On Sunday, April 2nd, 2006, a Revere, MA police dispatcher followed up on a tip about a woman wanted out of New Hampshire. The woman gave a false name and was arrested with $80,000 in cash and checks. Cops identified her because her picture was on the front page of the newspaper. The headline read: "JUST PLAIN CRAZY."
A week earlier, New Hampshire investigators had discovered bones and other remains among a burned mattress on her farm. There was also a pet rabbit covered in blood. The remains of 24-year old Kenneth Countie were so badly burned that identification...let alone finding evidence of homicide...was going to be a challenge.
Countie had an undiagnosed form of autism and the mental capacity of a 12 year old. After a blind date, he moved to her Epping, NH farmhouse. When the two were spotted in Wal-mart,she was pushing his bruised and battered body in a wheel chair and was piling diesel fuel containers on his lap. When police visited the farm to check on Countie’s welfare, they discovered a meaty human bone sticking out of a smoldering burn pit.
Neighbors in the small town of Epping shared rumors about the 48-year-old woman, who moved to NH in 1986 after answering a personal ad from elderly chiropractor Bill LaBarre. She was known for being flirtatious and tempestuous, but neighbors also knew she could be violent. When Dr. LaBarre died suddenly in 2000, relatives wondered aloud if Sheila has poisoned him for the property. In the years after Dr. LaBarre died, several young men had lived on the farm and most were seen beaten or bloody.
LaBarre slipped away from the cops tailing her, and hitched a ride from Stephen Martello. The two had wild sex in a hotel room outside of Boston. LaBarre told him she was an angel who had come back to life to rid the world of pedophiles.
She had grown up as Sheila Bailey in Fort Payne, AL, the youngest of six children. Her first marriage lasted eight weeks, when her 19-year old husband discovered Sheila had been locking his toddler in a closet. She moved to Chattanooga with her second husband, but dreamed of being swept away by a rich suitor.
The Countie murder case took an unusual turn as authorities discovered new evidence on LaBarre's farm. Hundreds of cops spent 17 days searching the 115 acre property and beyond. They found evidence of older burn pits and blood splatter so old it had layers of dust in it. They also found clothes belonging to Michael Deloge, another man who had been living at the farm and vanished into thin air.
In February 2008, Sheila LaBarre changed her plea to not guilty by reason of insanity. She confessed to the killings of Countie and Deloge, but claimed she was crazy when she did it.
As the murder trial of Sheila LaBarre approached in May 2008, major questions about this saga remained. How did Kenneth Countie and Michael Deloge die? Did she poison Dr. LaBarre in an effort to obtain his million-dollar farm? Was she legally insane at the time of the killings?
And the most puzzling question of all: who really is Sheila LaBarre? How could she commit such a crime of brutal execution and of wicked intention?