Closer My God to Thee

Women murderers fall into two groups: those who kill people who are close to them and those who don’t. Close might refer to an emotional bond with family, or an acquaintance with friends, or even a servant or employee. Their pathology is frightening and unpredictable. Mothers, wives, sisters, and friends are supposed to be people who would take a bullet for you, rather than put one into you. Pamela Gourlay was a prime example of someone you wouldn’t want to have close to you, physically or emotionally, for even a minute.

Melanie-SturtonIn the late 1980s, Aberdeenshire, (that must be Scotland), a little girl named Melanie Sturton was a child who suffered from physical defects, along with a tough childhood. At only 4 feet 10 inches tall, Sturton was born with facial paralysis and a “club foot”or congenital talipes equinovarus (CTEV).  The foot looked as though it had rotated internally at the ankle and Sturton seemed to walk on her ankle. Personally I find Sturton to be very pretty. Children bullied her but Sturton wasn’t one to give up without a fight. Resilient kid that she was, Sturton managed to make friends with the bullies. This didn’t mean the bullying stopped of course. Children are a mystery.

By the age of 22, Sturton decided to become a nurse so she could take care of others. She moved out of the house into her own home and began her studies. 19-year-old Pamela Gourlay lived in her building. Her upbringing had also been difficult. Gourlay had also been brought up in a tough neighbourhood and began smoking weed as a teenager. Gourlay however had a good job: she worked as a chef in a local restaurant. She seemed like a nice Susan-Patrickgirl to Sturton although the two women didn’t become close friends. They were pleasant acquaintances. Maybe it was Sturton’s instinct not to become too friendly with Gourlay, since there was more to Gourlay than met the eye. Gourlay had a serious drug habit. She fell in with a druggie crowd and she was heavily in debt. The landlord frequently pounded on the door looking for his rent. Gourlay didn’t have it. She’d spent it on prescription drugs, heroin and weed. Drugs were so necessary to Gourlay that , in spite of having a good job, she was always broke.

Sturton was the complete opposite. She did very well for herself and remained close to her family. One October 8, 1999, she went shopping with her mother, Susan Patrick and grandmother, then she insisted on walking home on her own. It was the last time Patrick and Patrick’s mother would see Sturton alive. Gourlay, high on cannabis and prescription drugs, was having a withdrawal as the drugs wore off. She needed cash in a hurry. On October 9, 1999, Gourlay dressed in a chic, black dress and hat, then ventured upstairs to Sturton’s apartment and banged on the door. Sturton let her in and Gourlay raised a large knife, stabbing the girl several times in her chest, face and head until Sturton lay dying on the floor. Sturton, the fighter that she was, was determined to live. She began crawling toward the door and Gourlay, enraged, slit her throat. Gourlay threw a blanket over melanie-sturton (1)Sturton’s body, covering her up so she didn’t have to look at the body. For her efforts, Gourlay stole a few pounds, jewellery, two bank cards, and a gift certificate. Sturton was murdered for a couple of bills.

Imagine that scene, if you will, and put yourself in Sturton’s place. A familiar neighbour knocks on the door and pleasantly identifies him/herself. When you open the door a knife flashes over and over painfully and rapidly into your body. By the time you collect yourself and try to fight back, it’s over. It’s not just the crime itself that is sinful. It’s the emotional and physical torture. Patrick had to fight with the police to be permitted to see her deceased daughter, whose head was swollen from being slammed against a wall. Add to that, in Sturton’s case, her brother was wrongly taken into custody for questioning and you have the full scenario.

Upstairs, Gourlay calmly hid her bloody clothing then, ironically, met her mother and grandmother to go shopping. Oh, happy day. She brought Granny a present with Sturton’s gift voucher. What a sweet granddaughter. She also spent Sturton’s money on melanie-sturton (2)miscellaneous items. Gourlay used Sturton’s bank cards for 10 days, attended a concert and “carried on as if nothing had happened.” There was nothing in her demeanor to suggest she’d just brutally attacked and killed a women. Her behaviour certainly presents like that of a psychopath, as to whether or not she has been assessed as such, I can’t say.

After two days, Patrick contacted police. Her daughter wasn’t answering the phone. This wasn’t like her. Police entered the apartment and discovered the nightmarish scene. The brutal killing made headlines. When police began their investigation, Gourlay cheerfully tried to “help” police. When Gourlay, along with several other tenants in the building offered a DNA sample, police made an immediate arrest. The silly idiot had left evidence everywhere in her search for money in the dead woman’s apartment. Patrick had never imagined it would have been a young woman who slaughtered her precious girl. For her part, Gourlay never apologized or explained herself in court. She simply didn’t care.

Oddly, Gourlay’s’ family background was a good one, or at least that was what investigators uncovered. There are people who argue that a drug addict always has a difficult childhood pamela-gourlay-image-2-899581179but choose to repress it. Who knows? In Gourlay’s case, it was possible that she did have decent parents. Mrs. Gourlay was horrified at her daughter’s crime and even gave evidence against her during the eventual trial. Gourlay began smoking cannabis as a teenager and somehow got hooked. During the trial Gourlay sat still and emotionless, her “white face and dark eyes” betraying nothing. She was found guilty of murder on March 9, 2000 and sentenced to life in prison, with a minimum of 14 years. Patrick wrote a heartfelt plea to the parole board, which clearly had little effect. Gourlay was permitted to participate in an early release program, and was permitted to freely leave prison and work in a charity shop . She applied for and was granted parole in 2013.

At 34, Gourlay left prison and walked into a full-time job, free to begin her life anew even though she’d recently been caught dealing heroin in prison and having a lesbian relationship copswith the notorious House of Blood murderer Edith McAlinden. McAldin, a serial killer, is a former prostitute who murdered 3 male clients with the help of her son and his friend. Insofar as the Sturton family fared, the Victim Notification Scheme also failed them. The Scheme didn’t inform the Sturtons that Gourlay was free until the day after she left the prison, even though the organization had signed a document agreeing to inform the family before Gourlay walked. It shouldn’t be any surprise however that Corton Vale permitted Gourlay to walk at all. Prisoners at Corton Vale are treated to a “pampering session”, where hairdos and manicures are given at the taxpayers’ expense. There are summer barbecues, held in a gorgeous garden designed by the BBC Beechgrove Garden team. The women even have family members join them at the barbecues.

A broken woman, Patrick stated “I feel awful. It’s like something inside twists and oh….it’s just awful. Indeed it is.








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Harry Stanley’s Strange Death

Imagine beating a terminal illness, getting a new lease on life as they say, then getting shot in the middle of a road by police for no reason whatsoever? Well, that’s not entirely true. There’s always the other perspective and we don’t get it in the following film, or in the maelstrom of media that emerged afterward. Not that I’m suggesting the police in this case are innocent but we simply do not get the other perspective and it’s always fair to keep that in mind. This “real-life” account of Harry Stanley’s death is re-enacted in the embedded video. Watch it before you read any further.

I loved the narration – it was the most effective part of the film. I researched Harry Stanley’s horrible end and found out some interesting facts, aside from that which were presented so professionally in the film. Police had a reasonable concern when they approached Stanley in the street. The narrator claimed Stanley didn’t turn around to face police but the narrator didn’t mention that Stanley had a previous criminal record. He was a convicted armed robber and served 4 years in prison for “grievous bodily harm.” To be sure, this was unknown to officers who attended the scene where”an Irishman with a gun wrapped in a bag” was reported leaving a pub. Nonetheless officers didn’t know the identity of the man nor did they know about his previous convictions (obviously, since they didn’t know who he was in the first place).

