Podcast Episode 11: “The Warrens”

I’m so excited that the podcast is back! Episode 11 is now available on iTunes, Stitcher & SoundCloud. Or you can click play right above and listen right here.

Episode 11 features psychic research couple Ed & Lorraine Warren whose work has been featured in cult horror movies like The Amityville Horror, The Conjuring and Annabelle. In Part I, I discuss the lives and career of the Warrens and in Part II, I’m joined by Hex Files’ contributor Craig to talk about our experience meeting Lorraine Warren and touring the Occult Museum.

As I promised in the episode, here are some of the photos I took while touring the Occult Museum. Light was certainly not on my side, so I apologize that most of the photos are poor quality but they’re still pretty awesome!

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When Your Man Is Literally Lookin’ Like a Snack: Katherine Knight’s Dinner Plans

If you aren’t into cannibalism and don’t have the stomach for graphic content – don’t even bother with this one… it’s just straight up fuckin’ nasty.

If you chose to continue – welcome back to Murder Monday ya’ll, I’ve got a real treat for you this week.

Meet Katherine Knight.

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Born on October 24, 1955 in Australia, Katherine Knight became a new part of an already dysfunctional family, setting her up for a life of trauma and rebellion. She was one of seven children who witnessed their parents’ tumultuous relationship on a daily basis. According to Knight and her siblings, their father was an angry alcoholic who used intimidation and force to rape their mother up to ten times a day. This then led to their mother talking to them as young children about how much she hated sex, but encouraged her daughters to “put up with it.” Katherine Knight claims she was sexually assaulted regularly by members of her family, but not by her father. Other family members backed these statements of abuse.

Knight led a troubled life, full of fights and toxic relationships. She was a known hard-ass, a real boss bitch. In 1973, she met her first husband, David Kellet, and according to all who knew them, she wore the pants in this relationship. When the two married in 1974, the couple arrived belligerently intoxicated on her motorcycle, with her driving, and him on the back (savage af / honestly a dream wedding in my opinion). As soon as they pulled up, Knight’s mother, Barb, had some advice for the groom to be.

“You better watch this one or she’ll fuckin’ kill you. You stir her up the wrong way or do the wrong thing and you’re fucked – don’t ever think of playing up on her, she’ll fuckin’ kill you.”

On the night of their wedding, she tried to strangle her new husband when he fell asleep after they “only had sex three times” (yooooo this bitch is wild). Shortly after this event, her husband was hospitalized after she hit him in the back of the head with a frying pan – eventually he left her for another woman. After Kellet left, Knight went off the rails. She was placed in a mental health facility and diagnosed with postnatal depression after she was caught rattling her baby’s carriage vigorously while walking down a neighborhood street. After her release, she took her two month old baby to the railroad tracks and left her there (luckily she was saved before the train came). She then stole an axe, went into town, and threatened to kill several people.

In 1986, Knight met her second husband, David Saunders. He moved in with her and her two daughters (who she SOMEHOW still had custody of) but this relationship wouldn’t last long. Knight continued to fall off track and her mental health was a constant downward spiral. She decorated their home with animal skulls, skins and bones, every inch of the house. Even the ceiling was covered. She slit the throat of David Saunders two month old puppy in front of him to “show him what would happen if he left.” He eventually left her after she hit him in the head with an iron and stabbed him in the stomach with a pair of scissors.

I’m literally picking up my own jaw while typing this, Jesus CHRIST, lady.

She met her third husband, John Chillingworth in 1990 – they had one child, a son, and then she left him three years later for John Charles Price.

John Price and Katherine Knight moved in together in 1995 regardless of her well-known violent history. Her children loved him, and he was making a lot of money at the time. In 1998, they had a fight over Price refusing to marry her (fourth times a charm, right?) and Knight decided to send a makeshift video of stolen items from his work place to his boss, which led to him to being fired from his job of 17 years. His friends refused to have anything to do with him as long as he stayed with her – he had lost everything to this woman.

February, 2000

After a series of assaults leading up to Knight stabbing Price in the chest, he finally kicked her out of the house. On February 29th, he took out a restraining order in attempt to keep her away from him and his children.

That afternoon, Price told coworkers that if he did not show up for work, it would be because Knight had probably killed him.

He returned to their home that night out of fear that she may hurt his children – but she had sent them all to a friend’s house for a sleepover. He tried to get some rest, but Knight arrived in the middle of the night, and woke him up by seducing him. He found video tapes from that day of Knight prancing around in lingerie in front of their children – similar to how her mother had acted towards her as a child.

