Husband Murder Cases

Includes Live-In Boyfriends
17 Cases

Madison County, AL

Betty Wilson

May 22, 1992

Betty Wilson and her twin sister, Peggy Lowe, were tried for allegedly hiring handyman, James White to kill Betty's wealthy husband, Dr. Jack Wilson, at the Wilsons' home in Huntsville. White was certifiably mentally ill, diagnosed with delusional schizophrenia. He had spent his life in and out of jail and mental institutions, was an alcoholic, a drug abuser, and a child molester. He was dishonorably discharged from the U.S. Army for stabbing an officer and shooting at his own men.

After making a deal for life in prison for himself, he admitted he had lied about Betty Wilson. The state had acknowledged that without White's testimony there was no case against Betty Wilson. White was not tried until after he testified at both sisters' trials. He has stated that the prosecution coerced him to testify against the sisters by threatening to send him to the electric chair for capital murder. Peggy Lowe was acquitted but Betty was convicted and sentenced to life without parole. The case was profiled on a 48 Hours episode.  (BW)  [5/05]

Los Angeles County, CA

Patricia Wright

Sept 19, 1981

Patricia Gordy Wright was convicted in 1999 of the 1981 murder of her ex-husband, Willie Jerome Scott. Jerome was found stabbed to death in his motor home while it was parked in a bad area in downtown Los Angeles. Jerome's homosexual lifestyle led to the dissolution of the couple's marriage. It also led him to some unsavory partners and placed him in some dangerous situations. No physical or forensic evidence connects Wright to the crime.
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 San Diego County, CA

Jane Dorotik

Feb 13, 2000 (Valley Center)

With little evidence, Jane Dorotik was convicted of murdering her husband Bob. Though physically incapable of lifting her husband, the prosecution contended she carried her husband's body long distances and lifted it into and out of a large pickup truck.

The prosecution withheld evidence from the defense that two eyewitnesses had seen Bob twelve hours after he was allegedly murdered. These witnesses placed him near or with two Hispanic looking men at a location that was close to where his body was found.  (Justice: Denied)  [9/06]

 San Diego County, CA

Cynthia Sommer

Feb 18, 2002

Cynthia Sommer was convicted of murdering her husband, 23-year-old Todd Sommer. She was alleged to have poisoned him with arsenic. Todd was a U.S. Marine Corps sergeant and died in February 2002 after collapsing at the couple's apartment at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar. A pathologist first suggested that Todd's death was due to a heart attack. Months later, an examination of Todd's organs found large amounts of arsenic in his liver and kidneys. At trial in Jan. 2007 there was a lack of evidence that Cynthia bought any arsenic or poisoned Todd. Since the science of arsenic poisoning was fuzzy, defense experts were prepared to argue that Todd died of the effects of the now-banned weight loss pill Ephedra, or a prescription drug taken for diarrhea, or a rare, undiagnosed condition.

Cynthia's mother testified that, in the days after Todd's death, Cynthia curled into a fetal position on her bed and wept. Cynthia got a tattoo with her husband's name, birth date, date of death and the Latin words Semper Fidelis, or “always faithful,” the Marine Corps motto.

However, prosecution rebuttal witnesses testified that Cynthia used her husband's life insurance money to have her breasts enlarged, have sex with three Marines, hold raucous parties, and perform in a thong and wet T-shirt contest at a Tijuana bar, flashing her breasts.

In Dec. 2007, Cynthia's conviction was overturned due to ineffective assistance of counsel. After the prosecution performed new tests on tissue samples taken from Todd's body, experts could find no evidence of arsenic. Because of the new evidence, the prosecution dropped charges against Cynthia in April 2008 and she was released from prison. She had been imprisoned for more than two years.  ( (L.A. Times)  [8/09]

 Volusia County, FL

Virginia Larzelere

Mar 8, 1991 (Edgewater)

Virginia Larzelere was convicted of murdering her husband Norman in their dental office. She was sentenced to death. An intruder had robbed the office safe of gold coins, cash, and narcotic drugs and had shot her husband through a closed waiting room door.  (JD)

Butts County, GA 

Jean Long

Jan 23, 2003

Beverly Jean Long was charged with murdering her husband, James Long, in his workshop. According to police, she cracked his skull, dragged his body, poured an accelerant on top of him, and ignited it. Investigators claimed to find pour patterns on the floor where the accelerant puddled. They said Jean's story that the fire started when James was filling up a kerosene heater did not make sense. They noted that the red filling can that Jean mentioned was found undamaged outside the workshop.

