Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Gary Gilmore, the killer who demanded to die

An excellent example of an intelligent and talented man driven into criminal behavior by horrible parents. When he was sentenced to death for murder, the Supreme Court had already halted executions in the US. His insistence on being executed opened the door for the reinstatement of the death penalty.

Marybeth Tinning murdered all 9 of her children over 14 years

Tinning would come running into one of Schenectady’s trauma centers confused and hysterical, with a child cradled in her arms. Ultimately, all nine of Marybeth Tinning’s children died suddenly and without medical explanation. Some thought the problem was genetic, until her adopted child died, and the horrible truth about Tinning became clear.

An American tragedy, the murder of Grace Brown

The true story behind Theodore Dreiser’s wildly popular novel An American Tragedy inspired by the brutal July 11, 1906, murder of the lovely Grace Brown by her lover Chester Gillette, who did not want to marry Brown after she became pregnant with his child.

Today in Crime History: The trial of Susan Smith begins

July 10, 1995, marked the beginning of the murder trial of Susan Smith, a young divorcée accused securing her two young boys in her vehicle, and pushing it into a lake in a vain attempt to seem child-free and more desirable to a man who had rejected her. The case gained national attention because Smith told police that her sons were kidnapped when her car was carjacked by a “black man.”

Ken McElroy, the rise and fall of a town bully

Rapist, child molester and consummate intimidator, Ken McElroy, terrorized his small Missouri community, to the point of getting away with murder. On July 10, 1981, 35 men surrounded McElroy outside the bar. Shots were fired, and the town bully was dead. Is vigilantism sometimes justified?

The Case of Dr. Samuel Sheppard

On the night of July 3, 1954, Marilyn Sheppard, Samuel Sheppard’s wife, was bludgeoned the death in her home while her husband slept. Police suspected Sheppard in what has become one of the great murder mysteries, inspiring three separate trials, numerous books, and both the movie and television series The Fugitive.

Darlie Routier: Child killer or victim of an overly-aggressive prosecutor?

On June 6, 1996, police near Rowlett, Texas, received an emergency call from a hysterical mother, who screamed, "They just stabbed me and my children… My babies are dying!" Strangely, investigators found more evidence pointing to the dead children’s mother than to an unknown assailant.

Drew Peterson: Former cop and wife killer

This former cop was convicted this year of killing his third wife, Kathleen Savio, in 2004, and is suspected in the 2007 disappearance of his fourth wife, Stacy. Peterson had already lined up wife number five when the law caught up with him.

Slideshow: The Yates family album

Photos of the troubled Andrea Yates and her family before she killed her five children by drowning them one by one in the bathtub on June 20, 2001.

Today in Crime History: Deborah Gardner’s killer walks

On June 18, 2005, New York prosecutors decided not to retry Dennis Priven for the 1976 murder of Peace Corps volunteer Deborah Gardner in Tonga, saying, “We do not believe this case can be prosecuted by anyone, not only us, but in any other jurisdiction in the United States.” Priven had been found not guilty by reason of insanity in Tonga, and was able to avoid treatment and incarceration in both countries.

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