Valentine’s Day is expected to be a day of love, whether it’s your significant other or your family. It’s supposed to be one of the happiest days of the year, besides Christmas. Most people who are married, in a relationship, or casually seeing someone can expect to get some chocolates, roses, a card, or some other form of appreciation. Some people even receive expensive gifts such as jewelry, TVs, or designer clothes. However, not every Valentine’s Day ends with couples being wined and dined. Sometimes, this can be the time of the year when you see many breakups, arguments, or other tragedies.
On Feb 14, 1884, Theodore Roosevelt’s wife and mother died within just a few hours of each other. His wife, Alice Lee, lost her life due to Bright’s disease and his mother, Mittie, died due to typhoid fever. On Valentine’s Day 2008, the Northern Illinois University shooting took place. Steven Kazmierczak used three guns to shoot and kill five students while injuring another 17 individuals. Throughout the years, many people have lost their lives on Valentine’s Day. Tragically, there are more people who have been murdered on Valentine’s Day than you may have thought. Check out the list of 15 Valentine’s Day murder tragedies.
15. The Lovelace Murder (2006)
Lovelace had the all-American reputation. He was a graduate from the University of Illinois Law School, president of the local school board, and spent time as an assistant county prosecutor for seven years. His outstanding reputation became tainted after his wife, Cory Lovelace, was found dead in their home. Curtis claimed that he dropped their kids off at school and when he came home, he found his wife’s dead body in the bed. An autopsy was conducted, but the results came back as inconclusive.
After obtaining photo and forensic evidence, authorities presumed that Cory was suffocated. Curtis was subsequently arrested for his alleged involvement in her death. His defense attorney, Jon Loevy said, “It’s unfair, he didn’t kill his wife, nobody killed her. There was no murder.” He continued on to say, “No crime was committed. Ms. Lovelace died as a result of complications from her liver disease.” Curtis’ first trial ended with a hung jury and the case is expected to be retried in February.
14. Missionary Murder (2013)
Nathan Leuthold killed his wife, Denise Leuthold, on Valentine’s Day 2013. He allegedly killed Denise after his feelings for a Lithuanian college student turned from platonic to romantic. Nathan and Denise sponsored the student’s immigration to the United States after they met her on a European missionary trip. This happy, life-changing experience turned deadly once Nathan realized that he wanted to get his wife out of the way. He eventually carried out the murder of Denise and conjured up a story that she was “the victim of a home invasion.” However, he left digital footprints when law enforcement officials figured out that he researched “hitting someone over the head to knock them out”, “how to muffle a gun” and “lethal injection”, prior to her death. In 2014, Nathan was sentenced to 80 years in prison for the murder. The judge said, “I have to give you credit. You have led a law-abiding life, and for many years, you did good things. But, you have poisoned it all.”
13. A Really Bad Break-Up (2011)
Tomicka Peterson wanted to break up with Gibson Paul on Valentine’s Day, but he was not having that. The two shared an apartment up until the time Peterson decided that it was time to end their relationship and she had her friends waiting outside for in a car for her safety. Despite Peterson taking precautions, Paul followed her outside and once she was inside of her friend’s vehicle, he unleashed multiple bullets in a fit of rage. Peterson was shot five times and another woman was “grazed by a bullet.” Paul fled the scene and took off to Tennessee where he was arrested and taken back to Florida. The case went to trial and he was convicted of “first-degree murder, aggravated assault, shooting into an occupied vehicle and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.” Paul was no angel prior to this tragedy. He served prison time on three occasion for weapons charges, car theft and battery.
12. Bludgeons Boyfriend to Death (2014)
Andrea Consales and her boyfriend Giovanni Iuliano, got into a physical confrontation which resulted in Consales contacting an ambulance. When EMTs arrived at the home, they saw Iuliano lying on the living room floor. Initially, Consales told law enforcement that Iuliano fell, but that lie did not last too long. After his death, the medical examiner stated that there were “significant fractures” on his head, torso, and face that may have been the cause of blunt force. An investigation was conducted by the Paterson Police Detective Bureau and later, Consales was charged with murder. Prosecutor Jason Statuo added that “law enforcement found evidence of blood stains in several areas of the house and deemed the injuries consistent with homicide.” Consales’ defense lawyer Richard Baldi, said “a history of domestic violence and alcohol abuse could come into play in Consales’ defense.”
11. Jealous Ex-Boyfriend (2009)
Tiana Notice and James Carter began chatting on an online dating site. Notice’s family immediately disliked Carter and could not understand what she saw in him, especially since she was educated and was working on her Master’s degree at the University of Hartford. Kathy Lewis said, “I don’t know what she saw in him because I never met him in person. I only saw photos of him and I immediately disliked him. You may want to call it mother’s intuition.” After just six months of dating, Notice found out that Carter was not this nice guy like what she initially thought he was. He was sentenced to spend “five months in jail for the domestic abuse of a previous girlfriend.” That was not the only charge and he had a criminal record for assault and other violent crimes. Notice decided that it was time for her to move on and she even got a restraining order against Carter. Afterward, the harassment started and she told her father, “He’s just bugging me. He won’t leave me alone.”
