Are their heinous acts caused by evil, or sadism? Perhaps they're mentally ill, or disturbed? There’s no doubting that society has a fascination with the uniquely terrifying a and enigmatic minds of serial killers. Many readers are intrigued by what makes them tick and what leads to such unspeakable acts.
Perhaps it's impossible to really know why some people commit horrific acts, but some people are willing to go the distance to find out. The following women took their fascination with evil to an astonishing level. Whether they were attracted by these murderers' celebrity status, or enjoyed the idea of being associated with the worst of the worst, or perhaps had a thing for “bad boy” rebels... Or maybe they're just plain crazy themselves? Whatever their reasons, these twenty women knowingly married mass-murderers.
20 Rosalie Martinez (Oscar Ray Bolin)
Rosalie Martinez was married to, and had four daughters with, a prominent lawyer from Tampa, Florida. Until 1996, she was a mitigation specialist, drove a nice car, had a great family - then she met Oscar Ray Bolin AKA “Bolin the Butcher”.
He was convicted of the 1986 sexual assaults and murders of three young women. The killer made quite an impression on Rosalie, and the woman left her family and married the murderer. She has stood by her husband through eight subsequent murder trials and a death sentence. Strangely enough, Rosalie continues to work in the legal field, working for a firm that helps lawyers overturn death penalties.
19 Anna Eriksson and Rebecca Sneed (Lyle Menendez)
In 1989, brothers Lyle and Erik Menendez shot and killed their parents Jose and Kitty while they were asleep in their Beverly Hills home. They weren’t suspects initially, but after going on a lavish money-spending spree (Lyle bought a Rolex watch, a Porsche Carrera, a cafe and restaurant), they were eventually arrested.
Towards the end of the brothers’ first high-profile trial, one-time Playboy model Anna Eriksson wrote to Lyle. They began regular correspondence, and eventually married during a telephone ceremony on the day of the sentencing.
After learning Lyle was “cheating” on her by having a correspondence with another woman, Eriksson divorced him in 2001. Two years later, Lyle married a 33-year-old magazine editor named Rebecca Sneed, at a ceremony in a maximum security visiting area of Mule Creek State Prison.
18 Tammi Saccoman (Erik Menendez)
The younger Menendez brother, Erik, was the one who eventually confessed to a psychiatrist that he and his brother had killed their parents. Once Lyle, the older brother, threatened the psychiatrist, the psychiatrist was legally capable of informing the police, and the brothers were arrested.
Erik Menendez married Tammi Saccoman in the waiting room at Folsom State Prison in 1997, after two had spent time writing to each other. Since then, she has written a book about their marriage, They Said We’d Never Make It, and has been the subject of an A&E documentary in 2010 in which she discussed her weekly 150-mile drive with her 10-year-old daughter to visit the girl’s “Earth Dad.”
17 Carol Spadoni (Phillip Carl Jablonski)
Phillip Carl Jablonski was a serial killer convicted of raping and killing five women between 1978 and 1991. Jablonski met his first wife, Alice McGowan, in high school, and after returning from the military he became sexually violent, once putting a pillow over her head and attempting to suffocate her. He met Jane Sanders in 1968, after McGowan left him, and sexually assaulted her on their first date. Despite that, they moved to California together in 1969. She left him in 1972.
In 1977, Jablonski met Linda Kimball and had a daughter with her. Jablonski almost sexually attacked Linda’s mother, but did not go through with it. Kimball then left Jablonski, but she was murdered when she returned to the apartment to pick up some things.
Jablonski served 12 years in prison and was released in 1990. Despite all of these warning signs, Carol Spadoni met and married Jablonski in 1982, after answering a newspaper ad while Jablonski was serving time in prison. Tragically but unsurprisingly, Spadoni and her mother were murdered by Jablonski in 1991, less than a year after his release from prison. Jablonski is currently on death row.
