Jesse Pomeroy

FeaturedJesse Pomeroy

Jesse Harding Pomeroy was born in Charlestown, Massachusetts to Thomas J. Pomeroy and Ruth Ann Snowman. He was the second child, with his brother being two years older than him. Thomas Pomeroy was a verteran of the U.S. Civil War.

In the period between 1971-1972 there were reports that several young boys were being each inticed to remote areas and being attacked by a slightly older boy. No one was arrested, however, the attacks were noteworthy because of the extreme brutality that was used by the assailant. The boys were beaten with a fist and a belt, and in at lest two of the attacks a knife was used. Some of the boys were physically scarred permanently.

In 1872, Ruth and her two children moved to South Boston. Pomeroy’s attacks on the boys continued and he was finally arrested and his case was heard in front of a Juvenile Court judge. He was found guilty and sentenced to the State Reform School for Boys at Westborough due to his age.

In February of 1874 when Pomeroy was 14, he was paroled back to this mother in South Boston. In March of that same year, a ten-year-old girl from South Boston went missing. Her name was Katie Curran. On April 22nd, 1874 the badly mutilated body of a four-year-old boy named Horace Millen was found on the marsh area of Dorchester Bay. As soon as they found this discovery the police went looking for Pomeroy despite a lack of evidence against him. The body of Katie Curran was found in the basement of Pomeroy’s mother’s dress shop.

Pomeroy was taken to view Millen’s body and was questioned if he committed the murder. He was denied the right to counsel. On December 9th and 10th of 1874, he was put on trial. Pomeroy was found guilty on December 10th, 1874. The jury recommended mercy on the boy because of his age. Pomeroy’s attorney filed two exceptions which were both overruled in February of 1875 at which point Pomeroy was sentenced to death by hanging. It was the Governor’s job to sign the death warrant, but he refused to. The only legal way to spare Pomeroy’s life was to go through the Massachusetts Governor’s Council and there had to be a majority vote to commute the death penalty. Over the next two and a half years the Council voted three times. Twice they chose to go with the death penalty, and the Governor refused both those times as well. In August of 1876, Pomeroy’s sentence was commuted to life in prison in solitary confinement. On September 7th, 1876 Pomeroy was moved to the State Prison located in Charlestown. He was 16-years-old. He made 10 or 12 attempts to escape but was unsuccessful. On September 29th, 1932 he died at the Bridgewater Hospital for the Criminally Insane.

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Brenda Spencer

FeaturedBrenda Spencer

Brenda Spencer was born on April 3rd, 1962 in San Diego, California (the San Carlos neighborhood) to Wallace and Dot Spencer. She lived in a house that was located across the street from the Grover Cleveland Elementary School in the San Diego Unified School District. When her parents separated, she lived with her father in poverty. They slept on the floor on a single mattress with empty alcohol bottles throughout the house.

Acquaintances spoke of Spencer as having expressed hostility toward policemen, even talked about shooting one, and talked about doing something big to get on TV. Although she showed exceptional skill in photography, she was extremely uninterested in school. Later when she was in custody it was discovered she had damage to the temporal lobe of her brain, which was attributed to a bicycle accident.

In early 1978, the staff at a facility for problem youth (where Spencer was referred to for truancy,) informed her family that she was suicidal. During that summer, she was arrested for shooting out of the windows of Cleveland Elementary with a BB gun, as well as charged with burglary. In December, a psychiatric evaluation that was arranged by her probation officer recommended that she be admitted to a mental hospital for depression, but her father refused to give permission to do so. On Christmas that year her father gave her a Ruger 10/22 semi-automatic .22 caliber rifle with a scope and 500 rounds of ammunition. Spencer said later “I felt like he wanted me to kill myself” in regards to the gun.

On the morning of January 29th, 1979, Spencer began shooting from her home at children who were waiting outside Cleveland Elementary School for the principal, Burton Wragg, to open the gates. She injured eight children and killed Wragg, who was trying to protect the children. Custodian Mike Suchar was also killed trying to pull a student to safety. A police officer responding to a call for assistance was wounded in the neck when he arrived. After firing 30 rounds of ammunition, Spencer barricaded herself inside her house for several hours. She had a phone call with a journalist from The San Diego Union-Tribune, who reported that she said “I don’t like Mondays. This livens up the day” in response to why she committed the shooting. She also spoke with police negotiators and telling them she would come out shooting. She eventually surrendered. Police found beer and whiskey bottles around the house but Spencer herself didn’t seem intoxicated.

