Raymond Fernandez and Martha Beck

FeaturedRaymond Fernandez and Martha Beck

Raymond Fernandez and Martha Beck were an American serial killing couple. Known as “The Lonely Hearts Killers”, it’s believed they killed as many as twenty women during their spree between 1947 and 1949.

Raymond Martinez Fernandez was born to Spanish parents on December 17th, 1914 in Hawaii. Shortly after his birth, him and his family moved to Connecticut. When he was an adult, he moved to Spain, got married, and had four children, all of whom he ended up abandoning later on in his life. He served in Spain’s Merchant Marine and in British Intelligence during World War II. He ended up boarding a ship that was heading to the United States, but a steel hatch fell on top of him which caused his skull to fracture and injured his frontal lobe. His social and sexual behavior might have been affected by this injury. As soon as he was released from the hospital he stole some clothes and was put into prison for a year, and during this time his cellmate got him into voodoo and black magic. Fernandez later would claim that black magic gave him “irresistible power and charm over women”.

Onto the second half of this killer couple, Martha Jule Beck, who was born as Martha Jule Seabrook on May 6th, 1920 in Milton, Florida. Due to a supposed glandular problem she was overweight and underwent puberty prematurely. As a teenager she ran away from home, and later at her trial her claimed she was raped by her brother and when she told her mother, she was beaten and told she was responsible. After Beck finished school, she went to study nursing but had trouble finding a job because of her weight. At first she became an undertaker’s assistant and helped prepare female bodies for burial. She eventually quit and moved to California, where she ended working in an Army hospital as a nurse. She began engaging in sexually promiscuous behavior and eventually became pregnant. She tried to get the father of the child to marry her, but he refused to. She returned to Florida shortly after. She told people that the father of her child was a serviceman she had married, but he had been killed in the Pacific Campaign. The town all together mourned her loss, and her story was even published in the local paper. Shortly after her daughter was born, she became pregnant again by a Pensacola bus driver named Alfred Beck. They got married but quickly divorced after six months, and she gave birth to a son. At this point Beck was unemployed and a single mother of two children, and so she escaped into a fantasy world. She would buy romance novels and magazines, and movies. In 1946, she found employment at the Pensacola Hospital for Children. In 1947, she placed a lonely hearts ad in the paper, and Fernandez answered.

Fernandez went to visit Beck for a short time, and she immediately told everyone they were going to be married. He returned to New York City where he was staying at the time while she made arrangements in Florida. She was abruptly fired from her job and she packed all her stuff up and showed up onto his doorstep. He loved how dedicated she was to him, she even left her children for him, and he saw this as a sign of unconditional love. He confessed his criminal activities to her, and that’s when things started exploding between them. As an act to make their victims feel more comfortable, Beck would pose as Fernandez’s sister, or even saying that she lived alone and that her “brother” was just staying for a bit. She was extremely jealous, however, and would go to extreme lengths to make sure Fernandez never consummated his relationships with the various women he brought into their home. When he did have sex with a woman, Beck subjected both to her extremely violent temper.

In 1949, the couple committed the three murders that they would later be convicted of. The first woman was Janet Fay, a 66-year-old woman who became engaged to Fernandez and went to live with him in his apartment. Beck caught her in bed with Fernandez, and she proceeded to smash Fay’s head in with a hammer in a murderous rage. Fernandez then strangled her. Fay’s family was suspicious when she disappeared and the couple fled.

The couple eventually traveled to Byron Center Road in Wyoming Township, Michigan (a suburb of Grand Rapids) and they met and stayed with Delphine Downing and her two-year-old daughter. On February 28th, Downing became agitated and Fernandez gave her sleeping pills to calm her down. The daughter saw this and began crying, which enraged Beck. She choked the child but didn’t kill her. Fernandez thought that Downing would become suspicious if she saw the bruises around her daughter’s neck, so he shot her. The couple stayed in the house for a few days, and Beck became enraged again with the child’s crying and drowned her in a basin of water. They buried the bodies in the basement, but neighbors became suspicious when they didn’t see the mother and daughter around and called the police. This led to Fernandez and Beck being arrested on March 1st, 1949.

After their arrest, Fernandez quickly confessed to the murders under the impression they would not be extradited to New York since New York had the death penalty, but Michigan didn’t. They were extradited nonetheless and they both denied the 17 murders that were attributed to them. Fernandez tried to retract his confession and claimed he was only doing it to protect Beck. The trail was extremely sensationalized, full of lurid tales of sexual perversity. Newspaper reporters would describe Beck’s appearance with mockery, and she wrote many protesting letters to the editors. Both were convicted of Janet Fay’s murder (the only one that they were tried for) and both were sentenced to death. On March 8th, 1951 they were both executed. Despite the many fights and relationship problems they had, Fernandez and Beck often professed their love for each other even on the day of their execution.

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Clinton Road

FeaturedClinton Road

Clinton Road is located in West Milford, New Jersey. There are very few houses along the road with a lot of woods on either side of it. It’s also the subject of many urban legends and ghost stories. One story is of the ghost boy at the bridge. The bridge, which is over Clinton Brook (also known as Dead Man’s Curve), has an interesting legend attached to it. Legend says that if you put a quarter in the middle of the road where the yellow divider line is, at midnight the quarter will be returned by the ghost of a boy who either drowned while swimming below or had fallen into the water while sitting on the edge of the bridge. In some stories they say that people have seen an apparition and in other stories they say that the ghost will push a person into the water if they look over the edge of the bridge.

There’s a story of a ghost Camaro that is driven by a girl who supposedly died when she crashed the car in 1988, and if any mention of her or the car is said while on the road this will trigger a manifestation of the car. Another story is of two park rangers who have been seen on a hiking trail but the two rangers died in 1939. Some people have claimed to see weird people dressed in odd clothing at odd hours who will just stare at people who see them and do not say a work and either disappear or are not seen by other people present.

There is a conical stone structure that is just east of the road south of the reservoir and it is said it was the site where Druids practiced their rituals and horrible things happened to those who passed by or looked too closely or even came at the wrong time. There are phantom vehicles such as pickup trucks or even floating headlights that appear in the middle of the road and chase drivers to the end of the road before disappearing. There are strange creature sightings as well such as hellhounds and monkeys to even unidentifiable hybrids that are seen at night.

In 1905 a man named Richard Cross built a castle for him and his family on some high land that was near the reservoir. Later in the 20th century it was destroyed after a fire and now is a popular place for hikers and local teens to camp out or party. People have reported going into seizures and having bruises appear on their bodies afterwards and having extremely strange and disturbing visions. There are some Satanic symbols that have been reported as to appearing on the interior wall’s of the castle, especially in areas that were suppose to be inaccesible.

In May o f1983, a human body was found in the woods close to the road. Supposedly a cyclist found the body after investigating a vulture feasting nearby. An autopsy showed that the man had died of foul play, but there were ice crystals in his blood vessels near his heart. Pathologists concluded that his body was frozen before being dumped in an attempt to mislead investigators. The man was identified as someone on the periphery of Mafia activity in Rockland County, New York. This investigation led to the arrest of “The Iceman” or Richard Kuklinski, a New Jersey native who was involved in the Rockland organized crime and he confessed to being the killer.

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.

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.