Adulterers, shootings and stabbings — our list has them all as the most horrifying homicides in history that started out as romances. With victims completely undeserving of such horrid acts and others that received delivered justice, these are the creepiest stories of homicide you will ever read.
Ruth Snyder and Henry Judd Gray
Here we see callous accomplice Ruth Snyder, the first woman to be formally executed since 1899 in Sing Sing prison, about to be put to death. Ruth upholds the stereotypical “loving wife” facade that secretly finds a lover behind her husband’s back willing to get rid of him, that we often see on the news today.
Married to Albert Snyder, Ruth always felt that she fell second to Albert’s former fiancee that he had tragically lost to an untimely death. Ruth was so sure about this and despised that Albert reportedly hung a picture of her in their living room and refused to take it down. Of course, she resented him heavily for that and decided to take action after starting an affair with salesman and lover Henry Judd Gray.
The Murder of Albert Snyder
Sharing her sob story with the handsome traveling salesman, the two turned from secret lovers to aspiring murder collaborators with only one target in mind. Soon after she convinced Albert to take out a massive life insurance policy, the devious future widow planned for Gray to finish off her husband with a window sash weight.
Although the plan seemed full-proof at the time of its conception, Snyder didn’t go down without a fight and ended up a bloody mess all over the house. Not long after that the two were arrested, sentenced to death, and executed on January 12, 1928 for first-degree murder.
Sahel Kazemi and Steve McNair
Married professional football player Steve McNair had a dirty little secret and her name was Sahel. Starting out as a waitress at the Nashville Dave and Busters restaurant, Sahel caught the attention of the talent with her bubbly and smiley attitude and couldn’t help but go after the handsome player’s salary, eventually receiving an Escalade and help with her personal bills.
Her friends worried that she was becoming too dependent on McNair and decided to intervene with some tough love which led to her seeing other men. Rumored to be having some financial issues around the time of the murder, as well as a recent DUI, the 20-year-old figured her star boyfriend could fix these issues for her. But, once Sahel caught another woman coming out of Steve’s apartment and decided to follow her, she snapped.
The Murder of Steve McNair
She sent him texts on their last day together saying things like, “I’m gonna have all of u soon” and, “Baby I might have a breakdown I’m so stressed,” so there was clearly something bubbling at the surface and it wasn’t Sahel’s reportedly infectious personality.
Reports from her shift manager state that she said, “My life is just [expletive]- I should just end it now” obviously caused much suspicion considering Sahel’s normal attitude at work was so positive. That night she made her way over to McNair’s apartment and shot him twice in the head. Once she had finished him off she turned the gun in her own direction and committed suicide out of guilt for robbing the world of the man she loved.
Edward Shue and Zona Heaster
Back in the 18th century there was an old tale of the Greenbrier ghost, the former wife of Edward Shue, that came to her mother in the afterlife explaining how her husband had murdered her. Edward was very careful to dispose of Zona, keeping her neck covered with a scarf as he claimed that she died of “female complications” in 1897.
That was until Zona’s ghost appeared to her mother with an almost decapitated head claiming that Edward had strangled her to death. After arousing enough attention to have an autopsy performed, authorities found Zona’s almost severed head, as well as broken ligaments in her throat. Edward was immediately charged with the murder of his former wife and sentenced to life in July of 1897 for first-degree murder.
Brynn and Phil Hartman
After struggling with drug addiction for years, wife of Saturday Night Live comedian and actor Phil Hartman, Brynn, shot her husband in cold blood. Instigated by her non-sober return to the house that night, Phil threatened to leave her if she could not kick her addiction once and for all. And while she waited to hear the sounds of her concerned husband’s snoring, she loaded her gun and shot him three times.
Shortly after she arrived at a friend’s house to confess what she had done, only for them not to believe her and attempt to bring her back to the house. When her friend realized that she was not concocting the awful situation in her mind, she called the police. But, Brynn had already locked herself in the bathroom and committed suicide by the time they arrived with the same gun she used to kill her husband.
Clara and David Harris
Although we see the story of an irate wife who has recently found out that her husband has cheated mowing down the mistress with her car often on Lifetime, this was not a show. Clara Davis, happily, or so she thought, married to David Harris was recently made aware that her husband was having an affair with his much younger secretary.
With a tip from a hired private investigator that tracked the couple down, Clara showed up to their hotel room and lunged at the mistress beating her mercilessly. But, the revenge didn’t end there as Clara patiently waited for her husband to come out of the hotel to run him over with her 16-year-old stepdaughter in the car. After thoroughly running over David three times, Clara was sentenced to 20 years in jail with a $10,000 fine for first-degree murder.
