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Famous Murders; Notorious American Crimes

Updated on October 6, 2015

Reeva Steenkamp & Oscar Pistorius

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The Blade Runner

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Steenkamp's Modeling Career Cut Short

Oscar Pistorius; Blade Runner Meets Tragedy

In Pretoria South Africa a woman screamed and then there was dead silence, according to prosecutors in the case against Oscar Pistorius. Another witness heard gunshots and more screaming coming from the home of paralympic champion who says he shot his girlfriend by accident on Valentine's Day.

Oscar Pistorius was a double amputee Olympic sprinter who came into the world without functional legs and at the age of just 1 year, had to have his legs amputated. Although his tenderest years were difficult Oscar did not allow himself to be handicapped and was determined to become the fastest human alive. Pistorius became world famous when he became the first amputee to participate in the Olympics men's 400 meter relay race.

Pistorius was 26 years old and on top of the world in February of 2013. He was a gold medal winner who dated a beautiful model, Reeva Steenkamp, and was known and admired internationally as "the blade runner."

Then everything changed drastically on Feb. 14th 2013, Valentine's day. Reeva was shot to death in the home of Oscar Pistorius.

The story was that Oscar had heard something in the middle of the night while lying in bed without his prosthetic legs. He grabbed his gun and shot at what he thought was an intruder, but was in fact his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp.

The story had a suspicious sound from the start and as more details unfolded, more and more questions were being asked. For one, Reeva was in Oscar's bathroom when she was attacked and she had the door locked. Why would she lock the bathroom door in the middle of the knight? Another was, Why did Oscar shoot at her immediately without looking next to him and seeing that she was not in bed before jumping to the conclusion that the sound he heard in the locked bathroom was an intruder?

The story that Pistorius told sounded ridiculous to many, but one must keep in mind that this event took place in South Africa, which has one of the highest crime rates in the world, and Oscar does not have any legs, which would make him feel very vulnerable. Friends had also noted that Oscar had previously expressed his great fear of being the victim of a violent crime.

Nike and Reebok immediately suspended all ads that featured Pistorius, and the general public believed he to be guilty of murder as more evidence surfaced of Pistorius and Steenkamp having frequent arguments and that they had been heard in a highly emotional and heated argument hours before Reeva's death. There is also evidence that Reeva was seeing another man, which in the minds of many strongly suggests that Oscar's killed Reeva in a jealous rage.

Much more speculation has come out since the tragedy stating that Oscar was using steroids which would likely make him much more violent towards the news that Reeva was seeing another man.

Oscar still denies murdering Reeva and states that her death was a tragic accident.


Jodi Arias Kills Her Ex Boyfriend

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Jodi Arias Murders Travis Alexander

In 2006 Jodi Arias was going nowhere fast and was completely fed up with her life. After spending years with her most recent boyfriend she still did not have a ring on her finger, and her dreams of a happy family life were dwindling away, as she had now a string of at least three long term relationships that had flopped, with her boyfriend either cheating on her with another woman, or simply deciding that he would rather be alone that tied to a woman and children. After a recent confrontation her live in love, in which he had told her that he would be happy to continue having her live with him but that he had no desire to marry and start a family, Jodi was feeling used and desperate. With her life and her emotions tied in knots Jodi went to Las Vegas for a seminar on Pre Paid Legal Services. She hoped to find some independence and make a little extra money, what she found would change her life forever.

Jodi was focused on turning her life around, and was well geared up to find a miracle man who would make all her dreams come true when she attended the Pre Paid Legal seminar. After seating herself Jodi was soon impressed with Travis Alexander as he spoke to the crowd and motivated them to throw away their insecurities to create a brighter future. What Jodi did not realize when she watched Travis speak was that he was a man of high ideals and therefore flirtations would not be enough to win him over in the long run. She had been around modern liberal minded men all her life and was constantly hurt by their mistreatment of her and lack of marriage and family interests. Travis was different and Jodi saw him as a breath of fresh air.

Jodi Arias was a bleach blond with breast implants who could easily turn a few heads and Travis was attracted to her immediately, but what was to follow was the all too familiar scenario of a man losing interest once he has scored. Jodi knew of no other way in which to be. She had been having casual sex with men for years and she easily turned it on hot and heavy with Travis as well, but almost as soon as they had physical interactions Travis began backing off. As quickly as Travis backed away, Jodi would go hot on the pursuit. Travis wanted a girl he could connect to spiritually and emotionally and he just could not do that with Jodi. Knowing that he was pulling away Jodi would lure him back in with sex.