Spencer was tried as an adult and pleaded guilty to two counts of murder and assault with a deadly weapon. She was sentenced to 25 years to life in prison. While in prison she was diagnosed with epilepsy and received medication to treat epilepsy and depression.

Spencer has had four unsuccessful parole hearings as of December of 2015. As of June of 2017 she remains in prison at the California Institution for Women in Chino, California.

Petterborough Ditch Murders/Joanna Dennehy

FeaturedPetterborough Ditch Murders/Joanna Dennehy

The Peterborough Ditch Murders were a series of murders that took place in Cambridgeshire, England in March of 2013. All of the victims were male and were found outside of Peterborough in ditches. The one who committed these crimes was Joanna Dennehy, who was sentenced to life imprisonment for her crimes.

In November of 2013, Dennehy pleaded guilty to all three murder charges and an additional two attempted murder charges. She was held at HM Prison Bronzefield and was diagnosed by psychiatrists with psychopathic, antisocial, and borderline personality disorders. Gary Stretch (formerly known as Gary Richards), 47-years-old, and Leslie Layton, 36-years-old, were charged with aiding Dennehy. On February 10th, 2014, Richards was found guilty of attempted murder and Layton was found guilty of perverting the course of justice. On February 12th both were convicted of all other charges. On February 28th, 2014 Dennehy was sentenced to life imprisonment at the Old Bailey. It was recommended that she should never be released due to the premeditation of each murder. She was also considered sadomasochistic and lacked the normal range of human emotions.

The victims were Kevin Lee, a property developer, landlord and a lover of Dennehy. He was killed on March 29th, 2013 and his body was found near Newborough the next day. He was dressed in a black sequined dress upon discovery. Lukasz Slaboszewski and John Chapman were both housemates of Dennehy and were both killed on March 19th and March 29th respectively. They were both found on April 3rd near Thorney.

Wayne Williams

FeaturedWayne Williams

Wayne Bertram Williams was born on May 27th, 1958 and was raised in the Dixie Hills neighborhood of southwest Atlanta, Georgia to Homer and Faye Williams. Both of his parents were teachers. Williams graduated from Douglass High School and developed an interest in raido and journalism. He eventually made his own carrier current radio station. He also began spending time at the radio stations WIGO and WAOK where he befriended a number of the annoucing crew and began dabbling in becoming a pop music producer and manager.

Williams was first a suspect in the Atlanta Child Murders in May of 1981 when a police surveillance team watching a bridge spanning the Chattahoochee River (where several bodies had been dumped previously) heard a loud splash which suggested someone had thrown something large over the bridge into the water. The first vehicle to leave the bridge after the splash was Williams’. When he was stopped by the police he told them that he was on his way to a neighboring town to audition a young singer named Cheryl Johnson for his music business but the number he gave police was fictional, along with Cheryl Johnson.

On May 24th, the nude body of Nathaniel Cater, a 27-year-old who had been missing for three days, was discovered by the river. He had died of possible asphyxiation. It was never clear if he had been strangled or not. Police had a theory that Williams had killed Cater and that him throwing the body over the bridge was the loud splash they heard. Williams was brought in for questioning and took three polygraph tests which he failed. Hair and fibers were taken from another victim and were consistent with his home, car, and dog. A coworker told police that they had seen Williams with scratches on his face and arms at around the time of the murders which police believe was caused by the victims during a struggle.

There began a several week long investigation where Williams taunted the police officers staking out his parents’ home with insults and jokes. During a press conference that Williams held outside his home he proclaimed his innocence, and told the press that he failed his three polygraphs, which was inadmissible in court. On June 21st, 1981, Williams was arrested for the murders of Cater and 29-year-old Jimmy Ray Payne.

