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.
November 2, 2004, Theo Van Gogh, noted film maker and great-grandnephew of Dutch artist Vincent Van Gogh, was brutally and publicly slaughtered by Mohommad Bouyeri for his views on Islam. On July 11, 2005, Bouyeri’s murder trial began.
July 10, 1995, marked the beginning of the murder trial of Susan Smith, a South Carolina woman accused of getting her two young children out of the picture by securing them in her vehicle, and pushing it into a lake in a vain attempt to seem more desirable to the man who had rejected her. The case gained national attention because Smith claimed her sons were kidnapped when her car was carjacked by a black man.
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?
On the night of July 3, 1954, Marilyn Sheppard, the wife of Samuel Sheppard, was bludgeoned the death in her home while her husband slept. Police suspected her husband in what has become one of the great murder mysteries, inspiring three separate trials, numerous books, and the movie and television series The Fugitive.
On June 29, 2010, Jayant Patel, implicated in as many as 17 patient deaths, was found guilty in four and sentenced to a mere 7 years in prison.
Chronic underachiever Christopher Porco created the affluence he craved by taking out loans in his father’s name. When his father, Peter, found out, Christopher brutally attacked him and his mother, Joan, with an axe, leaving one dead and the other in the I.C.U.
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, but was able to avoid treatment and incarceration in both countries.
On June 14, 1983, Tucker, hacked two people to death with a pick axe in a drug-fueled frenzy. Alleged comments by Tucker that the act of killing had given her multiple orgasms generated public outrage. Even so, after she claimed to have changed and found God, many rushed to her aid in attempts to reverse her death sentence.
Flowerday’s murder initially drew little media attention and soon her case went cold. Then, months later, interest skyrocketed when a local television show said that her murder might have committed to facilitate the production of a snuff film.