February 30, 2000

The next morning, neighbors became concerned that his car had never left for work and called the local authorities. When the police arrived, they busted down the back door and found a deceased Price, and an overdosed/comatose Katherine Knight.

According to blood evidence and the autopsy of John Price, police drew the following conclusions. They are gruesome, you have been warned.

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Katherine Knight stabbed John Price with a butcher’s knife while he was fast asleep. Blood evidence showed that he woke up and tried to escape during the attack. He managed to get out of the front door, but it looked as though Knight dragged him back inside. He bled out, and died in the hallway. Knight then went and withdrew $1,000 from Price’s bank account. A few hours later, she went back to his body to play out her final act.

Knight skinned him like an animal, and hung his skin from a meat hook on the door in the living room. She then decapitated him and cooked up various parts of his body, while saving the head for herself. She served up Price’s remains with potatoes, beets, zuchinni, pumpkin, yellow squash, and gravy. She had attempted to turn her boyfriend into a stew…

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She then “set the table”, with a name tag by each plate, and prepared to feed Price to his own children for dinner. Price’s head was found on the stove in a pot of vegetables. When Knight awoke, she claimed to have no recollection of this crime (yeah fucking right, lady). She left a blood-stained note on the remains of his skinless, butchered body. The note read as follows:

“Time for you back Johathon for rapping my douter. You to Beck for Ross for Little John. Now play with little Johns dick John Price.”

…… wait, what?

March 2001

Knight declined an initial offer to plead guilty to manslaughter and she was arraigned in March of 2001. Her defense team defended her by claiming she had amnesia and dissociative issues. Two psychiatrists said she suffered from borderline personality disorder. She refused to take responsibility for her actions. She was the first woman to receive life in prison in Australian history. She is serving her life sentence in Silverwater Women’s Corrrectional Facility in West Syndey where her fellow inmates fear her and refer to her as “Nana.” She is the Queen Bee of the joint, she can’t even have a cell mate because she claims to be unable to control her urges to kill. She has no family in contact, and has not been seen using the prison telephones. She is also the event coordinator at the jail (what the fuck kind of events this lady plans, I don’t even want to know.)

Uh, yeah, so anyways, thanks for tuning in for Murder Monday – have a safe holiday and try not to think about the fact that your creepy neighbor could be grilling their husband and feeding them to you at the pool party.

Cya next week, maybe. 

Sources :

murderpedia.com

wikipedia.com

allthatsinteresting.com

Reasons Not to Trust Your Drug Dealer: The Bucks County Killings

Welcome back to Murder Monday, ya’ll. Hope you all got a chance to read our founder Jen’s two part post on the Martha Moxley case – if you haven’t, head back to our True Crime section and check it out.

This week I am tackling one that I feel like you’ve all been waiting for…

The Bucks County Killings ( 2017 )

Now, usually in cases that are close to home I try to remain neutral with my opinions towards the suspects and victims. I do this in case any family or friends of those involved may happen to stumble upon these posts, I’m not trying to pour salt in anyone’s wounds here. But in this case, I will not hold my opinion back. Cosmo DiNardo and Sean Kratz are mindless, sociopathic, conniving, cold blooded murderers. They are a prime example of the argument of nature vs. nurture, considering they chose the path that they did at such a young age, I am convinced that they were just bad seeds from the start. These two kids are actual pieces of garbage, and here’s why –

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July 2017

Between July 5th and July 7th, 2017, four young men were reported missing. The victims Jimi Taro Patrick, Dean Finocchiaro, Mark Sturgis, and Thomas Meo, were subsequently found murdered shortly after their disappearance. They were between the ages of 19 – and 22.

The victims

Jimi Taro Patrick, age 19
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Taro Patrick was last seen around 6pm on July 5th in Newtown, Pennsylvania. He was a rising sophomore majoring in business at Loyola University in Maryland. He failed to show up for work the following day, after allegedly meeting Cosmo DiNardo to buy marijuana that night. Taro Patrick was shot in the back, and thrown in a hole.

Dean Finocchiaro, age 19
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Finocchiaro was last seen around 6:30pm on July 7, when he was being picked up by an unknown driver. His remains were found in a common grave on July 12. He was shot numerous times by both DiNardo and Kratz, and placed in a metal oil tank that had been converted to a pork roaster.

