People Who Killed Out Of Jealousy
Whether it's because of a friend, an ex, or a family member, we've all felt the familiar sting of jealousy. "Thou shalt not covet" might be a good rule and all, but jealousy is a human emotion that's often hard to turn on and off. The following people held so little control over their feelings of jealousy that they ended up killing because of them. In many cases, the jealousy started out small and grew bigger and bigger to eventually take over their every thought and action. These criminals remind us that allowing jealousy to consume you can end in horrific tragedy.
- Photo: Indianapolis Police Department / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain
In a highly disturbing murder case, now infamous Gertrude Baniszewski viciously tortured and murdered 16-year-old Sylvia Liken in 1965. Liken and her younger sister were placed under Baniszewski's care for several months by their parents who worked for a traveling carnival.
During this time, Baniszewski developed an inexplicable dislike for Sylvia, repeatedly accusing her of having loose morals and of sex work. Gertrude punished Sylvia with extreme physical and emotional abuse, encouraging her own teenaged children as well as other neighborhood children to participate and to watch. Sylvia was beaten, burned with cigarettes and matches, cut, starved, and sexually abused. Once it became clear that Sylvia was near death, Gertrude devised a plan to claim that a neighborhood gang had beaten Sylvia to death. With the help of a neighbor boy, Gertrude carved into the skin of Sylvia's stomach "I am a prostitute and proud of it." However, police recognized evidence of Sylvia's long-term abuse and promptly arrested Gertrude. Sylvia's cause of death was determined to be brain swelling, internal hemorrhaging of the brain, and shock induced by extreme skin damage. She also suffered from extreme malnutrition.
Many have theorized about Baniszewski's motive for brutalizing Liken. Attorney Forrest Bowman, Jr., the defense attorney who represented two boys involved in the crime said of Gertrude, "She had a miserable life. What I think this was about was jealousy." In 2014 Bowman published the book Sylvia: The Likens Trial. Gertrude Baniszewski was let out on parole after just twenty years in prison and died in 1990.
Els Clottermans And A Very Strange Love Triangle
In a bizarre love triangle gone wrong, Belgian woman Els Clottermans murdered her skydiving partner and love rival, Els Van Doren. Clottermans and Van Doren both met and fell in love with the young and handsome Dutchman Marcel Somers at their parachute club in Zwartberg. Though the 38-year-old Van Doren was married, both she and Clottermans began sleeping with 25-year-old Somers according to a strict schedule: Clottermans had Fridays, Van Doren had Saturdays.
About a week before the murder in 2006, Clottermans spent the night on Somers's couch, where she overheard Van Doren and Somers in his bedroom. Spying Van Doren's parachute within reach, she tampered with the release strings. When the trio all went on a sky-diving trip together the following week, Van Doren plummeted to her death. Sentenced to thirty years in prison, Clottermans is eligible for parole after 10 years.
Sarah Williams And Kitt Walsh Plotted For Over A Year
When 60-year-old businesswoman Sadie Hartley got back together with her old boyfriend Ian Johnston, she had no idea the jealous rivalry she ignited. Sarah Williams, 35, had slept with Johnston while he was single and seemingly became obsessed. The pair continued to communicate through occasional sexting once he was back together with Hartley.
But Williams saw one roadblock, and that roadblock was Hartley. So she enlisted her longtime friend, Katrina Walsh, to plan the perfect murder. The two women spent more than a year plotting ways to kill Hartley, which Walsh documented meticulously in her diary. In January 2016, after enacting a "dry run" of the crime with a fake flower delivery, Williams entered Hartley's home, used a cattle prod to stun her, and stabbed her 41 times to death.
Despite all of their planning, the two were apprehended not long afterward, and both were found guilty of murder and given life sentences.
Melanie Smith Burned Her Neighbors To Death Because They Were Happy
In 2013, Melanie Smith was convicted of five counts of murder and branded by her own adult children as "the most evil woman in Britain" after she set fire to her flat building, killing the upstairs residents. Smith had grown jealous and resentful of her upstairs neighbor Lee Anna Shiers and her happy relationship with partner Liam Timbrell, particularly because of Smith's tempestuous relationship with her own boyfriend who she often suspected of cheating.
After hearing Shiers and Timbrell having sex one night, Smith became increasingly angry and lit the pram Shiers often left in the hallway on fire. The ensuing blaze killed not only Shiers and Timbrell, but her young son, nephew, and niece, who were all staying with her that night. Smith was sentenced to 30 years.
Christine Paolilla Helped Murder Her New Best Friends
Christine Paolilla had a rough childhood. Her father passed away when she was just two-years-old, causing her mother to struggle with drug addiction and to send Christine off to live with her grandparents. To top it all off, Christine suffered from alopecia, a hair-loss condition, leaving her to go through school bullied for wearing a wig.
However, in Paolilla's junior year at Houston's Clear Lake High School, she befriended two popular girls, Rachael Koloroutis and Tiffany Rowell. Elevated by her newfound friendships, Paolilla was even voted "Most Irresistible" by the student body. Despite their kindness, Koloroutis and Rowell were shot at point-blank range and killed in 2003, along with a cousin and boyfriend. It took three years to connect the murders to then 17-year-old Paolilla and her boyfriend Chris Snider, thanks to a tip.
Though Paolilla has since blamed her actions on Snider, who committed suicide, investigators believe she was severely jealous of the beautiful and popular young women who were supposed to be her best friends. While nothing ever came easy for Paolilla, her friends seemed to naturally possess the qualities she wanted most. She was sentenced to 40 years in prison in 2012.
Daniel Willyam Was Obsessed With His Roommate
In the summer of 2009, 20-year-old Samantha "Shelley" Nance seemed to have everything going for her. She'd left her small hometown of Italy, TX, to attend the Art Institute of Dallas and she was dating her first boyfriend, Nathan Shuck. Despite the brevity and innocence of their relationship (the couple had held hands once), it was enough to send Shuck's roommate, Daniel Willyam, into a jealous spiral. Willyam, a former Navy pastry chef who was eight years older than Shuck, was obsessed with his roommate and became envious of the new woman in his life.
So envious, in fact, he went to Nance's apartment when he knew she'd be home alone and stabbed her 42 times in her bed. Willyam was sentenced to life in prison with eligibility for parole after serving 30 years.