Deadly Babes ~ Creative Women Killers

Courtesy of Free Images ~ Scott Snyde

Courtesy of Free Images ~ Scott Snyde

 

Statistically, murder has been a man’s activity. The numbers show men are much more likely than women to murder and also to be victims of murder. Thankfully, homicide, which is a law enforcement term and includes murder, manslaughter, justifiable homicide, and accidental killing, has been shown to be a rare occurrence. Deaths from heart disease, accidents, and pneumonia are all far more common, according to Jennifer Schwartz, multi-published professor of Criminology, Stratification, Communities/Urban Sociology.

However, wading through those stats, we find that men are mundane killers. They tend to shoot, stab, and/or beat their victims. Although women are a minute portion of what is a small number of killers, they get creative, concoct elaborate murder plots, use what they think are ingenious means to stalk their prey. This could be easily explained, as women are not as physically strong as men. Their first choice would not be to engage in a fight as a means to murder. Whereas, homicide might very well be the result when two men fight. As a writer, this fascinates me.

Typically, when women do murder, they kill those closest to them (spouses, lovers, family members). It’s all about relationships for the woman killer. Jealously and revenge are often sited motives for murders committed by women. The other is the collection of insurance money and also involves a victim the murderess is close to (a spouse, parent, a close friend, even their own child).

Women rarely use a gun to commit murder. Typically, a woman’s means to commit murder are poison (with arsenic high on the list) and arson.

During the roaring 20s and into the 1930s, Vera Renczi murdered the men in her life due to a fear of abandonment. She poisoned her husbands, lovers, and a son with arsenic, then placed their bodies in zinc-lined coffins in her wine cellar.
In the 1960s, church lady and a mother and grandmother, Janie Lou Gibbs, who once ran a day-care center, poisoned her three sons, a grandson, and her husband to collect life insurance.

Smothering is another women’s method of murder. A woman killer might smother a sleeping spouse, lover, parent, or child. Many might recall the movie The Burning Bed, with the abused spouse who burned her husband to death played by Farrah Fawcett. Women have been known to burn an entire house down to kill their victim.

Courtesy of Free Images ~ Adryian

Courtesy of Free Images ~ Adryian

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About NikeChillemi

Nike Chillemi has been called a crime fictionista due to her passion for crime fiction. She writes literature that reads like pulp fiction. She likes her bad guys really bad, and her good guys smarter and better. She is the founder and chair of the Grace Awards, a member of ACFW. She has judged numerous literary awards including the Grace Awards, Carol Awards, Inspy Awards, and the Eric Hoffer Awards. View all posts by NikeChillemi

14 responses to “Deadly Babes ~ Creative Women Killers

  • P. T. Bradley

    Interesting! Women killers make for some interesting reading. I actually knew a lawyer who defended a local woman after she baked cookies with arsenic in them and killed her husband. He got her off and she sent him a plate of brownies. šŸ™‚

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  • April Erwin

    Very intriguing, Nike. Could be interesting to see a male character try to hide his identity by murdering as woman would. Or maybe he’s just a very confused person? Hmmm….

    And arsenic cookies. Oh wow. He was dumb enough to get her off, was he dumb enough to eat her brownies, P.T. Bradley? šŸ™‚ I’d worry about anything she cooked for me.

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  • Barbara E Brink (@BarbaraEBrink)

    From the difference in methods, seems like most killer men act instantly from an anger management problem and most killer women act after mulling on it for a while. Poison seems much more diabolical than using a gun. And yet there are no “ban rat poison” protesters in this country. Go figure…

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    • NikeChillemi

      Barbara, I’d say that’s true, to a point. Most women plan and even if it’s justifiable, and that could get them into trouble in court when and if they’re caught. Remember The Burning Bed with Farrah Fawcett? She planned to burn him in the bed, but he was much stronger than she and had horribly abused her for years. In abuse situations, women plan simply because if they don’t it won’t work and the abuser might kill them.

      Even in revenge killings, or for money, men take a gun and shoot the person they want dead, or stab them. Women devise an elaborate plot. Both are premeditated murder.

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  • Donna Basinow

    Great post! I’ve always wanted to write romantic suspense, but could never get into the head of someone who could kill…now this is definitely food for thought…or plot…:-)

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    • NikeChillemi

      Donna, I’ve read a few accounts of women plotting over time to kill. Definitely premeditated. I can’t get too much into their heads either. I try to show the killer as three dimensional, but my main focus is the hero and heroine’s heads. I try to show the impact the evil is having upon them as they interact with the grieving family, or whatever.

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  • Cynthia T. Toney

    Nike, you’ll appreciate this fact my husband called to my attention to regarding my historical/crime manuscript for YA: Before the 1960s, handcuffing was usually done in front of the body. Bet YOU knew that!

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    • NikeChillemi

      Cynthia, I wrote a 1940s murder mystery series, the Sanctuary Point series. So, I did a lot of research of law enforcement techniques back then. No Miranda warning back then. If the person in custody acted up, a night stick was routinely used.

      You’re right about the handcuffs in front. If you watch any old movies the mobsters always put their overcoat or trench-coat over the cuffs when they’re taken out and the press is shooting photographs of them. In that day, it wasn’t impossible that a person in custody with hands cuffed in front wouldn’t try to assault an officer to escape, but it was highly unlikely. 1) There was a grudging respect for “coppers” even among criminals. 2) More than that, the night stick would be liberally used against any attack on an officer and the officer would not be reprimanded or faced with charges. As the years went by, the burden has fallen to law enforcement to prove they’ve not using undue force, so the attacks on officers increased. So, cuffed hands went to the back.

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  • Cynthia T. Toney

    I’d forgotten about the night stick. I might work that into my manuscript! šŸ™‚ Thanks for the interesting blog posts!

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  • blueribbonfair

    I have been watching a show called deadly woman.on ID lately. I have changed my thinking because of this about woman not killing without consciousness in a serial manner like men do. Some very violent evil cases on there. It is different slightly- with reasons though like you said- than men.Great post.

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