Marie Alexander Becker
Born in 1877, Marie Becker spent most of her adult life as a housewife in Liege, Belgium. In 1932, when she was 55 years old, she entered into a tempestuous affair with Lambert Beyer, a local lothario several years her junior. Soon after their first meeting, in a local grocery market, Becker poisoned her husband with digitalis and began spending all her time with her lover. Romance paled as Beyer failed to keep up with her pace, and Marie soon dispatched him, as well.
Bent on recapturing lost youth, Becker became a fixture in the local nightclubs, performing wild dances with men half her age, bribing a series of young lovers to share her bed. It all cost money she could ill afford, and soon Maria opened a modest dress shop in Liege, supplementing her income by robbing and poisoning elderly patrons. Before her sideline was discovered, it is estimated that she murdered ten, at least, obtaining minor sums of cash from each.
A female friend was Becker’s undoing, running to Maria with complaints about her husband, declaring that she wished the no-good rascal dead. Maria suggested digitalis, offering a sample from her own supply, and after several days of cooling off, her friend reported the discussion to the police. Maria was arrested in October 1936, with tests revealing poison in the bodies of her husband, Lambert Beyer, and a number of her female customers. At trial, she gloated over details of the several deaths and drew a term of life imprisonment. She died in jail, while World War II was underway.
Anjette Donovan Lyles
A self-styled practitioner of black magic and voodoo, Anjette Lyles was born in Georgia during 1917. In 1958, authorities in Macon received an anonymous letter , charging that Lyles’ daughter Marcia was being poisoned at home, and they felt obliged to investigate. The girl died before police intervened, but an autopsy revealed lethal traces of arsenic. The grieving mother spun a tale of accidental death, with Marcia eating poison during a game of “doctor and nurse,” but homicide investigators weren’t convinced. Their background search had turned up other family skeletons, including Anjette’s last two husbands and one of her mothers-in-law. On exhumation, all three victims tested positive for arsenic, and Lyles was shown to have received insurance benefits upon the death of each. Convicted and sentenced to death at her trial, the defendant was later ruled insane by court psychiatrists, packed off to the state hospital at Milledgeville for life.
(I’ve lost the source for this - if anyone knows they can send it to me and I’ll include it!)
On May 20, 1988, Laurie Dann, age 31, shot and killed one boy and wounded five other children at an elementary school before taking a family hostage and killing herself.
She seemed to function normally until she was in university. She exhibited various bizarre and threatening behaviours. She was diagnosed with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and was treated for it sporadically over the years. She kept trash in her apartment and stashed rotting meat in her furniture. She often made harassing phone calls and threats to people. After the break up of her marriage, she accused her husband of threatening her and raping her with a knife. Though there was no physical evidence to support this rape, she passed two polygraphs. She had a habit of accusing her ex’s of rape and would call their employers. Her ex-husband accused her of threatening him, and of stabbing him with an ice pick, though the police suspected he may have harmed himself. She kept calling him and his family and her phone calls turned threatening.She engaged in counting and tapping routines, would ride up and down in an elevator for hours, and was once found curled up in a fetal position inside a garbage bag.
Laurie laced “samples” of juice and treats with arsenic, and delivered them to previous acquaintances, boyfriends, former employers, a former psychiatrist, etc. No one was harmed by this as the arsenic was quite diluted and some of the products were obviously tampered with, and others did not taste good.
On May 20, 1988, Laurie picked up two children she had previously babysat for and drove with them to the school where that her ex-sister-in-law’s children attended. She tried to set of a fire bomb in the elementary school, unsuccessfully. She then drove to a day care that one of her ex-sister-in-law’s children attended, and tried to enter with a can of gasoline but was stopped by employees. She then drove the two children home and tried to make them drink arsenic-laced milk, which they thought tasted gross. She took them into the house, with their mother, and she set the house on fire. The mother and two children were able to escape the fire. Laurie then drove to a nearby school with her three guns, walked into a classroom and left. She then went back in and shot and killed an 8-year-old boy and injured two girls. She then shot two boys in the washroom, and then her gun jammed and she tossed it aside and left the school.
Traffic was blocked due to a funeral, so Laurie left her car and walked into the woods, took off some bloodstained clothes and tied a garbage bag around her house, and found the Andrews’ home, where Mrs. Andrew and her 20-year-old son, Philip were home. Laurie still had two guns with her. She told the Andrews that she had been raped (a common claim of hers) and that she had shot the rapist. She put down one gun which Philip managed to pick up. Mrs. Andrew convinced Laurie to call her mother, and Laurie told her mother that she had done something bad, but Mrs. Dann stated that she did not have a car and could not come get her. Mrs. Andrews came home and they tried to talk Laurie into giving up her remaining gun but she did not want to. They convinced her to call her mother again and, at this point, Mrs. Andrew was able to get out and contact the police. Finally, Laurie’s parents, her ex-husband, the police arrived. She shot Philip Andrews but he survived. She then went upstairs and shot herself in the head.
there is an excellent book, Murder of Innocence, written about Laurie Dann - it is a fascinating story.