Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

The Lonely Hearts Killers

Lurid Details

But the defendants had too much against them. The lengthy confession with all its gruesome detail came back to haunt them many times over. As the statement was read into the record, the courtroom gasped when they heard descriptions of the murders. "I can still hear it! The blood was dripping, dripping, dripping and the sound of it just sounded like it could be heard all the over the house!" Martha had told the Michigan investigators. While Fernandez was strangling Mrs. Fay, she said, her false teeth fell out. They had the presence of mind to dispose of them because "we realized in case her body was found, if the teeth were there, that would be a mode of identification."

D.A. Robinson then asked Fernandez if he shot and killed Delphine Downing.

"That is true," he said simply. But when asked if he killed Janet Fay, he denied it. At that point, Martha suddenly jumped out of her seat.

"I think at this time, your honor, I want to take the stand!" she shouted. Judge Pecora admonished her as her attorney pushed her down into the seat. Page after page of their confession, each one more damaging than the last, went on to describe their twisting journey through deception, sex, fraud and murder.

The testimony of Raymond Fernandez included descriptions of extensive sexual relations he had with his various victims. Much was made of a three-way strip poker game he played with Martha and Esther Henne, one of his victims. The last hand was played for who would have the pleasure of sleeping with Fernandez. Martha won. This type of testimony continued through the morning of July 21 and was so lurid that "unauthorized persons were not permitted to loiter outside the courtroom." The N.Y. Times said that "many of the would-be spectators, predominantly women, did without lunch in order not to lose their places."

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