Mark Sturgis, age 22
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Thomas Meo, age 21
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Mark Sturgis drove to meet his friend Thomas Meo around 6pm on July 7th. They went to meet DiNardo at a church to buy marijuana, and they were both shot upon exiting their vehicle during the meet up. DiNardo ran out of ammunition, and continued to drive over a still breathing Thomas Meo with a backhoe until he died, he then threw both bodies in the common grave tank where Finocchiaro’s body had been placed.

The Culprits

Cosmo DiNardo, age 20
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Cosmo DiNardo was a troubled kid who was already known by local authorities. He was a violent, drug-abusing, diagnosed schizophrenic who had over 30 run-ins with local police, but he had never been convicted of a crime (he’s got rich parents – DUH!) In 2016 DiNardo was banned from Arcadia University’s campus after dropping out and lingering on school grounds, making students “uncomfortable”. On February 9, 2016 he was found with a Savage Arms 20-gauge shotgun and ammunition, but he charge was dismissed because his mental health commitment order was “not in proper format” (fuck you, District Judge Michael W. Gallagher). Bensalem police had records of 88 incidents involving the DiNardo family or calls to their household since 1998.

Months before the murders, DiNardo was stranded for more than a day in the woods with a brain injury after a quad biking accident (shocker).

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He also had a startling internet presence that worsened quickly prior to his crime spree.

“I am a savage no explanation needed”
Was posted on his Facebook account on December 27th of the following year.

He also posted public pleas for “new women” and “intercourse” – because, you know, that’s how you get yourself a girlfriend apparently.

He also started posting about new jobs and ideas he had. These grand ideas and unrealistic schemes are a critical sign of mental illness and mania.

“Here is how I plan to make my dreams come true. First I am going to go to Montana to do taxidermy school for six months. My second step will be to open a butcher shop in New Hope. After the butcher shop I will use funds to acquire equipment and a building to make an archery range and paintball course.”

He continued to say profits from this venture would go toward buying land out west, in Florida and in South Africa to lead guided hunts and possibly to get his own reality show (what in the actual fuck).

Neighbors have been quoted saying that DiNardo was “pretty nutty” – and he apparently had bragged before about “having someone killed over a debt”.

He was the heir to a family with sizable real estate holdings. His family had a 68-acre farm that cost 5.4$ Million when purchased in 2005. Their fortune stemmed from trucking and concrete services. In December of 2008 the family purchased another adjacent property for $450,000.

Sean Kratz, age 20

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Known for stealing jewelry, leaf blowers and tools, among many other things, Kratz definitely had a criminal past. His former girlfriend’s mother was also quoted saying she was certain he had stolen her dog (as if I needed another reason to hope you get shanked in prison.) Neighbors of his former girlfriend said he “Literally tormented the block.” Residents here had reported multiple break ins, and said he had tried to steal appliances from the neighborhood on numerous occasions. He was repeatedly busted for selling these items at resale shops, and had a short stint in jail prior to his final acts with DiNardo. In March of 2017, he was shot 19 times during a robbery, which probably made him feel like he had gained at least a little street cred.

The Arrests

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Sturgis’ unoccupied car had been found by police less than two miles away from Cosmo DiNardo’s family farm – shortly after, they found Meo’s car, which contained his diabetes kit. Without it, his family told police he would not survive.

One person in contact with DiNardo once the four had been reported missing texted him asking, “Aren’t you worried?” about “your buddy Dean” (Finocchiaro) DiNardo replied :

“I mean I know the kid but yeah I feel bad for his parents. He’s a pill-popping junky who has 2 DUIs… he prob just jumped on parole or probation.”

“I have no clue bro it’s weird people keep hitting me up I have no idea what’s up.”

That afternoon, DiNardo was arrested in Bensalem for a firearms charge that had been dismissed in May. At this point he was already a “person of interest”. Prosecutors persuaded a judge to set his bail at 1$ million, and the next day he posted bail with a $100,000 cashiers check from his father Antonio – and he walked free. The following day, police rearrested DiNardo for charges of stealing Meo’s 1996 Nissan Maxima – they said a man had reported DiNardo had tried to sell him the car for 500$ on Saturday. It was agreed that he was now considered a flight risk, and District Justice Maggie Snow set his bail at 5$ Million. They continued their search to the DiNardo family’s Solebury farm, where they unearthed a 12 1/2 foot grave. Inside were the remains of multiple bodies, but only Finocchiaro had been identified initially, as the bodies had been partially burned.

