10 Bizarre and Brutal Criminals Cases

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All crimes are serious, but the oddness of some of them can mask that truth. After learning about the following bizarre cases, it should be easy to see why.

10. Man Plots His Own Shooting to Get Ex Back

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Boy meets girl. Boy loses girl. Boy hires someone to shoot him so he can get girl back. That’s pretty much the plot for this 2011 Wisconsin case. A heartbroken Jordan Cardella tried to win his ex back by getting himself shot, thinking that seeing him laid up in a hospital bed would make her run back into his arms.

After talking over plans with friend Anthony Woodall, the two young men enlisted another friend, Michael Wezyk, to do the deed. Cardella was a convicted felon and couldn’t legally handle firearms, while Wezyk owned a rifle. The three men staked out a spot in South Milwaukee and debated how the deed should be done. Cardella thought three shots in the back would do the trick. Being the wiser of the bunch, a relative title here, Wezyk settled on one shot to the arm and called it a day. Cardella was whisked to the local hospital expecting his girlfriend to visit him and pour on the love. The girlfriend didn’t, but the cops did. His story about a “gunfight” fell apart quickly and Wezyk soon found himself in front of a criminal court.

During the hearing, where Wezyk pleaded guilty, Milwaukee County Assistant District Attorney Christopher Rawsthorne spoke for everyone when he stated that “this has to be the most phenomenally stupid case that I have seen.” Wezyk got 100 hours of probation which, all things considered, was a far better outcome than Cardella’s, who goes down as the mastermind of one of the most phenomenally stupidest stunts ever.

9. Boy Plots Own Murder

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In another case where the victim was actually the perpetrator, a 14 year old boy from Britain tricked another teen in an online chat forum into attempting to murder him. The plot began when “John” befriended “Mark” through different online identities, such as a British secret service member named “Janet.” Janet promised Mark sex (which included persuading him to perform sex acts on a webcam), an introduction to the prime minister, a gun, up to £500,000 in cash and a career in British intelligence. In return Mark had to kill “John.”

Unaware that he was being asked to murder the very person who made the request, Mark’s last exchange occurred on June 28, 2004: “U want me 2 take him 2 trafford centre and kill him in the middle of trafford centre??” To which John/Janet replied: “Yes.”

The boys agreed to meet and Mark stabbed John repeatedly. Seriously wounded in his kidney, liver and gall bladder, John was taken to the nearby hospital in critical condition. Luckily, the boy survived, but his and Mark’s story of an assault and robbery fell apart when detectives examined CCTV footage showing Mark and John entering an alleyway where they were alone for 25 minutes. Detectives also discovered the chat room logs where the boys met and learned the full extent of their deception.

Both boys were remanded into custody and tried as juveniles. John was given a three year supervision order and was banned from Internet usage without an accompanying adult, while Mark was given a two year supervision order. John’s exact motive remains unclear, but it’s one of the most bizarre and tragic suicide attempts on record.

8. Deadly Aesthetician

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Dawn DaLuise was a “skin-care guru” in Hollywood who boasted celebrity clients like Jennifer Aniston and Nicki Minaj. But DaLuise got into a bizarre feud with one Gabriel Suarez after he moved his own beauty salon business into the same building. Already convinced that Suarez was ruining her business, DaLuise went into paranoid mode when Craigslist ads seeking a man to fulfill her rape fantasies began appearing in her name. Certain that Suarez was the culprit, DaLuise hired former Detroit Lions quarterback Chris Geile to murder her competitor.

Now here’s where it gets weird. It turned out that DaLuise’s cyberstalker was in fact her best friend, Edward Feinstein. In an example of “with friends like this, who needs enemies,” Feinstein posted the lewd ads to create a scenario where he could swoop in and rescue her. Meanwhile, Geile denied DaLuise’s claims, stating he only met her once. DaLuise pled not guilty at her arraignment and Feinstein was arrested on a separate charge for cyberstalking. All of which just goes to show that the saying you should keep your friends close but your enemies closer is just plain wrong.

7. Elderly Serial Killers

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In October of 1989, Ray and Faye Copeland were arrested after a grifter named Jack McCormick alerted the local police in Mooresville, Missouri that they had tried to kill him. McCormick’s revelations unraveled one of the most shocking serial killer cases in American history. The Copelands were AARP members when they started their killing spree, making them the oldest serial killers on record.