Travis Alexander was a major hurdle to conquer as far as Jodi was concerned. He was a Mormon man with principles and a desire to make a family with the right woman. Jodi had no idea how to become the right woman but she would spend the next two years trying desperately to be what Travis wanted.

Jodi slowly learned that Travis respected a woman of high morals and a sense of direction, then realizing that her over the top sexuality and pursuit of him were probably what was keeping Travis from seeing her as his dream girl, Jodi announced that she wished to become a Mormon. Arias would find that it takes more than merely going through the motions of appearing to be serious and respectable to create a serious and lasting bond, one needed to actively live life in an honorable way each day to draw in a man like Travis Alexander.

Jodi's attempts at winning Travis failed and when she realized that Travis was staying away from her, she would again appeal to the lowest common denominator....SEX! Jodi knew that if she came on to Travis he would at least spend time with her but after the sex Travis would go about his business and avoid her once again.

Angry for allowing herself to be used yet again and upset with Travis for not falling in love with her Jodi became more and more jealous of girls Travis was spending time with. Indeed, Travis was dating other women in hopes of finding a suitable lady to marry and Jodi was his closet slut who made herself available for him until he no longer needed her. That was the reality of the situation that Jodi was now coming to grips with. Travis would use her casually and then turn another girl into his bride/ forever princess and be done with her once and for all. The idea of he leaving her after all the efforts she had made was unbearable.

Travis had begun planning a trip to Cancun and was taking a girl he had a major crush on along with him. Jodi was enraged to the point that she decided he would never go to Cancun with another girl and would never get married and live happily ever after.

No one knows for sure what the exact details where in Jodi's plan, but we do know that Jodi rented a car and drove to Travis's home. She had been a blond the entire time that she knew Travis and now she was suddenly a brunette. What must Travis have said when he saw this change in appearance? One speculation as to why Jodi changed her look was that she was still trying to win Travis and that she went to his home with the intent to kill him if he did not get back together with her. She wanted to look more sophisticated and perhaps less sleazy, the way other women he was attracted to looked, and if Travis did not change his mind about her, he was done for...

Travis was murdered by Jodi on June 4, 2008.

Jodi had kinky sex with Travis again and took many kinky photos of the act. Travis then stepped into the shower and Jodi went after him with a gun and shot him in the head then slit his throat from ear to ear. She also stabbed him in the back numerous times, all the while continuing to photograph Travis.

All of Travis's friends pointed to Jodi as the suspect after the body was found. When the police questioned Jodi she lied cool and calm way about what had happened. She first said that she was nowhere near Travis's home at the time, but after the kinky sex and murder photos were discovered by police, she said two masked intruders entered the home and killed Travis and she was afraid to say anything. Finally, after two years of badgering, she broke down and admitted that she was the killer but had insisted that she had been abused by Travis for the two years that she had known him.

Travis Alexander's friends and family were outraged at Jodi's attack on Travis physically and then the tromping on his character after his death. Jodi was convicted of first degree murder.

Jodi & Travis the Night They Met

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Elizabeth Short's Notorious Murder

Elizabeth Short Forever Becomes The Black Dahlia

The severed and grotesquely displayed body of Elizabeth Short was discovered on January 5, 1947 in a vacant lot in Los Angeles. Soon the papers were looking for "The Black Dahlia" killer.

In the 1940s violent crimes were nowhere near common place as they are today. America was a much more conservative and family oriented country in which torture and maiming a fellow citizen was almost unheard of. This is essentially why the case of The Black Dahlia gained so much attention and continues to draw interest. Had the same crime been committed today it would not have the same aura of intrigue. Either way, the Black Dahlia is the most famous murder victim of the 20th century.

Elizabeth Short was given the nickname of "The Black Dahlia" because of her intensely black hair, contrasted by beautiful white skin, and the fact that she often wore black. She was a naturally striking beauty who wished to escape her humdrum existence by breaking into movies and living the glamorous life as Lana Turner had.

Elizabeth Short was born in 1924 and lived in Medford and for a time, on the east coast, in what was considered to be a broken home. Her father had deserted the family when Elizabeth was very young. She was the third of five daughters, and some time after the stock market crash her father drove his car to a bridge and disappeared. It was long believed that he committed suicide, but years later Elizabeth discovered that he had moved to California. This was her golden opportunity to get close to Hollywood. She traveled to Santa Barbara to visit her father and break into movies at the same time. Short quickly found work modeling, but eventually found herself drifting, and dating numerous men. Short was only 22 when she was found cut in half and drained of all blood.

