Women who Kill

women who kill
jennifer twist (5/6)
cynthia phillips (6/6)

Concluding on Five tonight is the documentary series that delves into the case files of female murderers. This evening’s double bill focuses on the story of Jennifer Twist, convicted of killing an older man; and lethal seductress Cynthia Phillips, who murdered a string of lovers and husbands.

The first part of tonight’s taste of crime begins in the small town of Ocala, Florida, where 15-yearold Jennifer Twist eked out a living in seedy motels. Jennifer was there to take advantage of the older rich men amongst the town’s large retirement community. But her life was to take a turn into infamy when she was picked up by a former navy seaman, Bud Weese.

Weese’s assignation with Jennifer resulted in him being hit over the head with a hammer six times. Jennifer was arrested and accused of murdering Weese for his money. Sent to jail for the crime, Jennifer still protests her innocence.

Tonight’s second instalment recounts the violent and greedy exploits of Cynthia Phillips. The crimes of this attractive, flirtatious woman only came to light after the bullet-ridden body of her boyfriend Tony was discovered on a back road in Corsicana, Texas. Police became suspicious when Cynthia tried to claim a $100,000 insurance policy on Tony’s life within three days of his murder.

The bleached blonde had finally made a serious mistake – one that eventually led to a 24-year prison sentence for homicide in Colorado. Police uncovered a long and sordid history of murdered husbands and boyfriends, burned houses, deals with hitmen, and a fortune amassed in insurance policy money.

Detectives discovered a pattern of mayhem in Cynthia’s wake: first husband Les Konrade was found dead in a Kansas creek; another boyfriend’s house burned down; her second husband had a contract out for his death; and, finally, her boyfriend Tony’s death in Texas. Before long, there were revelations of a shadowy new boyfriend, Bob, who may have done Cynthia’s dirty work for her – that is, if she herself was not the killer.

women who kill
missy vanover (3/6)
karen newell (4/6)

Continuing on Five tonight is the documentary series that delves into the case files of female murderers. This evening’s double bill focuses on a stripper who shot her wealthy boyfriend, and a seductive housewife who manipulated her teenage lover into killing her husband.

The first part of tonight’s intriguing two-header recounts the story of Melissa ‘Missy’ Vanover, a 26-year-old stripper who shot her boyfriend in bed and then called upon her lover and his family to make the killing look like a burglary.

Missy Vanover’s slide into murderous notoriety began when 48-year-old Michael Nieman saw her dancing on stage at a sleazy Kentucky nightclub. The besotted Nieman wooed Missy with money and jewellery until the pair became an item – but Missy soon realised that there was more to Nieman than first appeared. Despite claiming to have an income of only $8,000, Nieman was never short of money, cars or guns. He was, in reality, a highly successful drug dealer – a fact that Missy was happy to ignore while he continued to pander to her every whim.

However, the fatal rupture in their relationship came when Missy learnt that Nieman was building a mammoth mansion for himself – and she was not invited to share it. Soon after, Nieman was shot dead while asleep during what appeared to be a botched robbery. Yet detective work by the police eventually revealed the truth of Nieman’s death: Missy had crawled into bed with her boyfriend and shot him three times, as the dying man cried out, “I thought you loved me!”

In the aftermath of her vengeful crime, Missy enlisted her 18-year-old toy-boy lover, Kevin, and his family to ransack Nieman’s home and make the slaying look like a robbery gone wrong. The conspirators made off with over $1 million in cash and jewellery – only for Kevin’s family to break down and confess to the police. Missy Vanover was rewarded with a 28-year sentence in an Ohio jail for her dreadful deed.

Tonight’s second instalment looks at the bloody exploits of Karen Newell, who used her feminine wiles to convince her teenage lover to murder her husband. The story began with a frantic 911 call from Karen Newell telling police that her husband, Jon, had just been shot dead by strangers on a lonely Florida highway. But when police investigated the incident, they soon discovered that elements of Karen’s story did not add up. Further digging also revealed some intriguing facts about the widow, including the revelation that she stood to collect $500,000 from insurance policies that she had taken out on Jon’s life.

The case took a further twist when police learned that Karen and Jon had a rather unusual housemate in the form of 18-year-old PJ Giffen, with whom Karen appeared to have an especially close relationship. It seemed to be common knowledge that Karen and PJ were having an affair, and that Karen’s feelings for her husband were non-existent. Then a flood of stories began to pour in about Karen’s alleged rampant sexual appetite, and the picture formed of a woman who would use sex to get anything she wanted.

The case against Karen Newell was sealed when two ex-lovers came forward to report that she had tried to persuade them to kill Jon for money. PJ eventually broke down under questioning and told police than Karen had convinced him to murder Jon for the insurance payout. The black widow was sent to prison on a sentence of 25 to life, where, to this day, she still receives offers of marriage from men on the outside, in thrall to this lethal seductress.

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