Local authorities had long known about Ray Copeland’s criminal activities in fraud and horse theft, which he began in the 1940s. After purchasing a four acre farm in Mooresville, Copeland turned to grifters to take care of his scams by having them buy cattle at auctions with bad checks. This seemed like a foolproof plan to avoid detection until the police caught one of the men he worked with and got him to confess. Ray did nearly two years in prison for fraud. When he got out he returned to his life of crime, but this time he had an even more foolproof plan to keep from getting caught: he started killing off the grifters.

The authorities got a warrant to search his premises and discovered the grisly evidence: the bodies of three men in Copeland’s barn. More victims were uncovered in a nearby well and beneath another barn. All of them were shot in the head with a .22 caliber bolt-action rifle, the same weapon that was uncovered in Copeland’s home.

Faye Copeland, who married Ray in the ’40s, was implicated as well when investigators found a ledger in her handwriting with the names of each victim marked off with an X. She’d also made a quilt out of their clothes, and we’re surprised that premise hasn’t been used in a horror movie. Though both Faye and later her children claimed that she was a victim of spousal abuse, she was convicted along with her husband for first degree murder, and sentenced to life in prison. Both she and Ray died of natural causes behind bars.

6. The Gibbons Twins

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Though Jennifer and June Gibbons were brought up in England in a close-knit family, the twin sisters took close-knit to the extreme. Isolating themselves from their parents and other siblings, the girls locked themselves in their room, developed their own form of communication and documented their thoughts in journals.

The girls were dangerously inseparable, and couldn’t do anything without the other. Even their movements became synchronized. Though close, they also hated each other. June wrote in her journal, “I have fresh marks on my face to prove how distressing life is becoming with my twin sister. Have I the strength to kill her?”

After the two wrote novels and explored their sexuality with the local boys, they turned to pretty crime by breaking into a school and stealing magazines, then torching a tractor shed. They were arrested for arson, diagnosed with severe personality disorders and sentenced to Broadmoor, a psychiatric hospital. There the girls became even more interdependent and often took it out on each other through violence. Many rightly feared the girls would murder each other.

Both sisters realized they could no more live with each other than they could without each other, and soon made a pact: one of them had to die in order for the other to be free. Upon their release from Broadmoor 11 years later, Jennifer slumped over beside her sister on the bus and died. The cause of her death was from an inflammation of the heart, although doctors couldn’t pinpoint the initial cause — it was as if she had willed herself to die for her sister.

5. A Satanic Cult Murder Mystery

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In 1972, the decomposing corpse of a missing teenage girl was discovered in the small town of Springfield, New Jersey when a dog brought home a human forearm. That gruesome discovery set in motion a series of rumors and mysteries that involved a conspiracy of Satanists and witches.

Jeanette DePalma had been missing for six weeks when she was finally identified. Her body was allegedly set up in a ritualistic manner, with sticks formed into crosses that were arranged around the body to resemble the shape of a coffin. A rock altar was also supposedly created nearby.

Much of what is known about the case, however, involve the rumors of witchcraft and Satanism that still swirl to this day. Pushing these rumors was Reverend Tate, who stated in an interview that the teenager, known to be a devout Christian, was the victim of a ritualistic sacrifice by Satanists. The local police department, for whatever reason, chose not to contradict the rumors, and so they strengthened over the years. Some of the rumors even suggest that a witches’ coven or Satanist cult had taken over the town. Many residents are too scared out of their wits to even discuss the case, which remains open to this day.

4. The Murder of Lobster Boy

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Grady Stiles, Jr. was a huge draw on the sideshow circuit. Known as Lobster Boy, he had a condition called ectrodactyly, a congenital deformity that causes the hands and feet to resemble claws and tails.

During his lifetime, Stiles, Jr. racked up a lot of bad karma. The raging alcoholic was known to beat his two wives and their children. In 1978, Stiles, Jr. shot and killed his daughter’s fiancé the night before their wedding because he disapproved of him and got a sympathy plea with a 15 year probation due to his condition, despite a confession and lack of remorse. After divorcing his second wife, Stiles remarried his first wife, Mary Therese, who left him years earlier after he ripped an intrauterine device out of her. But Mary Therese regretted her decision when Stiles picked up where he left off and continued to beat her, their children and her children from a previous marriage. This time, she decided to take matters into her own hands.