The Facts
On 22 September 1999, Stanley left the Alexandra Pub in South Hackney carrying a table leg in a plastic bag that his brother had repaired for him earlier in the day. had been repaired by his brother earlier that day. For some reason , a patron at the bar believed the table leg was a gun and he contacted police. At Fremont Street and Victoria Park stanRoad Inspector Neil Sharman and PC Kevin Fagan, members of the Metropolitan Police Armed Response Vehicle shouted at Stanley from behind him. He was just turning to face the officers when they shot him dead at a distance of 15 feet.

The first hearing resulted in an open verdict, meaning although the death happened under suspicious circumstances there wasn’t enough evidence to prosecute.  What a load of bull. Irene Stanley was successful in appealing the verdict. On 7 April 2003 Mr. Justice Sieber ordered a new inquest due to “insufficient inquiry” of the case. Well done, Irene. Dr. Andrew Reid received information that the officers fired the shots after being given wrong information from the anonymous caller. The new jury overturned the open verdict, returning a verdict of unlawful killing. But wait. Don’t get too excited yet. The result was a mere suspension of the officers involved and even more infuriating developments.

In May 2005 the High Court ruled that there was “insufficient evidence” for the verdict of unlawful killing and it reinstated the open verdict. Mr. Justice Leveson decided a third inquest was unnecessary.  The Stanley family discussed their “bitter disappointment”, stating the justice system had failed them.  His sister Janice stated:

“I’m shocked and stunned. You hear about people getting killed by the police, but when they are killed over a table leg—it is unbelievable. The police have been unable to justify their actions. They say they were following up a report that a man had been seen with a gun. No gun was found. He was carrying a Queen Ann table leg, which looks nothing like gun. They shot him from 15 feet. He was a heavily built chap. They say that there is no shoot-to-kill policy in this country, but they didn’t shoot him in his body—they hit him in the head. A shot to the head is a shoot-to-kill policy….They left Harry lying in the street, uncovered, for hours. His wife and daughter went past, but didn’t know it was him. A lady asked them to cover the body up, but they would not do it because they said they were waiting for the forensic experts to arrive. That did not stop them interfering with the bag with the table leg in it, though. They shot him in cold blood and left him there for all to see. They gave him no dignity.”

The Birmingham Six
There was widespread anger in the community but it would appear that the matter is closed and will stay that way. The Stanley family  are involved in a campaign to uncover the truth behind Stanley’s murder. They hope the campaign will “build up” and they are spreading the word about Stanley’s death.

Hugh Callaghan of the Birmingham Six, a group of young men who were falsely convicted of the bombing of a Birmingham pub by the IRA, attended a campaign meeting to offer support to the family. Hugh Callaghan, Patrick Joseph Hill, Gerard Hunter, Richard McIlkenny, William Power and John Walker were travelling to birm6_b4the funeral of a friend who was a member of the IRA, and had accidentally killed himself while planting a bomb in Coventry. Callaghan and his friends were in the area at the time and were wrongly accused of the bombing. They spent 17 years in prison before a court of appeal overturned the guilty verdict on the basis that the verdict was “unsafe and unsatisfactory.”  The West Midlands Police deprived the men of food and sleep, interrogated them for up to 12 hours and made death threats against them. The men were beaten, suffered punches, terrified by snarling police dogs approaching within a foot and they experienced a mock execution. A bit over the top, you might say. Eventually the men were beaten down by the torture and they made a false confession. During court proceedings however a prisoner in the same jail told of the beatings the police had done to the six men. No action was taken against police.

Police fabrication and suppression of evidence the attacks against the men caused the Crown to accept the men’s 1991 appeal leading to the release and exoneration of the Birmingham six. What happened to the police involved in the matter? As usual, nothing. The movie In the Name of the Father starring Daniel Day-Lewis depicted the case of the Birmingham Six although with several fictitious developments, including a female character, Caroline, who was part of the Six in the film but not in “real life”. The film also depicted Callaghan’s father as a member of the Six and the inspiration behind the title, which he was not. The film took the idea from the injustice brought against the Guildford Four, where four men, including a wrongly convicted man and his father, were falsely imprisoned for bombing the Guildford Pub on October 5, 1974. Although the Birmingham Six were finally released and given financial compensation by the government, no criminal or investigative action was taken against the DA or the police in the original trial.

Sometimes there is no justice in this world, not even in the movies.




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The Aflac Duck Wasn’t Quacking Anthrax!

But maybe it should have, considering that adorable duck from the Aflac Insurance commercials only squawked about emergencies. Here’s a hilarious irony: Aflac now only issues insurance to people “with no chance of dying.” These people are immune to anthrax, apparently.  The Anthrax murders of 2001 are an unsolved pathological case of long-distance serial murder. Anthrax struck just after 9-1-1. People were already jumpy. Eight days later, a biological attack in the form of anthrax arrived in the mail at tabloid photo editor Robert Stevens’ office in Florida. He opened the letter and frowned at the white powder that spilled out. Within hours, Stevens thought he’d developed a nasty case of the flu. Within days, Stevens died of that so-called flu. The Centre of Disease Control (CDC) released a public statement to the press: “The Centre of Disease Control has just confirmed diagnosis of anthrax in a patient at a Florida Hospital.” Anthrax? What the hell was that? Anthrax (bacillus anthracis) is a bacillus bacteria. It causes internal organs to hemmhorage, or bleed out. Nice. It damages the structure and function of the organs and its tissues. Ouch. What aanthrax-cycle painful way to go.  Anthrax is found all over the world. There are different forms of anthrax disease, most of which are lethal to humans. The nasty buggers can survive in harsh conditions for decades or centuries (something to look forward to). Anthrax usually infects wild and domesticated animals that eat or inhale anthrax spores while grazing or sniffing at grass. It doesn’t spread with direct person to person contact but the spores can settle on clothing and shoes. Because anthrax is so durable it is deliberately used in biological weapons. The United States and England have indulged in this type of weaponry. (And you thought we were the good guys, didn’t you)? Louis Pasteur invented an anthrax vaccine in 1881 (around the time of the Jack the Ripper killings). Too bad Pasteur didn’t invent a vaccine for “saucy Jack.”

In fact, rather like Jack, the Anthrax killer (if there was only one) sent letters taunting government officials along with their powdery gift. Take Penacilin(sic) Now. Death to United States. Death to Israel, were among some of the pleasantries listed in the letters. What was the motivation? The killer seemed to target countries around the world insofar as the messages were concerned, yet only Americans were infected, hence the name Amerithrax. The FBI The FBI and the CDC worked together in an effort to prevent the s1024px-Bacillus_anthracis_Grampread of Stevens’ anthrax delivery. The office was quarantined and his staff was tested. They learned that anthrax indeed was the killer, however, Stevens’ staff remained uninfected. The Anthrax Killer generally targeted senators and major media spokespeople. Dan Rathers and Tom Brokaw’s assistant developed skin anthrax. This form of anthrax was cutaneous, meaning it infected the skin. That infection wasn’t a mere rash. It was truly nasty. It looked like flesh-eating disease and caused lesions. Nasty, peeling, pussing, stuff that hurt like, well, anthrax.

Two postal workers died of pulmonary anthrax disease (heart) in late October. The Anthrax Killer was knocking em’ down in a quick succession. Imagine what these poor people went through. If you were the recipient of an anthrax letter, when you opened it, that terrible white powder poured out onto your hands, clothes, desk, whatever. If you were up on your current events, you knew right away you had just been exposed to a lethal bacteria. If that wasn’t a heart-stopper (pun) then what was? Two women died of anthrax-related pulmonary poisoning in November. The death toll stood at 5, 2 more people had been severely infected and 22 peop110726-F-HS721-308le overall were exposed to it. The FBI launched its widest investigation in American history. They considered the Unabomber, who was in prison at the time.The Unabomber seems to fall under suspicion every time there is any kind of attack across the States. I wasn’t aware that he indulged in biological warfare. Perhaps the Unabomber will eventually be credited with anything and everything bothersome in the country: rising taxes, inflation rates, unemployment. Meh. It’s an easy solution.  Thousands of leads were generated that led nowhere. 4,000 subpoenas were sent during the investigation. No arrests were made.