Notice went to the Police multiple times to report the harassment, but nothing was done. Lewis said, “I don’t know why they didn’t take my daughter seriously. She went and visited the police station 33 times in six weeks.” On Valentine’s night, Notice went back to her apartment to pack her bags, but what she didn’t know was that Carter was already in her apartment complex awaiting her arrival. Carter stabbed her 20 times. Before taking her last breath, Notice called 911 and said, “I’m bleeding to death. My ex-boyfriend just stabbed me to death.”
10. Bogus Bouquet of Flowers (2001)
One would think that Dr. Hamilton would have a special evening planned for his wife, Susan Hamilton, especially since he was known for being romantic and even bought her a bouquet of flowers. Unfortunately, something happened on Valentine’s Day that changed. John arrived home from performing a surgery and allegedly found Susan dead. He called 911 and said, “Please send police. Please send an ambulance, please. I think my wife is dead.” While John appeared to be distraught over Susan’s death, he was much more sinister than initially thought.
When medics arrived at the home, they discovered Susan lying on the bathroom floor in a pool of blood. They also found that her head was smashed in and that someone strangled her with two neck ties. Throughout the investigation, police tried to piece together who would commit such a horrible crime. This was until police confirmed that Susan was upset about John’s affair with a stripper and was considering divorce. They also “found traces of blood and flesh” in his car. John was charged with murder and after his trial, he was convicted by jury.
9. Murder for Hire Plot (2010)
Richard Schoeck’s family took Stacey in as part of the family. Little did they know that she would ultimately be the cause of Richard’s death and that greed would be a big part of it. Stacey wanted to cash in on Richard’s life insurance policy which was worth $500,000. She hired Reginald Coleman, who is a personal trainer known as Mr. Results through her co-worker, Lynitra Ross, to murder Richard. Stacey offered to pay Mr. Results $10,000 to finish the job. Stacey and Ross set up the transaction at a Mexican Restaurant where she gave Ross one of the houses she owned.
On Valentine’s Day, Stacey persuaded Richard to meet her at a park to exchange cards, but unfortunately, he was gunned down by Mr. Results who was waiting nearby. At trial, Stacey admitted that she hired Mr. Results to carry out the murder plot and she was convicted and sentenced to life in prison. Richard’s family spoke out and said, “We’re trying to get a little closure to it. I hope it keeps other criminals from thinking they can get away with something like this.”
8. Valentine’s Day Dance (1971)
Patricia Mann and Jesse McBane were both excited about the Valentine’s Day Dance at Watts Hospital. McBane picked Mann up at her dorm and she told her roommates that she would be back by 1 a.m. However, she never returned and her roommates got worried since this was not her typical pattern. While the roommates were out looking for Mann, they discovered McBane’s car parked “at lover’s lane.” The families were notified that the couple’s whereabouts were unknown. Mann’s cousin, Carolyn Spivey said, “I just got the sickest feeling in my stomach that something terrible had happened. She was a good girl. She went by the rules.”
Spivey was right. A surveyor found the couple’s dead bodies lying in the woods covered with leaves. “Their hands had been tied with thick ropes behind their backs to a tree, and ropes were stretched tight and knotted around their necks.” Upon a medical examiner’s report, investigators concluded that the couple was tortured to death. There were a few possible suspects, but they were never prosecuted. Horne, who is an investigator on the case said, “Clearly, we don’t have enough evidence for prosecution and court, but DNA is an ace in this card game, and if it comes back in our favor, it would be very hard for this person of interest for his DNA not to be on it.”
7. Body Stuffed in Garbage Bags (2007)
Tara Grant was allegedly missing for five days before her husband Stephen Grant reported her missing. He told law enforcement that he waited days before contacting them because “it was not the first time his wife had disappeared.” Stephen went on to say that he overheard Tara’s conversation with someone over the phone in which she said, “I’ll meet you at the end of the driveway.” From there, Stephen claimed that she got in a vehicle and left. Police were not just going to buy into his story and weeks later, they showed up to his house with a search warrant. They found part of Tara’s body in the garage. Investigators also discovered a Ziploc bag which had metal shavings, blood, and latex gloves nearby the couple’s home. Upon an autopsy of Tara’s body, County Medical Examiner Daniel Spitz revealed that the results showed she “likely died of strangulation before her body was dismembered.”
Tara’s sister said, “While this outcome represents the worst possible scenario imaginable to anyone, we take comfort in the fact that Tara is now in a better place.” Stephen confessed to the killing and was convicted of second degree murder.
