Revenge is the number one motivator for murder. It is a very powerful, instinctive drive in a disturbed psyche. In Morgan County, Maryland, Jessica McCord was a pretty brunette who knew how to lure boys with her charm and physical attributes. In spite of this, she was viewed as “goth” and, even in a group of kids known for their antisocial natures, not completely accepted. Jessica was weird. At a young age she roped in Alan Bates . It wasn’t long before Jessica got pregnant and the teenagers were married in a shotgun wedding. The Bates family didn’t like McCord from the start. She appeared to be very controlling, especially after the ring slid on her slim finger. After McCord got whatever she wanted, she still demanded more. Jessica gave Bates another daughter, but she remained bitter in her marriage. Bates wanted to make the marriage work but McCord made it impossible. She suffered from Borderline Personality Disorder and Narcissism. Usually these disorders are a result of severe childhood abuse, especially psychological and physical. Jessica’s father beat both Jessica and her mother. Eventually daddy dearest killed a Tennessee woman. Lovely. At the same time, McCord was well aware of her own controlling behaviour and to an extent, able to control it. She did however, exhibit pathological jealousy and paranoia, believing Bates was cheating on her when he wasn’t. Jessica also complained about being a housewife. She felt she was too educated for that and she wanted to “be someone.” On one occasion she tried to stab Bates with a butcher knife. He just made it into the bathroom and shut the door.
Bates finally divorced his pathological wife. It killed him (pun) to leave his daughters with her and he worked hard at gaining child custody. McCord used her teenage daughters to
torment Bates. In doing so, she also hurt her children but failed to see the damage she caused. Her intent was to antagonize Bates by refusing to allow him access to his daughters and telling the girls that it was Bates who didn’t want to see them. Nasty. Throughout her bitter vengeance, McCord enjoyed occupying the spotlight and being centre stage in her own family melodrama. She changed the girls’ names and placed them in a different school so Bates couldn’t find them. When Bates found his daughters, she home-schooled them. McCord was even jailed for contempt. While she rotted there, McCord plotted to kill her ex-husband and his new wife, Terra Klugh. At some point during the acrimonious divorce, Jessica became pregnant with another man’s child. She had another daughter and when the relationship with the child’s father soured, he simply left his child with Jessica, refusing to fight for custody. He knew instinctively that to cross Jessica was to play with fire. Ultimately he saved his own life. That wasn’t all the men in Jessica’s life however. She had yet another child by a third man who also opted out of a court battle for child custody. Jessica Bates had to be the most fertile psychopath in Alabama history.
Bates finally knew a happy marriage with Terra, a pretty, red-haired and kind-natured woman. This aggravated Jessica no end even though she had met someone. She couldn’t stand the thought of a happy Bates. By now she lived in Hoover, Alabama with her new husband, Jeff McCord, a policeman. She used her typical controlling nature to turn her new husband against Bates. She told to kill Bates and Terra. In this marriage, McCord had found her perfect match. McCord actually came up with a plan to do away with the two unfortunate victims. Perhaps he thought this would keep his nagging wife off his back. Completely understandable. The day of the murders, Jessica invited Terra and Bates into the house to wait for the girls. McCord entered the room, walked up to Terra and shot her in the back. He fired at Bates four times. Two corpses lay on the McCord’s floor. Jessica simply watched and enjoyed the show.
McCord and Jessica drove the bodies to a remote rural area in Georgia. There he set them on fire and left them in the trunk of a car Bates had rented. The idea was to make the murder look like a car-jacking gone horribly wrong. I never understood the concept of setting a body on fire. Clearly, dental records will inevitably reveal the victims’ identities. I suppose the McCords hoped burning the bodies would slow the eventual investigation into the murders. Or maybe they were just stupid enough to think that the car fire would completely cremate the corpses. Whatever. Jessica found the whole thing quite exciting. That made Jeff happy. The happy couple drove home for a night of raucous sex. Ick.
Investigators easily traced the car to the Birmingham, Alabama airport, where the Bates’ had rented the car to travel to the McCords’. Investigators attempted to interview the McCords at their home. When they refused to open the door, police forced their way inside. Someone had attempted to “remodel” the family room. Police observed the new floor tiles and new wallpaper, but the work had been done in a rush. The wallpaper wasn’t even close to being aligned. Investigators removed it and And when they removed it, they found a bullet hole in the drywall. Uh-oh. A minute amount of blood was found on the glass coffee table. How careless. Even under arrest, Jessica was cold as ice. She was determined to regain control over her life – something she’d unsuccessfully tried to do since her teens. The D.A. commented “I’ve prosecuted some very mean and bad people. Jessica McCord is at the top of the list because she is truly evil.”
Jessica and Jeff McCord were convicted in February of two counts of murder. Jessica will die in jail as she has no chance of parole. Now prison guards control Jessica’s every move, a complete reversal from her life as a free woman. Prosecutors had sought the death penalty, but alas, it wasn’t to be. The only crime a young Alan Bates committed was to fall in love with a sinister woman. The unfortunate man paid for his mistake with his life.