Elizabeth was arrested for drinking under age while living with her father in Santa Barbara and the two became estranged to the point that Short left her father's home and worked her way down south to be closer to Hollywood where she roomed with other girls and dated often.

Her killer was never found due to the fact that Elizabeth interacted with so many different people, and it became difficult to know just how many people she had come in contact with each day. But, it has been speculated that her killer was either in the medical field or may have been a professional hunter due to his ability to sever a body with such precision.

Short's body was not only cut in half and displayed in two separate pieces a few feet from each other, but, her mouth had been cut a few inches on each side of her mouth, giving a gruesome prop-like smile on her face. She was cut in many places on her body and her hair had been dyed bright red. This was probably an attempt to disguise the identity of "The Black Dahlia" and buy time to escape.

Elizabeth Short Mug Shots

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His Lawyer, Robert Chambers & His Father

Robert Chambers on His Way to Court

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Jennifer Levin

The Preppie Murder

Robert Chambers was a tall, dark, and strikingly handsome nineteen year old and Jennifer Levin was a starry eyed girl who fell under his spell. She had graduated from high school and was celebrating her last months before heading out for college, but Robert Chambers was embedded in her mind as a fine catch to possibly lead to a lifelong relationship. Unfortunately, Chambers was too handsome for his own good and was dating several girls, with Jennifer being just another girl in a lineup of many.

Jennifer Levin had been seduced by Chambers and was now being cast off. Realizing that she was losing ground, Levin was desperate to get Chambers back into her life and into a real relationship. By chance, or perhaps not, she was in Dorian's Red Hand on August 25, 1986 with some friends when she spotted Robert Chambers sitting at the bar in a foul mood. He had just had a fight with his steady girlfriend. Levin saw an opportunity to sooth Chambers and gain his affection by talking to him sweetly. When he seemed uninterested she decided to appeal to his basic instincts and said, " I just wanted you to know that the sex we had was the best I have ever had." Eventually Chambers and Levin were walking out together.

After that we will never be sure of exactly what happened. The only thing we are sure of is that Jennifer Levin was found dead in the early hours of August 26, 1986 in Central Park. Her top was pulled up exposing her breasts and her mini skirt was hiked up to her waist. She had been strangled with her blouse and left under a tree. Chambers was sitting on a wall with nasty scratches on his face while police came to the scene. He then went home.

It was not long before police were interviewing Chambers and asked him how he got the scratches on his face to which he replied that his cat had done it, however, it was not long before the police had Chambers confessing that he had accidentally killed Levin during "rough sex."

Chambers was sentenced to 15 years for man slaughter.

Sid Vicious and Nancy Spungen

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Nancy & Sid Posing

Shortly Before Nancy's Death

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Michele Robinson, Sid's Girlfriend

The Deaths of Sid Vicious and Nancy

Nancy Spungen was born in 1958 in Philadelphia. She has been described as emotionally disturbed family members, and was diagnosed with schizophrenia at the age of 15. She attempted a normal life by attending college and was eventually expelled. Emotionally lost she went to London in the mid 70s during the punk rock boom and was soon involved with Sid Vicious, the bass player of the sex pistols. Their relationship was not a smooth one. They fought regularly, indulged in drugs and were regularly in heated arguments.

Sid had been disturbed to begin with, but the punk rock scene did nothing to help him, it actually made thing worse due to all that is wrong being considered to be cool. Punk Rock, much as the Hippie movement that took place one generation earlier, was a perfect place for misfits to turn their problems, and weaknesses into dollars. If you are a straight A student, then the punk rockers think that you are a loser, and so on.

Sid was a recreational drug user, and Nancy could not fit into society with her foul mouth, tacky appearance, and inability to follow directions, so the Sex Pistols turned Nancy into their new manager.The deal sounded like a good one until reality sunk in and the rest of the group discovered that their previous manager, Malcolm McLaren, who the pistols thought to be a boring, money making, stuffed shirt, was actually able to keep them working and surviving, while all Nancy could do was scream and create fights. The rest of the group were done with Nancy, and Sid may have been done with her too, but his brain was weak from drug use and he just did not have the strength to do anything.

In October of 1978, the couple were slipping deeper into drug abuse together and due to Nancy's anger at being pushed aside by the rest of the group, she concocted a suicide pact with Sid. It is believed that when they were due to follow through with their plan Sid backed out of the deal and tried to leave and held is knife out as protection while going out the door. Nancy became angry and charged him while he had his knife out killing her instantly.