6. Subway Restaurant Murder (2000)
Nicholas Kunselman and Stephanie Hart were high school sweethearts at Columbine High School. At just 15 and 16 years old, they likely never expected for their lives to be cut short so soon. On Valentine’s Day, a shooting occurred at a Subway restaurant where Kunselman was employed. Both of their dead bodies were found at the restaurant following the fatal shooting. Two composite sketches of suspects were released by police with a $10,000 reward that led to the capture. Students and staff knew the teens as representing peace and love. Kunselman and Hart were labeled as “refugees of the ‘60s.” They were both buried at Mount Lindo Gardens. Police still have not found the person who murdered them.
5. Husband, Wife, Murder-Suicide (2015)
Three years before the deaths of this couple, Scott Caldwell’s family was involved in a fatal car crash. The crash claimed the lives of his father, mother, brother in law and sister. The accident happened on Christmas Eve 2012, when his parents picked up his brother-in-law and sister. On the way back home, their vehicle was hit by a drunk driver. In 2015, police arrived at the Caldwell’s home after receiving reports of a shooting. When they entered the home, the couple was dead. The County Coroner, John Goble, said Scott “shot and killed his wife, Rebecca Caldwell, then turned the gun on himself.”
4. Valentine’s Drive-By (2016)
Ismael Ortiz was involved in a drug deal to sell marijuana and Xanax. He met up with Denis, Salvi and two other individuals for the transaction at the Suburban Lodge parking lot. Denis approached Ortiz’s SUV and proceeded with the transaction in exchange for drugs. Ortiz drove off, but returned and blocked in the vehicle that was carrying Denis and Salvi. Ortiz opened his window and started firing shots. The vehicle Denis and Salvi were riding in sped out of the parking lot as quickly as possible, but both were already shot. Denis had a gunshot wound and Salvi died after he was shot in the back.
During the investigation, police found out that the SUV Ortiz owned looked like the SUV that was involved in the shooting. They also found out that the phone number used during the transaction was linked to Ortiz. Eventually, Ortiz was arrested and brought in for second-degree murder charges.
3. The St. Valentine’s Day Massacre (1929)
The massacre happened at the warehouse at Dickens and Clark in Chicago. A gang war between the South Side Italian gang and the Irish American gang led to the murders of seven men. The men killed were Albert Kachellek, Adam Heyer, Albert Weinshank, Frank Gusenberg and Peter Gusenberg. Reinhardt Schwimmer and John May were also shot. The South Side Italian gang was headed by Al Capone who wanted “to take control of organized crime in Chicago.” Al Capone also planned the massacre so that he could eradicate his long time enemy, George Moran aka Bugs, who was the head of the North Side gang.
Both Moran and Capone were competing to take control of the bootlegging trade and allegedly, Malone was stepping on some of Capone’s businesses. Eventually, a plan was hatched to lure Moran to the warehouse on Valentine’s Day so that Capone and his gang could kill him and a few of his people. On the morning of Valentine’s Day, a majority of Moran’s gang arrived at the warehouse. Four gunmen who were dressed like cops, entered the building and demanded Moran’s gang “to line up against the wall.” Gun shots were fired and the seven men dropped to the ground after being sprayed with bullets.
2. The Olympian Shooter (2013)
Reeva Steenkamp was a South African model who appeared on the cover of FHM Magazine and was the first in the history of South Africa to become the face of Avon cosmetics. She was also a host for Fashion TV and appeared in various TV commercials. She was shot to death by her boyfriend Oscar Pistorius, on Valentine’s Day 2013. He was also a public figure in South Africa. Pistorius was a sprint runner with the nick name “Blade Runner” who was also the first amputee to run in the 2012 Olympics. Throughout his criminal court case, Pistorius claimed that the killing of Steenkamp was an accident and that he thought that someone broke into his home. He was initially convicted of manslaughter, but South Africa’s appeals court upgraded his conviction to murder. In reaction to the ruling, Barry Steenkamp said, “I’m satisfied with everything now. I would hope to God that all of this could have been prevented, but seeing that it has been done, let us now all get on with our lives.”
1. Valentine’s Stabbing (2016)
An argument between Lashonda Terry and her boyfriend, Courtney Jackson, escalated into physical violence that turned fatal. Law enforcement arrived at Terry’s home after receiving reports of a stabbing. When they walked in, they found Jackson “with two severe stab wounds” on the upper part of his body. The efforts to save his life failed and Jackson was pronounced dead at Phoebe Sumter Hospital. Terry was placed under arrest for murder. Her defense team indicated that she was defending herself once Jackson began choking her “in a fit of rage.”
District Attorney Plez Hardin said, “The crux of the matter is whether or not the defendant actually felt her life was in danger to afford her the opportunity to defend herself with a weapon, ultimately killing Mr. Jackson.”
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