But they look too pretty to kill!
“Murderess” or “Female Murderer” are largely believed to be an oxymoron. When we look at the statistics in the United States, the vast majority of people executed in the United States are men. More often than not, even when the females are the culprit, she is portrayed as a victim who is being controlled by an evil male. However, in this age of feminism and equality, women have been advancing in every issue whether positive or negative. Competing with men in every field, the fairer sex is even catching up when it comes to murder and torture. The recent conviction of Susan Basso has highlighted this fact and has warned us to look around and perhaps authenticated the age-old phrase “Don’t judge a book by its cover”. Here’s a list of 10 murderesses that recently had their last meal.
10. Frances Elaine McLemore Newton
Frances Newton was executed by lethal injection for the murder of her husband, Adrian, 23, her son, Alton, 7, and daughter, Farrah, 21 months.
A few days before the murder in 1987, Newton had purchased life insurance policies on her husband, her daughter, and herself worth $50,000 each. She has named herself as a beneficiary of her husband’s and daughter’s policies. Newton claimed she forged her husband’s signature to prevent him from discovering that money had been set aside to pay the premiums.
All three victims were shot with a .25 caliber pistol which belonged to a man that Newton had at the time been seeing. She claimed that an illegal drug dealer had killed them as Newton’s husband was in debt to his supplier.
Frances never stopped claiming innocence. In addition to that, the evidence appeared dubious, many of which were destroyed in the process of investigation. She maintained her innocence from her first interrogation in 1987 until her execution in 2005. She refused to make a final statement and the lethal dose was administered.
9. Lynda Cheryle Lyon Block
Lynda Lyon Block was married to Karl Block who was 33 years her senior. They had a son named Gordon.
Lynda developed an interest in Politics and began attending Libertarian Party meetings. Her anti-governmental views became increasingly radical which resulted in the end of their marriage. She already had a lover by the name of George Sibley whom she had met at a Libertarian rally.
One day, Lynda, Karl, and George had an argument which resulted in them stabbing Karl’s chest. They were arrested but later released on bail. The two of them fled with her son Gordon. They stopped at a local Walmart where they were brought to the notice of local police officer Roger Motley by a passerby. Motley approached the car and George started shooting at him. Engaged in fire exchanges with George Sibley, he failed to notice Lynda who approached him from behind and started shooting at him. Roger Motley died.
Part of an anti-government movement, Block and Sibley had renounced their citizenship and destroyed their birth certificates, driver’s licenses, and Social Security cards. They refused to cooperate with their court-appointed attorneys, maintaining that they had acted in self-defense. They also maintained that Alabama did not have the authority to try them as it was not properly re-admitted into the Union after the American Civil War.[i]
They escaped but were soon caught. Lynda Block was executed by electrocution in 2002.
8. Suzanne Margaret “Sue” Basso
Suzanne Basso, lured, tortured, and murdered Louis “Buddy” Musso, a mentally retarded man, for his life insurance money. Musso and Basso started a long-distance relationship. Even though they could not get married as Basso was still married to her husband, she changed her surname to Musso and began referring to Musso as her husband. Suzanne had two children, a daughter born in 1973 and a son born in 1974 with her husband James Peek. Peek was arrested in 1982 for molesting the daughter and convicted of taking indecent liberties with a child.
Basso and five accomplices including her own son abducted Musso, beat him, stomped on him, and burned him with cigarettes as he sat on a child’s play mat. They also used a wire brush on him. They then put him in a bathtub that was filled with kitchen cleaner and bleach. They put clothes on Musso’s body before leaving it in Galena Park, Texas. A jogger found the body and called the police.
Suzanne Basso was convicted and sentenced to death in 2014 by injecting a lethal dose into her body.
7. Lois Nadean Smith
Lois Nadean Smith, 61, a minister’s daughter, was accused of beating, strangling, stabbing, and shooting 21-year-old Cindy Baillee who was her son Greg’s ex-girlfriend.