According to authorities, Mary Therese and her stepson Harry paid Chris Wyant, a teenage circus performer and neighbor of the Stiles’, $1500 in cash to put an end to their misery. Wyant was convicted of the 1992 murder and given a 27 year sentence, Mary Therese was given 12 years and Harry was sentenced to life in prison. Years later, Grady Stiles III was circumspect about his father: “Thank you for showing me who not to be and maybe you can appreciate who I became because of that. You were a drunken bastard but you were my dad.”

3. Slender Man

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Slender Man, a tall creature with a blank face and abnormally long arms, has developed an elaborate mythology. Created by Eric Knudsen on the Something Awful Forums in 2009, the meme has been picked up by Internet users who’ve created their own variations. While Slender Man is a work of fiction for creatively minded adults, it was too real for two girls.

On May 31, 2014, two 12 year-olds lured a friend into the woods and stabbed her after being inspired by Slender Man stories they had read online. Stabbed 19 times and with a major artery in her heart nearly severed, the victim crawled out of the woods and onto the road where she was discovered by a bicyclist. She survived, but her friends are now facing 60 years in prison.

Despite the fact that the perpetrators were diabolical in plotting the murder, they were still little girls. They had originally intended to slit the victim’s throat at a sleepover, but changed their minds after they went rollerskating. One of the girls also claimed that she had seen Slender Man in her dreams and that he could read her mind and teleport. Both girls expressed remorse, with one saying “The bad part of me wanted her to die, the good part of me wanted her to live.” In spite of this they’ll be prosecuted as adults, although one girl was initially found to be incompetent to stand trial before her mental state improved.

2. The Black Dahlia

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When Elizabeth Short arrived in Hollywood she dreamed that one day she’d be famous, but certainly not by being the victim of one of the most notorious murder mysteries in American history. On January 15, 1947, Short’s corpse was discovered by housewife Betty Bersinger in a quiet residential neighborhood. The body had been drained of blood and expertly bisected.

Detectives arrived to investigate the crime scene but found it already compromised by a swarm of reporters and curious bystanders. The horrific facts of the murder were clear — a grin had been carved into her mouth, rope marks on her wrists and ankles indicated she had been tied up and probably tortured, and the corpse had been carefully and elaborately posed.

In spite of evidence that Short was killed due to hemorrhaging caused by massive blows to the head, no actual murder weapons were recovered. A number of Short’s long list of lotharios were considered prime suspects, but investigators were ultimately reduced to investigating the University of Southern California’s medical students because of how expertly the murderer carved up the body.

As the years passed, Short’s death was sent to the cold case files, but the awful manner of her mysterious death continues to mystify. In 1996, James Ellroy published a book on the case, which was later adapted into a movie. And people are still coming forward claiming to be or know her murderer. Recently Steve Hodel, a former LAPD homicide detective, claimed that his father, George, was the killer. George, who was charged with incest and child molestation in 1949, was also a prime suspect for the murder in 1947. But to this day her murder remains unsolved, ironically giving Short the one thing she wanted most in life.

1. Father Danke, the Cannibal of Ziebiçe

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Karl Denke, or Father Danke as he was known in the small Polish town of Ziebiçe, was the nicest guy anyone met. Born in 1870 to wealthy farmers, Danke lived an unremarkable life. He attended church, helped the poor, offered travelers his home, abstained from alcohol and sex, and sold suspenders, belts, shoelaces and pork to local dealers for a living. So when a drifter showed up at the police station covered in blood on December 21, 1924, claiming that Denke had tried to kill him, nobody wanted to believe it.

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The accuser, Vincenz Olivier, refused to back off his accusations and the reluctant police had no choice but to arrest Danke. By morning he was found hanging in his cell from his handkerchief. The police searched Danke’s home and made a gruesome discovery. Bloody clothes hung in his closet and documents containing the names of people who had been recently released from prisons and hospitals were stacked near the window. But the most shocking discovery were the jars of pickled human meat, human bones, leather straps made from human skin and shoelaces from human hair. Danke had turned his apartment into a veritable factory for processing humans for food and clothes. He had murdered and processed at least 40 people, and had even sold human flesh to butchers by claiming it was pork. Needless to say, pork sales in town plummeted.

Want to read about more conniving criminals?
We’ve looked at 10 Impressively Petty Crimes (you know you want to read about how a cookie rustler is on the loose), and we’ve also looked at criminals who were caught by recording their crimes.

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3 Comments

  1. Glad “The Black Dahlia” was included in this list. What about Peg Entwhistle (The Hollywood Sign Girl)? I think that should be here somewhere.

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