Mass Hysteria The public responded in a predictable, understandably hysterical manner. They swamped hospital and police switchboards with panicked phone calls asking if their mail was safe to touch or to open. In response, the government urged people to take anthrax antibiotics. 20,000 people complied until local pharmacies ran out of the stuff. I’ve never heard of taking antibiotics before infection, but the CDC seemed to think it was a good idea so who am I to dissent?

Steven Hatfill
Hatfill underwent a “trial by media circus” during the FBI investigation. Hatfill was a physician, virologist and bio-weapons expert. Dr. Barbara Hatch Rosenberg accused Hatfill of the poisonings, stating to journalists that Hatfill was the “most likely person.” She included her suspicions in a report to the FBI. After she gave an interview to the press, hatfill-smjournalists pressured the FBI to do an intensive inspection into Hatfill’s personal and professional life. Searches of his apartment in July and August 2002 included many journalists but they turned up nothing. At one point, an FBI car accidentally ran over his foot. Ouch. Not as lethal as anthrax, but the FBI made its point. Hatfill sued the government for defamation of character. The government settled for $5.8 million. He should have sued Rosenberg in a civil suit and gone after her job.

On July 29, 2008, the FBI’s main suspect, Bruce E. Ivins, a researcher in anthrax vaccines at a government-run bio-weapons laboratory committed suicide. On April 11, 2007, the FBI put Ivins under constant surveillance and an FBI document stated that “Bruce Edwards Ivins is an extreme;y sensitive subject in the anthrax investigation.” The FBI eventually told Ivins charges would be brought against him in connection with the anthrax poisonings. Does this mean Ivins was the anthrax killer? Who knows? Wouldn’t you be frightened enough to consider suicide if the FBI was out to get you, regardless of your guilt or innocence? I would. If you’ve ever been an innocent person accused of something you didn’t do you have the idea of how frightening that experience can be. Throw the FBI into that mix and you’re in for the fight of your life. Also consider that the anthrax poisonings were long over. They began and ended in 2001. This was 2008. To suggest that after Ivin’s suicide there were no more poisonings is naive at best. There hadn’t been any poisonings in 7 years. Guess what Ivins used to kill himself? Nope, not anthrax. Aspirin. There’s another creepy chemical poisoning for you.

Ongoing DoubtBruce_Ivins_award_ceremony_crop Two American senators insisted on an investigation into the method the FBI used to implicate Ivins. A report stated that, “although the type of anthrax used in the letters was correctly identified as the Ames strain of the bacterium, there was insufficient scientific evidence for the FBI’s assertion that it originated from Ivins’ laboratory.” The FBI responded that it “science alone” would not lead to the likely suspect, and that it was a combination of facts that pointed to Ivins. It also stated that Ivins possessed supposed mental health issues that haven’t been revealed to the public. The FBI also stated that Ivins tried to mislead the investigation by sending “false samples of anthrax” for comparison purposes. The federal government ordered the FBI to release hundreds of documents in the case and stated they were “confident” Ivins was the culprit. “We regret that we will not have the opportunity to present to a jury to determine whether the evidence proves Ivins’ innocence beyond a reasonable doubt.” It insisted that Ivins was among only a “handful” of American scientists who knew how to process the anthrax spores. It also claimed to have found the flask in which the spores were originally held. Be that as it may, Ivins cannot be identified as the anthrax killer; without a trial or a plea, there cannot be a resolution to the case. I have to admit the FBI made some compelling arguments. It gets a lot of (a)flack for its investigations but it can’t be wrong all the time.

Nicholas Roberts, 50, of Tudor Street Cardiff, mailed four letters containing white flour to the First Minister of the Welsh Assembly Rhodri Morgan. author Jan Morris and two of Roberts’s (now former) friends. Roberts thought it would be “kind of funny” but after he sent the letters he contacted police to admit to the gag. Roberts was arrested and a wide-ranging search was launched to track down the four letters before they reached their targets. Taking no chances, police made arrangements to contain the building in case the powder was indeed anthrax. Roberts told the Cardiff court that he sent Morgan the mail after he read an article Morris stating the Minister had “done nothing  robertsfor Wales”. Roberts agreed with her criticism and in support of her statement he sent off the letter with flour. He then fired one off to Morris herself, although only the Lord knows what that was about.  I hereby induct Roberts into the Hall of Most Pathetic Copycat Crimes Ever. Here’s another gem for you: Roberts is a former schoolteacher. Today’s lesson in history, students, is what not to do after an anthrax scare. The judge’s comment was “you’re clearly a very strange man indeed,” the only completely accurate statement during the entire trial, probably.

There were several other anthrax scares, some of which may indeed have involved a potentially dangerous chemical although anthrax was not among them. A woman named Diane Nellie Stafford, 37, of 251 County Road 52, Athens, faced a number of charges the first being filing a false report, a Class E felony. Stafford and two unnamed juveniles attended the McMinn County Justice Center with a package that had a “surprise” inside. Now that was the stupid Stafford’s first mistake. How would she know about the “surprise” if she hadn’t tampered with the package? Sheriff’s Detective Sgt. Gary Miller was told the package had nude photos of a male “and also had another object taped to one of the photos.” Miller wasn’t too happy when he opened it and white powder spilled out of the package.  Of course, the office area was immediately secured where the package was examined and all three subjects were interviewed.”  After they were interrogated one of the kids admitted he had put baking soda into the package. Stafford claimed her daughter was sent the package from a relative in Florida. For whatever reason the idiotic Stafford thought it would be hilarious to fool the court into thinking her daughter had received a false anthrax scare. Stafford received a one year probation sentence and a $300 fine. That isn’t harsh enough. The Deputy and many other people in the building, thought their lives were in danger. Lock her up for a couple of years, I say.

Did the FBI collar the right guy when it accused Ivins? Who knows? Who cares? The anthrax scare is over.

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Jack the Ripper was Victorian England’s Slenderman

Let me first explain: I never intended to blog about Jack the Ripper. He’s been done to death (pun). But when I began researching the political backdrop of the Ripper myth, and the emergence of two new theories as to his possible identity, I admit I was quite intrigued. As it turns out, Jack isn’t a simple story about a depraved madman prowling Victorian England’s East side.  Jack was Victorian England’s Slenderman except he didn’t prey on children….maybe. He was that vague, menacing creature who hovered in the shadows of people’s nightmares, waiting for the opportunity to kill. A potential suspect in The_Slender_Man_by_Pirate_Cashoothe Ripper case did indeed murder four children – his own. He also murdered two wives and may possibly have murdered the prostitutes of the utterly neglected slum of Whitechapel. However that’s if you accept this particular suspect as a possible Ripper and if you even believe that one person was responsible for the killings.

Have you ever wondered about the name Jack the Ripper? Like Slenderman it’s highly significant in the emotional reaction it elicits. There is something ominous about Slenderman. I don’t personally envision a skinny guy like Gumby. And Ripper. What could be creepier? I know the Ripper part of Jack’s name implies the manner in which he butchered at least 5 prostitutes in the Whitechapel, Spitalfields, Aldgate areas and in the City of London, England. It’s suspected that old Jack probably murdered more than 5 women, being at least 6 women and as many as 13. Since you could say that Jack butchered his victims, why wasn’t he called Jack the Butcher instead? Among a number of suspects, police considered that Jack was a butcher in one of the creepy alleys in Whitechapel. Really it makes sense. Consider that a butcher would have anatomical knowledge, as much as a surgeon or a mortician. Mind you, a fisherman would have anatomical knowledge too. And there were plenty of those in the area. Anyhoo. Jack supposedly named himself. It came Satellitefrom a note known as the Dear Boss Letter that was mailed to the Central News Agency:  “Dear Boss……That joke about Leather Apron gave me real fits……’‘ (‘Leather Apron‘ was a man named John Pizer, a suspect in the murders.) “I am down on whores and I shant quit ripping them till I do get buckled…”. Perhaps that explains why he didn’t call himself Jack the Butcher. No aprons for him although I suspect he was still attached to Mommy Dearest’s apron strings. The two murders of 30 September 1888 made a second communication in the form of a postcard especially significant. The author called himself ‘saucy Jacky...’ and spoke of the “double event…….” (presumably the two murders he committed thus far). He signed himself Jack the Ripper and almost offered an apology in the most sarcastic manner, for giving himself the nickname. Modern historians still debate about the validity of the letters and with good reason.