While in custody after these findings by police, DiNardo finally confessed to the four murders, and named Sean Kratz as his accomplice. He was told he would not receive the death penalty if he led police to the other bodies, and officials say without this deal they would not have been able to find them. Without the killer’s cooperation, they wouldn’t have been able to find the body of Taro Patrick, who had been killed and buried separately.

Both DiNardo and Kratz are charged with homicide, conspiracy, abuse of corpses, robbery, and possession of instruments of crime.

Just last week, breaking news came out about DiNardo’s released confession tape from July 13, 2017. In this tape, he explains in detail the crimes he committed in a cool and collected tone.

“I go, get the backhoe, dug the hole, said a prayer, put him in the hole.”

(DiNardo describing how he disposed of Taro Patrick’s body.)

The murder spree started on July 5, 2017 with Jimi Taro Patrick – a former classmate of DiNardo’s. Prior to meeting, DiNardo told Patrick to bring $8,000 for a marijuana deal, but Patrick only showed up with $800. For that amount of money, he said he could just sell him a gun instead of the pot. As Patrick went to try out the 12-gauge shot gun, DiNardo shot him in the back with another gun.

“I didn’t want the kid’s $800. I didn’t kill him over the $800. I wasn’t robbing him.”

He claimed he would have been shot if he showed up to his dealer without the money, as he was the middle man. He burned Patrick’s money, buried his body, and continued to his next business venture.

On July 7th, 2017, after buying 300$ worth of steaks and fish for his family, he went and picked up his cousin Sean Kratz. They proceeded to meet Dean Finocchiaro for a drug deal after dropping the food at their grandmother’s house. Their plan was simple this time – they were going to rob him, maybe even kill him. DiNardo told Kratz he had killed before, and told Kratz to rob and shoot Finocchiaro. Kratz was hesitant.

“I wanted to go home, but he just made it clear that he wasn’t taking me home.”

“He wanted me to rob him in the woods and shoot him, take his money.”

“I just couldn’t do it…”

(Kratz, in reference to the demands given to him by his cousin.)

The two picked up Finocchiaro in Bensalem and drove him to the DiNardo property in Solebury, where Patrick’s body was already buried. Once there, the three took four wheelers into the woods, where Kratz was supposed to shoot him. When he couldn’t shoot, DiNardo became angry. He led Kratz and Finocchiaro into a barn telling them he wanted to show them a Vespa. Once inside the barn, Kratz nervously lit a cigarette as Finocchiaro fiddled on his cell phone. DiNardo gave Kratz a shooting gun hand gesture.

“I kinda was hesitant. I pulled the gun out. I aimed it in the air, closed my eyes and fired a shot.”

DiNardo then took the gun from Kratz hand and continued to shoot the already lifeless body of Dean Finocchiaro.

“His head was split the hell open, half his brain was in the barn.” -DiNardo

They covered Finocchiaro’s body with a tarp after robbing his pockets. Then they rolled the body into a backhoe and lifted it into a pig roaster just outside of the barn.

Just after this, DiNardo’s father appeared. DiNardo claimed that his father had another woman with him who was not his mother. Kratz said DiNardo became angry, and swore to kill the both of them.

DiNardo then received a phone call from Tom Meo to arrange a drug deal that same day, and he planned it to be another set up. They were going to rob him and let him go, but instead he showed up with Mark Sturgis – and the deal turned into a blood bath. Tom Meo and Mark Sturgis were shot repeatedly. While clinging to life, Tom Meo was repeatedly run over by DiNardo. Their bodies were thrown in the roaster with Finocchiaro’s body.

DiNardo drove to a gas station and bought Kratz $30 worth of root beer, cream soda, water, iced tea, and cigarettes. Kratz had refused to “smoke a dead man’s cigarettes.” Then they stopped for cheesesteaks – DiNardo said he didn’t eat his, he didn’t have an appetite. The two had a sleepover that night as the bodies were left burning.

They hand washed DiNardo’s truck and drove to Kratz’s Mother’s house in Northeast Philadelphia the next morning, where DiNardo hid the gun used to kill his victims. Then they visited Kratz’s sister and her newborn baby. While there, DiNardo reportedly made lewd comments to her (again, this was also his cousin…)

Then they continued on to a barber shop owned by Kratz’s uncle, where DiNardo got a haircut and a shave while Kratz tossed the victims’ IDs into a sewer out front. Then they went and got their car washed in Franklin Mills.

