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



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.


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 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 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 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 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.



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.


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.


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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