by: Chelsey Dagner
Much like Meatloaf’s old classic, many people declare that they would do anything for love. But how many people in the world are bold enough (or deranged enough) to truly carry out this claim?
Since the conviction of the notorious criminal couple Bonnie and Clyde, people often romanticize and are entertained by the idea of a couple who commit crimes together. But sometimes criminals are so deadly, and so revolting that they leave the rest of us shaking in our figurative boots.
Here are five couples who took their love for each other much too far…
1. The Nursing Home Murders
In 1986, a woman named Gwendolyn Graham moved to Walker, Michigan and gained employment as a nurse’s aide at Alpine Manor—a nursing home that served the Grand Rapids area.
While there, Gwen met a fellow nurse’s aid named Cathy Wood. The two women quickly became friends and then lovers, each convinced that they would be together forever.
It is believed that in January 1987, Gwen was desperate for a way to relieve her stress at work. The couple formulated a plan to take out their aggression on patients at Alpine—targeting those who had suffered from Alzheimer’s, as their victims would be too incapacitated to fight back.
With Cathy operating as a lookout, Gwen would sneak into each patient’s room and smothered them to death with a wash cloth. As there was no evidence of physical violence on each of their victims, each was ruled as a natural death.
Over the course of that year, Cathy and Gwen selected and killed five patients. Over time, they had turned it into a sick game—proof of their love and devotion to one another.
Their love quickly dissolved, however, when Gwen left Cathy and began to date another nurse’s aide at Alpine. In 1988, Gwen and her new girlfriend moved to Texas and began working with infants. Cathy went on to marry a man and confessed to him about the murders.
Disgusted by his wife’s past, Cathy’s husband immediately went to the police to turn her in. Cathy arranged for a plea bargain, providing details of each murder. She painted Gwen as the dominant partner in the relationship, whereas Cathy had been submissive and had never physically harmed any of the patients.
Cathy was eventually charged with one count of second degree murder, but Gwen was charged with five life sentences. While Cathy is expected to be released on June 6, 2021, many experts who have studied the case now believe that Cathy is a pathological liar, and is, in fact, the mastermind behind each murder. Said experts believe that Cathy was the dominant personality between the two, and she had devised to commit the murders with Gwen as a means of solidifying their unstable relationship.
When Gwen decided to leave Cathy for another woman, Cathy fabricated her tale about Gwen being the one to physically kill the patients as a means of exacting revenge for her abandonment.
2. The Moors Murders
In the summer of 1963, love blossomed in Manchester, England. A young woman named Myra Hindley met resident bad boy Ian Brady and became instantly infatuated with him. The two quickly became a couple, and Ian began to confide in Myra about his dark and violent fantasies.
In July of that year, Myra agreed to help make these fantasies a reality. Wanting to commit “the perfect murder” the couple arranged to drive around Myra’s neighborhood until they came across sixteen year old Pauline Reade who was walking to a local dance.
Driving a van, Myra pulled up beside Pauline and asked if the girl would help her find a glove she had lost in the moor. Myra informed her that she would then drive Pauline to the dance for helping her.
Pauline agreed, and got into the van. Myra then drove her out to the moors with Ian in tow on his motorcycle. As the three of them searched for the supposed glove, Ian took Pauline a ways away where he proceeded to sexually molest her and slit her throat.
From that point until October 1965, the couple killed four other children, each time using some version of the missing glove story to lure their victims to the moor. Each victim had been raped by Ian shortly before their deaths.
The only victim that wasn’t murdered in the moor was their last, a seventeen year old named Edward Evans. Ian lured the young man to their home with the promise of alcohol. There be proceeded to bludgeon Edward to death using the blunt end of an axe.
This heinous crime, however, was witnessed by Myra’s brother in law, David, who had come to visit the house. When David told his wife, Myra’s sister, what he had seen the following morning, she convinced him to contact the police. Edward’s body was found in the spare room of the house, and Myra and Ian were both arrested.
Myra made several appeals for parole after being sentenced to a life in prison but each was denied. She died in 2002 at age 60.
Ian is still alive and was declared mentally insane in 1985. He resides in a high security mental hospital and has been very vocal about having no desire to ever be released.
3. The Georgia Murders
In 1980, fifteen year old Judith Adams met the man of her dreams. Twenty-six year old Alvin Neelley had already become a bit of a criminal, having made his living by stealing cars in and around Rome, Georgia.
Alvin was already married at the time but quickly divorced his wife and eloped with Judith not long after they had met. The couple quickly engaged in crimes together, committing multiple counts of armed robbery all across the United States. Judith participated in each of these robberies even while heavily pregnant with twins.
But the conniving couple were not satisfied by robberies alone.
