After an evening of entertaining neighbors at their lakeside home on the shores of Lake Erie in the tony Cleveland suburb of Bay Village, Ohio, on July 4, 1954, Marilyn Sheppard escorted her guests out the home’s front door as her husband, Dr. Sam Sheppard, slept on a daybed in the living room. The prominent osteopath — who worked at Bay View Hospital (pictured) — had fallen asleep as the two couples watched the film “Strange Holiday.”</br></br> Just a few hours later, Marilyn, who was four months pregnant, would be dead — brutally bludgeoned in her bed — and Sam would be accused of her murder.</br></br> Sheppard maintained that he awakened to the sounds of his wife screaming. When he went to check on her, he says he was attacked from behind and knocked unconscious</br></br> When he came to, Sheppard claimed he saw a “bushy-haired” man downstairs, and that he chased the intruder out of the house and down to the beach, where he was once again knocked unconscious during a struggle. </br></br> Police didn’t buy his story, and he was convicted of second-degree murder on Dec. 21, 1954, and sentenced to life in prison. But 10 years later, new attorney F. Lee Bailey (who would later be a part of O.J. Simpson’s legal “dream team”), his conviction was overturned.</br></br> Sheppard was retried for murder in 1966 and acquitted. He died of liver failure in 1970.
Cultured, well-heeled and genteel, Jean Harris hardly looked like a murderess.</br></br> But on March 10, 1980, the 56-year-old headmistress of the prestigious all-girls Virginia boarding school the Madeira School made the five-hour drive from her home, a .32-caliber revolver in the car with her, to Purchase, N.Y., where she shot to death her lover, prominent cardiologist and author of the best-selling “The Complete Scarsdale Medical Diet,” Dr. Herman Tarnower.</br></br> Harris, a divorcée with two grown sons, and Tarnower, a dedicated bachelor 13 years Harris’ senior, had been lovers for 14 years, but he refused to marry her. He dated other women, which infuriated Harris, but she tolerated his dalliances. It wasn’t until he began dating his 37-year-old secretary Lynne Tryforos that Harris began to come unglued with jealousy and despair.</br></br> The murder became front page news. Harris was eventually found guilty and sentenced to 15 years to life behind bars. In 1992, New York’s Governor Mario Cuomo commuted the remainder of her sentence.</br></br> Harris avoided the limelight for the next two decades. She passed away in 2012 at an assisted-living facility in Connecticut at the age of 89.
On the night of May 1, 1990, 22-year-old New Hampshire educator Pamela Smart, a pretty and popular media coordinator at Winnacunnet High School in Hampton, returned home from a work meeting to find the condo she shared with her husband, Gregg, ransacked.</br></br> Gregg, 24, was dead on the floor, a single gunshot wound to his head.</br></br> At first it appeared that Gregg had disrupted a burglary in progress, but it soon became clear that something far more sinister had occurred in the Smart home, and that his young wife was anything but a grieving widow.</br></br> Police learned that Pam had been carrying on an affair with 15-year-old Billy Flynn, whom she had met while teaching a self-esteem class at the high school. She told Flynn that her husband Gregg was abusive and that she was afraid that if she divorced him, she’d lose everything.</br></br> Flynn and three friends ambushed Gregg when he came home, killing him.</br></br> After she was tape-recorded instructing another student aware of the murder plot to lie to police, Pam was arrested.</br></br> Pam was eventually found guilty of being an accomplice to first-degree murder, conspiracy to commit murder, and witness tampering. She was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.</br></br> Billy Flynn and his accomplices received life sentences with parole. Billy was granted parole in early March and released in June. His three accomplices have been paroled.
27-year-old Laci Peterson — who was eight months pregnant — was reported missing on Christmas Eve, 2002. </br></br> A massive search was launched, with thousands of volunteers joining the effort to find the beautiful brown-eyed girl. Her husband, Scott, though, seemed to be taking it all in stride. He avoided talking to the press, seemed detached and unemotional, and was labeled “uncooperative” by police.</br></br> On April 13, 2003, a fetus washed up near the marina where Scott — who had had multiple affairs — said he’d been fishing the day Laci vanished. The following day, a badly decomposed female body, that was later proven to be Laci’s, was found in the same body of water.</br></br> Scott was arrested in San Diego on April 18. He had bleached his hair and grown a goatee and was found with an unusual assortment of items in his car, including four cell phones, his brother’s ID, credit cards, a map to one of his mistresses’s house, a rope, a shovel and more. </br></br> Scott was found guilty of Laci’s murder in November 2004, and is currently on death row at California’s San Quentin State Prison.
