Manual Married to Murder: The Bizarre and True Accounts of People Who Married Murderers

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Rader signed his taunting letters to the media and police with the acronym. Between and , Rader murdered a family of four, stabbed a year-old woman to death, and strangled a mother of four while her children were in the next room, among several other horrific murders. When Dennis was finally caught and arrested in February of , Paula was devastated. She fled the state, did not appear at his court hearings, and filed for an emergency divorce, which waived mandatory waiting periods.

She is not in contact with Dennis and maintains a private life. Details about the first wife of Jack Wayne Reeves are virtually unknown, except that she was 15, he was 18, and the marriage was annulled in after two years. What we do know is that she is a very lucky person who quite likely escaped the fate of his next three wives. Jack and his second wife, Sharon Reeves, were married for 18 years and had two sons.

Seventeen years into their marriage, Sharon filed for divorce. One week after the divorce was final, Sharon was found dead in her home from a shotgun wound to the chest.

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The death was initially ruled a suicide and it was believed she pulled the trigger with her toe. They were married a few years before Myong drowned in a lake while on a camping trip with Jack. Jack met his fourth wife, Emelita Reeves, through a mail order bride service when she was 18 and he was However, once he saw a photo of his son, he brought her back to the United States. Emelita told friends she planned to divorce Jack and was found dead shortly thereafter. In the summer of , Carole Hoff, a divorcee and mother of two, married a man named John Wayne Gacy. Gacy seemed a good person; he was liked by his neighbors, active in his community, and was about to launch his own construction business.

Yet darkness lurked. Shortly before the marriage took place, Gacy was arrested for luring a young man into his car and assaulting the youth. In the years that followed, Gacy lured a number of boys and young men into his home, where he would rape and murder them, then dispose of the bodies in his backyard or crawlspace—all while keeping up the appearance of a family man and good neighbor. Hoff and Gacy remained married until , by which point their relationship had strained.

She requested a divorce, Gacy agreed, and Hoff gathered her daughters and moved out of the home.

Marrying a Murderer: The Women Who Fall in Love With Men Behind Bars

After the divorce was final, Gacy went into overdrive, claiming a disturbing number of additional victims before finally being apprehended in December Gussie Fava is the co-host of Married to Murder , a true crime comedy podcast that covers cases where couples kill together or each other. You can listen to Married to Murder on iTunes or Stitcher.

She did not resist.

And so it began. Behind her husband's back, Tracey started visiting Rob in prison. The hard part was leaving when visiting hours were over: that was when it really struck her that the man she loved was locked up every night, and that being with him was going to involve an awful lot of waiting around. Even if she left her husband and made a new life for herself somewhere, she was going to have to press the pause button for a while. But she was determined.

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One night her husband overheard her talking to Rob on the telephone. He was very angry. Devlin decided to write Cell Mates in an effort to dispel stereotypes - the gangster's moll, the lunatic who befriends the serial killer - and because she was appalled at the lack of support for prisoners' partners. Among those she talked to are a solicitor who married her client; a year-old police officer's widow who married a Chinese drug-dealer 24 years her junior; and a home counties saddler whose partner of six years is a convicted sex offender.

She also interviewed George Delf, a former partner of Sara Thornton, jailed for killing her violent husband, and Saira Rehman, the young Muslim wife of the notorious criminal Charles Bronson. Although her sample was small, Devlin's findings were surprising. Most of the couples, she discovered, hadn't rushed into marriage; on average, their courtships lasted three years.

Moreover, many of the relationships turned out to be extremely successful, in spite of the odds stacked against them all but two of the 19 married couples she met are still together. This seems very positive - particularly when you consider that a prisoner's hopes of parole and, ultimately, rehabilitation into the community are thought to be much higher if they have a stable relationship waiting when they are released.

However, Devlin was shocked to learn that when a convicted prisoner marries, there is no statutory duty on any agency to reveal the nature of his or her crime to a new partner, no matter how serious. Many of them told me that they were unable to ask the prisoner about the full extent of his crime. They thought this inappropriate and even rude, or feared making him angry. Perhaps, like some other of Devlin's interviewees, this woman found a way of rationalising the offence.


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None of the research group, however, actively condoned their partners' criminal pasts. On the other hand, Devlin was intrigued by the reasons many of the women - and men - gave for having fallen for their inmate lovers. They liked the fact that they were in charge of the relationship - they could choose whether to visit or not - or they felt protected by the fact that their partner was a hard man. They spoke of deferred gratification and self-sacrifice and were determined that their love would help their partners to get back on the straight and narrow.


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  • But the majority had married simply because they happened to fall for the man or woman in question. The fact of his incarceration was almost irrelevant. For Tracey Walker, this was exactly the case - and her story has a happy ending. She and her children eventually made their home in north-west London, near where Rob grew up. Though her family strongly disapproved of her new lover - and continue to have their doubts - Tracey visited Rob in prison every week.

    Her husband complained to the authorities about his wife's new relationship, with the result that Rob was forced to leave open prison and return to 'bang-up'. This period was difficult for them both. But he told me he loved me and that I was worth it. The couple got engaged, and Rob was eventually accepted for parole. In August he was released and, a year later, he and Tracey were married.

    I married a murderer and other inside stories | Education | The Guardian

    He now works as a building site manager, and they have a baby son, Torren. But when you have to put your feelings down on paper, when you've only a few minutes on the phone and you might be cut off at any minute, you say the important things. That said, you can make lots of promises while you're on the inside but they mean nothing until you put them into action. Does he intend to remain on the right side of the law? I couldn't do prison again. I'm not going back. Some of the other stories in Cell Mates do occasionally make you question the sanity of their protagonists. Shirley Chueng is the privately-educated widow of a former police officer to whom she was married for 25 years.

    She met Ben, who is 24 years her junior, in , in the chapel of HMP Wayland, Norfolk, when she was visiting with a church group. Ben, a drug dealer and former heroin addict, asked her to bring his son and stepson - who were living with a friend following the death of their mother from an overdose - to visit him. Shirley did so on a regular basis until, some months later, Ben told her in his faltering English that he loved her - an announcement that left her 'walking on air'. She resigned as a prison volunteer and, for the next year, visited him fortnightly.

    I did feel several times later on that we had a better relationship when he was in prison than when he came out. Ben was released in but, unable to cope with life on the outside with his two children, and having been given heroin again by a friend, he became paranoid and violent. On one occasion he beat up Shirley so badly that she had to be hospitalised. The couple separated and the children went to live with Ben's sister. At this point Ben announced he was going home to Hong Kong.

    Shirley was distraught but, after much prayer, she called him and told him that, if he still wanted her, she would very much like to get married. He agreed and, in July , they were married at their local register office, followed by a blessing in their church. They now live, with their Tibetan lhasa apso dog, Penny, in a Norfolk village, in a beamed cottage with roses round the door. Ben has a full-time job in a vegetable packing plant and, in spite of what he put her through, Shirley insists she has no regrets.

    We have our differences like all couples but I'd be miserable without him. We sit together and hold hands, which is something I never did with my first husband. He has totally changed and I'm sure he was only able to do that because I was waiting for him outside. Love is the bond. Another woman, Philomena Donovan, has been involved with her partner, Rob, since the s when they were teenagers in south London.