Defense investigators debunked the pour pattern evidence. According to them, James mistakenly poured gasoline into a hot, but unlit kerosene heater. Gasoline residue was found in the heater. The gasoline exploded, setting James and his workshop on fire. While he was running around on fire, James apparently hit his head on a metal worktable, cracking his skull. The red filling can found outside the workshop was apparently not the one that was used as it contained kerosene. At trial, Jean Long was acquitted.  (Forensic Files)  [9/07]

Ada County, ID 

Donna Thorngren

Jan 12, 2003 (Meridian)

Donna Kay Thorngren was convicted of the murder of her 42-year-old husband, Curtis Thorngren. Curt was found shot to death in a bathroom in their home. Two months before the murder, Curt's life insurance, payable to Donna, had been increased to a payout of $320,000. The change was effective as of Jan 1, 2003, 11 days before Curt's murder. However, at Hewlett-Packard, Curt's place of employment, all employees were given the opportunity to increase their policies with new benefits effective the same date.
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Bristol County, MA 

Christina Martin

Jan 21, 1990 (Westport)

Christina Martin was convicted of murdering her boyfriend, Richard Alfredo, 61. Alfredo died in his home after a long history of heart disease. Initially, it was assumed the disease was the cause of his death and no autopsy was performed. Alfredo's assets worth about $25,000 went to his estranged wife and her children while Martin and her children continued to live in the home she had shared with Alfredo. Four weeks after Alfredo's death, rumors surfaced that Alfredo was poisoned. Martin's daughter had told high school friends that Alfredo had made sexual advances toward her, and that her mother got revenge by serving him Jell-O laced with LSD.
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Genesee County, MI 

Sharee Miller

Nov 9, 1999 (Flint)

While married to a different man, Sharee Miller had an online romance with an ex-police detective, Jerry Cassaday, from Reno, Nevada, whom she met on the Internet. Sharee had told him numerous lies such as being wealthy. She had also traveled to Reno five times and had a physical affair. In her emails, she said she was married to a terminally ill husband, Jeff, who would die soon and that they could be together soon. Then she told him her husband died, but she had to marry his brother, Bruce, because of family pressure. She twice told Jerry she was pregnant with his child.
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Forrest County, MS 

Stephanie Stephens

May 1, 2001 (Hattiesburg)

Stephanie Stephens was convicted of the murder of her 59-year-old husband, Dr. David Stephens. David was chief of surgery at Hattiesburg's Forrest General Hospital. David appeared to have died in his sleep, while Stephanie slept next to him. However, two drugs were found in his system, Etomidate, an anesthetic, and Atricurium, a drug used to relax muscles during surgery for patients on life support. Without life support, Atricurium is lethal as it will paralyze a person's heart and lungs.
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Clark County, NV 

Tabish & Murphy

Sept 17, 1998 (Las Vegas)

Rick Tabish, a trucking contractor, and Sandy Murphy, a one-time topless dancer, were convicted in 2000 of murdering Murphy's boyfriend, Ted Binion. Binion, 55, was formerly an executive of the Horseshoe Casino and had an estate worth $50 million. Tabish and Murphy allegedly killed Binion by forcing him to swallow a mixture of black tar heroin and the sedative Xanax. Murphy stood to inherit about $1.5 million from Binion's estate. Tom Dillard, an investigator hired by the Binion family, gathered evidence against the pair and got police to file charges. Defense argued at trial that Binion was a well-known heroin addict and had simply overdosed.

Binion reportedly became depressed in March 1998 after the Nevada Casino Gaming Control board permanently barred him from his family's casino because of his reported drug use and his association with a known mobster. The day before Binion's death, he was prescribed a month's supply of Xanax, which is useful for combating the withdraw symptoms of heroin. However, it seemed unlikely that he planned to use the Xanax for that purpose, for later that day, he bought 12 balloons of black tar heroin from a drug dealer. Tabish and Murphy's convictions were overturned in 2003 and the two were acquitted on retrial in 2004.  (L.A. Times) (American Justice)  [12/06]

Nye County, NV 

Shasta Roever

Jan 17, 1993 (Pahrump)

“Shasta” Lerlene Evonne Roever was charged with murdering her live in fiancé, Ian Wilhite, in part because Wilhite was shot with a .22 caliber bullet and she owned a .22 caliber gun, although ballistics soon ruled out her gun. Wilhite had moved to Pahrump from Las Vegas because his life had been threatened there. At trial the key witness and main investigator lied on direct examination and impeached their testimony on cross-examination. Throughout the trial, this investigator fraternized with the jurors in the jurors lounge, not just on the day he testified. His excuse was that it was the only smoking area in the court building. Roever was convicted but the Nevada Supreme Court overturned the conviction and noted, “There was no physical evidence to link the defendant to the crime.”