Lois Smith, along with her son, picked up Baillee from a Tahlequah motel early on the morning of the murder in 1982. As they drove away from the motel, Smith confronted Baillee about rumors that she had threatened to tell Law Enforcement Officials about her son’s involvement with illegal drugs – charges which Baillee denied. Smith choked Baillee and stabbed her in the throat as they drove to the home of Smith’s ex-husband in Gans. At the house, Smith forced Baillee to sit in a recliner and taunted her with a pistol, finally firing several shots. Baillee fell to the floor, and while her son reloaded the pistol, Smith laughed and jumped on Baillee’s neck. She then fired four shots into Baillee’s chest and two to the back of her head. An autopsy revealed nine gunshot wounds to Baillee’s body.
While Greg Smith received a life sentence, Lois Nadean Smith received the lethal injection in 2001 after 19 years of death row.
6. Wanda Jean Allen
Wanda Jean Allen was serving a four-year sentence for murdering Dedra Pettus, a childhood friend turned girlfriend. Gloria Jean Leathers and Wanda Jean Allen met in the prison and had a turbulent and violent relationship. Seven years after the murder of Dedra Pettus, Wanda Allen was living in with Gloria Leathers. On 2nd December 1988, Leathers and Allen were involved in a dispute at the grocery store. They were escorted to their home by a city officer where Leathers collected her belongings and went on her way with her mother to file a complaint against Allen. When Leather stepped out of the car, Allen fired one shot, wounding Leathers. Gloria died of the injury 3 days later. The shooting was witnessed by Gloria’s mother and heard by the employees of the police department. A .38-caliber handgun was recovered from the scene.
It was found that Allen’s actual abilities were markedly impaired and that her IQ was 69. The left hemisphere of her brain was dysfunctional, impairing her comprehension, her ability to logically express herself, and her ability to analyze cause-and-effect relationships. It was also concluded that Allen was more chronically vulnerable than others to becoming disorganized by everyday stresses, and thus more vulnerable to a loss of control under stress.[ii]
Allen spent 12 years on death row. She was executed in 2001.
5. Christina Marie Riggs
Christina Marie Riggs was accused of murdering her two young children- her five-year-old son Justin Dalton Thomas and two-year-old daughter Shelby Alexis Riggs.
Riggs gave her children some anti-depressants to sedate them while they were sleeping. She then injected her son with a large dose of undiluted potassium chloride which burned her son’s veins, causing him terrible pain but not death. Justin woke up with agonizing pain. She eventually smothered him with a pillow. Since the poison had not worked on her son, she simply suffocated her daughter to death with the pillow. She then tried to kill herself by injecting a large dose of potassium chloride and taking anti-depressants. However, she was saved by her mother who rushed her to the hospital in the morning. She was then tried for the murder of her children.
Riggs contended she was not guilty by reason of insanity but she was executed in 2000. Her last words were “I love you, my babies.”
4. Kimberly LaGayle McCarthy
Kimberly McCarthy, a crack addict, was an occupational therapist in a nursing home. Former El Centro College psychology professor Dorothy Booth was her neighbor. On the day of the murder in 1997, McCarthy went to Booth’s home on the pretext of borrowing sugar. Their main intention of McCarthy was to rob Booth in order to buy crack cocaine.
Kimberly McCarthy reached Booth’s home and stabbed the old lady five times with a butcher knife and beat her with a candelabrum. She then tried to steal the diamond wedding ring which Booth was wearing in her finger but the ring seemed stuck in her finger. In her desperate attempt, McCarthy cut off her finger to steal her diamond wedding ring. Booth was still alive at the time when McCarthy was slicing her finger but soon succumbed to her injuries. McCarthy then stole Booth’s purse and Mercedes-Benz and pawned the diamond ring in order to buy crack cocaine.
Kimberly McCarthy was convicted and executed in 2013.
3. Marilyn Kay Plantz
Marilyn Kay Plantz was a 27 years old woman living in Oklahoma. She was a homemaker and a Sunday school teacher who raised 2 children. She, along with her 18-year-old lover Clifford Bryson and his friend Clinton McKimble, killed her husband, James Earl Plantz, to claim the insurance worth $300,000 which she would receive in the event of her husband’s accidental death.