So basically DiNardo went and scattered the evidence in his own family members’ businesses and homes, as if he could get any worse.

On their way home, DiNardo’s mother called him in hysterics. Word had spread that her son was the last known to have seen Finocchiaro before his disappearance. Kratz asked to be taken home, but DiNardo took him back to the farm. DiNardo hurried to bury the burned remains left in the roaster. In this time, Kratz went and removed the hidden guns from his mother’s home. When asked why he did this, he stated, “The same reason that I shot Dean – I was scared he was going to harm not only myself, but I have a one-and-a-half-month-old nephew, got a little brother, a mother. He made it out like ‘You say anything and I’ll hurt you.’ After knowing what he’s capable of, I was scared for others.” He claims he never spoke to his cousin again.

At the end of the confession tape, DiNardo breaks down and claims:

“I threw my life away for nothing. All I’ve done is nothing… I ruined people’s families.”

Cosmo DiNardo is serving life in prison.

Now, Sean Kratz on the other hand…

Last week Sean Kratz was offered a plea deal for 59-118 years in prison for a third- degree murder and related charges – and he rejected it. He will now face trial, and prosecutors have put the death penalty back on the table for him. I’m sure we’ll keep you posted when the trial comes.

This story hits close to home for many of us in the area. These kids were the same age as my little brother, and what kid their age doesn’t try buying pot nowadays? It is truly sickening to know that these young men, practically still children, could go through with such gruesome acts. Keep an eye out for your friends, be weary of their troubled acquaintances. And please, for Christ’s sake, don’t be so trusting of those people. See you next week.

Sources:

http://www.mcall.com/news/breaking/mc-nws-sean-kratz-bucks-county-murders-20180516-story.html

https://www.nbcphiladelphia.com/news/local/In-Their-Own-Words-Bucks-County-Killers-Cosmo-DiNardo-Sean-Kratz-Confession-Tapes-Recordings-Murders–482717101.html

https://www.nbcphiladelphia.com/news/local/In-Their-Own-Words-Bucks-County-Killers-Cosmo-DiNardo-Sean-Kratz-Confession-Tapes-Recordings-Murders–482717101.html

http://www.tampabay.com/news/publicsafety/He-lured-young-men-looking-for-weed-Their-bodies-turned-up-in-a-pig-roaster-_168385717

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/July_2017_Pennsylvania_murders

Possible Death Penalty in Bucks County Killings

Cosmo DiNardo and Sean Kratz brutally murdered four young men in Bucks County, Pennsylvania last summer. The young men went to DiNardo’s 90-acre farm near New Hope to purchase marijuana. The young men, aged between 19 and 22 years old, were shot, doused with gasoline and burned in a pig roaster.

Today, DiNardo pled guilty to homicide and was sentenced to 4 consecutive life sentences. Kratz, DiNardo’s cousin, pled not guilty. The Bucks County District Attorney plans on seeking the death penalty for Kratz with the use of his recorded confession. To hear the confessions and to read more about this horrific case, head over to NBC Philadelphia.

History’s Most Terrifying Female Serial Killers, Part III: Jane Toppan

Today’s entry falls roughly in the same time frame as the previous two. The turn of the century seemed to be something of a hotbed for killers. Or perhaps information about our recent past is just more readily available, meaning we’re simply more aware of events the likes of which had been occurring since the dawn of time. It was certainly easier to evade detection for long stretches before modern technology made a number of these stories impossible to reproduce today. In 2018 if someone disappears from social media for more than 48 hours people start to wonder. Information traveled much slower in the 1800’s, making it frightfully easy to disappear without anyone realizing for months.

This week’s killer is a tough pill to swallow. A successful, and for a time beloved nurse who took a chilling turn to sadism with the unfortunate patients in her care. You may want to have a bed pan handy, you’re about to meet “Jolly Jane” Toppan, the woman who makes Nurse Ratched look like Patch Adams.

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“Jolly Jane” Toppan. Source

Not unlike other killers of her ilk, Toppan’s tumultuous childhood seemed to lay the groundwork for her future turn to violence. Born Honora Kelley around 1857, she was the youngest of four girls. A family of poor, Irish immigrants, life was not easy for the Kelleys. While she was still very young, Honora lost her mother to a bout of tuberculosis.

