Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

A Connecticut nightmare, the Petit family murders

Over nearly seven hours on the morning of July 23, 2007, Dr. William Petit, his wife, Jennifer Hawke-Petit and their two daughters, Hayley, 17, and Michaela, 11, were bound, assaulted and terrorized. Beaten beyond recognition, Dr. Petit escaped, prompting neighbors to call 911. Moments later, the house, along with Jennifer and the girls, was set ablaze by their attackers.

John Norman Collins, the Co-Ed Killer

On July 10, 1967, Mary Fleszar was reported missing from her apartment near Eastern Michigan University. On August 7, her badly decomposed body was found near the foundation of a farmhouse two miles north of Ypsilanti. Though he was never convicted of her murder, Flezsar’s tragic and gruesome death is widely thought to be the work of Michigan serial killer John Norman Collins.

The murder trial of O.J. Simpson

Read an in-depth analysis of the trial of the century.

Today in Crime History: Zodiac Killer slays two

On July 4, 1969, the Zodiac Killer claimed two more victims: Michael Renault Mageau, 19, and Darlene Elizabeth Ferrin, 22. The pair was shot in the parking lot of Blue Rock Springs Park in Vallejo, Calif. Mageau survived, Ferrin did not.

David Koresh and the siege at Waco

On April 19, 1993, a lengthy standoff between the religious group the Branch Davidians and law enforcement came to a brutal end that killed 86 people.

Clara Schwartz: A deadly game

Renowned scientist Robert Schwartz was found face down in his home. He had been stabbed repeatedly and an X was carved into the back of his neck. Nearly two months later, his 20-year-old daughter Clara was arrested in his death. Clara, who was obsessed with the occult, had orchestrated his murder as part of a role-playing fantasy.

Colton Harris-Moore: Teenage outlaw

In a brazen crime spree worthy of Hollywood, teenager Colton Harris-Moore robbed over 100 homes and stole a boat, two cars, and most famously, an airplane. He was sentenced for his crimes on January 27 of last year.

Today in Crime History: First man sentenced to death by electrocution

William Kemmler, having been convicted of drunkenly killing his girlfriend with an ax, was sentenced on May 13, 1889, to become the first person to die in the electric chair. After attempts to thwart the execution on the basis of it being “cruel and unusual punishment” were defeated, Kemmler was executed under what the New York Times called “revolting circumstances.”

Today in Crime History: Notorious serial killer H.H. Holmes is hanged

On May 7, 1896, serial killer H.H. Holmes was hanged. Even at the noose, he changed his story stating that he only killed two people although he’d previously confessed to 27. The trapdoor under his feet opened at 10:13 a.m. and H.H. Holmes met his end.

Rapper C-Murder lives his lyrics

Teen Steve Thomas wasn’t old enough to be in the Platinum Club on January 12, 2002, but the devoted fan of C-Murder got himself in and, according to witnesses in this controversial case, around 1 a.m. was shot execution style by Miller himself on the dance floor.

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