Blog Profile / The Malefactor's Register

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Archived Since:March 9, 2015

Blog Post Archive

The Man without a Conscience

He was shorter than most, with a bald head and a long, brownish-red beard which gave him the appearance of some mythical forest creature. His brows were thick and bushy and arched above his dark eyes, giving the impression that he was always shocked or

Death and (Low) Taxes

On an overcast Tennessee morning about a month before the 1998 election, State Senator Tommy Burks was more concerned about the work to be done on his Putnam County farm than about the upcoming vote. There was no reason for him to feel otherwise. A

Unpleasantness at the Knickerbocker Club

The first rule of the Knickerbocker Club, the current iteration of the club at the center of several Gilded Age murders which interest us here, is that no one speaks about the Knickerbocker Club. The organization is not a secret society in the sense of

When Morons Kill

Ignorance of the law is no defense to a criminal accusation — knowing the rules that govern us is the duty of each person in a civilized society. Because our justice system is based on the premise that we are aware of what we are

Monster in the Belfry

The macabre scene in the little room off to the side of the death house at San Quentin was a fitting end to a gory and violent series of crimes, but even the bizarre actions of Theo Durrant’s parents shed little light on what had

Cold Feet

If the groom is going to be murdered on his wedding day, we expect the killer to be a jilted lover driven to madness by a broken heart or a rival suitor of the bride who cannot stand to let another take his place. In

Poor Pearl

…And little did Pearl Bryan think when she left her home The grip she carried in her hand would hide her head away She thought it was her lover’s hand she could trust both night and day Although it was her lover’s hand that took

Blood Diamonds

Everything Rick Chance did was bigger than life. His rise from farmer to millionaire more rapid than most; his marketing style was more brash, his marriages more passionate, his divorces rancorous, his death more violent. A paradox of personalities, Rick was part huckster, part born-again

Pushing Her Luck

Successful gamblers know to keep a cool head regardless of the cards they hold. Logic and experience dictate when to go all in and when to cash out. If they believe in luck, they do not count on its help. A frequent gambler favoring bingo

The Mayor Pays His Debt

The citizens of Charlottesville harbored a love-hate relationship with their former mayor and municipal court judge J. Samuel McCue. While Sam did have friends and admirers, for the most part local feelings tended toward an intense and passionate dislike. In 1904, Samuel McCue, 45, was

The Body in the Baggage

There is a curious subset of homicide called “trunk murder” that never fails to fascinate some of us who follow this sort of thing: The murderer commits the crime and for some reason thinks the best way to dispose of a body is to pu...

Mind over Murder

The story of Dr. Carl A. Coppolino, a wealthy physician and convicted murderer, has it all: multiple suspicious deaths occurring years and a thousand miles apart, money, sex, undetectable poison, hypnotic influences, betrayals and groundbreaking science involving rabbits and frogs. In fact when the story

Mistakes Were Made

The first mistake Carlene Buschkopf made was deciding that killing her husband, Theodore, for the insurance money was a good idea. The second, and the one that ultimately took her down, was involving someone else in the plot. The plan of Carlene and her lover,

The Man in the Attic

For years Fred Oesterreich was convinced he was hearing strange noises in his house but was always reassured by his wife, Dolly, that it was either his imagination or just some frisky mice. It was odd, Fred thought, considering that the unexplained bumps in the

Strangler Jack’s Final Bout

Although boxing was beginning to overtake it as one of the nation’s most popular sports, in the first decade of the 20th Century wrestling was still a huge draw for sports fans. It almost goes without saying that the sport of professional wrestling around the

Always Read the Fine Print

WALTER NEFF Not if there’s an insurance company in the picture, baby. So long as you’re honest they’ll pay you with a smile, but you just try to pull something like that and you’ll find out. They know more tricks than a carload of monkeys.

Losing It All

When Helen Joy Morgan went on trial for murder in 1933, the press was quick describe her as a “pretty, cultured, convent-bred heiress,” but not one reporter was willing to point out that she was also quite nuts. She was not crazy in the medico-legal

Strangler Jack’s Last Bout

Although boxing was beginning to overtake it as one of the nation’s most popular sports, in 1911 wrestling was still a huge draw for sports fans. It almost goes without saying that the sport of professional wrestling around the turn of the 20th century was

Always Read the Fine Print

When Louis Gosden was on trial for the strychnine poisoning of his third wife for the insurance, he probably realized his days were numbered when his only supporters turned their backs on him. During his 1935 trial in Oakland, Gosden was warmly greeted by his

Momma’s Boys

In early 1936 20-month-old Jackie Lake, son of a poor Canadian trapper and his common-law wife, died because he was too old. His parents, Phil and Bertha Lake died because they also happened to have a 4-month-old daughter, Betty, whom a neighbor, May Bannister, needed

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