Her father, Peter Kelley, was an abusive alcoholic who struggled with his waning sanity. Those around him knew him by his less than flattering nickname “Kelley the Crack;” as in “crackpot.” Living up to this moniker, Peter is said to have once sewed his own eyelids shut while working as a tailor.

In 1863, he brought Honora and her older sister Delia to the Boston Female Asylum and skipped town. This particular asylum placed orphaned or abandoned girls with well-to-do families looking to adopt. Honora ended up an indentured servant to the wealthy Toppan family of Lowell, Massachusetts.

She took the name Jane Toppan after some time living with the family. This new name meant a second chance for her, an opportunity to craft a new identity from scratch. Jane reportedly did very well in school and had many friends. When she turned 18, she was released from her indenture.

In 1885, around twenty years after her adoption, Jane began studying to become a nurse at Cambridge Hospital. Here, her gracious demeanor and outgoing personality earned her the nickname “Jolly Jane.” By all appearances she was flourishing, but lying in wait just underneath her sparkling facade was Honora, daughter of “Kelley the Crack.”

It is during her residency at Cambridge that Jane began performing twisted experiments on several of her patients. She seemed fascinated with death; during her training colleagues noted her apparent obsession with autopsies. This fascination drove Jane’s experiments on her patients.

She would first administer a dangerously high dose of sedative, completely immobilizing her chosen guinea pig. Once rendered helpless, she would often lay with the person and hold them. Jane is one of the few female killers motivated, at least in part, by sexual thrill. Her victims were conscious through long stretches of this experience but unable to move a muscle.

She would alternate drugs, bringing them close to death with a meticulously measured overdose, and then pull them back from the brink with something to revive them. She would repeat this process over and over, employing her medical expertise to keep her victims teetering between life and death.

An article about Jane published in a 1902 issue of the Indianapolis Journal describes this brutal tug-of-war:

“She said that the paroxysms of desire were intermittent and there were times when patients were quietly dying that her better nature would become uppermost and she would try to check approaching death. She might nurse the patient ever so carefully and seek to effect a cure. Then would come a craving to administer poison, and this amounted to the strongest uncontrollable impulse, which only physical restraint would stop, and then would render her patient unconscious. In the presence of death she would gleefully fondle the patient, stare into the eyes as if it were to see the inner workings of the soul, do all possible to intensify the agony of the patients, and then when the end came she would become herself again.”

Jane was very good at what she did. She preyed on the weak and the elderly of her hospital’s population, those whose deaths wouldn’t come as a shock. No foul play was suspected of any of the deaths at Cambridge Hospital.

After a brief stint at Massachusetts General Hospital, where the killings continued unchecked, Jane took to private nursing. Doctors recommended her to their wealthy clients for home care. She was a great success, despite the unusually high mortality rate of her patients, and traveled from one rich household to another.

jane-toppan-mass-general
Massachusetts General Hospital. Source

Around this time, Jane lured her foster sister Elizabeth to come visit her after she had complained about feelings of depression. Jane made an attempt at alleviating Elizabeth’s ills with a picnic at the beach, but ended up poisoning her with strychnine.

In 1901, Jane set her sights on the elderly Alden Davis and his family. She created a vacancy in the house when she murdered the man’s wife, and promptly moved in to care for him in his time of loss. After only a short time in the Davis home, Jane claimed the lives of Alden and two of his daughters.

She left what remained of the Davis family and spent some time back in her home town to seemingly take a stab at relative normalcy. She sought the affections of her late foster sister Elizabeth’s widower, Oramel Brigham after inserting herself into his home. Although he made it clear he was not interested, Jane made several attempts to win him over. Most notably poisoning him just enough to be able to nurse him back to health. He was less than charmed and she was ordered out of the house.

While Jane had been busy making ham-fisted attempts at expressing love, one of Alden Davis’s surviving family members ordered a toxicology report on his body. When it was discovered he had been poisoned a police detail was assigned to Jane. After a brief investigation she was arrested for murder on October 26.

By 1902, she had confessed to 31 murders. When her sanity was called into question during her trial she replied:

“How can I be insane? When I killed those people I knew that I was doing wrong. I was perfectly conscious that I was not doing right. I never at any time failed to realize what I was doing. Insanity is complete lack of mental responsibility, isn’t it?”