Mary Ann Cotton
There was nothing sweet about “black widow” Mary Ann Cotton and her affection for arsenic and all four of her heavily-insured late husbands would most likely agree. Becoming England’s first ever female serial killer, Mary murdered husbands, lovers, children, her mother, and possibly random bystanders over 20 years with arsenic poisoning.
Considering the slow poisoning was hard to detect and was easily masked under low key illnesses that could kill during that time, Cotton got away with an estimated 21 killings during the 18th century purely for profit of insurance money and joy. A former nurse and dressmaker, Mary wasn’t suspected of murder until she foolishly revealed the pending death of her sick stepson Charles Edward Cotton to parish official Thomas Riley. Cotton was then tried, found guilty and sentenced to death by hanging in 1873 at the site that we see above.
George Remus and Imogene Holmes
Famous bootlegger George Remus may have actually inspired the iconic Great Gatsby character created by the great Scott F. Fitzgerald as the “king of bootleggers.” Just like Gatsby’s obsession with Daisy Buchanan, Remus found himself taken by the beauty of Imogene Holmes, even though he was already married.
Once the divorce was finalized, Remus had already married Imogene and the two built a bootlegging empire together as one of the biggest in the country. When Remus’s luck finally ran out and the cops caught up with his illegal bootlegging schemes, he was thrown in jail but before they closed his cell he granted Imogene power of attorney over the enterprise.
Old Man Remus
If that wasn’t bad enough, Remus accidentally disclosed that he left Imogene with said power to undercover FBI agent and disguised prison inmate Frank Dodge. The minute Dodge ditched the cell, he called upon Imogene and the two sold Remus’s empire and ran off with the money together.
Clearly this upset Remus, especially when Imogene decided to divorce him and tried to have him deported and then whacked. Remus decided to take action before she could again, drove her taxi off of the road after the hearing, and shot her in the gut point blank. After claiming temporary insanity, the jury bought the former bootlegger’s case and found him innocent but had him sent to a mental institution for six months. After his release, he did everything he could to earn back the fortune he lost to his ex-wife, but ended up dying a poor old man in 1952.
Thomas Montgomery and Jessi Shieler
Married with kids, 47-year-old New Hampshire native Thomas Montgomery posed as a teen Iraq war vet named Tommy, thinking that he was speaking with a beautiful 18-year-old girl that went by the screen name of talhotblond.
He never even considered that women could play the ever popular game of cat fishing just as he was, but it all blew up in his face when his wife found his secret chats with the alleged minor. Sending “Jessi” a letter that she was speaking with a middle-aged married man, she broke off communication with Montgomery and started to talk to his 22-year-old coworker Brian.
The Real Jessi
Out of a fit of rage and jealousy, Montgomery decided to start threatening Jessi about Brian until he took action on September 15, 2006 and shot Brian with a .30-caliber rifle. After catching wind of the situation, the police wanted to warn Jessi of Montgomery’s recent actions and that she might be next.
But, when they arrived at the home they found middle-aged wife Mary Shier whom had apparently been posing as her teenage daughter Jessi in chat rooms. When her husband and daughter discovered her secret, they left Mary behind with her chat room “buddies.” As for murderer Montgomery, he was found guilty of first-degree murder and sentenced 20 years after he pleaded guilty.
Celeste Beard and Tracey Tarlton
69-year-old Texas millionaire Steven Beard thought he hit the real jackpot when he met waitress Celeste Johnson. The two married in 1995, but little did Beard know how truly troubled his new bride was with a secret past of depression, criminal acts and suicide attempts.
Not marrying for love but for money, Celeste would drug Beard to meet up with random men including one of her ex-husbands while crazily spending the fortune he had worked so hard to build. Once Steven saw this, he cut her credit cards up and put her in a hospital after she threatened to commit suicide once again.
Getting Rid of Steven
In the hospital she befriended a fellow mate by the name of Tracey Tarlton, who was admitted for issues with drugs and alcohol, and Tarlton fell head-over-heels. The two struck up an affair while in there together and even after Celeste was discharged, and although Tracey felt she met the love of her life, Celeste was not on the same page.
She had already been working the early stages of manipulation planning to have Tarlton kill Steven for her and on the night of October 2, 1999 Tracey did the dirty deed by putting a hole in Steven’s stomach. Although the weapon was traced back to Tarlton, police became suspicious of Celeste when she started spending ridiculous amounts after Beard’s death. Tarlton was willing to keep quiet to keep her lover safe, that was until she found out that Celeste had remarried and eventually ratted her “lover” out. Tracey was released in August of 2011, but Celeste won’t see outside of prison bars until 2043.
Pamela and Greg Smart
22-year-old teacher Pamela Smart did not take the news well when she found out her husband had cheated on her and decided to take indirect action to even the score of her scorned heart.