At the second trial Roever insisted on testifying, but her public defender avoided or refused to ask important questions regarding her husband's background and associates. The subject was not even broached. Roever's public defender refused to subpoena anyone on the two-page list of witnesses that she gave him and even insulted her uncle, the only witness that was there for her. This time the DA admitted there was no evidence, so he felt justified in trying her based on whatever stories or opinions his witnesses could fabricate about her.

As an example, one witness testified that Roever had stated she had killed her own mother and a baby. Roever had shared with this witness the story of the drowning death of her mother and the story of the death of her child who was asphyxiated during delivery by his own umbilical cord. Roever had an ex-husband whom she had thrown out years before for lying and stealing; his relatives were there to testify. The ex-husband's mother who once told Roever she was in love with her fiancé (the murder victim) and wished he would be interested in older women, told some tales that Roever hadn't a clue about. Even though the jurors stated their concern about the lack of evidence, Roever was convicted again. Later the Chief Deputy DA argued in his response to the Nevada Supreme Court that ultimately, the truth behind the stories is immaterial. In fact, he said, prosecutors assumed the stories weren't true.

Roever has repeatedly been offered plea bargains which would have allowed her to get out years ago, so maintaining her conviction is a matter of pride for prosecutors rather than a feeling that she must be locked up as a danger to society.  (Justice: Denied)  [6/05]

Angelina County, TX 

Desiree Shaw

Aug 11, 1996  (Diboll)

Desiree Ann Weaver Shaw was convicted of the shooting murder of her husband, Royce Shaw.  (IIPPI)

Cameron County, TX 

Susan Mowbray

Sept 16, 1987

Susie Mowbray was convicted of murdering her husband, J. William “Bill” Mowbray, Jr.  After incessantly protesting her innocence, she was granted a retrial in 1996 by a Texas appeals court that ruled prosecutors concealed a crucial report on the blood splatter evidence that supported Mowbray's innocence. When retried in 1998, forensic evidence supported the defense claim that Mowbray's husband committed suicide while she was asleep next to him in bed. Dr. Herbert MacDonnell testified that it was likely Bill Mowbray committed suicide. Mowbray was acquitted.  [10/05]

Harris County, TX 

Frances Newton

Apr 7, 1987

Frances Elaine Newton was sentenced to death for the of murders of her husband and two children. The husband, Adrian Newton, was found shot to death in the family's apartment along with the couple's two children, Alton, 7, and Farrah, 1. The apartment was located at 6126 West Mount Houston Road, Houston, Texas. Less than a month before the murders, Frances purchased a $50,000 life insurance policy on Adrian and forged his name to complete the deal. She also purchased a separate $50,000 policy on Farrah. At the time of the murders both Frances and Adrian were seeing other people.
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Powhatan County, VA

Beverly Monroe

Mar 4, 1992

Beverly Anne Monroe was convicted of the murder of Roger Zygmunt Comte de la Burdé, her wealthy lover. De la Burdé, 60, died at Windsor on his 220-acre estate. His body was found on a couch in his library with a bullet in his head from his own revolver. Monroe had been his companion for 12 years. In 2002, a federal judge overturned Monroe's conviction due to the withholding of exculpatory evidence by the prosecution. The judge also ruled that “The physical evidence necessary to show whether [de la Burdé's] death was a murder or a suicide was . . . either tainted or lost.” Monroe was subsequently released from prison.  (TruthInJustice)  [5/08]

Wise County, VA

Merry Pease

Nov 18, 1993 (Exeter)

Merry Pease was convicted of murdering her husband, Dennis Pease. Merry maintains her husband shot her, after which he turned the gun on himself and committed suicide. Merry was prosecuted on the theory that she shot her husband, and then shot herself to cover-up her crime. The case prosecutor withheld evidence at trial such as a medical examiner's report that ruled her husband's death a suicide. Merry's conviction has been overturned twice, but the Virginia Supreme Court reinstated her second conviction. Merry was paroled in 2006.  (Bristol Herald Courier) (American Justice)  [12/05]