There was a little girl with a little curl
right in the middle of her forehead.
When she was good she was very, very good
and when she was bad she was horrid.
Patricia Vann Taylor Allanson was a pretty Southern Belle who hid a bizarre, murderous facade. Since she was utterly spoiled by her parents, Pat believed erroneously that she was born with a silver spoon in her mouth, and that she would always get “everything she wanted“. She grew up wanting to be a real-life Scarlett O’Hara and lived much of her life seeking her Rhett Butler. Her sense of entitlement was the motivation behind her heinous crimes. Pat, however was the type of woman who would never be satisfied with anything she ever got.
Patricia was born in August 1937. She was adored by her aunts and especially by her grandmother. She was a very beautiful child with big green eyes and blondish hair her mother carefully coiffed into shiny ringlets. She was quick and clever and grew into a beautiful teenager. She got her looks from her movie-star looking parents, her mother, Margureitte and father, Colonel Clifford Radcliffe. During childhood, Pat learned how to manipulate people using her beauty and charm. Margureitte admitted that Pat “was so pretty when she was a little girl that I couldn’t whip her. I couldn’t scold her. She was so pretty.” Her aunt and father also failed to discipline the child.
There was a darker side to Pat. If she didn’t get her way, she would throw a tantrum. If that didn’t work, she manipulated her way into getting what he wanted. Pat’s mother defended her daughter whenever she got into trouble at school or when she was caught shoplifting. Margueitte didn’t know she was raising her daughter to become a psychopath. She had a younger brother, Kent, whom she loved to bully and tease without mercy. Pat would repeat this pattern with her future husbands. She also became a drama queen, exaggerating her needs and fears to get her needs met.
Marriage and Children
Ann Rule has written about Pat in her best-selling true crime account entitled “Everything She Ever Wanted“. Gina Gershon played the role of Pat in a television mini-series. Watch Gina Gershon in “it’s a party town” While still young Pat married a man and naively expected her husband to pick up where her parents left off: spoiling her with her material desires. She proved to be high maintenance, and left her first husband after tiring of her three children, Susan, Debbie and Ronnie, and the family’s decidedly dull life style. This wasn’t the life of Scarlett O’Hara. Pat and Gil divorced in 1971.
Pat pleaded with her mother to let her return home and of course Marguereitte relented. However, Pat soon hooked up with Tom Allanson, a man younger than her by 6 years. Tom wasn’t the sharpest pencil in the box which suited Pat’s needs just fine. Always the attention-seeker Pat liked to tell Tom bizarre stories about her life. Now and then when she saw a man, for no particular reason she’d say to Tom “he raped me.” Tom’s only reply was “Oh, Pat.” At least he wasn’t fooled by that nonsense.
Walter and Carolyn Allanson
Tom was the son of a wealthy lawyer. When they met, Tom was going through an acrimonious divorce from a woman the family called Little Carolyn. Tom’s parents were gravely disappointed in Tom for divorcing Little Carolyn and their relationship began to deteriorate. For Pat, Tom’s parents, Walter and Big Carolyn, were her biggest obstacles. She needed her sugar daddy to cushion her life with comforts and he gave Pat everything she ever wanted. They married in 1974 and lived in a horse ranch in Xebulon. Tom’s father, Walter Allanson, did not get along with Pat, who filed a complaint of sexual harassment against him. Pat also convinced Tom that his father Walter was planning to kill him and he took out a restraining order against his father. There were accusations flying between both sides along with some pretty dreadful death threats. Yikes.
The Family Rift
Tom purchased a heavily mortgaged, 52-acre farm in Zebulon, Georgia, and they started their dream of raising and showing horses together. In May 1974 they were married in a “Gone With The Wind” style ceremony. He was dressed as Rhett Butler and she as Scarlett O’Hara. The feud between Tom and his father over Pat escalated to the point that his father angrily tried to force Tom out of his life. To get even, Pat filed another complaint of sexual harassment against Walter, claiming that he had exposed himself to her. During this time, Walter began to believe that his own son was out to kill him. Someone had stolen a pistol and rifle from his home and he was convinced it was his son.