On September 25, 1982, the couple kidnapped thirteen year old Lisa Millican from Cedartown, Georgia. They drove her to a seedy motel in Alabama where they proceeded to hold her captive. Both Judith and Alvin continuously raped Lisa. A few days later, Judith wanted to ensure that Lisa would never be able to tell anyone of their crimes. She began to inject Drano and Liquid Plumber into Lisa’s veins in an attempt to slowly poison the girl to death. When the injections didn’t work, Judith shot the girl in the back and the couple threw her body over a cliff in Fort Payne, Alabama.
Just a few days later the couple met newly engaged couple Janice Chatman and John Hancock in Rome, Georgia. Judith and Alvin shot John and kidnapped Janice. They took her to their hotel room where they proceeded to torture and kill her. However, John did not die from his wound, and was able to contact the police and inform them of what happened to his fiancé.
In March of 1983, Judith was put on trial and sentenced to die by way of the electric chair. She was eighteen years old at the time. Alvin received a life sentence, and he died in prison in late 2005.
Judith is the youngest woman to ever be sentenced to death in the United States. In 1989 her death sentence was confirmed by the Supreme Court, but was then reduced to life in prison on January 15, 1999—mere days before her scheduled execution.
4. The Ontario Murders
In October 1987, Karla Homolka and Paul Bernardo met and quickly fell in love. Paul, who had always been considered a very charming and charismatic young man, had come from a home riddled with sexual incest and verbal abuse, harbored dark sexual and violent desires that often repulsed women he met. Karla, however, encouraged these sadistic desires—resulting in an eternal devotion to each other.
After the two began their relationship, it became increasingly obvious to Karla that Paul harbored a deep seeded sexual interest in her fifteen year old sister, Tammy. Paul would often sneak outside the Homolka household to watch Tammy undress in her bedroom.
By 1990 Paul had already developed a deadly reputation. He became known as the Scarborough Rapist where he proceeded to rape over nine women from May 4, 1987 until May 26 1990. At this time, he finally convinced Karla to allow him to have sex with her sister, Tammy.
Karla had her sister eat a plate of spaghetti spiked with valium. Once drugged, Paul attempted to rape Tammy, but she quickly woke up, unaware of what her sister and her fiancé had planned.
On December 23 of that year, the couple tried again. They drugged Tammy after the family Christmas party and took her to her bedroom in the basement. The couple raped Tammy while she was unconscious, all the while videotaping their actions. Shortly after Tammy began to vomit and choked to death. Karla and Paul called the police but only after they had cleaned Tammy up and destroyed the evidence of their hideous crime.
A year following Tammy’s death the couple looked for new victims to rape and torture. The two began to focus their efforts on young school girls who lived near Toronto. Paul came across fourteen year old Leslie Mahaffy while he was out stealing license plates. Paul kidnapped Leslie, and took her back to the house he shared with Karla. The couple bound Leslie up and repeatedly raped her while, again, videotaping their sadistic efforts. Afterward the couple claimed they had every intention of releasing Leslie, but after her blindfold slipped they felt they had no choice but to kill her. They disemembered her body the following day and encased each limb in wet cement.
In 1992, the couple came upon fifteen year old Kristen French, walking home on her way from school. They forced her into their vehicle and took her home with them. Over the course of Easter weekend, the couple recorded their rape, sodomization and torture of Kristen. Later on, prosecutors would point that as Kristen was never blindfolded, it had always been Paul and Karla’s intention to kill her.
By May of 1992, several friends of Paul’s began to suspect that he was somehow linked to the Scarborough rapes, and possibly even murder. Police took samples of Paul’s DNA. Meanwhile, Karla became a person of interest to local police when her family had found her severely beaten by Paul.
While temporarily living with relatives, Karla admitted to her and Paul’s involvement in the rape and murders of Leslie and Kristen. Around the same time Paul’s DNA sample was successfully linked to the Scarborough rapes.
In 1995, Karla entered a plea bargain for her involvement in with murders of all three girls. She agreed to serve twelve years of manslaughter in prison if she spoke about and testified against Paul in court. Paul was quickly sentenced to life in prison on September 1, 1995.
After the trial, Paul’s lawyer came forward and released the various videotapes that Paul and Karla had made of their crimes. The public was deeply outraged, certain that Karla played a much more vicious role in each crime than she had depicted in her discussions with the police.
Despite this evidence, Karla was released from prison and lives under a new name in Quebec, Canada.
5. The West Murders
Fred West’s depraved behavior first began when he was just thirteen years old. It was 1961, and Fred’s sister Kitty confided to her parents that Fred had been having sex with her for the last six months. Fred was promptly arrested for his molestation of his sister, but did not appear at all remorseful for his actions. To him, such actions towards females seemed commonplace.
Estranged from his family, Fred grew up and married a woman named Catherine who had had a child out of wedlock with a Pakistani man. Catherine named her daughter Charmaine, whom Fred helped to raise as his own. In July 1964, the couple had a daughter together, named Anna Marie.
