New York City Killers – Mistresses of Murder

The number of men that commit murder is significantly higher than the number of women that do. There are some females that have been responsible for crimes that are so horrific, however, that there can be no comparison. Like many other big cities, New York has had its fair share of horror, and the female killers that have contributed include:

  1. Lizzie Halliday

Nicknamed The Worst Woman on Earth, Lizzie Halliday was responsible for the deaths of several people during the 1800s. She was New York’s first known female serial killer and, even though the sentence was never carried out, the first woman to be sentenced to death by the electric chair. Halliday committed four confirmed murders, but it is suspected that she was the cause of the demise of several other people.

While she was growing up, Halliday’s family and friends noticed that she suffered from brief periods of insanity. She also developed a love of burning things, and set fire to the saloon of two of her old friends, and the barn of her sixth husband. Halliday was later convicted of all three deaths, and reportedly murdered her victims using a combination of stabbing, shooting and mutilation.

After Halliday was sentenced to death, by electrocution, the governor of New York commuted her sentence. The murders were deemed a result of mental insanity, and the killer was institutionalised in the Matteawan State Hospital for the Criminally Insane. While at the facility, where she remained for the rest of her life, Halliday attacked and killed one of the nurses, stabbing her over 200 times with a pair of scissors. 

  1. Marybeth Tinning

Marybeth Tinning gave birth, or adopted, a total of nine babies between the years of 1975 and 1985. All of these unfortunate children died before their 5th birthday. Tinning would arrive at hospital trauma centres, in a panic, clutching the lifeless bodies of the infants. Hospitals declared the cause of death for the first eight children as Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), and Tinning would be released to have, or adopt, another child. The police were finally alerted after she arrived with the corpse of her ninth child, Tami Lynne, to the hospital. Tinning claimed she had found the three-month-old baby unconscious, in her crib, with blood coming out of her mouth.

Photo: Bedford Hills Correctional Facility Mugshot/The Daily Gazette

After her arrest, Marybeth Tinning admitted to killing the baby, and confessed to slowly poisoning her husband. She was tried, and convicted, for the murder of Tami Lynne only, despite the suspicious circumstances surrounding the deaths of her other children. Still in prison, Tinning has been denied parole four times due to ‘a lack of demonstrating insight into her crime.’ Authorities believe that she committed the murders for the attention she received after the death of each child, as well a perverse pleasure in outsmarting investigators.

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