Williams’ trial began on January 6th, 1982 in Fulton County. During the two month trial, prosecutors matched nineteen sources of fibers from his home and car to a number of victims. Other evidence included eyewitness testimony placing Williams with several victims while they were alive, which showed inconsistencies in his account of his whereabouts. Williams took the stand in his own defense, but alienated the jury by becoming angry. After just twelve hours of deliberation the jury found him guilty on February 27th of the murders of Cater and Payne. He was sentenced to life imprisonment. In the late 1990s he filed a habeas corpus petition and requested a retrial. The Butts County Superior Court Judge Hal Craig denied his appeal. In early 2004 he sought retrial again. In the 146 page federal court filing, his attorneys argued that there should be a retrial because law enforcement officers were covering up evidence of involvement by the Ku Klux Klam and that the carpet fibers linking him to the crimes would not stand up to scientific scrunity. A federal judge rejected it once more.

The Ice Box Murders/Charles Rogers

FeaturedThe Ice Box Murders/Charles Rogers

The Ice Box Murders is an unsolved murder case involving the Rogers family. Fred Rogers and his wife Edwina were both found dismembered and put into the refrigerator. Their son, Charles, was the main suspect, but he fled and was never found, leading this crime to remain unsolved and eventually Charles was declared dead after not being found for years.

Charles Rogers in 1942 enrolled at Texas A&M University but he later dropped out and then enrolled at the University of Houston where he earned his Bachelor of Science degree in nuclear physics. During WWII, he was a pilot in the United States Navy and also worked in the Office of Naval Intelligence. After the war, he worked as a seismologist for Shell Oil for nine years, but then in 1957 he abruptly quit his job with no explanation. Friends and associates of Rogers would later say that he was extremely intelligent and had a talent for finding gas, oil, and gold for the companies he worked for. He spoke several languages and had an interest in ham radios. In the mid-1950s he joined the Civil Air Patrol where he met David Ferrie (Ferrie was later named a conspirator in the assassination of JFK by New Orleans District Attorney Jim Garrison).

By the year 1965 Rogers was unemployed and living with his elderly parents in the Montrose neighborhood of Houston. Rogers was described as reclusive and would often communicate with his parents by slipping notes under the door. Neighbors weren’t really aware that he was living there since he would leave home before dawn and return after dark.

On June 23rd, 1965, two Houston police officers entered the Rogers’ home by force when Edwina’s nephew Marvin became concerned when his calls to his aunt went unanswered for several days. When they got inside, police didn’t find anything out of the ordinary but did notice food sitting on the dining room table. One officer opened the fridge and found what was thought to be numerous cuts of washed and unwrapped meat neatly stacked on the shelves. He thought it was the meat of a butchered pig, but as he was closing the door he noticed two human heads in the vegetable bin. Upon further inspection, he discovered it was the heads of Fred and Edwina Rogers. What the officer thought was hog meat in the fridge was actually the cut up body parts of the elderly couple. Police later discovered the organs were removed from both victims, cut up and flushed down the toilet while other remains were never found. It was determined that the couple was killed on June 20th. An autopsy showed Fred Rogers was killed by multiple blows to the head with a claw hammer. His eyes had been gouged out and his genitalia removed. Edwina Rogers was beaten and shot, execution style. Police said that the bodies were dismembered in the upstairs bathroom by someone with “some knowledge of anatomy”. There was little blood in the house and the only amount that was found led to Charles Rogers’ bedroom. In it, police found a keyhole saw but no trace as to where Rogers was. A search for Rogers was launched with a warrant saying he was a material witness to the murder but he was never found.

Ed Gein

FeaturedEd Gein

Edward Theodore Gein was born on August 27th, 1906 to George Philip Gein and Augusta Wilhelmine Gein. He had an older brother named Henry George Gein. His mother Augusta hated her husband as he was an alcoholic who couldn’t hold down a job and had worked various types of jobs including a carpenter, tanner, and insurance salesman. George owned a grocery store for a few years, but eventually sold the business and the whole family moved from the city to a 155-acre farm in the Town of Plainfield in the Waushara County of Wisconsin. That was the Gein family’s permanent place of residence.

