True crime writer Kelly Banaski, shares her insight to the women on death row & female killers past and present through interviews via letters, phone calls & visits.
Michael Ryan in Nebraska is so horrifying, I couldn't believe it. I accidentally found the information while surfing for info on the women on death row. I became interested because he sounded so much like Manson and the girls. he lived tucked away from society with a group that looked up to him and prepared along with him for an Armageddon that was to begin in the form of a race war.
But check this out from Wikipedia:
Ryan was arrested in 1982 after reports, and a criminal investigation indicated that he had abused and killed 5 year old Luke Stice, and later killed fellow member James Thimm, after he had tortured him for several days, beating him, forcing him to have sex with a goat, then skinning him alive and raping him with a shovel before finally beating him to death.
Ryan was tried, convicted and sentenced to death on 12 September 1985. Ryan claims to have been in direct contact with God and vowed to spend his days in prison rewriting the Bible, but since has recanted on both. Ryan is currently held in Tecumseh State Correctional Institutionon death row.The Nebraska Supreme Court has set a March 6,2012 execution date for Ryan.
If they do execute him, and it looks like it will be this year. It will be Nebraska's first execution since the 90's and the first since they decided that the electric chair was inhumane.
My brother teaches history at our local community college. He just loves to talk about history all the time. I don’t know where he got that because there is no one else in our family that is the least bit interested in history. I was talking on the phone to my sister-in-law the other day, and she said that she can never watch television because my brother is always watching The History Channel on http://www.direc4u.com/. I told her that would absolutely drive me crazy. When my brother was a young boy growing up, he was always a little bit weird or nerdy. On the I.Q. test he scored at genius level so you know he was always really smart in every class in school. My mom told me that the counselors at school told her that he needed to learn how to fail at something so he could figure out how to deal with failure. So my mom then proceeded to sign him up for things that she knew he would not succeed in. The first thing she put him in was football. Our local community park had a league that everyone played in. Well I can tell you now that he was a great big flop at football. Then she put him in the band at school playing the baritone. Let me just say he never quite got the hang of that either. So I guess I should just be proud that he found an outlet that he really loves and is very successful.
The case of Bernina Mata and the media frenzy that surrounded aspects of it reminds me somewhat of Aileen Wornous. She was a lesbian who killed a man she met in a bar one night. Her defense was that it was self defense, that he attacked her and she stabbed him to keep from being killed and raped.
The prosecutions case was- get this- that she was a hard-core-man-hating lesbian who killed him because was a man.
No, I'm not kidding.
She was a lesbian and a prostitute. These two fact both had led to her fear of rape and violence because that it what she had learned so far in life. she expected it. Once she found out how easy it was to kill her johns as opposed to getting the shit kicked out of her; she took that route.
Unfortunately this has been a surprising tactic among prosecution in recent years. It has become commonplace for a defendants sexual proclivity to be brought up in court. Again, no I am not kidding.
My question is this; what does a persons sexual preference have to do with their penchant for murder? Should it ever be allowed into court? I think not. If the person is guilty of their crimes such as Bernina and Aileen then it should be 100% possible to bring them swiftly to justice without making a mockery of lesbianism or any other lifestyle choice.
Bernina was spared a death sentence in 2003 by Outgoing Gov. George Ryan. Her case, however, has long since been studied for its alleged abuse of her sexual orientation during trial.
So far, none of the women on death row are scheduled for execution in 2012, 2013 or 2014. Neither are any of the men I write to. I feel relatively safe for now.
Of those who are scheduled for 2012, there is Nicholas Tate. He is volunteering to be executed on January 31, 2012 for the murder of a young woman and the sexual assault and murder of her 3 year old daughter. His two brothers, 18 and 15 were along with him.
They were under the assumption that the woman had money and crack in her home and they went to rob her. They left her apartment and fled to a gas station where they took a hostage who they later released.
Are you into this Kindle Singles thing? I love it. The true crime singles are like episodes of 48 Hours: Investigates crammed into a Kindle. My newest favorite is below. Its the last statements of some of Texas executed inmates. It also gives case histories and facts.
This chick is awesome.She has the most unique platform any potential Miss America has ever worked for.
