Black Widow Killers - Women Who Killed for Money

Women Serial Killers in the U.S.

Nannie Doss
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Women who kill often share many of the same murderous qualities. Poison, which is a slow and agonizing death, is often their choice of weapon and money is generally the motivation. The name "Black Widow" seems to fit a large percentage of these women because, just like the deadly spider, many female killers strike out at those who love them.

Velma Barfield
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Velma Barfield had a bad case of taking money from those around her and when she felt like she was close to being caught, she got rid of the problem by feeding her victims arsenic. In court, she claimed she was merely trying to keep them from finding out about her stealing, just long enough to find a new job, but the jury didn't buy it.

Barfield was found guilty of poisoning to death her fiance, Stuart Taylor, in 1978. She later confessed to fatally poisoning her mother and two elderly people under her care, earning her the name, "Death Row Granny".  More »

Betty Lou Beets
Mug Shot

Named the "Black Widow of Henderson County" Beets was convicted and given the death penalty in 1985 for shooting her fifth husband, Jimmy Don Beets, and burying his body in the yard of their home in Gun Barrel City, Texas. But his wasn't the only body they found hidden by Beets.

The decomposed body of husband number four, Doyle Wayne Barker, was discovered underneath a storage shed in the yard as well. An autopsy revealed that both Beets and Barker had been shot in the head multiple times.

Betty Beets pointed the guilty finger at her son, but she failed to convince the jury who later convicted her of murder. More »

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Nannie Doss
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When Oklahoma investigators began questioning Nannie Doss about the massive amounts of poison found in the remains of her fifth husband, little did they know that he was just the tip of the proverbial iceberg.

By the time the interviews were over, Doss, later known as "The Giggling Granny" and "The Jolly Black Widow" had confessed to killing 11 more family members including her mother, sisters, and a grandson. More »

Janie Lou Gibbs
Mug Shot

Janie Gibbs was a very giving woman with the insurance money she made after she killed her husband with the rat poison she put in his food. She also thrived on the wonderful outpouring of sympathy and support she received from her church. In fact, she enjoyed the money and the attention she received so much that she decided to kill off the rest of her family. More »

Amy Gilligan
Mug Shot

Amy "Sister" Archer-Gilligan owned a private nursing home in Windsor, Connecticut where she served her aging guests nurturing tonics and nutritional meals. In return, they signed over to her their life insurance policies and large sums of money right before they died, or so she wanted the police to believe after she became suspected of foul play.

It took the jury just four hours to find Gilligan guilty of murdering her husband,  the murder of Franklin R. Andrews, although she was suspected of murdering up to 48 patients in the nursing home. More »

Belle Gunness with her children Lucy Sorensen, Myrtle Sorensen and Philip Gunness in 1904.
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Belle Gunness was a stout 280-pound woman that had little problem attracting men she met through personal ads. Many of the men showed up to her small farm in La Porte, Indiana, but then vanished, never to be seen again. But this ruthless killer didn't just kill men. She also killed vagrant women and her adopted children. No one was safe in Belle Gunness' home. More »

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Blanche Moore

Blanche Moore
Mug Shot

Blanche Moore currently sits on death row in North Carolina for using arsenic to murder her boyfriend, Raymond Reid in 1986. But he wasn't all who Moore is suspected of poisoning. It seems her father, mother-in-law, two husbands and a boyfriend also died similar deaths. Why did she do it? Prosecutors say for financial gain. Others believe she had deeper reasons.

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Betty Neumar

Betty Neumar
Mug Shot

Wherever Betty Neumar went, death seemed to follow, especially if you were one of her five husbands. But even after her arrest for killing her last husband she managed to avoid going to trial, forever. Or did she?

Olga Rutterschmidt (L) and Helen Golay (R)
Olga Rutterschmidt (L) and Helen Golay (R). Getty Images / Pool

Helen Golay and Olga Rutterschmidt, both in their 70s, decided a good way to increase their income and retire in style was to murder down and out men by befriending them, offering them food and shelter, then murdering them for insurance money, to the tune of  $2.3 million before they were stopped. The deadly duo finally got caught because of greed and an alert detective.  More »