16 Kristin Joan Svege (Tex Watson)
Charles “Tex” Watson was a central member of the Manson family. He was the one who led other Manson followers into Sharon Tate’s house in 1969 and murdered the pregnant actress and four others. He also participated in the murders of Leno and Rosemary LaBianca a day later. He has been in prison since 1971.
Watson became a born-again Christian in 1975, and released an autobiography in 1978 titled Will You Die For Me? In 1979, Watson married Kristin Joan Svege. Somehow, through conjugal visits, the couple were able to have four children together. Visits for life prisoners were banned in 1996, and the visitations stopped.
After 24 years of marriage, Svege divorced Watson in 2003 when she met another man.
15 Rebecca Torrijas (Henry Louis Wallace)
Henry Louis Wallace AKA the “Taco Bell Strangler” was a known drug addict convicted of killing 10 women in Charlotte, North Carolina, between 1990 and 1994, though that number might be as high as 13. He currently awaits execution at Central Prison in Raleigh.
In 1998, while on Death Row, Wallace married a former prison nurse named Rebecca Torrijas. She was 23 years older than Wallace. Their ceremony was held next to the execution chamber where he had been sentenced to die, and was officially witnessed by public defender and photographer Isabel Day, and the manager of the Death Row unit.
14 Shirlee Book (Kenneth Bianchi)
Kenneth Bianchi was one half of the serial killing duo known as the “Hillside Stranglers”. Bianchi and his cousin, Angelo Buono, Jr., were convicted of the murders of 12 women between 1976 and 1979. The Hillside Stranglers used fake badges and persuaded women that they were undercover police officers, before bringing them to locations and torturing and murdering them.
Shirlee Book began corresponding with Bianchi after seeing him on the news. She reportedly bought her wedding dress before Bianchi had even proposed, and had an almost zealous attraction to the killer. They had a 15-minute wedding ceremony in 1989 at the chapel of the state prison in Walla Walla, Washington.
13 Christine Kizuka (Angelo Buono, Jr.)
Angelo Buono, Jr., was the ringleader and self-described “Italian Stallion” of the notorious duo known as the Hillside Stranglers. He was a wannabe pimp with a harem of young women, and was convicted of nine counts of First-Degree Murder in 1983.
Christine Kizuka met Buono when she was visiting her then-husband and father of her three children at Folsom State Prison in 1986. Buono resided in the cell next to Kizuka’s husband, and apparently attracted her attention. The two were married shortly after meeting, although they would never consummate their marriage. He died on September 21, 2002, of a heart attack.
12 Sonia Szurma (Peter Sutcliffe)
Peter Sutcliffe is a British serial killer who was dubbed the “Yorkshire Ripper” by the press. In 1981 he was convicted of murdering 13 women and attempting to murder seven others. He had claimed that he was sent on a mission by God to kill sex workers.
Sutcliffe married Czech-Ukrainian woman Sonia Szurma in 1974 (a year before his murder spree began). His wife suffered several miscarriages and was told she wouldn’t be able to have children. They moved into a house together in 1977, and were living there at the time of Sutcliffe’s arrest. Sonia divorced Sutcliffe in 1994.
11 Clara D. Neal (Arthur Shawcross)
Arthur Shawcross, known as the Genesee River Killer, was convicted in 1991 and sentenced to 250 years in prison for the murders of 14 people. He had already been married twice when he began his killing spree in 1972. He was sentenced to 25 years in 1975, but after 12 years, inexperienced prison staff and social workers disregarded warnings of psychiatrists and released him on parole in 1987.
He went on to kill 12 other women.
He married Clara D. Neal, a former girlfriend, in 1997 at the visiting room of the Sullivan Correctional Facility in New York. Commenting on the marriage, Clara said: “It was nice and all. It took 10 years to make the grade, but I finally did it.” Shawcross died in 2008.
10 Jennifer Lyn Coria (Randall Woodfield)
Randall Woodfield, known as the “I-5 Killer” due to his crimes along the Interstate 5 corridor, was convicted of three murders in 1981. He is suspected of killing at least 18 people, more likely 44, and sexually assaulting 60.
