On May 20, 1988, recently divorced Illinois woman Laurie Dann handed out poisoned snacks and drinks to the people she thought had wronged her, including children she babysat. She then entered an elementary school and opened fire, killing one boy and wounding two girls. Afterwards, she holed up at the home of the Andrew family. She held them hostage and shot the husband before killing herself.
Though it’s unusual for a woman to be sentenced to death and even more unusual for execution to be carried out on a woman, it does happen. Fifteen women who have been sentenced to death and executed in the United States, from 1955 to 2010.
On May 17, 1985, Nannie Doss pleaded guilty before her trial date which was set for June 2nd. Nannie murdered her husbands and children with rat poison.
On May 16, 1957, Eliot Ness passed away at the age of 54 from a massive heart attack. Ness was the lawman whose team of Untouchables brought down Al Capone, tackled police corruption and hunted the most notorious serial killer of his time.
On May 14, 1983, two police officers pulled over Randy Kraft for drunk driving. Once they looked in his car, they found an unconscious body with blood on the seat. Unfortunately, this was only the start of what would become the story of one of the most notorious freeway killers.
William Kemmler, having been convicted of drunkenly killing his girlfriend with an ax, was sentenced on May 13, 1889, to become the first person to die in the electric chair. After attempts to thwart the execution on the basis of it being “cruel and unusual punishment” were defeated, Kemmler was executed under what the New York Times called “revolting circumstances.”
On May 11, 1968, the three-year-old cousin of Britain’s notorious child murderer Mary Bell was found bleeding from his head behind empty sheds near a pub. Mary would later admit to having pushed him off a ledge.
A solar eclipse darkened the sky in the middle of the day on May 10, 1994, the day that serial killer John Wayne Gacy was executed by lethal injection. Before being strapped to the gurney, Gacy had a picnic with family and then met with a Catholic priest to pray.
On May 7, 1896, serial killer H.H. Holmes was hanged. Even at the noose, he changed his story stating that he only killed two people although he’d previously confessed to 27. The trapdoor under his feet opened at 10:13 a.m. and H.H. Holmes met his end.
On the afternoon of 6 May 1993, West Memphis was rocked by the news of the discovery of the mutilated bodies of three eight-year-old boys. The crimes were pinned–wrongfully–on three local teens, who were alleged to have killed the boys in a Satanic ritual. After 18 years in prison, the teens, now in their 30s, were freed.