On a fateful night, James Plantz was attacked by the two teenagers with baseball bats. Marilyn Plantz was in the neighboring room with her children and she listened to the entire ordeal. She then looked at the head injury of her husband and asked the two men to burn his body as it didn’t look like an accident. They then dragged him to the truck and drove the truck to a remote area where the vehicle was doused with gasoline and set ablaze. The medical evidence showed that he was alive at the time because of the smoke that was inhaled into his lungs. Marilyn stayed behind to clean the blood stains from the carpet.
She was tried, convicted, and executed in 2001.
2. Teresa Wilson Bean Lewis
Teresa Lewis witnessed the murder of her husband and stepson on 30th October 2002. She called the local police authorities and her husband was alive at the time the police reached the scene but later succumbed to his injuries. He, however, told the police that his wife knows who did this.
It later came to light that Teresa Lewis waited 45 minutes before calling the police, emptying her dying husband’s wallet in the meantime. Lewis was later caught attempting to withdraw $50,000 from her dead husband’s account with a forged check. Within a week, she confessed to Law Enforcement Officers that she had offered money to kill her husband. The two men who killed Lewis’ husband and stepson were in fact two of her lovers, 21-year-old Matthew Jessee Shallenberger and 19-year-old Rodney Lamont Fuller, with whom she met at Walmart in Danville and soon began a sexual relationship with both of them.
On a fateful night, she had left the back door open for them to enter the house. While she waited in the kitchen, Shallenberger shot the sleeping Julian several times, while Fuller shot Charles in his bedroom with a shotgun.
She was executed by lethal injection in 2010.
1. Karla Faye Tucker
Karla Faye Tucker who was born and raised in Texas, started smoking at the age of 8, at age 10 she realized she was the result of an extramarital affair, by age 12 she turned to drugs and sex and by the time she reached 14, she had already started prostitution.
In 1998, she was put to death by lethal injection amidst an “unusually large national and international movement advocating the commutation of her sentence to life imprisonment, a movement that included a few foreign government officials.”[iii]
Back in 1983, after having spent the weekend doing drugs and performing orgy with her boyfriend Danny Garrett and their friends, Tucker and Garrett conceived a plan to rob and steal Jerry Dean, Karla’s ex-lover’s, motorcycle. At around 3 a.m., Garrett snatched the keys to Jerry Dean’s home from his sister Shawn Dean. They entered Jerry Dean’s bedroom where Karla sat on him and asked him not to move. In Dean’s retaliation, Garrett stuck him at the back of his head with a hammer. As a result of repeated hammer blows, Dean’s head became unhinged from his neck and his breathing passage was filled with fluid. Every time Dean tried to shout, it came out as a gurgling sound. In order to stop this sound Tucker attacked him with a pickaxe. She later claimed that every time she stuck with Jerry, she had an orgasm.
Tucker then found another woman called Deborah Thornton, who had met Jerry at a party, hiding under the bed covers. Tucker hit Thornton repeatedly with the pickaxe and then embedded the axe in her heart.
Both Tucker and Garrett were indicted and tried separately. While Danny Garrett died in jail before the execution could take place, Karla received her fatal dose of poison in 1998.
It’s strange that a peculiarly violent world of people exists beyond our realms of understanding. These inhuman beings (as we would rather call them owing to their cold-blooded behavior) who strive for greed and voyeuristic pleasures giving it a whole new dimension of ruthlessness are more common in our everyday lives for our comfort. Their existence may be predominant amidst us without a clue. Above were just a few of such cases that have left our beliefs shattered whilst claiming the lives of other unsuspecting victims. All this just leaves us in an unstable state of mind where our deepest corners are tapped to awaken a sense of brutality – is it truly a reality- that we justify ourselves as animals and the instincts that we hide from mankind are just patiently waiting to be unleashed.