In 2011, Woodfield was the subject of a Lifetime TV movie, Hunt for the I-5 Killer. He has married three times and divorced twice during his stay at the penitentiary. One of his prison marriages ended in divorce after six months, and he went on to develop a relationship with Jennifer Lyn Coria in 2001. They married, exchanged their vows in the warden’s office, and were able to honeymoon in the “conjugal trailer.”
9 Catherine “Rena” Costello and Rosemary “Rose” Letts (Fred West)
Fred West was an English serial killer who tortured, raped, and killed at least 13 women and young girls between 1967 and 1987. In 1962, the 21-year-old became re-acquainted with a former girlfriend and sex worker named Catherine Costello, who was already pregnant by another man. She gave birth to Charmaine Carol in 1963, and the couple adopted the girl.
While still married to Costello, 27-year-old West met his next wife, Rosemary Letts, on her 15th birthday in 1968. On her 16th birthday she moved in with him. In 1971, Rosemary killed Charmaine, Fred’s stepdaughter from his first marriage.
When Costello arrived to take her daughter back to Scotland, she too was killed. West and Letts would become two of the most infamous, sadistic serial killer in history, torturing and murdering many young women and girls including their own daughters, before eventually being caught in 1994. West committed suicide in 1995 and Rose was imprisoned for life.
8 Rosemary and Elizabeth Solorio (Marcus Wesson)
Marcus Wesson is one of the most despicable on this list, an American serial killer who was also convicted of 14 sex crimes for the molestation of his underage daughters.
Wesson became involved with Rosemary Solorio in 1971, an already-married woman. She already had children, and when she gave birth to Wesson’s son in 1971, Wesson was cultivating a relationship with his stepdaughter - Rosemary’s daughter from her first marriage - Elizabeth Solorio. In 1974, at the age of nine, Elizabeth “married” Wesson in a fake ceremony. Wesson officially married his stepdaughter when she turned 15, and she bore him 10 children/grandchildren. In 2004, he shot and murdered nine of his children and grandchildren.
7 Feodosia Odnacheva (Andrei Chikatilo)
Andrei Chikatilo was known as the “Butcher of Rostov,” the “Red Ripper,” and the “Rostov Ripper.” He was a Soviet serial killer who committed the sexual assault and murder of no less than 52 women and children between 1978 and 1990 in the Russian SFSR, Ukrainian SSR, and the Uzbek SSR. Chikatilo suffered from chronic impotence, making him socially awkward and self-hating.
His younger sister vowed to help her brother find a wife and start a family, despite his nervousness and impotence. Chikatilo’s sister basically set up the marriage between Andrei and Feodosia Odnacheva, a woman he hardly knew, in 1963. They married just two weeks after meeting each other, and she eventually gave birth to Andrei’s two children.
6 Esperanza (Daniel Camargo Barbosa)
Daniel Camargo Barbosa was a Colombian psychopath, and one of the most prolific serial killers in the world. It is believed that he sexually attacked and killed over 150 young girls in Colombia and Ecuador during the 1970s and 80s.
After having a de facto union with a woman named Alcira, and having two children with her, Barbosa fell in love with another woman, Esperanza, aged 28. He planned to marry her, but then found out she was not a virgin, which was a problem.
They formed an agreement that he would stay with her if she aided him in finding other virgins to have sex with. Esperanza was Barbosa’s partner-in-crime, and helped him lure, drug, and sexually assault five girls before getting caught by the fifth victim reporting the crime. Barbosa and Esperanza were arrested, and after 8 years in prison Daniel was released - except now, when he attacked girls he made sure to kill them so that they couldn't report the crimes.
He was caught once, escaped from prison and was presumed dead, though he confessed to 72 more killings since his escape when he was caught a second time. He was killed by a cousin of one of his victims in prison in 1994.