Augusta was an extremely religious Lutheran, and she took advantage of the isolating farm to make sure her sons weren’t influenced by outsiders. Ed only left the farm to go to school and when he wasn’t in school he was doing chores on the farm. She preached to her sons about the immorality of the world, the evils of drinking, and her belief that all women were naturally prostitutes and were instruments of the devil. She set aside time every afternoon to read the Bible to them, but it was usually graphic verses from the Old Testament concerning death, murder, and divine retribution. Ed was an extremely shy person. In school, his classmates and teachers recalled him having extremely strange mannerisms such as laughing at random times as if he was laughing at his own jokes. His mother would punish him if he tried to make friends. Despite his lack of social skills and development, he did fairly well in school, particularly in reading.

On April 1st, 1940 his father died of heart failure due to his alcoholism. He was 66-years-old. Henrey and Ed started doing odd jobs to pay for living expenses. The brothers were considered reliable and honest by residents in the community. While both of them worked as handymen, Ed would often babysit for neighbors. He enjoyed babysitting which may have shown that he related better to children than adults.

Henry began dating a divorced single mother of two and was planning on moving in with her. He grew concerned with Ed’s attachment to their mother and often spoke ill of her around Ed, in which he would often respond in shock and hurt. On May 16th, 1944, Henry and Ed were burning away marsh vegetation on their property when the fire got out of control and the fire department showed up. At the end of the day when everyone left, Ed reported his brother missing. A search party was formed and they searched where the fire was and found Henry’s body. It seemed he was dead for a while before being discovered. The cause of death of ruled as asphyxiation by the county coroner, but some people believed Ed had killed his brother, possibly relating to him speaking ill of their mother. After the death of Henry, it only left Ed and his mother on the farm.

Shortly after Henry’s death, Augusta suffered a stroke that paralyzed her and Ed devoted all his time to taking care of her. Sometime in 1945 Ed and his mother visited a man named Smith to buy some straw and while there Augusta witnessed him beat a dog to death. A woman came out of Smith’s house and yelled at him to stop, and Augusta was very upset at this scene. She wasn’t upset at the death of the dog, but more upset with the woman who apparently wasn’t married to Smith being there. She said that she had no business being there and angrily called her “Smith’s harlot”. After this event, Augusta suffered another stroke and ultimately died on December 29th, 1945 at the age of 67. Gein was devastated and left all alone. He held onto the farm and earned money from odd jobs. He also boarded up the rooms his mother used and left them untouched while the rest of the house became squalid. He resided in a small room next to the kitchen, and also around this time he became interested in death-cult magazines and adventures stories, particularly ones that involved cannibals or Nazi atrocities.

On the morning of November 16th, 1957 a hardware store owner by the name of Bernice Worden mysteriously vanished. A Plainfield resident reported that the store’s truck has been driven out the back of the building at around 9:30 AM. The store was closed the whole day and people thought it was because of deer hunting season. Worden’s son, Deputy Sheriff Frank Worden, went into the store around 5 PM and found the cash register open and blood stains on the floor. It was discovered that Gein was in the store the night before his mother’s disappearance and said he would come back in the morning for a gallon of antifreeze. A sales receipt of said gallon of antifreeze was the last receipt written by Worden on the morning she disappeared. On that same night, Gein was arrested at a West Plainfield grocery store and the Waushara County Sheriff’s Department searched his farm. A deputy found Worden’s decapitated body in a shed on the property. She was hung upside down by ropes at her wrists and a crossbar at her ankles. The torso was “dressed out like a deer” and she had been shot with a .22-caliber rifle and the mutilations happened after her death. While searching his house the authorities found many more atrocities: whole human bones and fragments, a wastebasket made of human skin, chair sets covered in human skin, skulls on his bedposts, female skulls some with the tops sawn off, bowls made from human skulls, a corset made from a female torso skinned from shoulders to the waist, leggings made from human leg skin, masks made from the skin of female heads, Mary Hogan’s face mask in a paper bag and her skull in a box, Bernice Worden’s entire head in a burlap sack, Worden’s heart in a plastic bag in front of Gein’s potbellied stove, nine vulvae in a shoe box, a young girls’ dress and the vulvas of two females judged to have been about 15-years-old, a belt made from human nipples, four noses, a pair of lips on a window shade drawstring, a lampshade made from the skin of a human face, and fingernails from female fingers. All these artifacts were photographed but then destroyed.