The couple had a very tumultuous relationship. Fred was extremely controlling over his daughter and step-daughter and suggested that Catherine begin to prostitute herself to help cover the bills. Fred and Catherine both had extramarital affairs before their divorce. Catherine left both Charmaine and Anna Marie to live with Fred. Before the divorce, the couple had met and befriended a young woman named Anne McFall who moved in with them and remained there after Catherine left.
Upon discovery that Fred and Anne began a heated love affair, Catherine became possessive over her children and often came to visit them and spy on her ex-husband.
In July of 1967, Anne, who was pregnant with Fred’s child, went missing. Her dismembered remains were not discovered until 1994. Fred would later admit that he had stabbed her to death when the couple had an argument.
In 1969, the fates aligned and Fred met fifteen year old Rosemary Letts. The couple quickly started dating and Rose became the new nanny of Charmaine and Anna Marie. Rose introduced Fred to her parents who vehemently disapproved of the match. Rose herself had a very warped relationship with her father, who frequently had sex with her while she was growing up.
Ignoring the wishes of her family, Rose became pregnant with Fred’s child and had a daughter, whom she named Heather Ann. While Fred served a short stint in prison for stealing car tires, Rose took charge of taking care of the three girls.
During this time, Rose began to exhibit very abusive behavior toward the children. She was extremely verbally abusive and often found depraved ways of punishing them for not obeying her. Anna Marie was very submissive to her step-mother’s punishments, but Charmaine often argued and fought back, much to Rose’s chagrin.
While Fred served his sentence, Rose murdered Charmaine and stored her body in the cellar of their house. After Fred’s release, he buried Charmaine and told their friends that she had gone to live with her mother, Catherine.
Catherine, concerned for her children’s welfare, visited Fred and Rose in an attempt to gain custody of her two daughters. During her visit, Rose and Fred sexually molested Catherine and strangled her to death. Her body was cut up into several pieces and buried underground in plastic bags.
In January of 1972, Rose and Fred were married. Rose began to prostitute herself outside the family home, often signaling to her husband when clients arrived so he could watch through a small hole in the wall. Rose took on both male and female clients and was known for being particular abusive towards her female lovers. When her father, Bill Letts heard that his daughter had started to sell her body for money, he also became one of her clients. Rose had eight children total, some of which had been sired by her clients.
During this time, Fred and Rose began to abuse their own children, starting with Anna Marie. Anna was eight years old when her father and step-mother bound and gagged her in the basement of their house and Fred raped her. In October of 1972, Fred and Rose also discovered a new way to lure in potential victims by hiring young women on to nanny their many children. Their first victim was Caroline Owens, who they bound and raped. Knowing her only means of escape was to comply, Owens insisted that she wanted to remain the children’s nanny. She managed to escape the house and confessed to her mother what had happened to her.
When it came time for Fred and Rose’s trial of their assault of Caroline, the girl was too traumatized to participate, and the charges were consequently dropped.
Feeling relieved and thirsty for more, Fred and Rose began a killing spree in 1973. The couple coerced, raped and tortured nine young women over the course of seventeen months. They took to burying the bodies either in the cellar of their home or in the backyard.
Throughout this time period both Rose and Fred routinely abused their own children. When Anna Marie ran away from home at the age of fifteen, Fred turned his incestuous attentions to two of his other daughters, Mae and Heather. When Heather began to speak out to her friends at school about her mother’s prostitution, the couple murdered their daughter and told her siblings that Heather had gotten a job in a neighboring town.
It wasn’t until May of 1992 when the local police began to suspect Fred and Rose of foul play. One of their daughters, who had been raped multiple times by Fred, confided in one of her friends at school who promptly told her parents. The children were all put into foster care, and spoke out about their parents’ warnings that if they did not behave they would be ‘buried under the patio with their sister.’ This lead to a search warrant and the discovery of several bodies on the West property.
During this time, Fred began to cooperate with police, and provided grisly details about the murders he had committed over the years. He insisted that Rose was innocent, but the police were not convinced.
On June 30, 1994 Fred was charged with eleven murders, while Rose was charged with nine. Fred was adamant that his wife was innocent—until Rose began to be cold to him during the trial. At that point, Fred also spoke about Rose’s involvement, often blaming her as the most sadistic of the two.
On January 1, 1995 Fred committed suicide by hanging himself in his cell. Rose was sentenced to life in prison where she still rots, still telling anyone who wil listen to her that she is innocent.
About the Author: Chelsey Dagner is a full time horror writer and aspiring librarian. When she isn’t writing articles for Blumhouse and The Lineup, she can typically be found watching creepy movies, playing Elder Scrolls, or taking leisurely strolls with her cats. Check out her horror blog at www.macabreadore.com. Chelsey Dagner is a full time horror writer and aspiring librarian. When she isn’t writing articles for Blumhouse and The Lineup, she can typically be found watching creepy movies, playing Elder Scrolls, or taking leisurely strolls with her cats. Check out her horror blog at www.macabreadore.com