The way Sid described it was that he awoke from a drug induced sleep on the 12th of October to find Nancy dead in the bathroom. It was clear that Sid had a drug problem, but he was now facing a murder charge.

Sid attempted suicide ten days after Nancy's body was discovered by slashing his wrist. He was then placed in a sanitarium where he was cleansed of his drug addiction by methadone. After Sid made bail with the help of friends, fans, and family, he went to his mother's house where his mother had gotten him a supply of Heroin. Sid died of a drug overdose on February 1, 1979.

There have been movies and books written about Sid and Nancy and many portray Sid as being in love with Nancy. When considering that he somehow had a new girlfriend from the time he was arrested for the death of Nancy to the time he died, which is approximately 4 months, Sid managed to already have a new girlfriend lined up even with the impending legal troubles he was facing. But, then again, Sid's new Girlfriend, Michele Robinson, looked just like Nancy.

Max Linder

Dapper Max Linder

Silent Movie Murder Suicide

The ever dapper Frenchman, Max Linder, with his spats, top hat, walking stick and impeccable suits, shocked America when he committed suicide after murdering his wife.

Born in 1883, Max was as popular as Charlie Chaplin in the early 1900s as a comic master. He made many comedies for Pathe and was a well respected actor and entertainer. Max also began suffering from bouts of depression due to his obsession with his career.

When WWI broke out Max worked as a dispatcher and a road entertainer. It is believed that this was his first experience with chronic depression and suicidal thoughts. He was out of his element and wondering what would become of his career.

When Max returned he looked for solid work in Hollywood and had only moderate successes. He married eighteen year old Helene "Jean" Peters in 1923 and their daughter Maud "Josette" Max Linder was born on July 27, 1924. The couple tried to overdose on sleeping pills and were revived. Then in late 1925 the couple went to a play in which the lead characters commit suicide by bleeding to death and decided to do the same.

They drank Veronal and shot Morphine first and then Max cut his wife's wrists and then his.

Their daughter was raised by family members and the incident was never revealed to her. It was by chance that she discovered the true identity of her father in the 1960s. She became so intrigued that she made a movie documentary about him in the 1980s called The Man in the Silk Hat, and then she published his biography in 1992.

Max Linder on His Wedding Day

Charlie Chaplin & Max Linder

Dr. John Hill in Court

The Murder of Dr. John Hill

In the late 1950s John Hill was a poor country boy with dreams of great wealth. He was intelligent, disciplined and ready to climb the social ladder no matter what. In the 1950s becoming a doctor was a sure fire way for a poor but determined boy to achieve great wealth. It was before any hint of government healthcare, HMO's and all the stymying regulations that turned the healthcare system into just another gut throat business. John knew that all he had to do was be honest, professional, and do the right thing by his patients and he would be rewarded with riches. There was no doubt about it, John Hill would become a medical doctor.

He managed to get invited into a grand mansion and meet the idle class some time in the late 50s, and there he saw Joan Robinson, the blond bombshell and society celebrity, and daughter of the Texas oil millionaire, Ash Robinson.

Although in her mid 20s Joan had been married twice before. She was charismatic and attractive, but she longed to get married and have children. She fell for John instantly and it was not long before they were engaged and planning to live with Joan's parents until John graduated medical school.

The couple married and lived in the grand home of Ash Robinson. John did not have to worry about finances the way his fellow medical students did. His father-in-law took care of him in every way, and the young couple even had a baby boy, Robert "Boot" Hill. Their real problems did not start until John gained independence and became resentful of Ash and his great wealth. He began to nit pick his wife in every way and then began seeing another woman.

As John was moving away from his wife, Joan became ill with a mysterious illness. Her husband began to care for her and then rushed her to a hospital where she died at the age of 36. Ash Robinson publicly accused his son-in-law of murdering his daughter and would not rest until there was justice.

John married Ann Kurth, the woman he had been having an affair with, a few months after Joan's death which infuriated her family and friends. Their marriage was short lived due to the hostile nature of Kurth and legal battles over the death of Joan.

John's life was one legal battle after another, yet someone John found the time to fall in love and marry for the third time. Then in 1971 intruders come to his home, tied and gagged John's son and mother and killed him.

To this day there are those who believe that Ash Robinson got his revenge on his philandering son-in-law.

Joan Robinson Hill & Ash Robinson

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