Monthly Archives: November 2013

Fashion Business Murder (Part I)

Hello everybody!

Today, I’d like to tell you an incredible and interesting case which affected the fashion world in 1995. It was the famous case of Maurizio Gucci’s murder.

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It was Italy’s first media show trial where TV cameras and paparazzi jockeyed for space in the courtroom, hoping to capture a glimpse of the guilty woman, who, when she showed up in court, did so in fur coats and stiletto heels with perfectly manicured nails despite being in prison during the trial. The judge had granted her petition for pre-trial beauty treatments, and her two daughters brought her expensive desiner clothes to wear to court.

Who was that woman? But first of all, we have to say who was Maurizio Gucci and tell what happened to him.

maurizio_gucci(1)_edit Maurizio Gucci was the grandson of Guccio Gucci and  the son of Rodolfo Gucci. He was an Italian  businessman and the former head of the famous Gucci fashion house. In 1973 he married Patrizia Reggiani, and they had two children. They separeted in 1985.

In the 80s there were a lot of problem in Gucci’s family for the inheritance and the leadership of the fashion house. Maurizio Gucci went on to sell his stock in Gucci in 1993 for $170 million to the Bahrain-based investment group, Investcorp.

gucci09_672-458_resizeOn the 27th of March of 1995, Maurizio Gucci was gunned down in the foyer of his Milan office building with three buller wounds in his back and one in his face. The killer also gunned to Giuseppe Onorato, the caretaker of the building. Luckily, he didn’t died and his evidence was very important for the trial.

The assumptions about the crime were several. The police tended to focus on the business track. The investigators considerated the enormous amount received from the sale of shares and the hatred and envies both inside and outside of the family.

At that time, Maurizio fell in love with Paola Franchi, who, according to him, was the right woman for him, not as Patrizia, his ex-wife from whom only on the end of ’94 he divorced. He was about to marry his new lover, and in doing so, announced that he would cut his ex-wife’s alimony to just $860,000 a year. Insulted by both her former husband’s newfound love and the pittance in alimony, which she called “a bowl of lentils”, Patrizia Reggiani started talking about wanting Gucci dead.

Time passed, and the investigators began to think about ​​a private revenge instead of a business motive. Infact, at the time of the statements of Maurizio Gucci about the cut of his ex-wife’s alimony, Patrizia Reggiani started meditating about her desire for her husband’s death with Giuseppina Auriemma, a self-titled witch who was drawn to Reggiani’s wealth and who preyed on the socialite’s belief in supernatural powers (she also owned at that time a Gucci shop in Naples). When Gucci was shot, Reggiani wrote on her diary “Paradeisos”, the Greek word for paradise.

Even though Patrizia Reggiani made no secret of hoping for her husband’s demise, she denied any involvement, and the Italian police could not initially find a money trail or any forensic evidence to link the murder to socialite.

Who was the guilty?

Business motive or crime of passion?

…to be continued… 😉

 

 

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“Monster”

Today, I’d like to tell you the story of Aileen Wuornos.

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She was an American serial killer. She was convicted of the murder of seven men, and then executed in Florida, on the 9th of October of 2002, after 12 years on death row. She killed seven men in Florida in 1989 and 1990.  Aileen Wuornos claimed that her victims had either raped or attempted to rape her while she was working as a prostitute, and that all of the homicides were committed in self-defense.

She had a very difficult life. As I already said, difficult childhood environment may transform women into the worst and violent executioners. Aileen Wuornos is an example.

It was an awful beginning from the time she was born on the 29th of February of 1956 as Aileen Carol Pittman. One of the few good things in her young life, ironically, was that her biological father, Leo Dale Pittman, never got to know her. Pittman was a psychopathic child molester who hanged himself in prison in 1969.

Her mother, Diane Wuornos, married Pittman when she was 15 and bore him two children in Rochester, Michigan. Aileen’s older brother, Keith, was born in 1955. Diane divorced Pittman less than two years into the marriage, a few months before Aileen was born. Diane was afraid of Pittman and with good reason. Diane Wuornos found the responsibilities of single motherhood unbearable and in 1960 she abandoned Aileen and her brother Keith, who were then adopted by their maternal grandparents. They did not reveal that they were, in fact, the children’s grandparents. Aileen discovered the truth at around the age of 12, information which did not help an already troublesome situation. Her grandfather drank heavily and was strict with the children.