Smart had been seeing her 15-year-old student, Billy Flynn, romantically for quite some time and she saw him as the perfect scapegoat for getting rid of her husband Greg. It was easy to convince Billy that Greg was abusing her in order to manipulate the boy into thinking that he was serving justice by carrying out the murder; this was Pamela’s first step.
The Murder of Greg Smart
Next was her actual plan to make the murder look like a robbery gone wrong by leaving the backdoor unlocked, and lastly, she had Billy round up two friends that could help him accomplish his goal without her help. Finally, the night came and the teen trio wrestled Greg to the ground and put a bullet in his head.
Even though the plan seemed great in early stages, Smart’s nonchalant attitude toward her husband’s bloody mess of a body initiated suspicion by police, which made her recorded confession all the more satisfying for the force. Pamela Smart was arrested and charged with first-degree murder and received life without parole while the teen boys got 28 to life.
Evelyn Nesbit and Stanford White
Back in the 20th century, there was a beauty above all beauties known as “the girl in the red velvet swing,” Evelyn Nesbit, and every man wanted her. That included 52-year-old architect Stanford White, who brilliantly constructed the Washington Square Arch, Tiffany’s, and the second Madison Square Garden.
After White attended Nesbit’s Broadway show Flordora, he was hooked and showered the beauty with gifts until he could call her his. One night, after getting Nesbit drunk, he raped her and the two started a year-long relationship, but Evelyn knew that White was not the man she wanted to settle down with.
The Murder of Standford White
Next up on the actress’s playbill was Harry Kendall Thaw, who took to the beaut just as White had, and sent her lavish gifts for two years until she eventually accepted his proposal. Unfortunately, Evelyn did not know the true horrid nature of the man she was about to call her husband, let alone his high disregard toward Stanford White.
After Nesbit shared that White had taken advantage of her, Thaw shot the architect in Madison Square Garden three times and killed him in front of the public. Using creative and manipulative PR tactics, Thaw’s mother made her son look like a hero before he was shipped off to a mental asylum. After his 8-year stay in the institution, Thaw divorced Evelyn and left her alone to take care of herself while struggling with severe depression. Nesbit eventually passed away in California in 1967 and it is said that her ghost still haunts the halls of a Pennsylvania hotel that was formerly the Thaw’s home residence.
Jacques Algarron and Denise Labbe
Few minds are as corrupt as Nazi soldier Jacques Algarron who convinced his lover Denise Labbe to murder his own daughter. Algarron believed, due to the horrid ideals instilled by the Nazi party, that the Nietzschean concept of ubermensch gave him the right to humiliate women as he pleased. He would “whore out” Labbe to other men just to feel the satisfaction of her shame when she came crawling back to him.
Convincing his lover that the only way she could prove what he meant to her was through the murder of his two-year-old daughter, and although Labbe initially refused, she broke down over time and attempted the task. Failing the first three times to drown the little girl and drop her from a window, she finally succeeded in her disgusting task by drowning Cathy in a bathtub.
After years of manipulation and abuse, Labbe actually believed that she was a monster after carrying out the act and confessed immediately to the murder. However, she attempted to take the dark and terrifying mind of Algarron with her calling him the “devil incarnate,” telling the police of his true mastermind, manipulative nature.
Although Algarron tried to convince the jury that Labbe was crazy and should be blamed solely for the murder of Cathy, it did not work in his favor luckily. The Nazi was sentenced to 20 years of hard labor and Labbe received life in bars, though the normal punishment would be the guillotine.
The Legend of Martha Wise
The legend of Lucrezia Borgia is one of disgust, selfishness, and murder and has been told since the time of the Renaissance. But, was 40-year-old Ohio native Martha Wise the reincarnate of the ruthless serial killer?
It all started when Wise outlived her abusive husband and decided to remarry after setting her sights on town local Walter Johns. Unfortunately for Martha, her family did not approve of the man and forbid Wise to see him. Considering this did not please her, she agreed to break it off but started slipping arsenic into her family’s drinks. Her mother died of “stomach inflammation” on Thanksgiving Day, her aunt of the same on New Year’s Day and soon the rest of the family came down with the illness.
The Devil’s Plan
Once becoming suspicious of Martha due to her family’s obvious similarities in sickness, the local sheriff began to investigate and found that Wise had purchased large amounts of arsenic from the local drug store. After performing an autopsy on Wise’s aunt, the poison was found in her system and Martha was arrested.
Claiming that the devil told her to perform the acts of injustice, the murderess was found guilty and sentenced to life in prison. For such a sick mind, it does not come as a surprise that Wise enjoyed jail until she was paroled in 1962. She, in fact, loved it so much that she was re-institutionalized three days following her release and died in prison in ’71. It was estimated that Martha’s mother, aunt, uncle and their six kids were all poisoned, but the children luckily survived.