First of all, if the letter above is legitimate it makes little sense: check out the beautiful penmanship. If indeed the killer lived in the cruddy Whitechapel area, and he was a butcher, as was long suspected by police, hejack_the_ripper_dear_boss_letter_front (1) would have been illiterate. Why? Because the lower class was uneducated in England in the 1800s. Now add to that the graceful penmanship and it’s well nigh impossible to believe this letter actually belonged to Jack the Ripper. However, Jack mentioned that he would cut off the ear of his next victim, and indeed this was precisely what happened to Catherine Eddowes. But if this letter was sent 24 hours after the murder then the press would already have reported on the case and the missing ear (a la Van Gogh) would have become public information.

The Saucy Jack Postcard was written in a completely different handwriting. It stated the police were right that it was “the left kidney I was going to operate” and he promised “I will be on the job soon and will send you another bit of innerds.” If the police mentioned they received “innards” from one of the murder victims, (and they did receive a human kidney), then there isn’t any remarkable information in this letter, again due to press coverage. Although this writing was much cruder, it still wouldn’t belong to a butcher or anyone else living Whitechapel. In fact, it wouldn’t belong to anyone in the lower classes in London, England. Is the letter fraudulent? Who knows?  The handwriting was compared with that used in the Lusk Letter and the resemblance between the two is slight. The Lusk Letter was received by George Lusk, head of the Whitechapel Vigilance Committee. It is also known as the From Hell Letter. The author faked illiteracy; the wordhospital’ is spelled correctly on the envelope but incorrectly in the letter, an oversight no doubt. (Letter is included below right).

640px-FromHellLetterPolice claimed journalist Tom Bulling, was the author of the Saucy Jack Postcard and Dear Boss Letter but journalist Fred Best eventually confessed to being the author. Bulling was a drunken journalist who in 1888 worked for the Central News Agency. He was paid to supply crime stories for newspapers. Mr. Trevor Marriott, an expert in “Ripperology“, stated “Police got a letter that Bulling had written about the murders which he signed ‘Jack the Ripper’. It was the most ingenious piece of journalism that has kept this mystery alive for 125 years. Even now any modern-day serial killer is called a ‘Ripper’.” In other words, Jack the Ripper was a fraudulent construct, and was not the author of any of the letters.

In 1913 the Littlechild letter was sent to police. It was written by John George Littlechild, a retired Inspector with Scotland Yard. In it, he denied knowledge of a Montague Druitt (Dr. D.) in connection with the Ripper killings. Instead, he mentioned a Dr. T (Francis Tumblety). The reason he gave was that Tumblety was 13251.playerarrested for “unnatural offences” (homosexuality). Dr. T. did have a criminal history but crime historians believe Littlechild had mixed up Dr. T with Dr. D, because Littlechild claimed Dr. T had committed suicide by drowning himself in the Thames River, when in fact, that was Dr. D.  Insofar as Dr. D. is considered, police considered him to be “sexually insane” and his own family believed him to be the murderer.

The Lives of 5 Doomed Women
As if the deaths of Jack’s five known victims weren’t hellish enough, the lives of these women were truly heartrending. The East end of Whitechapel was where the poorest of the poor lived. It was L.A.’s equivalent of Skid Row. There were far more gruesome murders in Whitechapel than old Jack’s; he just happened to strike at a significant political time in Whitechapel history. The murdered women had literally nothing left to sell except their bodies. Prostitution wasn’t their choice of lifestyle. They were forced to sell themselves for food and drink. They carried all of their belongings with them. Rather than one skirt, the women wore two or three, if they owned that many. She carried some food – all that she owned. These women were either widowed or abandoned by their husbands. The Victorian Era certainly makes a valid argument for purchasing life insurance.

During England’s economic depression, London’s east end was shunned by “decent” people. Members of the higher class conveniently ignored the poverty-stricken families who lived there, except of course, for the men who paid for the women’s services. The fixed price for a woman’s services was 5 pennies – the price of a large glass of gin.

Jack’s Victims
Why did Jack target prostitutes?  He stated he was “down on whores” in one of his letters but that is too simple an explanation. More likely, it was that they made easy targets. Picture a madman strolling through an elite area of the city, seeking victims. It wasn’t likely that a woman would be alone late at night on the streets. And even one murder of this sort 29Handbury Stwould prove to be his death knell. The police would swarm this area straightaway, rather than after the fifth murder, that of Mary Kelly. In that event, they probably would have caught the killer before there was a second murder and there would have been no “Jack the Ripper.” Indeed, that single murder would have faded into history. And Jack certainly wasn’t expecting that the murder of a “whore”, no matter how ghastly (because there were any at the time that were equally appalling), so off to Whitechapel he went. Something interesting happened after the first murder that he wasn’t expecting.

One of the reasons the murders became so famous was that the first election to the London County Council was taking place. The Radicals believed they could win the East End if they emphasized the East End’s appalling living conditions. Naturally the Rads jumped at the chance to expose the murder and use it as part of their political campaign.  The Radical Newspaper sold more papers than even the Radicals had hoped. The illustrator did a very good job of sketching a gory portrayal of Nichols’ corpse, complete with a hellish picture of the supposed Jack the Ripper. It was this maelstrom of sensationalism that gripped the public imagination and made Jack the Ripper a household name. In fact if it hadn’t been for the Rads the whole nasty incident might have gone completely overlooked.

The First Victim – Mary Ann “Polly” Nichols: Polly Nichols was the first victim. She was 44, quite homely, overweight, an alcoholic and extremely poor (even by Whitechapel standards). Abandoned by her husband, she was forced into prostitution and earned a pollymeager living. On her last night alive she was in particularly good spirits: she wore a new hat. She had five missing teeth but she felt pretty, telling friends, “see what a jolly bonnet I’m wearing!” She was last seen alive around 2:38 a.m. on Aug. 31, 1888. She was found at 3:45 a.m., on the same date in a side street of Buck’s Row in Whitechapel. She had an 8-inch slash to her throat, which severed both major arteries on either side of her neck. Ouch. There were slashes on her stomach.

The Second Victim – Annie Chapman: The second victim was an alcoholic 47-year-old widow. Chapman partly supported herself through prostitution after her husband died. Chapman had been kicked out of her rooming house because she didn’t have the money to pay the rent. She was last seenannie-chapman alive at 5:30 a.m. outside an apartment at 29 Hanbury St. with a man described as “shabby genteel” on Saturday, Sept. 8, 1888. A witness heard a muffled cry of “No!” between his yard and 29 Hanbury St., then a thump against a fence. The witness had only to glance over the fence and he would have seen the Ripper. However, it wasn’t for a half-hour later that a tenant who lived at Hanbury found Chapman in the apartment block. This one was particularly gross. Chapman’s feet were pushed up toward her body, with her knees spread apart. Her throat was also slashed but in Chapman’s case, the cause of death was strangulation. Chapman was disembowelled: her intestines were removed and placed on her shoulder. You know, for safekeeping. Her uterus and bladder were supposedly missing. Nasty. The precision of the cuts suggested to police that the killer had some knowledge of anatomy. Perhaps it was a medical doctor. Removing the uterus might have been his way of “curing” Chapman of hysteria since hysteria was considered to be a “female disease” resulting in sexual frustration. Prostitutes claimed a stocky, short, mustachioed man wearing a leather apron and a cap, waving a knife, had been threatening them. Scotland Yard’s chief suspect was a poor Polish-Jewish immigrant .nicknamed Leather Apron. They arrested John Pizer as Leather Apron in order to prevent local papers from printing the information that an immigrant had been doing the killings. Pizer had no involvement in the killings and he was soon released. However, the damage was done, Jews were looked at suspiciously by East-enders, and racial tensions increased. A Dr. Baxter was the first person involved in the murder case to declare that the murderer was a doctor.  After his completion of Chapman’s autopsy, Bond claimed, “this was the work of an expert.Dr. Bond of Westminster, a police surgeon who was fully respected by authorities, rejected this claim completely. In fact he claimed the killer had “not even the skill of a butcher.”

