was no crank call.

South Carolina woman drowns her children in her car so that she will be more "marriageable" to the boyfriend who rejected her.

Dr. Katherine Ramsland looks at the psychology of several famous killing teams.

Psychological insight into types of team killers and some famous murder partners by Dr. Katherine Ramsland.

Las Vegas casino owner mixes up a lethal brew of heroin, showgirls, silver bullion, and mobsters.

Holly Harvey, 15, had lived with her grandparents Carl, 74, and Sarah, 73, Collier at their Fayette County home in Georgia for just four months when she decided that she had had enough. Holly had no intention of going to church as her grandparents had hoped or conforming to the rules imposed on her. Nor did she want to give up her one true love: Sandra (Sandy) Ketchum, 16, whom she was forbidden to see.

She was going to live her life the way she deemed fit. So in the summer of 2004, she recruited her lover Sandy to assist her in a gruesome plan, which they believed would allow them to gain freedom and be able to stay together forever. Their devious plot would eventually lead to the brutal murders of both Colliers.

On September 17, 2003, firefighters and police rushed to a burning house on Detroit's east side. Inside one of the bedrooms, sitting in her recliner, was Bertha Atkins, 64. Her remains had been battered and burned. Atkins had been hit with a claw hammer, which pierced through her upper lip and tongue. She had then been doused with gasoline and set on fire.

Larketa Collier, 16, the granddaughter of the victim, and her lover, Sharon Patterson, 17, had just returned from seeing a horror movie. A witness had seen the two girls calming leaving the burning house, so they immediately became primary suspects in the case.

This adoring mother and pious Christian grandmother had a secret habit — she poisoned her husbands, boyfriends, elderly people in her care and even her mother. The amazing thing is how long this Black Widow serial poisoner got away with it.

The "Trunk Murderess" In perspective

Author Katherine Ramsland looks at some of the most notorious cases of criminally violent women, their motives and methods, ranging from the greedy to delusional to outright psychopathic.

Just because a female killer gets only local media coverage, it doesn't mean that her crimes are not worthy of the national news. Compared to their male counterparts, a number of women who have killed in weird or vicious ways are barely known outside their hometowns.

Dr. Katherine Ramsland looks at the psychology of the various motives for which women kill: some for money, some for revenge, and most distressingly some to steal the growing child from their victim's womb.

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