One night Pat told Tom that someone had been calling their house all night long and saying nothing. She felt sure it was Walter, so Tom felt it was time to try to finish off his parents once and for all. Otherwise, he thought his father might try to shoot him off his horse in the parade that weekend. When Tom arrived at his parents’ home he discovered no one was there, but Tom felt Carolyn would soon return. To avoid encountering Walter, Tom hid in the basement to wait for his mother. Walter received a call from an “unknown woman”, most likely Pat, informing him that “you better get home. Tom’s headed to your house.” Pat was hoping Walter would kill Tom so she could inherit his worldly goods and be free to marry again.
Returning home, Walter discovered the electricity was off, so he went into the basement to look around for the fuse box. He discovered the box had been tampered with and he attempted to call the police, but the phone line had also been cut. He went to a neighbor’s home to use the phone and called police. When they arrived, for some bizarre reason, Walter said he’d taken care of the situation himself, so they left. When Walter returned home, he discovered Carolyn was home by that time. He ventured back down into the basement then called up to her that he had Tom cornered and needed the gun he’d just purchased. Without hesitation, she grabbed it and brought it to him.Walter started shooting randomly into the dark. They sure were a rootin’ tootin’ gun-carryin’ clan.
One hour later, police officers arrived once again in response to an emergency call. There they found Carolyn Allanson sitting upright on the basement steps, shot dead. Through the basement window, they could see Walter lying on the ground. He’d been shot numerous times. The police immediately suspected Tom. He’d been seen there, and a man matching his description was seen running from the crime scene.
On July 29, 1974, Tom was arrested for killing his parents. Patricia tried to help her husband by giving him an alibi but, whether it was intentional or otherwise, they all failed to stick. Tom’s lies failed to match Pat’s. Tom was tried for murder and convicted. Tom was dumbfounded. “I had no idea.” Pat occasionally called Tom while he served his time in prison and for whatever reasons the twisted woman had, she berated him, ranting that he didn’t love her and had never done enough to make her happy. When she knew she’d hurt him terribly, she’d sigh “I love you, sugar.” Somehow, Tom kept falling for that old line and Pat kept him on her hook. Eventually Tom clued in and “realized I’d have been better off without her.”
Tom had signed over everything he owned to Pat. Their home burned down mysteriously and she forged Tom’s signature to collect a significant amount of insurance money. Pat certainly could turn on the charm. She moved in with Tom’s grandparents and persuaded them to make her their sole heir. When the elderly Allanson couple suddenly fell ill, it was discovered that they were poisoned with arsenic. Pat was accused of poisoning the grandparents, found guilty, and sentenced to 8 measly years in prison. Pat didn’t bat an eyelash. Even in prison she thrived, teaching inmates how to sew and make crafts. And of course, Pat kept on scheming.
When Pat was released from prison, she found another couple to help her get everything she ever wanted. Mr and Mrs James Crist were deceived into hiring her as a nurse; Pat had no qualifications. Uh-oh. That cannot be good. Eventually Mr Crist became ill and passed away. No surprise there. Watch Gina Gerson stars in Everything She Ever Wanted.
Around this time, Tom was released from prison. Overweight and disillusioned about his wife, he told investigators he was set up by his wife. Pat was arrested and charged with theft, attempted murder, cheating and related crimes. Pat agreed to plead guilty to the charges if she was not prosecuted for the murders of James Crist, Walter Allanson and Carolyn Allanson. Pat received 8 years for these charges. She was released from prison in 1999. No longer the pretty Southern Belle whom Tom had fallen in love with, she moved in with her stepfather and his wife. With the possible exception of her freedom, Pat most definitely did not have everything she ever wanted.
Walter Allanson was just as odd as Tom and Pat. He intended to murder his own son before Tom could murder him. Definitely there was a cog in the wheel. Pat had found the ideal family to manipulate for her own pathological reasons and she managed to manipulate Tom into murdering both of his parents. Had Walter and Carolyn been playing with a full deck, their murders probably wouldn’t have happened. But then again, with Pat involved, anything was possible. (The picture on the right is of Gina Gershwin playing Patricia Allanson).
**Update**,After his release from prison, Tom Allanson remarried to a woman named Liz Price. However Pat managed to wrangle him away from Liz and divorce her. Pat and Tom re-united. A few years ago Tom was in a car accident (one wonders if his brake line had been severed) and badly damaged his neck. He is still mobile but not as much as he was before the injury.