The Double Murders

Elizabeth Stride: Stride, known as Long Liz, was 45 and had been drinking before her date with Jack. She was hustling for trade up and down Burner Street however at one point she was witnessed refusing a proposition. It’s possible she didn’t care for the amount of jack-the-ripper-2money the would-be client offered. She was last seen alive on Sunday, Sept. 30, 1888, by
a police officer walking his beat along Berner Street in Whitechapel at 12:35 a.m.. A half hour later, her body was found in Dutfield’s Yard, a dark alley off Berner Street. She was in the same pose as Chapman: her legs were pulled up toward her body, her knees in the air. In Stride’s case she had a handkerchief tied around her throat which was deeply cut on the left side. Stride wasn’t mutilated and police figured naughty Jack was interrupted. Apparently, this frustrated old Jack who murdered Catherine Eddowes that same night.

Catherine Eddowes: Eddowes was a 46-year-old alcoholic with a kidney disease. Surprisingly she was considered to be an intelligent, educated person. Of course, this is according to Whitechapel standards. Police arrested her for public drunkenness and released her just before 1:00 a.m. Too bad. Eddowes was last seen alive at 1:35 a.m. speaking with a mustachioed man near Mitre Square. She deliberately chose this area to prostitute herself because she knew a police officer walked by every ten minutes. However ten minutes after she was seen speaking with the man near Mitre Square, a policeman found Eddowes’ body in the square. Jack certainly worked fast. Perhaps he worked faster than usual with Eddowes because of the interruption during his “work” on Stride. Eddowes’ throat was slit, her legs were spread and her bent knees lifted off the ground. So far, Eddowes was the worst of them all: she was slashed open from her rectum to her sternum. Her intestines lay over her shoulder and under her arm. Her nose was cut off, and deep cuts were on her eyelids and cheeks. Her cut throat was the cause of death. Most of her womb and her kidney were removed and were missing. What was it with Jack and kidneys? Somehow during all of this catastrophe, no one had seen or heard anything. Maybe he used chloroform, the arrogant so-and-so.

jack-the-ripper-4At this time, 4,500 women across London who were not prostitutes sent a petition to the Queen begging for her intervention. They required her to close “bad houses” in East London. The feeling was that whatever happened to these women was well-deserved. They were thought to be nymphomaniacs, roaming the streets for pleasure not for coin. In other words, these women wanted “street cleaning“, not protection for the poverty-stricken prostitutes. Meh. They were probably bitching about their own husbands visiting prostitutes which wasn’t unusual (although not common) among the upper class. A proper Victorian lady didn’t approve of sex, never mind enjoy it, and she was expected to refuse sex unless she and her husband wished to have children. Needless to say, a frustrated man had to have an outlet, hence the brothels and streets were teeming with business. This wasn’t a good time for trolling for sex, however: vigilante groups descended upon several men during this time and it’s even possible they forced the real killer into the police station one night, where he was immediately released. It was after the fifth victim’s murder that a  task force consisting of  15,000 constables manned the streets. There were dozens of undercover police.

The Fifth Victim – Mary Jane Kelly: Of all the murders, this one would truly stunned the world. 25-year-old Kelly was young and attractive. She was a prostitute and a heavmary eddowsy drinker. You can’t blame all of these women for being alcoholics. They had the worst lives imaginable. And prostitution wasn’t a reflection on their character: none of these women had other means of employment especially if they were unskilled in a trade. Poor Kelly was murdered indoors and Jack murdered her in the worst way possible. Kelly was last seen alive on Friday, Nov. 9 after 2:00 a.m., entering her apartment house, Miller Court, with a mustachioed man carrying a parcel. It was believed that inside the parcel were surgical instruments. At 10:45 a.m. that same day a rent collector entered Kelly’s apartment and found her body, not the most pleasant experience the collector ever had. I’d bet 5 pennies he went into a new line of work. Kelly was partially clothed in a nightgown, her feet pulled up toward her body, knees bent to either side and, as usual, the legs were spread. Kelly was the most mutilated of all the prostitutes: her face was gone, having been stabbed and slashed repeatedly. Her throat was slashed so deeply that even her neck vertebrae had knife marks. Her breasts and organs and entrails were beneath her head. Pieces of flesh from her stomach and thighs were on a nightstand. There were more injuries but you get the idea. How’s your own stomach btw?

Even the old Queen got into this one. She informed the Prime Minister that this murder “shows the absolute necessity for some very decided action. All the courts must be lit and our detectives improved.” That was old Vic’s take on the matter. Whoopee-doo-doo. I never did like the phony Royals. I can picture her writing the letter whilst sipping tea in one of her fourteen luxurious parlours and eating scones. Her letter resulted in Scotland Yard Chief Warren’s forced resignation. Well done, old girl. When will someone write a letter that de-thrones the utterly redundant Queen? She wasn’t concerned for these women’s safety. It was all about the politics again.

Additional Victims?
Female torsos were discovered months and years following the brutal murders, There are several victims whose injuries fit Jack’s nasty style but they aren’t included in the canonical murders (canonical being the expression for the Ripper murders). The case of one prostitute, Martha Tabram, may be a possible sixth victim. Tabram was also an alcoholic prostitute and was murdered on Aug. 7, 1888, making her Jack’s first actual victim. Tabram was found with her legs spread and 39 stab wounds were found on her abdomen and groin. She got to keep her intestines. In case she needed them later I guess.

Jack the Ripper FBI Criminal Profile
What did Jack feel in the hours before he murdered? What was going through his twisted mind? It’s possible he first met and bought 996222-emily-matherthese women drinks in pubs,  a macabre game. They may even have left with him. That would have been part of the fun for “saucy Jack.” Here is the official FBI criminal profile of Jack the Ripper:

  1. between 25 and 35 years of age
  2. caucasian
  3. a domineering mother
  4. carried a knife with him
  5. suffered a venereal disease from a prostitute
  6. would have been investigated during the Ripper investigation
  7. seafarer Why a seafarer? Because his anatomical knowledge could have suggested he was familiar with gutting large species of fish (nasty) and he could have been a drifter (pun), picking up and leaving port whenever it suited him. Hence, it was impossible for police to catch him for the Whitechapel murders.

New Suspects
A number of suspects have been named for decades (and at the time of the murders). During the 21st century however, two new leads have been investigated, with the first being quite surprising.

Ripperology – Mr. Trevor Marriott
An expert in “Ripperology”, Marriott discovered 17 Ripper-like murders committed between 1863 and 1894. Marriott has fingered German merchant seaman Carl Feigenbaum as the killer in some, but not all, of these killings:

You have to ask yourself if ‘Jack’ is an urban myth. Around 80 per cent of the stories about him have a picture of a chap on the front stalking the streets of London in a long black cape and a top hat. They were the clothes of an jack-the-ripper-5upper class, wealthy man. But back in 1888  if someone dressed like that had actually walked around Whitechapel in the dead of night they wouldn’t have lasted five minutes. It wasn’t just one of the most crime-riddled areas of London, it was one of the worst areas in the country. It’s a false image that has been created by the likes of Hollywood film makers.New facts have come to light, we’ve now disproved the claim that the killer removed organs from the victims at the scenes of the murders, the organs were removed later….there just isn’t a Jack the Ripper as such.” 