When Gein was questioned, he stated that between 1947 and 1952 he made as many as 40 visits to three local graveyards at night to exhume recently buried bodies while he was in a daze-like state. On about 30 of those visits, he said he came out of the daze and left the grave without taking anything. On other occasions, he dug up graves of recently married middle-aged women who he thought resembled his mother. He would take the bodies home and tanned the skin to make his paraphernalia. Gein did choose his victims that resembled his mother, but the only difference was that how they presented themselves was totally against what his mother thought. An example would be Mary Hogan was a tavern owner with a sailor’s mouth. Gein knew his mother would disapprove of her entirely, and it seemed that Gein killed these types of women to satisfy his mother in some delusional way.

Gein admitted to stealing from 9 graves and led investigators to the locations. Authorities were uncertain if Gein was capable of robbing so many graves single-handedly in one night and so they exhumed two of the graves and found them empty except for one that had a crowbar instead of a body in it. Soon after his mother’s death, Gein started making a “woman suit” so that he could become his mother and actually crawl into her skin in a way. He denied having sex with the bodies and said they smelled too bad. He also admitted to shooting Mary Hogan who was missing since 1954.

A 16-year-old whose parents were friends of Gein reported that Gein kept shrunken heads in his house which were supposedly sent by a cousin who had served in the Philippines during WWII. Upon investigation, it was determined that these were human facial skins that were carefully peeled from the corpses and used by Gein as masks.

On November 21st, 1957 Gein was arraigned on one count of first-degree murder in Waushara County Court where he pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity. He was diagnosed with schizophrenia and found mentally incompetent and therefore he was unfit for trial. He was sent to Central State Hospital for the Criminally Insane (it is now known as the Dodge Correctional Institution) located in Waupun, Wisconsin. He was later transferred to Mendota State Hospital in Madison, Wisconsin. In 1968 doctors determined Gein was able to stand trial. Gein’s trial was held without a jury by request of the defense. He was found guilty on November 14th. A second trial dealt with Gein’s sanity. He was found “not guilty by reason of insanity” once again and committed to Central State Hospital for the Criminally Insane for the rest of his life.

Gein’s house and property were scheduled to be auctioned March 30th, 1958 but on March 27th the house was destroyed by a fire. Arson was suspected but the cause was never determined. Ed Gein died at the Mendota Mental Health Institute due to respiratory failure secondary to lung cancer on July 26th, 1984 at the age of 77. Over the years souvenir seekers have chipped pieces from his gravestone until the stone itself was stolen in 2000. It was recovered the year after near Seattle and was placed in storage at teh Waushara County Sheriff’s Department. The gravesite itself is now unmarked, but not unknown to people. Gein is buried with his parents and his brother.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Murder of Shanda Sharer

FeaturedThe Murder of Shanda Sharer

Shanda Sharer was a young 12-year-old American girl who was tortured and burned to death in Madison, Indiana by four teenage girls.

Shanda Renee Sharer was born on June 6th, 1979 in Pineville, Kentucky to Stephen Sharer and Jacqueline. After her parents divorced, her mother remarried and they all moved to Louisville, Kentucky. She attended fifth and sixth grade at St. Paul School and was on the cheerleading, volleyball, and softball teams. Her mother divorced again and moved to New Albany, Indiana in June of 1991 where Sharer went to Hazelwood Middle School. Early in the school year, she transferred to Our Lady of Perpetual Help School.

In 1990, Melinda Loveless was dating a girl named Amanda Heavrin. After Loveless’ father left her family she started behaving erratically. She got into fights, complained of depression which caused her to get counseling. In March 1991, she came out to her mother who at first was furious but eventually did accept it. As the year went by, her relationship with Heavrin got worse.

Heavrin and Sharer met in the fall semester at Hazelwood Junior High when they got into a fight. They became friends however after spending time in detention together and eventually they started giving each other romantic letters. Loveless was angered and jealous of their relationship. At a school dance, she confronted them about it. Heavrin and Loveless never formally ended their relationship, but Loveless started dating another girl.