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Source

Despite her claims to the contrary, Jane was found not guilty by reason of insanity. She was committed for life to the Taunton Insane Asylum. There she took her turn as a patient until her death on August 17, 1938.

jollyjane2
Source

Sources:

http://murderpedia.org/female.T/t/toppan-jane.htm

Indianapolis Journal, Volume 52, Number 176, Indianapolis, Marion County, 25 June 1902

http://www.newenglandhistoricalsociety.com/jolly-jane-toppan-killer-nurse-obsessed-death/

http://www.the13thfloor.tv/2017/01/27/the-twisted-but-true-tale-of-serial-killer-nurse-jolly-jane-toppan/

The Murder of Martha Moxley, Part II

So now that we understand the events surrounding the murder of 15-year-old Martha Moxley, let’s dive into the charges, trial and recent overturned conviction of Kennedy cousin Michael Skakel.

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Martha Moxley, photo courtesy of the Boston Herald

If you read part I, you’ll recall Michael changed his story from the original alibi he had given investigators back in 1975 that convinced them he couldn’t possibly be involved due to timing (he said he had gone to his cousin’s house with his brothers and had not returned until 11 p.m., but let’s be real — it seems the police were willing to use any excuse they could find not to look into the Skakel family). In his memoir years later, Michael revealed he had actually been on the Moxley property and even placed himself at the scene of the crime by admitting to masturbating in a pine tree (yes, you read that correctly) that matched the description of the tree Martha’s body was found under.

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The Moxley’s Belle Haven home, 1970s, photo courtesy of the Daily Beast

January 2000

And so, Michael essentially brought on his own demise by not being able to keep his mouth shut. He was charged with Martha’s murder on January 19, 2000, decades after her body was found. Later that day, Skakel, 39 at the time of the charge, turned himself into police and was released on $500,000 bond. Skakel returned to his home in Hobe Sound, Florida (which he shared with his now ex-wife who, ironically enough, was a professional golfer). Michael’s cousin, Douglas Kennedy, responded to the charges by saying, “Michael is one of the most honest people I know. He cares about people more than anybody I’ve ever met, and there is no possible way he’s involved in this.”

As I mentioned at the end of part I, Michael was originally charged as a juvenile because he was 15-years-old at the time the murder was committed. However, on January 31, 2001, Judge Maureen Dennis ruled that Michael should be tried as an adult and the case be transferred to the Superior Court.

2001 – 2006

On April 20, 2001, Superior Judge John Kavanewsky, Jr. ruled that there was enough evidence for the case to proceed to trial and so, testimony began May 7, 2002. Exactly one month later, even with no forensic evidence or eye witnesses (even to this day), Skakel was convicted of murdering Martha Moxley. On August 29, 2002, Michael was sentenced to 20 years to life in prison. At the sentencing, Michael tearfully maintained his innocence, saying, “I have been accused of a crime. I would love to be able to say that I did it, but I cannot do that.”

Michael and his defense team refused to let this be the end and continued to fight for his freedom, but they were continuously shut down by the State Supreme Court. In April of 2005, the team filed a petition for a new trial but the conviction was unanimously upheld by the State Supreme Court. In February 2006, Skakel’s team filed a motion asking the State Supreme Court to rehear arguments in Michael’s appeal but the request was denied.

Not willing to give up so easily, the team filed a petition with the U.S. Supreme Court in July of 2006 stating their cilent’s due process rights were violated by the State Superior Court decision. Not surprisingly, the prosecution filed a brief requesting that the justices reject Michael’s attempts at freedom, arguing that his due process rights were not violated.

This back-and-forth between the defense team and the court went on for years and years. Michael’s defense attorneys worked tirelessly to get the Supreme Court to agree to take another look at Michael’s conviction with their answer always the same: nope.

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Michael Skakel, photo courtesy of the Connecticut Post

2013 – 2016

However, things started to look up for Michael when his conviction was overturned in 2013. According to Judge Thomas Bishop, Michael’s trial attorney, Michael Sherman, had botched his case. “The defense of a serious felony prosecution requires attention to detail, an energetic investigation and a coherent plan of defense capably executed. Trial counsel’s failures in each of these areas of representation were significant and, ultimately, fatal to a constitutionally adequate defense,” wrote Bishop in October of 2013.

On December 30, 2016, the Connecticut Supreme Court rejected the ruling that Sherman did not adequately represent Michael in a 4-3 decision. Still relentlessly pursuing Michael’s freedom (because they’re getting some nice paychecks courtesy of the Skakel family), his lawyers asked the State Supreme Court to reconsider the reinstatement of Michael’s conviction on January 9, 2017 (conveniently after the justice who wrote the 4-3 majority ruling left the court.)