When she was 9 years old, Aileen engaged in sexual activities in school in exchange for cigarettes, drugs, and food. She had also engaged in sexual activities with her brother Keith. She claimed that her grandfather had sexually assaulted and beaten her when she was a child. In 1970, at the age of 13, she became pregnant, having been raped by a friend of her grandfather’s, but she gave her baby up to adoption. When she was 15, her grandfather threw her out of the house, and she began supporting herself as a prostitute.

When Aileen was 20 years old, she was hitch-hiking when a wealthy 69-nine-year-old yacht club president named Lewis Fell picked her up. He fell in love with her instantly and they married in 1976. This was a real stroke of luck for her, but she was too wild and destructive to understand when she had it good. She treated Fell badly, got into bar fights and was sent to jail for assault. Needless to say, in a month or so after the marriage Fell realized his mistake and the marriage was annulled.

For the next decade, she lurched from one failed relationship to another, engaging in prostitution, forgery, theft and armed robbery. Along the way, she tried to commit suicide. Emotionally and physically, she was a mess from the drinking and doping and self-destructive lifestyle.

After moving to Florida, Aileen met Tyria Moore at a Daytona gay bar in 1986. Aileen was lonely and angry and ready for something new. They began to live together, and Aileen continued to work as a prostitute.

After being raped by a client, Aileen killed him in self-defense. He was her first victim and his name was Richard Mallory. It was the 30th of November of 1989. She confessed her action to her partner Tyria Moore.

On the 1st June of 1990 it was found the body of a man killed by two shots of 22. Between June and November of 1990, other five men were found killed in the same manner. So, the police began to think about a serial killer and drew up a profile of the murderer. For the first time it was assumed that the killer was a prostitute who, after having lured the victims, she killed them…

On the 4th of July 1990, Aileen and Tyria abandoned a car, who belonged to her fourth victim, after they were involved in an accident. Witnesses who had seen the women driving the victims’ cars provided police with their names and descriptions, resulting in a media campaign to locate them. The turning point of the investigation occured when AileenWuornos deposited in a pawnshop some objects which belonged to her victims, thus leaving fingerprints, that investigators confronted successfully with those found on one of the crime scenes. Aileen had a criminal justice record in Florida, and her fingerprints were on file.

On the 9th January of 1991, Aileen Wuornos was arrested on an outstanding warrant at The Last Resort, a biker bar in Volusia County. The police located Aileen’ former lover Tyria Moore the next day in Scranton, Pennsylvania. She agreed to elicit a confession from Aileen in exchange for immunity from prosecution. Under police guidance, Tyria Moore made numerous telephone calls to Aileen. During the conversations, of course, Tyria made allusions about the murders committed by Aileen. Even if Aileen understood to be intercepeted, in the end, she decided to confess, thus exonerating her girlfriend.

Her story is terrible… The American media labeled Aileen Wuornos as a “monster”.

Certainly, Aileen Wuornos was a brutal executioner, but she was also a victim and what she had done is the result of what others had done to her. Obviuosly we cannnot justify her crimes, but on the other hand we have to consider her life, her experiences. The only dimension that she knews was the hate’s one.

The movie “Monster” (2003) with Charlize Theron e Christina Ricci, it is taken from this true story. Charlize Theron is the main character, she plays the role of Aileen Wuornos. This film made ugly the beautiful Charlize Theron. Almost unrecognizable: fatter, with fake buck teeth, patchy skin and drunken trucker gait. Men will be disappointed by her physical appearance! But, Charlize Theron gives her character a force of reality that is difficult to forget. The actress Charlize Theron won three prestigious awards for this performance: a Oscar, a Golden Globe and a Golden Bear in Berlin.

Here it is the trailer of the movie…enjoy!

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Never judge by appearances

Today, I’d like to talk about something very interesting! 

As I said few times ago, I want to know more about the different kinds of female murderers and I found what I was looking for! This subject intrigues me very much! Probably, someone will remain a bit “scared” when he or she will read what I found.

Women are not so good, tender and innocent as they seem… 😉

Enjoy your read!