Marriott held a one man show in England called “Jack The Ripper A 21st Century Investigation” displaying his research and evidence he states proves there wasn’t one Jack the Ripper. Marriott insists that Thomas Bulling’s infamous letters to the police claiming to be the Ripper were actually the beginning of a brilliant, yet highly misleading construct known as Jack the Ripper. It led the press to believe that Jack was one individual and in turn, the press flaunted the letters to the public, perpetuating the myth that Jack as one person. He also believes that internal organs were probably not removed from the victims during the crime since there simply wouldn’t have been enough time. The killer would have had to remove said organs in the dark within about five minutes – an impossible feat. Organ removal is a very precise, careful procedure. If “Jack” had attempted to remove any of the suggested organs, he would have butchered them as much as the rest of the body, and he wouldn’t have been able to remove them with the precision that has been suggested by historians.

Robin Napper – Forensic Investigator
Napper would disagree with Marriott. He is quite certain that Englishman Fredrick Bailey Deeming was Jack. Deeming was born in 1853 in Worcestershire England.He deeming_000had a very strong relationship with Mommy Dearest, Ann Bailey. His father spent time in a mental institution. Deeming ran away from home at 16. Years later Deeming murdered his first wife and four children by cutting their throats, with the exception of a fourth child whom he strangled. He buried their bodies under the kitchen floor of their house. Two of the children were buried on either side of his wife. A third was buried at her feet. Within one month he married Emily Mather from Rainhill, England. Right away they sailed to Australia. He continued his killing spree in the suburb of Windsor in Melbourne Australia when he murdered his wife Mather. Mather was found with her head bludgeoned and her throat slashed. Just before the murder Mather and Deeming had quarrelled. He went on the run but after the murder but Deeming was caught and arrested. He hung for his crimes. A plaster mold, known as a death mask, was made of his face. A Scotland Yard museum displays it as the death mask of Jack the Ripper. However SY didn’t conduct a serious investigation into Deeming as being Jack the Ripper.

At the scene of two of th014885-mather-and-deeminge prostitute murders, a knife with the initials F.D. was found. At the time he murdered Mather, Deeming was found to be in possession of a large collection of knives. However it has been argued that Deeming may have been in jail at the time of the Ripper murders. This is possible, yet records show he wasn’t jailed until two years after the Ripper murders. There is a reasonable explanation for why Deeming still could have been a Jack candidate: Deeming used several aliases, approximately 20 in total, during his lifetime. It was nearly impossible to track his movements. This proves Deeming may well have been free during the Ripper murders. Still, a discrepancy that was noted was that Deeming was known only to have killed family members. However, his signature behaviour, the disembowelment, strangulation and cutting of the throats, were a consistent whitechapelM.O. with the family murders. And Deeming may have been very stressed at the time he killed his family. He was known to have told someone around that time that he’d contracted a sexual disease from a prostitute that rendered him “a sexually ruined man” for two years. Likely he was infected with syphillis, a disease known to infect the brain. In essence, Deeming was a ticking time bomb. The FBI criminal profile of Jack the Ripper is an exact match to Fredrick Deeming. Deeming was also a seafarer. DNA is all that remains to prove beyond a doubt that Deeming was Jack the Ripper and this may be forthcoming in the following years.

If there was a single man called Jack the Ripper, he wasn’t intelligent so much as he possessed an intrinsic cunning, an ability to escape the tightening net in the Whitechapel area. That in itself wasn’t especially remarkable either. There were dozens of men a night prowling the Whitechapel area, seeking out the services of prostitutes. They were pretty much one and the same with regard to appearance. Jack certainly didn’t cloak himself in the garb of a wealthy man, being a top hat and black, red-lined cape. That concept was a media construct. The idea was to blend. If you’ll excuse me, I’m a bit hungry. I’m cooking up a kidney pie.

Man or myth? You decide.


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Conniving Coit Conned and Killed an Old Codger

Jill Lonita Billiot
Steamboat Springs
is a sleepy, picturesque little ski town in Colorado. In 1990, it was home to pretty single mother Jill Coit (née Billiot), a gold-digger and serial wife. Coit hopped from husband to husband after draining each one of their finances. Well, a girl’s gotta make a jill-coitliving. Coit set her sights on Gerald Boggs, a 50-year-old man several years Coit’s senior. Although he wasn’t a wealthy man, Boggs owned a hardware store and his earnings gave him a reasonably comfortable life. She and her two sons were renovating a bed and breakfast, hence the reason for her fateful visit to Cobb’s hardware store. A natural flirt, Coit showered attention on the flattered Boggs who fell head over heelsin love. Coit had a peaches and cream complexion and long black hair. For a time she even modelled. Coit dressed provocatively, attracting a significant amount of male attention. Beauty notwithstanding,  clearly Jill’s modelling wasn’t enough to pay the mortgage. She needed a man. And fast.

Enter Boggs. It wasn’t long before they tied the knot, a first (and last) for Boggs. However, Boggs wasn’t merely smitten. The two had a “shotgun” wedding. Silly Coit had gotten pregnant by Boggs. How many more children was she going to have anyway? Never fear. Boggs was excited about becoming a father. Good old Boggs. Not so Coit. She was irritated by Boggs’ glowing demeanor and taunted him about his excitement. That may be because Coit wasn’t pregnant and had used that excuse to convince Boggs to marry her. At that point, Boggs became a little concerned about his decision to marry Coit. Well, that’s why they call them shotgun weddings.

Boggs isn’t the only one who noticed the change in Coit. His brother, Doug Boggs, became worried about Bogg’s well-being and Coit’s true intentions. Coit somehow acquired documents that detailed finances pertaining to the family business. Doug hired a private detective to investigate Coit and the news was devastating. Jill Coit was actually Jill Lonita Billiot. When Boggs discovered Coit had been married 11 times, he nearly fell over. She was a massive fraud with 14 aliases. The P.I. told the Boggs brothers that Coit “is cut from the same cloth as ‘The Black Widow,  (or perhaps spun from the same web), in reference to a 1987 thriller about a woman whose husbands died shortly after marrying her. After 7 days of blissful marriage, Boggs worked on getting the marriage annulled, not just because of her aliases and marital history, but because Coit was still married to someone else. Tsk tsk. That is pesky. Not to be outdone, Coit sued Boggs for the deed to the bed and breakfast venture of hers. She worried that if Boggs had the marriage annulled before her lawsuit was finished, she might never get a penny from him. Uh-oh. What to do? Of course! Resort to murder, like every cold-blooded spouse who marries for money.

The Origin of Evil
No one is really certain when Jill Billiot was born. She was prone to lie about the date and her age that it makes it difficult to know for sure; but most believe she was born on June the 11th of 1943 or 1944. The Billiots weren’t rich, but Jill Billiot had everything she wanted. The little brown-eyed girl who lived near the canals of The Big Easy gave no inkling that she would one day become a famous American black widow. An irony that she lived a state known as the “Big Easy”, considering the movie with Ellen Barkin and Dennis Quaid was about a deceitful couple who murder Barkin’s husband. During her sophomore year of high school, Billiot moved in with her maternal grandparents in North Manchester, Indiana. Clearly, there was trouble at home and it was likely that Billiot’s parents were unable to control their pretty daughter. Billiot easily fit in especially with the boys, who were “just tickled” by her Louisianian accent and the tall tales she told about life in the bayous.

Larry Eugene Ihnen – Husband # 1
One of the boys especially enamored with Billiot was Larry Eugene Ihnen. At this point in her life, Billiot actually married for love. She dropped out of high school at 17 and the two eloped on July 24, 1961, but by March 1962, Inhen moved back home with his mother. Billiot filed for divorce and obtained a restraining order, alleging Ihnen treated her in an “inhumane” manner. 