May 2018

And finally, we arrive at the most recent addition to the timeline of this complex case. On May 4, 2018, in another 4-3 ruling, Connecticut Supreme Court vacated the murder conviction, stating Sherman failed to present evidence of an alibi. Hubert Santos, Michael’s attorney, told NBC Connecticut, “Today’s ruling makes clear that Michael Skakel spent 11-and-a-half years unjustly imprisoned in violation of the Constitution. To be absolutely clear: Michael Skakel is innocent of this crime. We are grateful to Judge Bishop and the Connecticut Supreme Court for correcting this miscarriage of justice.”

John Williams, New Haven Criminal Defense Attorney, is unsure if prosecutors will continue to pursue Michael’s case. According to Williams, “He did serve a pretty fair amount in prison before this habeas corpus petition was released. He did a lot of time and if he’s innocent, good lord… I think that a reasonable prosecutor could say, okay… it’s time to move on to other things, we have limited judicial resources. But who knows what they’re going to do. It would be an interesting trial if it happens though.”

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Martha’s mother, Dorothy Moxley, photo courtesy of the New York Post

Just as Williams said, it is hard to tell how this case will end (if it ever ends), but my biggest hope is that, regardless of the outcome, justice is found for the poor teenage girl who had her life so violently stolen. Dorothy Moxley, Martha’s mother, still stands firm in her belief that Michael is responsible for her daughter’s murder. On the day the conviction was overturned, she told NBC Connecticut, “I was very surprised and I’m very disappointed. I have no doubt in my mind that Michael Skakel is the person who murdered my daughter… People have to be responsible for their actions. You can’t do things and expect you can just get away with it.”

Sources:

Featured image courtesy of ABC News

CNN

Greenwich Time

New York Post

People

Hartford Courant

NECN

New Haven Register

Don’t Swipe Right and Ghost… Your Rejected Date May Want to Bathe in Your Blood

31-year-old Arizona woman Jacqueline Ades met a man online as a lot of single folks do now-a-days.

They went on one date and she could not get her date victim out of her mind. Since meeting him, she has sent him 65,000 texts messages.

That’s right, you read that correctly: 65,000 texts messages! Court documents show that Ades was averaging approximately 500 text messages a day to the love of her life.

Let’s further break that down just for fun. There’s 24 hours in a day. Let’s PRETEND she was actually getting 8 hours of rest and dreaming sweet dreams of her hopeful future hubby. That leaves 16 hours in her day which means she was averaging 31 texts per hour or a text every 2 minutes.

WOW, HOMEGIRL was slipping and sliding all over his DMS!

It makes you wonder what she could possibly be saying to him! Any good one-liners you can take to your Bumble or Tinder account? That’s a big NOPE!

Here’s some examples of the messages she sent:

“I want to wear your bodyparts & bathe in your blood”

&

“Don’t ever try to leave me…I’ll kill you…I don’t want to be a murderer…”

Maybe you’re wondering how the hell did the texting escalate from flirting to this. Well, here’s a little timeline:

July 2017: She parked outside of the man’s Paradise Valley, Az home after he stated he had already let her down. After he asked her to leave and she refused, he called the police. She was still outside when officers arrived and they told her to leave.

December 2017: This happened again but this time, she was gone by the time the police arrived. The victim stated that he started receiving threatening text messages from her.

April 8 2018: The victim called the police a third time. He stated that he was out of the country but caught her on his home security and surveillance system.

Where was she when she was finally arrested? Oh you know, police found her casually relaxing in his BATHTUB! Officers say they also found a butcher knife in her car on the passenger seat.

She was taken into custody and charged with trespassing. After being released from jail she allegedly picked up where she left off with texting threatening messages to him.

May 4 2018: Police were called to a local Scottsdale, AZ business by a passerby. The caller stated “a woman was acting irrationally and claiming to be the owner’s wife.” The owner was none other than the man she had been harassing since the first date.

As of Tuesday May 8, 2018, she has been charged with threatening, stalking, and harassment. She is currently in jail with no bond.

When questioned by by police, Ades explained that she sent the man text messages all day but he never responded. She stated she understands her texts were “crazy” but she didn’t want him to leave her because she loved him.

She also stated that she plans to move to Florida once she’s released… so be careful who you ghost out there, Florida singles!

(Sources: KTLA & ABC7)