    Eric Hickey is a criminal psychologist and Dean of Alliant InternationalUniversity. In 1991 he divided female serial killers into two distinct groups: Black Widows and Angels of Death. But, throughout the 1990s, when authors Michael D. and C. L. Kelleher published “Murder Most Rare”, the assortment of female serial categories had lengthened significantly. The Kellehers’ book divides the universe of female multiple murderers into nine categories!!! Let’s see:

  1. Black Widows
  2. Angels of Death
  3. Sexual Predators
  4. Revenge Killers
  5. Profit Killers
  6. Team Killers
  7. Killers Whose Sanity is in Question
  8. Killers Whose Motives Defy Explanation
  9. Unsolved Crimes

 

BLACK WIDOWS:

This term recalls the toxic spiders who destroy their mates when their usefulness is over.

Black Widows are women who kill their husbands, partners, family members or even children, normally for profit. They live off life insurance policies, pensions, and other assets gained from “sudden” deaths of close relations. Often, once the money has run out, a Black Widow will find another target to kill off. The Black Widow is the archetype of the organized, successful female serial murderer. She typically begins her criminal career after the age of 25 years old. She is intelligent, manipulative, highly organized, and patient; she plants their activities with great care. Black Widows rely in their ability to win the confidence and trust of their victims as a precursor to any attack. For this reason, they are seldom viewed as a suspect, even after they have committed several murders. Then they start a decade or longer cycle of systematically killing spouses, partners, family members, and indeed, anyone with whom they develop a personal relationship. The typical cycle is 6-8 victims over a period of 10-15 years, although in places where law enforcement is lax, the victim count may go up as high as 13. Poison is their preferred weapon.

One of the most famous Black Widows is Bell Gunness. She was a Norwegian-American serial killer. She killed most of her suitors and boyfriends, her two daughters, Myrtle and Lucy, and both of her husbands. Her victims included also ranch workers, vagrant females, adopted children. Her apparent reasons involved collecting life insurance, cash and other valuables, and eliminating witnesses. She was responsable for killing forty-nine people on her small farm in La Porte, Indiana, just outside of Chicago.

ANGELS OF DEATH:

An Angel of Death sets herself up as God, preying on those who in her estimation are already marked for natural death the sick in hospitals or an aged relative whose daily support has been left in her hands. Her weapons are either chemical, such as a lethal injection of potassium, or suffocation with a pillow, both means hard to trace.

A classic example of Angel of Death comes to us from Grantham, England. In 1991, 23-year-old nurse Beverly Allitt killed at least four children and injected twenty-plus others with potassium or insulin with an intent to kill. She was convicted by a Magistrate’s Court in 1993 and she is now serving 13 life sentences.

SEXUAL PREDATORS:

Sexual Predators are, as their name indicates, driven by sexual fantasy. When they begin to kill, they are between the ages of 30 and 50 years. In a three-year of their criminal career they are responsable for deaths of at least six innocent.

Aileen Wuornos is one of the very few women who fit this category. She murdered at least seven men between 1989 and 1990, but I’ll tell you her story later…

REVENGE KILLERS:

Revenge Killers are typically obsession-driven; hate or love or jealousy are the most common factors. They are as rare as Sexual Predators but, when pushed, they strike with a vengeance.

Usually, they are 20-30 years old, but there had been few exceptions. For example, Martha Wise of Ohio committed her crimes at the age of 40. She was a spinster, but when she found her true love, her family objected to her choice, as did her priest. (Her boyfriend, Walter Johns, was a much younger man.) In revenge, she fed three of the more vocal family members a deadly dose of cyanide and torched the church. When apprehended and her crimes became public knowledge, the press dubbed her “Lady Borgia of America” after the infamous Italian noblewoman whose actions she emulated. Wise told the judge that the devil made her do it, but the State of Ohio, being unable to catch the devil, threw the total blame on her and locked her away for life.

PROFIT KILLERS:

Profit Killers kill strictly for monetary gain. Whereas the equally greedy Black Widows choose their own victims (friends and relatives) and contrive their own killings, Female Profit Killers commit murders for others usually, jealous wives who want their cheating or abusive mate six feet under.

Profit killer is highly organized and she plans with a lot of care. Because they are “silent witnesses”, their careers may go on for years. For example, Russian Alexa Popova made her first murder in 1879. This “hit-woman” poisoned some three hundred men other women’s husbands and boyfriends until she was caught and executed by a firing squad in 1909.