The fact that Mark Hacking killed his pregnant wife Lori was shocking enough, but the tangled web of lies that unraveled as investigators tried to piece together what had happened to the dark-haired 27-year-old Utah woman was almost too incredible to believe.</br></br> Mark reported his wife Lori missing on July 19, 2004. On July 20, Mark was picked up by police for running around outside Salt Lake’s Chase Suite Hotel completely naked except for a pair of sandals. His family had him admitted to the psychiatric unit of a local hospital.</br></br> On July 24, under intense pressure from his father and brothers, Mark confessed to them that he had killed his wife and dumped her in a trash bin. On Aug. 2, police arrested Mark on suspicion of aggravated murder. Cops found blood on the headboard of the couple’s bed and in Lori’s car. They believe Mark shot her with a .22-caliber rifle while she was asleep.</br></br> Lori’s badly decomposed body was found in a landfill on Oct. 1.</br></br> In April 2005, Mark pleaded guilty to first-degree murder and was sentenced to the maximum allowed under Utah law at the time — six years to life. He will not be eligible for parole until 2034.
In the weeks leading up to her disappearance, Stacy Peterson knew she was in grave danger.</br></br> The bubbly 23-year-old had just celebrated her fourth wedding anniversary to Bolingbrook, Ill., police officer Drew Peterson, who was 30 years her senior, and told friends and family that she wanted a divorce. She had looked into renting a place to live, bought a new, “secret” cellphone (so Drew couldn’t keep track of her calls) and was ready to start a new life away from the man she called “manipulative, controlling and somewhat abusive.”</br></br> On Oct. 27, 2007, during a heart to heart with her sister, Stacy leaned in and said: “If anything happens to me, he killed me. It wasn’t an accident.”</br></br> The following day, she vanished.</br></br> Her body was never found, but Drew was later convicted in the killing of his third wife, Kathleen. n March 2004, Kathleen’s lifeless body had been found in a waterless bathtub, but the death was ruled an accidental drowning. </br></br> On Sept. 6, 2012, Peterson was found guilty of premeditated murder. He was sentenced to 38 years behind bars.
After a two-year relationship with fellow NASA astronaut William Oefelein, Lisa Nowak found herself on the outs as he romanced a pretty Air Force captain named Colleen Shipman.</br></br> For a while, he continued to see both women at the same time. But at some point, he told Nowak that he wanted to date Shipman exclusively.</br></br> Fueled by jealousy, Nowak — a married mother of three — attempted to accosted Shipman — and attempted to pepper spray her — as she was getting into her car Orlando International Airport on Feb. 5.</br></br> Shipman was able to drive off. Nowak was arrested on the spot and charged with attempted kidnapping, battery, attempted vehicle burglary with battery and destruction of evidence.</br></br> Nowak pled guilty to reduced charges and was fired from the NASA in 2007 shortly after the incident.</br></br> Oefelein and Shipman announced their engagement in the summer of 2009 and wed in 2010.
The affair between Jodi Arias and Travis Alexander (pictured) began innocently enough: The two met in September 2006 at a conference in Las Vegas for a multilevel marketing firm. He was a salesman; she was a new recruit.</br></br> By February 2007, they were dating. They eventually split in June of that year.</br></br> Although they were no longer officially dating, they continued to have sex, engage in steamy phone conversations and send explicit text messages to each other. Travis began seeing other women though, and Jodi became enraged. Travis told friends that she slashed his tires, stalked him when he went out on dates, and hacked into his email, bank and social media accounts.</br></br> On June 2, Jodi rented a car in Redding, Calif., telling the rental company that she only planned to drive it locally. But when she returned it, the odometer showed the vehicle had been driven 2,800 miles. The floor mats were gone and red stains were splattered about the interior. Prosecutors stated at her trial that Jodi had used the car to drive to Travis’ home in Mesa, arriving on June 4, where she killed him.</br></br> Travis’ body was found by friends on June 9. He was curled up in his shower, his throat slit. An autopsy revealed he had been stabbed 27 to 29 times and shot in the head, probably after he was already dead. Gruesome crime scene photos depicted a horrific bloodbath in his master bedroom.</br></br> After changing her story multiple times, Jodi Arias was eventually arrested and found guilty of first-degree murder. She was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
We’ve looked at infamous mobsters & gangsters, shocking murders and kidnappings that made headlines across the country, and tragic true stories of missing or murdered children. Now, we’re cracking open the case files devoted to crimes of passion. To be sure, it’s the darkest side of love. Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned — or a man desperate to dump his wife for another. When emotions become out of control, the heart can turn to homicide. From the deadly love triangle that led to the murder of Scott Peterson’s pregnant wife, Laci, to the twisted tale of convicted murderer Pamela Smart, and the fatal attraction that resulted in Jodi Arias killing her ex-boyfriend Travis Alexander, here are eight of the most disturbing crimes of passion of the past half-century.
Charter Arms' new snubbie delivers plenty of bark along with its rimless, big-bore bite!
by William Bell / Aug 28, 2015