Steven Moore – husband #2
Billiot returned to The Big Easy, shunning the midwestern life she lived in Indiana. Instead, she wisely completed her high school diploma. That’s one thing in her favour, at lejill-coit-book-1ast. Afterward, Billiot enrolled at Northwestern State University of Louisiana in Natchitoches, where she met Steven Moore, her next husband. O
n May 5, 1964, the two were wed in Mississippi. Before their first anniversary, there was trouble brewing. The birth of a baby boy, Steven Seth Moore, on March 28, 1965, seemed to exacerbate the problems and eventually the Moores separated.

William Clark Coit Jr. – Husband # 3 – A Fatal Attraction
William Clark Coit, Jr., was a wealthy gas pipeline worker and a bit of a transient. He enjoyed traveling and he wasn’t one for a wife and kids. Clark, as he was called, was enjoying a drink in of the French Quarter’s bars the Saturday night he first met Jill Lonita Moore. Clark took one look at Billiot and his bachelor days were over. For a while Billiot seemed to be the answer to a prayer however
she was already someone else’s wife. The Moores were only separated, not divorced. On August 27, 1965, she filed for divorce and moved into Clark’s French Quarter apartment. The same year, Billiot met Clark’s family in Ohio. She left baby Seth behind in Louisiana. The Coit family were quite unaware of her son and pending divorce, and Jill charmed the pants off them (much as she had Clark, I should imagine). They happily welcomed Billiot into their family. You can imagine their sigh of relief, “we thought Clark would never settle down!” Coit and Billiot married on January 29, 1966, in Orange County, Texas. Clark had no clue that his bride’s divorce from Moore wasn’t complete.He also had no idea how much danger he was in.

Slightly beyond 9 months into her third marriage, Mrs. Coit gave birth to a second son she named William Clark Coit III. Clark adopted Seth whose name was changed from Steven Seth Moore to Johnathan Seth Coit. Mrs. Coit(us) never stopped running around with men. By 1972, she bragged about her sexual escapades to her heartbroken husband. On March 8, 1972, Mrs. Coit filed for divorce. Clark withdrew a hefty sum of money from his bank and told friends it was “a little bit of money Jill can’t get her hands on.”  Clark underestimated his greedy wife. On March 29, 1972, Clark’s body was discovered cold and stiff sans cash. Homicide detectives knew that the widow Coit was responsible for Clark’s death, but they barely had enough circumstantial evidence, let alone something more viable, to bring before a Grand Jury. Eventually they did but by the time police found what they needed Coit was long gone. To ensure the police couldn’t get her extradited back to the jurisdiction, Coit committed herself to a mental facility for “acute hysteria and emotional distress.” Hysteria was a huge step backward for feminists everywhere. The term has been in the DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mood Disorders by the American Psychiatric Assocation) since just after WWI. It applied strictly to women at one time and was believed to be caused byfemale problems.” If anyone had female problems it had to be Jill Coit.

Louis A. DeRosa – Husband Number 4
Coit’s hospitalization proved a significant barrier to bringing her before the Grand Jury: think not guilty by reason of insanity.
Clark Coit’s homicide became a cold case and the mentally disturbed Mrs. Coit inherited all of his estate. She made a remarkable recovery; Coit discharged herself from the nuthouse within hours of inheriting Coit’s wealth. She then fled Texas following Clark’s death and the attorney she hired to fight extradition, Louis A. DiRosa of New Orleans, was also the attorney who handled her adoption by her 5th man. Adoption you say? We’re getting there. Then, jumping on the bandwagon with everyone else, DiRosa married and divorced Coit twice.

Bruce Johansen – Sugar Daddy 
In August 1973, Coit met wealthy retiree Bruce Johansen. He was interested in marrying her but Coit managed to get him to “adopt” her. Seriously. Johansen died the following year and naturally Coit inherited a significant amount of his estate. Natural causes were cited as Johansen’s cause of death 
 and there appeared to be no foul play but  the “adoption” certainly happened at an opportune time.

Donald Charles Brodie – Husband Number 5
While coaxing her sugar daddy to adopt her, Coit married U.S. Marine Corp Major Donald Charles Brodie. Brodie didn’t allow Coit to manage the household funds. What a drag. Coit delivered a son to Brodie on October 18, 1974, and named him Thadeus John Brodie .Brodie however wasn’t as gullible as Coit’s previous husbands and, baby or no baby, he filed for divorce. As it turned out, Jill paid people to “borrow” their baby and this was the infant she used to get child support from Brodie. Accepting payment to loan out one’s baby seems about as twisted as offering payment to borrow a baby in my opinion. Fortunately, Coit’s scheme didn’t work and she got not a penny fjill-coit-book-2rom Brodie.

Eldon Dane Metzger – Husband Number 6
During one of their numerous separations, Coit married Indiana auctioneer Eldon Duane Metzger.  Coit traveled to Haiti to file for a quickee divorce from DiRosa on November 4, 1978. I suppose they were booked up in Nevada. However, the  divorce was not recognized by the United States, making Coit a bigamist under U.S. law yet again. If nothing else, Coit was never bored.

Carl V. Steely – Husband Number 7
Coit wasn’t divorced from Louis when she married Carl V. Steely, a teacher at Culver Academy in Culver, Indiana. This invalid marriage lasted for nine years, although they lived together as man and wife for seven years. Impressive, considering Coit’s track record. Years later, Steely claimed he was lucky to be alive: he believed that on at least two occasions Coit tried to kill him, once by poison and once by having him run him over. Clearly, it wasn’t Steely’s time. Toward the end of the marriage, Steely and Coit vacationed in Steamboat Springs, Colorado. They were impressed with the area and decided it was where they wished to retire. Coit wanted to purchase the quaint Oak Street Bed and Breakfast, and Steely agreed. Coit was to stay on after the purchase of the B&B, and  Steely would join her after school ended for the summer. While they were married, Coit told Steely that husband number five (DiRosa) was her mentor interpreting and using the law to her advantage. Steely must have been as gullible as the others since he appeared to buy into that bull.

Gerry Boggs – Husband Number 8
It was after Steely that Coit made her move on Gerry Boggs. Boggs had no idea she was still married to Steely when they were wedded in 1944.

Roy Carroll – Husband Number 9
Busy bee, that Coit. At this point, Boggs was still alive. On February 22, 1992, she and Carroll were wedded in, where else, Nevada. Carroll was a retired U.S. Naval Petty Officer. nm0001694What did Carroll have to offer? Nothing. He wasn’t affluent, he wouldn’t let her handle the household budget and he wasn’t the most exciting man who ever crossed Coit’s path. Perhaps Coit had developed an uncontrollable addiction for marriage. Lucky for Carroll, she ditched him within a few months of their blessed union. By that time she had  married Michael Backus, a telephone repairman.The picture on the left is Meredith Salenger starring as Jill Coit in Legacy of Sin: The William Coit Story

Michael Backus – Husband Number 10
No evidence exists to prove that Coit and Backus were married. It is believed she simply assumed his surname. Meh. For all intents and purposes, I believe he was her husband (he certainly was in her mind), so I have listed him among her former spouses. Backus was perhaps the most important husband to Coit; it was he, along with Coit, who murdered Boggs. In October 1993, the pair were the prime suspects in Boggs’ murder. Coit met Backus, a telephone repairman, while still married to Gerry Boggs, exactly when she was looking to off her unhappy husband. Boggs lived by his self-disciplined rigid schedule.  On October 22, 1993, when Boggs didn’t arrive for work, brother Doug went to his home and found Boggs dead. He had been shot and beaten. Poor Boggs was stunned with a stun gun, shot with a .22 caliber gun, and beaten with a shovel. Ouch. Determined, much? It didn’t take a rocket scientist to identify Coit and Backus as the prime (and only) suspects in the sick slaying. Coit gave the sensational story that Boggs was murdered when she and Backus were in Kelly Flats in the Poudre Canyon. To add insult to mortal injury, Coit informed detectives that her husband had been a “closet homosexual and they should search for a mysterious gay lover.” Investigators didn’t believe the gay lover thing for a minute. Coit might as well have said the Vietnamese Mafia offed her husband. That would have been more believable.