TEAM KILLERS:

Team Killers come in assorted shapes and sizes, and comprise two-thirds of the entire female  serial killer rank and file. There are three types of female team killer groups. The most predominant is the “male/female” duo, consisting of one woman and one man. The second most common genus is the “female/female” bonding, made up of two or more women usually two engaged in a murder pact. Finally, there is the “killing family” of three or more people joined together on a death-dealing joyride.

Female serial killer generally kills using poisons and suffocation. That is true when she acts alone. But when she is in a partnership with someone else the modus operandi is different.

Let’s see some example.

In 1986, Cynthia Coffman and James Gregory Marlow robbed and then strangled their victims. Forty years earlier, Martha Beck and her lover, Ray Fernandez, shot, drowned and garroted at least a dozen innocent women (probably as many as twenty) before the two killers were executed at Sing Sing in 1951.

Female/female teams tend to follow the more familiar pattern of murder-through-subtlety. Throughout the 1980s, Maria Gruber, Irene Leidolf, Stepanija Mayer and Waltrand Wagner, together or separately, lethally injected more than two hundred patients under their care at Leinz General Hospital in Vienna, Austria.

Of family teams, one particular person, usually a male who sets himself up as the guru or thinker for the group, guides them all. These teams act impulsively with few set patterns. No more savagely illustrates this arrangement than the Manson “family”, which ritualistically killed Hollywood actress Sharon Tate and some nineteen others in a headline spree in the 1960s. The Mansons also brutally killed a series of people in Northern California including some of their own members who tried to betray them between October, 1968, and November, 1970.

 

    The last three classifications of female serial killers are not as tightly defined.

 

KILLERS WHOSE SANITY IS IN QUESTION:

They are very few women who have managed to escape execution through a Question of Sanity.

Jeanne Weber, for instance, evaded the hangman’s rope in 1908 after being apprehended on suspicion of strangling her children. Convincing a jury she was bonkers, she was institutionallized. No one will ever know. She hanged herself in her cell in 1910.

KILLERS WHOSE MOTIVES DEFY EXPLANATION:

They are undoubtedly guilty of their crimes, but remain unlabeled merely because their Motives Defy Explanation.

Audrey Marie Hilley is the most famous case. She killed three family members. There seems to have been no intention of monetary profit or of anything tangible to gain. All the evidence could prove is that this normal Alabama housewife and mother suddenly, at age of 42, went on a killing spree that lasted four years. She poisoned her victims, but neither she nor her accusers could ever decipher a reason these.

UNSOLVED CRIMES:

These cases are suspected of having been committed by women but without a firm suspect or motive.

Among these are the murders at Maryland’s Prince George’s County Hospital between 1984 and 1985. Someone injected potassium into the IV tubes of seventeen intensive care patients, killing them instantly. When the law eventually cornered a suspect (a woman), the DA’s office believed she was not guilty and set her free.

 

    This is what I discovered about this captivating, incredible and dreadful topic…

So, be careful to women, dear followers! 😉

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Statistical details of what we stated last time…

During this weekend, I found some interesting data about female murderers. I’d like to share them with you adding and completing what we stated last time…

Since 1970, there has been an increasing and alarming rise 138% of violent crimes committed by women. Still, while the equivalent percentage compared to male violence is small (15% to 85%) the fact that the numbers have elevated so drastically points to something changing in society.

Sociologists try to explain it, so do criminologists, theologists, politicians and world historians, but the resulting message is clear, and that message is that females aren’t alien to committing violent acts. In recent years, women have committed some of the most heinous crimes. For example, Diane Downs killed one of her three children (she tried to kill all of them) in order to win back a lover who didn’t want kids; Karla Homolka and her husband Paul Bernardo sexually assaulted, tortured and killed several young women for thrills.

The Bureau of Justice’s Statistics Division released a report at the end of 1999 citing an estimated 2.1 million known violent female offenders yearly in the United States. That being the bad news, the flip side is that within the rising violence, the volume of murders committed by females has actually declined. “The rate…has been falling since 1980,” reads the report, “and in 1998 stood at its lowest level since 1976 40% lower.”.

Despite the positive shift, however, there is small cause for joy.

A “Special Report”, compiled by Bureau statisticians Lawrence A. Greenfeld and Tracy L. Snell, highlights something interesting. Let’s see:

  • 28% of violent female offenders are juveniles;
  • 3 out of 4 victims of violent female offenders are women;
  • in 1998, there were more than 2 million arrests of women accounting for about 22% of all arrests that year;
  • since 1980, the number of female defendants convicted of felonies in state courts has grown at more than two times the rate of increase in male defendants;
  • nearly 6 in 10 women serving time in state prisons had experienced physical or sexual abuse in the past;
  • in the case of more than 60% of the 60,000 murders committed by women between 1976 and 1997, the murderer and the victim had known each other intimately as a lover or family member.

