Archive for March, 2008

31 March 2001 – Mariette Bosch

Posted in Death penalty, Hanged with tags , , , on March 31 by Old Sparky

Mariette BoschAnother woman’s husband apparently brought out the murderess in Mariette Sonjaleen Bosch.

So what that he was married to her best friend, Bosch’s love for him prompted her to bump off his wife and bag him for herself.

White mischief

Bosch was found guilty in Botswana of shooting Ria Wolmarans (also spelled Wolmerans), so she could get her grubby mitts on husband Tienie Wolmarans, with whom she was having an affair. The lurid details of the relationship emerged during her trial, but it was the damning evidence from her ex-sister-in-law, Judith Bosch, that ensured she was put away.

Bosch was sentenced to death for murder. The 50-year-old mother of three was hanged on this day in 2001 and, in doing so, she became the first white woman to be executed in Botswana’s history.

Also on this day

31 March 1925 – William Bressington

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31 March 1925 – William Bressington

Posted in Death penalty, Hanged with tags , , , on March 31 by Old Sparky

William Bressington was just 21 years old when he was hanged for murder.

He was found guilty of killing Gilbert Caleb Amos, and he was strung up for his crime in Bristol.

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30 March 1998 – Judy Buenoano

Posted in Death penalty, Electric chair with tags , , , , on March 30 by Old Sparky

Judy BuenoanoBe careful who you love – especially if she goes under an alias.

We are, of course, talking about Judias ‘Judy’ Buenoano or Judias Welty, Judias Goodyear and Judias Morris, for these are the known aliases for an arsenic poisoner.

Poison d’or

For it seems that when Buenoano got sick of the men in her life she’d bump them off with an unhealthy dose of poison, rather than fall back on the old-fashioned divorce. After all, she obviously couldn’t be doing with the waiting – her method was quicker and she got the victim’s money anyway, plus a nice life insurance payout to boot.

But none of this was legal and when the list of victims included a husband, a son, a fiancé, a lover and a son, it had to be more than coincidence.

Toxic shock

She may even have killed another boyfriend plus an unrelated victim in 1974, but these reports remain unconfirmed.

Her killing spree started in 1971 and spanned 12 years. But hey – what did a girl have to do before someone got wind of her murderous scam?

Weirdly, it was only at the attempted murder of her boyfriend, John Gentry, in 1983 that people smelled a rat poisoner.

After that, Buenoano’s multiple murders came back to bite her. She was found guilty of multiple murders and sentenced to the electric chair.

She currently holds the dubious honour of being the first woman since the 1950s to be electrocuted just five days short of her 55th birthday.

Also on this day

30 March 1906 – Chester Gillette
30 March 1909 – Edmund Elliott

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30 March 1906 – Chester Gillette

Posted in Death penalty, Electric chair with tags , , , on March 30 by Old Sparky

When a girl announces she’s pregnant, you could be forgiven for feeling blind panic or giving her a congratulatory hug, but not a club round the head with a tennis racquet.

A close shave

Well that’s how Chester Gillette greeted the news on finding out that his girl was up the duff. Of course, he didn’t just launch an attack on Grace Brown. No, he lured her away from it all by taking her boating on Big Moose Lake.

The poor girl was probably under the impression that he was about to pop the question, but he had the more macabre intention of bludgeoning her to death with a racquet and then leaving her to drown.

Rough with the smooth

So why had the American reacted so badly? Well, by all accounts, Brown – a farmer’s daughter – was his bit of rough. And it appears that she sadly felt more strongly than he did. They’d met while working at his uncle’s factory and started a secret affair. He, on the other hand, may even have been two-timing her and, as a well-to-do college boy, obviously thought he was going places. And he went places alright – jail and then the electric chair.


Gillette hadn’t banked on having to explain away her disappearance. His flaky accounts of what happened helped pinpoint him as the source of the murder, especially as Brown’s body turned up just a day later with hefty evidence of lacerations. First Gillette said she’d fallen and hit her head, then said she’d committed suicide. Despite his best attempts he was charged with murder.
The trial in New York went ballistic when love letters were produced in evidence. Against such tender displays of affection and the belief that he had another woman on the go in the shape of Harriet Benedict, Gillette had no hope.

The best a man can get

He was a weak defendant and none of his stories held water. A jury took just six hours to brand him a guilty man, based purely on circumstantial evidence.

Gillette was sent to the electric chair in Auburn, aged just 24.


Gillette became the inspiration behind the main character in ‘An American Tragedy’ by Theodore Dreiser, which in turn made it to celluloid as the Academy Award-winning film ‘A Place in the Sun’. Brown’s mother Minerva took exception to the original version of the film released in 1931, in which her daughter was depicted as poor white trash and she was prompted to take out a defamation case against Paramount Pictures.

30 March 1909 – Edmund Elliott

Posted in Death penalty, Hanged with tags , , , on March 30 by Old Sparky

Jealousy got the better of Edmund Elliot after he caught his girlfriend out with another man.

Hair today

The 19-year-old hairdresser had been stood up. So he went in search of the love of his life, Clara Jane Hannaford, only to find her walking with another man. He lay in wait for her at home and the resultant quarrel culminated in Elliot slitting Hannaford’s throat.

A goner tomorrow

Not one to shy away from his guilt, Elliot promptly called the police, even providing them with the murderous razor as a weapon and confessing that he ‘did it on the spur of the moment’.

There was nothing for the jury to do except find him guilty and Elliot was consequently hanged by John Ellis and William Willis at Exeter.

29 March 1904 – James Clarkson

Posted in Death penalty, Hanged with tags , , on March 29 by Last Writes

A 12-year-old girl was the victim of a senseless crime just four years into the 20th century.

Elizabeth Mary Lynas was killed for reasons unknown. She was last seen leaving church one evening, but she was never to return home. Instead Lynas later turned up dead, her throat slit and her body dumped next to the nearby workhouse. Tellingly her wrists and ankles had been bound with a clothes line.

Sewn up

Clothes became the vital link and the police soon homed in on a local 19-year-old tailor. Sure enough, James Clarkson’s house revealed bloodied clothing plus a cut-throat razor. He was yanked from his bed and hauled in for questioning where he confessed. Punishment was swift and he was hanged for murder by William Billington and Henry Pierrepoint at Leeds.

Also on this day

29 March 1904 – Henry Jones

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29 March 1904 – Henry Jones

Posted in Death penalty, Hanged with tags , , on March 29 by Last Writes

In a crime of jealous passion, Henry Jones slit his girlfriend’s throat.

Fancy man

Jones was wracked with insane jealousy over the man they shared a house with. And apparently not without reason, for his girlfriend, Mary Elizabeth Gilbert, did indeed fancy the other man. So, in a fit of rage Jones, a collier by trade, turned on his girlfriend and murdered her, before trying to slice the blade across his own throat.

His suicide attempt failed and the 50-year-old was arrested on the charge of murder. Jones was found guilty and sentenced to be hanged at Stafford by John Billington and John Ellis.

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