Theresa Knorr(born March 14, 1946) is an American woman convicted of torturing and murdering two of her children while using the others to facilitate her crimes. Theresa Knorr was born Theresa Jimmie Cross in Sacramento, California. Theresa, a loner and jealous of her sister Rosemary, competed for her mother’s attention. When her mother died in 1961, Theresa went into a depression. Sometime during the 1950s, Jim fell ill with Parkinson’s disease. He could no longer work, fell into a deep depression and took his anger out on his children. At aged 16, Theresa left home and married Clifford Clyde Sanders. They had a son Howard Clyde Sanders. The marriage ended when Theresa shot Clifford to death. She was tried, but acquitted of the crime. Shortly afterward she delivered her second child, Sheila Gay Sanders, in 1965. In 1966, when seven months pregnant with her third child, she married the child’s father, Robert Knorr. Suesan Marlene Knorr, was born in September of that year, followed in 1967 by a son named William Robert Knorr, and in 1968, another son, Robert Wallace Knorr, Jr. In 1970, Theresa gave birth to a daughter, Theresa (Terry) Marie Knorr, named after herself.
Eventually she and and Robert divorced. Months later she met 59-year-old Chet Harris. They married on August 23, 1976, three days after their first meeting. Theresa had made yet another bad mistake. She discovered that one of Chet’s favorite hobbies was taking photographs of nude women. He wanted Theresa to pose for him, but she refused. Her daughter Suesan grew close to him and the two would spend hours together working on jigsaw puzzles and discussing mythology. The relationship between her daughter and Chet angered Theresa. On November 22, 1976, two months after the marriage began, Theresa filed for divorce. Following her latest divorce, Theresa’s children noticed a remarkable change in her behavior. She drank more and put on a great deal of weight. Her abuse toward her children began. “When we were kids, my mom beat the shit out of us a lot,” Terry said years later. “If we hugged our mom too much, it was like, who were we trying to convince? That we loved her, or she loved us? On the other hand, if we didn’t hug and kiss and tell her we loved her, then we didn’t love her, and we were evil children. We were demon seeds that had been given to her by Bob Knorr.” On one occasion she threw steak knives at her children. During another of her binges, she grabbed Terry by the arm and held a .22-caliber pistol to the girl’s head. For months afterward her daughter suffered terrifying nightmares. As if the mental torture was not enough, Theresa started beating the children, forcing them to take turns holding each other down while she administered blows from above. However, Theresa had a special hatred for her daughters Suesan and Sheila, fueled by jealousy that the girls were growing up and blossoming into young women while she faced the prospect of growing old. Watch Most evil – murderous women 1/5
In an argument in 1983, Theresa shot Suesan in the chest. The bullet lodged in her back. Theresa left Suesan to die in the bathtub. Suesan survived. In 1984, Suesan told her mother she wanted to move out. Theresa agreed under the condition that Suesan let her remove the bullet from her back. The removal took place on the kitchen floor, using Mellaril capsules and liquor as the anesthetic. Theresa ordered Robert to remove the bullet with a box cutter. Infection set in and Suesan’s skin turned yellow from jaundice. She lay dying on the floor. Theresa told her children that Suesan was possessed by Satan and the only way to purge the demon was with fire. She coerced Robert and Bill to drive her to Sierra Nevada, Interstate 80, poured gasoline on Susean and burned her alive. On the morning of July 17, 1984, 45-year-old Maybel Harrison was driving on California’s Highway 89 when she noticed a bright light illuminating the woods. Maybel decided to investigate. As she made her way down the rocky slope, a stench stopped her. She ran back up the incline and flagged down Robert Eden. He grabbed his fire extinguisher and headed toward the source. After the smoke cleared, he discovered a body. Robert reported the discovery to police with his CB radio. Fforensic pathologist Dr. A. V. Cunha conducted an autopsy. The victim was between 18 and 22 years old, 5 feet 3 inches tall and weighing approximately 115 pounds. The body showed signs of abuse, and there were two puncture wounds discovered on the victim’s back. The discovery of an ovarian tumor indicated that Jane Doe suffered a severe beating prior to her death. Her physical injuries were life threatening, but the immediate cause of death was smoke inhalation.
During late spring 1985, Theresa decided to supplement her state-assisted income by having 20-year-old daughter Sheila work as a prostitute. Sheila was horrified but she was not going to disobey. Sheila earned hundreds of dollars a day and Theresa seemed almost proud of her daughter. She eased up on the daily beatings and Sheila was allowed to come and go as she pleased. However Theresa accused Sheila of transmitting an STD to her via a toilet seat and locked Sheila in a closet. On June 21, 1985, the third day of Sheila’s incarceration, the family heard a loud thump coming from the closet. It was the last sound they heard from Sheila. Three days later when they opened the door, they discovered Sheila’s decomposing body. Her body was packed into a cardboard box and dumped along the side of a road. She remained unidentified for years afterward. Theresa’s children were all but grown by the time she went into hiding. Howard, 26, wanted nothing more to do with the family and his brother, 24-year-old William, moved in with a girlfriend. Terry also left her mother. Robert was the only one who stayed with Theresa and they moved to Las Vegas. Theresa and her sons were arrested in 1993 when Terry contacted authorities. On November 15, 1993, Theresa was charged with two counts of murder, two counts of conspiracy to commit murder, and two special circumstances charges: multiple murder and murder by torture. Theresa was sentenced to two consecutive life sentences and will be eligible for parole in 2027. If she lives to see it, she will be 80 years old.