That’s all for now. I’ll come back soon…

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The Wolf and the Lamb

Today, I’d like to talk about a very peculiar and interesting issue: women as executioners, murderers, serial killers.

The murders committed by men are more numerous than those committed by women. In fact, the female killer is almost an exception in criminological statistics. Yet, the crimes committed by women are not to be understimated, especially in terms of creativity. In fact, women are “obliged” to resort to imagination to make up for a less physical strength.

As I already said few times ago, very often, women become killers because of their difficult childhood, rebelling against years of abuses. So, there is an exchange of roles: the victim becomes the executioner.

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Violence is in men’s nature adn not in women’s one. So, men can more easily reveal their “violent and brutal” side, because somehow we expect it. For the woman it is different, because she must act as if she hadn’t. Therefore, by a “genetic” factor, it would be almost impossible to have a female serial killer. But according to the definition of “Crime Classification Manual”, the “serial killer” is the one who commits 3 or more murders, in different places, therefore, in the history we can find not few cases of women murderers!

Women serial killers are a number between 5% and 10% of serial killers. In United States female serial killers are 8% of the criminals, but American female murderers are 75% of all female serial killers in the world. This can be explained by the greater degree of social and cultural emancipation achieved by women in all fields, and, generally, women (and men of course) kill serially especially in industrialized countries. In fact, in countries where the female figure is still subjected under male’s control (for example, in Arab countries), there hardly be cases of women who kill serially.

Now, let’s see the characteristics of women killers!

As men, women grow up in families with a lot of problems and they all almost have suffered from some form of abuse during childhood. A precocious and intense sexuality develops in many of them, and they have an aggressive and violent personality. They need to dominate the others. They all have a difficult adolescence. It is common a hate for the school and all that means discipline. Often, they run away from home, and during their escapes they have transgressive experiences (such as abusing alcohol, drugs, having sex with men and women indifferently). Often, they also have a secret diary, in which they write all their nightmares and scenes of violence that they live daily in their thoughts.

There are many important differences between women and men serial killers. This will make us understand why female serial killer is a separate category. Let’s see some differences!

  • Timing:

The woman begins to kill when she is between 30 and 40 years, so later than man, who usually begins between 20 and 30 years. Unlike the male, the criminal life of the woman is longer: its activity lasts an average of 8 years before being arrested. For the man the average is 4 years from the first murder.

  • Methods and weapons:

Women use different weapons and methods than men. Very often, men kill with their own hands, on the contrary there are very few cases in which women use their physical force to kill the victim. The women in 65% of cases use poison: it is a silent and diabolical weapon, which, if used well, it leaves no trace and allows to pass the victim’s death for a death by intoxication. Only 13% kills by suffocation and 12% with a gun.

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Then, there are specific weapons for each context in which the murders take place. For example, in the hospital it is used the injection of a lethal substances, because there injections are a routine, so it goes unnoticed. However, the serial infanticide kills babies through suffocation, pressing a pillow over the face of the baby, which is mistaken for a simple cardio-respiratory arrest due to natural causes.

  • Who are the victims?

Even in the choice of victims there are differences between men and woman serial killers.

Men usually kill unknown persons. On the contrary, women choose their victims from people known; in fact 45% choose the members of their family, 26% choose friends or acquaintances, 10% kill patients or people who they take care, and only 11% of total kill unknonw people. Precisely for this reason, because there’s a link between them and their victims, women are rarely involved in sexual homicides, which is, on the contrary, a key motivation for men.

Generally, instead of men, women kill in the same place. Women who move are those who kill in pairs or in groups, who decided to follow the male in his travels.

Usually, women who kill serially don’t rage on the body of their victims with manifestations of overkilling, mutilation, dismemberment or sexual assault. But, there are some exceptions, and in these cases their murders can achive remarkable levels of brutality. For example, in Italy, Leonarda Cianciulli (late ’30s, beginning of ’40s) cut up the bodies of the women she had killed, and with some parts, she made soap.

Soon, we will see the different types of woman killer!

 

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