5 Doreen Lioy (Richard Ramirez)
Richard Ramirez, the infamous “Night Stalker” was a notorious serial killer from 1984 to 1985. He was convicted in 1989, and was sentenced to die in California’s gas chambers. He remarked to reporters after the sentencing, “Big deal. Death always went with the territory. See you in Disneyland.”
Ramirez received non-stop letters and visitations from women inexplicably throwing themselves at him. He began a correspondence with freelance magazine editor Doreen Lioy in 1985, and in 1988 proposed to her. They were married in San Quentin State Prison in 1996. Doreen purportedly had an IQ of 150, claimed to be a virgin, and has said about Ramirez, “He’s kind, he’s funny, he’s charming. I think he’s really a great person. He’s my best friend; he’s my buddy.” Ramirez died of complications secondary to B-cell lymphoma in 2013.
4 Carole Hoff and Sue Terry (John Wayne Gacy)
John Wayne Gacy, also known as “The Killer Clown,” was the famous serial killer and rapist of 33 teenage boys and young men, from 1972 to 1978. All of his murders were committed inside his Norwood Park Township home, and 26 of his victims were buried in the crawlspace of his home, while three were buried elsewhere on his property, and four were discarded in the Des Plaines River.
Gacy became engaged to divorcee and mother-of-two, Carole Hoff, in 1971. They moved into a Summerdale Avenue house in 1972, where Gacy became a fixture of the community, though he had already begun his killings. Gacy and Hoff divorced in 1976, but began dating again in 1977. During this time, Gacy had killed a further six young men. He began burying bodies in trenches on his property while Hoff still lived with him.
Hoff also informed investigators that, on several occasions prior to their divorce, she had found several men’s wallets and ID cards discarded around the property.
Gacy was sentenced to life in 1980, and met Sue Terry, a mother of eight, in 1988. She wrote to him after seeing him in the paper, and their relationship lasted a year - going so far as to become engaged - until she became convinced of his guilt.
3 Carole Ann Boone (Ted Bundy)
Ted Bundy was the infamous serial killer, rapist, and necrophile of between 30 and 36 girls during the 1970s and 1980s. He was regarded as handsome and charismatic by his victims, traits which he used to exploit their trust. Bundy was known to have been highly intelligent, and was his own lawyer for his trials.
In 1979, while he was questioning former Washington DES coworker Carole Ann Boone - who had moved to Florida to be near him, and testified on his behalf multiple times - he asked her to marry him. She accepted, and due to an obscure Florida law, the two were declared legally married while in court.
In 1982, Boone gave birth to a daughter and named Bundy as the father. Though conjugal visits were not allowed at Raiford Prison, inmates were known to pool money together to bribe guards and allow intimate time alone with their female visitors. Bundy was killed by electrocution in 1989.
2 Judith Mawson (Gary Ridgway)
Gary Ridgway is known as the “Green River Killer.” During the 1980s and 1990s, he killed between 49 to 90 women, 48 of which he was convicted, and 71 he confessed to. Ridgway was married three times, and all of the women in his life said that he had an insatiable sexual appetite. Ridgway also admitted to have a fixation with prostitutes.
Ridgway began dating Judith Mawson in 1985, and she became his third wife in 1988. Mawson claimed in a 2010 interview not to have suspected Ridgway’s crimes before she was contacted by authorities in 1987, though her interviews leave room for speculation that she was at least somewhat aware of what was going on. They divorced in 2002, a year after he was caught and tried.
Upon hearing that Ridgway’s kill-rate went down during his relationship with Mawson (because he loved her), she told a local reporter, “I feel I have saved lives... by being his wife and making him happy.”
1 Afton Burton (Charles Manson)
The Burton-Manson marriage license recently dominated tabloid headlines. The 80-year-old patriarch of the Manson 'Family' cult - coordinator of the murders of seven people - has recently gotten a marriage license with 26 year old Afton Burton, who goes by Star.
Star believes Manson was railroaded in his trial, and she talks to him almost every day since meeting him 10 years ago. Burton spends her days painting, and maintaining several of Manson’s social media sites. She has said that her goal is to get Manson out of prison.