She founded a nonprofit to help children of inmates, Circles of Support. Heres to her doing so much more inthe futre. How amazing that she stepped up to share her own experience when her father was incarcerated. Bravo Laura Kaeppeler!
A significant part of many of the popular TV drama shows dwells on the psychological background of the "unidentified subject" who has committed heinous crimes. One of my favorite shows was Profile and the primary activity of the main character was to analyze who, why, and what is making this individual act as he/she does. I wonder how that main character would have discussed Gary Ridgway, the Green River Serial Killer . . .
Pennie Morehead presents readers with an interesting alternative look at the life of America's most deadly serial killer--that is, "through the loving eyes of his wife." (Back cover) Morehead, in her first book, gives a very personal perspective of an individual affected by true crime. I found it fascinating reading!
The book includes exclusive photographs from the life of Judith Ridgway, as well as letters handwritten by Gary from prison. Additionally, the author uses her professional analysis of his handwriting to give yet another "look" at a killer(s). For some reason, though I normally start reading front to back, I opened the book to these pictures and letters. Judith had been married once before and I studied the pictures of her early life, her first marriage, and then later, her fourteen "happy" years with a serial killer.
Consider if you will--two husbands. One is an admitted bisexual (after they were married) who forced Judith and their two children to dress in clothes he selected, later in victorian style, and attend medieval festivals. Judith's first husband, Lee, instructed Judith on how to perform wifely duties in the bedroom as well. Having been abused in early life, Judith was not shocked about what took place--she put no emotional investment in the sexual act. Not knowing any better, she assumed other wives must be doing the same thing.
On and on, strange things happened in her first marriage, including sex orgies and her children seeing their father naked with another man. She tried to figure out how she could escape! Finally, she was able to learn how to drive, and she was able to find work and begin to make her own money. Finally, she convinced her husband to allow a divorce.
Judith's second husband was her prince. "It was February of 1985, Judith was forty years old, and finally free from the stranglehold of her dysfunctional, nineteen-year first marriage." (p. 59) Judith met Gary Ridgway, an attractive, slightly younger man to whom she was immediately attracted and with whom she could have fun, giggle, and live a normal life. Gary was a painter for a truck company, made a good living. They bought a camper and traveled and purchased a nice home. Judith was happier than she had ever thought possible.
Two husbands--Judith's second husband was the serial killer.
"Judith was not aware of...a chilling fact: Only two days after she met her prince--Gary Ridgway was sitting in the presence of Green River Killer Task Force detectives!" (P.63) Ridgway later admitted he had no idea how many women he had murdered; 48 were documented.
I found myself moving around within this book...I'd study the pictures of Judith and her first husband and then go back to look at the ones where they wore victorian clothing. Then I marveled at the family pictures of the various families. I would reread portions of the letters from Gary to Judith once he was in prison.
Who was the Gary Ridgway who killed at least 48 women. Why could he have a totally different, loving life with a woman who came to love him deeply within a happy marriage? There is an illusion that if he didn't "have to pass" a certain area to and from work, where prostitutes could easily be found, then maybe . . . But that doesn't explain why he murdered those from whom he acquired sex.
This book doesn't provide "that profile," that would identify a serial killer, but, Morehead's review of his handwriting, noting, for instance, certain letters that referred to "socio-sexual shame," is an interesting highlight of the book. True Crime books do not normally attract me because they provide no conclusion, other than that the guilty are being punished and the book documents what happened. However, I found the story of Judith Ridgway unbelievably unique and memorable. I can only pray that Judith finds a faith and strength that will help her survive what she has endured.
Needless to say, this is a must-read for anyone interested in true crime or crime-related biographies. Morehead has provided a well-documented, comprehensive book that moves through Judith's early life through to the time she is receiving intimate letters from the prison cell of the Green River Serial Killer. True life is "really" sometimes unbelievable!
Green River Serial Killer: Biography Of an Unsuspecting Wife
By Pennie Morehead BrandenBooks ISBN: 978-0-8283-2153-2 240 Pages
G. A. Bixler is co-owner of an online review site of Independent Professional BookReviewers. She is an avid reader and has over 40 years experience in educational administration and publishing.