Let’s see now. Jill Billiot was first Jill Ihnen when she was a teenager. Soon afterward she legitimately re-married Steven Moore. After Moore there was Clark Coit. After poor Coit was pushing up daisies, she wed Johansen and DiRosa. Somewhere in there she married Brodie and Steely. Metzger was next and eventually there was poor Boggs, her second doomed spouse. Second last was Roy Carroll, a retired US Navy Petty Officer. Coit liked a man (men) in uniform. Bringing up the rear was, drumroll, Backus. Keep in mind these marriages were often founded on bigamy, making them illegal. There was a lot of overlap in these marriages. Her divorces were sometimes illegal, too. Coit was first widowed at the age of 28; first divorced at 17. Have I missed any? That’s 10 husbands. Liz Taylor would be green with envy.

Naturally, Coit did what she did second best: she skipped town with Backus. In fact, she skipped out of the country all the way to Mexico, that tried and true land of non-gerald-boggs-and-jill-coitextradition. It wasn’t as unique as voluntarily committing herself to a nuthouse, but Jill Lonita Billiot Ihnen Moore Coit Brodie Dirosa Metzger Steely Boggs Carroll Backus might have gotten away with yet another murder except for her Achilles heel: Coit was terrible with managing money. This was one of the reasons Coit husband-hopped for so many years. Idiotically, Coit moved back to Colorado sans Backus to figure out a way to stockpile more funds….most likely through bigamy. However, such a thing was not to be. Her own son, Seth Coit, had suspected his mother of murdering William Clark for 20 years and he went to police with this information. Who knows why it took him so long? People are a mystery. Then again, as pathological as she was, Coit was Seth’s mother. It was an emotionally difficult situation for a young man. Police learned that Coit had told planned to kill Boggs and after the murder she had the typical Jill Coit audacity to call her distraught son and tell him, “Hey, baby. It’s over and it’s messy.” Was she looking for her son’s approval? Why would she contact him to deliver that morbid information? On December 23, 1993, Backus and Coit were finally arrested. The killing and marrying sprees was over.

The Trial

Jill Coit 2008By the time Coit was brought to court for the murder of her husband Gerry Boggs, the beauty was long gone. Coit was now a stocky woman with heavy eyebrows and curly hair and dressed in an orange jail jumpsuit, hardly appeared the seductress and former model who had convinced 10 men to marry her and 1 to adopt her. Her defence was a bit weak. Asked why she married every man she became involved with, Coit’s curt response was I sleep with them, I marry them, okay? I could just sleep with them.” Such an old-fashioned girl, insisting her lovers make an honest woman out of her. Just before she made mincemeat out of them, naturally.

Troy Giffon, a court witness for the DA and a former friend of Backus, stated that Backus offered him $7,500 to kill Boggs. After Boggs’ death, Giffon reminded Backus of his offer and Backus said, “I was hoping you would forget that,” and, “This is the only thing that could hang me.”. Giffon said Backus, a fellow veteran, put his hand on his shoulder and said, “Vietnam buddies don’t rat off their buddies.”  That must be the most extreme case of PTSD ever.

The Verdict
On March 17, 1995, Coit and Backus were convicted of the first degree murder and conspiracy to murder Boggs They were sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole. For his part, Doug Boggs stated to the press,
“She picked the wrong town, she picked the wrong man, and she picked the wrong family.” She also underestimated her son. In April 2006, Coit filed a civil suit against multiple defendants while incarcerated. michael-backusNaturally most of the defendants are correctional officers. Coit claims she has been sexually abuse. Now, at 65 years old and a lifer of the Colorado Department of Corrections, I feel it’s a sure bet to say that men everywhere are safe from this serial-marrying femme fatale.

Bakus’ latest appeal was denied in October 2009. He remains a prisoner of the Colorado Department of Corrections. In May 1998, Coit got the bright idea to post an online personal ad reading, “Want U.S. Citizenship? Marry an inmate.” The United States Department of Immigration shut the site down before Coit could find any takers. I have to give her points for her audacity if not her intelligence.








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Scott Bradley and James Bulger – Two Victims of Venables and Thompson



                                  Sticks and stones may break my bones
                                               But names will never hurt me

Sticks and stones certainly did kill little James Bulger. But names certainly hurt victim 36-year-old  Scott Bradley to the point where he too died – he committed suicide after a SCOT BRADLEY 10082012hate mob in his community turned against him and tried to kill him. Why? The resemblance he bore to Robert Thompson was so striking that people were convinced Bradley was the notorious child killer. He became a pariah and was frightened to leave his own house. The irony of all this is that he too was a father, and no doubt, a very good one. Bradley suffered months of malicious abuse and torment from a mob in Garlieston Village, Wigtownshire, in ScotlandBradley left a suicide note which read: ‘They called me all sorts – a paedophile, a follower of young girls, walking around bullying old people. The list is endless. And I’m supposed to be a child killer.’


His mother described how her son’s life became a ‘living hell’ after the hate mob claimed he was Thompson. Thompson was 29 at the time of Bradley’s suicide, Bradley, 36. ‘He kept saying ‘I’ve had enough, I’m going to kill myself’, but I didn’t believe him.’ The rumours are believed to have begun after a local playwright wrote a fictional play last year that was allegedly about Robert Thompson moving to a remote coastal village in Galloway.The play, Village of the Damned, was made into a movie by famed director/actor/producer M. Shimalayan, and proved so controversial that playwright Des Dillon

dillon2was interviewed by police. Denise Fergus, Bulger’s mother, said she was ‘shocked and upset’ to hear of Bradley’s death and believed he would still be alive if Thompson and Venables’ whereabouts and identities were known to the public. I have to agree with her on that one except here’s a weird truth: Venables is so pleased with his part in Bulger’s murder that he has informed people four times – count ‘em, four – who he is, and has happily revealed his true identity. The court has intermittently jailed Venables to prevent him from being harmed or killed. Each time this happens, Venables costs the taxpayers significant money. Meh. I say throw him to the lions. If he wants his identity known, so be it.

Listen, I get where the mob that led to Bradley’s suicide is coming from. If I truly believed that, say, Karla Homolka, the pathological Ontario woman who raped, tortured and murdered schoolgirls and her own sister, lived on my street since her release, I’d be the first one in line to torment her every time she left her house. She’d be out of my neighbourhood before she’d even moved in. But this was a tragic case of mistaken identity and a man’s life was the cost. Hopefully this “hate mob”, whoever they are, feels some kind of sorrow and shame for Bradley’s suicide. It’s one thing to hate a killer, quite another to hate an innocent man.





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The Boy Outside the Box….and the Basement

Originally posted on Tales from the Dark Side:

You’re familiar, of course, with the sad tale of America’s Unknown Child, aka The Boy in the Box. His body was found in an illegal dumpsite on Susquehanna Road, Philedalphia, inside a J  C HeadPenney cardboard box that once held a baby’s bassinet. The child had been beaten and tortured to death. So damaged was his face with scars and bruises that in order to publish it on a poster, seeking knowledge as to his identity, a professional photographer had to retouch the picture to make the child recognizable. And to avoid offending the public. I’ve blogged about this case. The enclosed picture is the actual appearance of the little boy, although it is difficult to see all of the bruises to his face due to the poor quality of the photograph.

David Pelzer
This boy, David Pelzer, lived not literally in a box, but figuratively. He was one…

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