When you try to imagine a murderer, your brain likely conjures an image of a man. That's probably because, statistically as far as we know, women are
When you try to imagine a murderer, your brain likely conjures an image of a man. That’s probably because, statistically as far as we know, women are responsible for around 11% of all murders. But that doesn’t make the murders any less heinous.
The women on this list have gone down as some of the most terrifying killers of all time.
Editor’s note: A warning some of these accounts feature graphic depictions of violence, sexual abuse, and murder.
Countess Elizabeth Bathory killed over 600 young girls.
Elizabeth Bathory used her wealth and position to torture those she considered beneath her, according to The History Channel. Bathory came from a prominent noble family in Hungary, and she married into another one when she wed Count Ferencz Nádasdy in 1575.
Sources say she convinced her husband to build a torture chamber in the castle they shared. She is said to have killed over 600 girls, mostly aged 10 to 14, after torturing them by “jamming pins and needles under the fingernails of her servant girls, and tying them down, smearing them with honey, and leaving them to be attacked by bees and ants.”
Her powerful position kept her out of prison until 1610 when she moved on from servant girls to targeting the daughters of local nobles. She was convicted for 80 counts of murder in 1611 and confined to a room of the castle that is said to have only had slits for food and air. She died three years later in 1614.
Andrea Yates drowned all five of her children.
The story of Andrea Yates, the Houston woman accused of killing her five children, captured America’s attention in 2001. Yates was convicted of murder on five counts after she had methodically drowned all of her children one by one in the span of an hour, according to Time. The youngest was six months old, and the eldest was 7 years old.
A first trial in 2002 convicted Yates of two counts of capital murder, but an appeals court later reversed this decision and she was found not guilty by reason of insanity in her second trial in 2006.
She will likely spend the rest of her life in a Texas mental hospital.
Aileen Wuornos went on a killing spree in Florida.
Aileen Wuornos was responsible for the murders of six different men. Between 1989 and 1990, she later confessed to shooting men who picked her up hitchhiking in self-defense after she claimed they beat or raped her, a claim that she later recanted.
Wuornos was sentenced to death in 1992 and was executed by lethal injection on October 9, 2002. Her story was portrayed in the film “Monster,” with Charlize Theron playing Wuornos.
Evelyn Dick was called the “Torso Killer.”
In 1946, some children stumbled upon a torso in the woods that would later be identified as John Dick, according to The Canadian Encyclopedia. His wife Evelyn was immediately accused of the murder and put on trial.
The couple had been estranged because Evelyn was allegedly having numerous affairs. When her home was searched, police also found the body of her infant son in a suitcase that had been filled with concrete.
After two trials, she was ultimately found not guilty for the murder of her husband, despite her father being found guilty of accessory to murder. She was, however, found guilty of manslaughter for the death of her son. She was released from jail in 1958 and immediately disappeared from public.
Susan Atkins, Leslie Van Houten, and Patricia Krenwinkel killed for Charles Manson.
Charles Manson was a criminal mastermind who had the other members of his “family” to do his killing for him. Susan Atkins, Leslie Van Houten, and Patricia Krenwinkel were all members of the infamous Manson Family and helped to carry out the group’s most notorious murders at the LaBianca and Tate residences.
Atkins was convicted on eight counts of first degree murder and died in jail in 2009. Krenwinkel is still serving time in a California prison for her seven murder convictions. Van Houten was convicted of assisting in the murder of Leno and Rosemary LaBianca and recently had a parole overturned by California Governor Jerry Brown.
Jane Toppan was a nurse whose patients became her victims.
Jane Toppan began working at the Cambridge Hospital in 1885 and was so liked by her peers and patients that they dubbed her “Jolly Jane.” She used her time at the hospital to experiment with different medications and drugs such as morphine and atropine to see the reaction in her patients.
She would later confess to killing at least 31 people. She was found not guilty by reason of insanity and was sent to Taunton State Hospital for life.
Dorothea Puente ran a boarding house and stole the social security checks of her victims.
Dorothea Puente was an elderly woman who opened a boarding house in Sacramento. In reality, she was poisoning her residents and hoarding their social security checks, a racket that made her about $5,000 a month, according to Sactown magazine.
Police investigated her home in 1988 and discovered body parts buried in the backyard. Puente fled, but was later apprehended at a hotel in Los Angeles and tried for nine murders. She was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole after she was found guilty on two counts first-degree murder and one count of second-degree murder.
Puente died at the age of 82 while incarcerated at Central California Women’s Facility.
Velma Barfield poisoned her own mother.
The “Death Row Granny” was a nickname given to Velma Barfield, a woman convicted of killing at least four people in North Carolina, including her own mother and two husbands, according to The New York Daily News. She says she did so by adding arsenic to their food or drink.
Although those are the only murders she admits to, there were multiple other people in her life who died under mysterious circumstances.
At her trial in 1978, she claimed, “the devil made me do it” and that she had never intended to kill her relatives. The defense didn’t work, and she was found guilty and executed in 1984.
Source: MSN News