Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Nannie Doss: Lonely Hearts Lady Loved Her Man to Death

Nannie Confesses

Then, she giggled again, those eyes turning innocent once more, but at least she began to talk. She confessed to poisoning Doss' coffee, but not out of maliciousness. "He wouldn't let me watch my favorite programs on the television," she commenced, "and he made me sleep without the fan on the hottest nights. He was a miser and...well, what's a woman to do under those conditions?"

The detectives in the room exchanged glances, eyebrows raised. She is serious, isn't she? their expressions asked.

"OK, there, you have it," she laughed in the same demeanor as a child admitting she stole her sister's hair ribbon. "Can I have my magazine back now?"

"First tell us about the other husbands," Page returned.

Nannie thought a second. "If I do will you give me back my Romantic Hearts?"

"I promise," answered the other.

She shrugged and smiled. "It's a deal," she winked.

And she told them about Richard Morton, Arlie Lanning, Frank Harrelson, too. All men whom she had at first admired, but they turned out to be duds. All she had ever wanted was romance, a man to love her, but instead she got what she described as "dullards". Each and every one of them. "If their ghosts are in this room they're either drunk or sleeping."

Page, shaking his head, handed her back the magazine.

"Looking at her and talking to her, detectives just could not believe that Nannie could be a killer," Terry Manners relates in Deadlier Than the Male. "But now the confessions just poured out. She had killed four husbands...At one stage, an officer asked: 'Which one are you going to tell us about next, Nannie?'"

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