Heavrin and Sharer attended a festival together and Loveless began talking about killing Sharer and was even threatening her in public. She had to transfer to a Catholic school because of her parents’ concern about her relationship with Heavrin.

On January 10th, 1992, Toni Lawrence, Hope Rippey, Laurie Tackett, and Melinda Loveless drove to Sharer’s house and told her that Heavrin was waiting for them at the “Witch’s Castle”, also known as Mistletoe Falls which is located on an isolated hill overlooking the Ohio River. Sharer said she couldn’t go because her parents were awake, but to wait until midnight when they were asleep. Loveless was angry, but Rippey and Lawrence assured her they would return for Sharer later. After a few hours, the four girls went back to Sharer’s house. Loveless couldn’t wait to kill Sharer, but also stated that she just wanted to scare her. As Tackett and Rippey went to get Sharer, Loveless hid under a blanket in the back seat with a knife.

Sharer was reluctant to go with them but agreed to after she got changed. Once she got into the car Loveless came up with a knife and held it against Sharer’s throat. She then questioned her on her sexual relationship with Hearvin. When they arrived at the Witch’s House, Sharer was sobbing and tied up. Loveless took off Sharer’s rings and gave them to each of the girls. They told her that the Witch’s Castle was full of sacrifices and that she would be the next. To threaten her even more they got a t-shirt from the car and lit it on fire, but they worried that the light would attract people, so they all piled back into the car and put Sharer under a blanket. They had to stop into a gas station and ask for directions and later ended up near Tackett’s home in Madison, Indiana.

Tackett took them to a garbage dump in a densely wooded area. Lawrence and Rippey were scared and stayed in the car. Tackett and Loveless made Sharer strip naked, and then Loveless began to beat her brutally with her fists. She even slammed Sharer’s face into her knee, causing Sharer’s mouth to be cut on her braces. Loveless then tried to slash her throat, but the knife was too dull to do anything. They then strangled her until she was unconscious, and took her back to the car and threw her into the trunk. They drove to Tackett’s home to clean up. When they heard Sharer scream in the car, Tackett took a paring knife and stabbed her several times. At 2:30 AM, Tackett and Loveless went driving and heard gurgling sounds coming from the trunk. They stopped the car and opened the trunk. Sharer sat up covered in blood with her eyes rolling into the back of her head and unable to speak. They beat her with a tire iron until she was quiet again. Loveless and Tackett returned to her house and told the other girls about the torture. This caused Tackett’s mother to wake up and to yell at her for being out late and bringing home her friends. She then said she’d take them home and went to the burn pile. They opened the trunk and looked at Sharer, but Lawrence refused to look at her. Rippey sprayed Windex on her and said, “You’re not looking so hot now, are you?”

They drove down to a nearby gas station and used a two-liter bottle of Pepsi as a container to fill up with gasoline. They drove north of Madison where they wrapped Sharer in a blanket and carried her to a nearby field. Lawrence remained in the car. Rippey poured gasoline on Sharer and lit her on fire. Loveless wasn’t convinced she was dead, however, so they went back after a couple minutes and poured the rest of the gasoline on her.

After the murder, they went to have breakfast McDonald’s and discussed the murder. Lawrence called one of her friends told them about the murder, and afterward Loveless told Heavrin that they killed Sharer and begged her not to tell anyone. She agreed not to.

In the late morning of January 11th, 1992 two brothers from Canaan, Indiana were driving to go hunting and noticed a body on the side of the road. They called the police and waited by the corpse. They initially suspected a drug deal gone wrong and didn’t believe the crime was committed by anyone local. Stephen Sharer noticed his daughter was missing early that morning and called his ex-wife and together they filed a missing person report.

That night, Lawrence went to the police with her parents and confessed the crime and named the other three girls who were involved. They were quickly apprehended and found guilty. All four girls were tried as adults. To avoid the death penalty, they all agreed to a plea bargain. In exchange for her cooperation, Lawrence was guilty of one count of Criminal Confinement and given 20 years. Tackett and Loveless were sentenced to 60 years and Rippey was sentenced to 60 years. Loveless and Tackett are still imprisoned, but Lawrence and Rippey have since been released with Rippey still remaining on parole.