Why do women fall in love with killers?
People are interested in crime. This blog and the countless documentaries and podcasts that cover true crime is a testament to that. But for most people, that fascination is just as an observer. But sometimes, that fascination can lead to romance. For most of us, this is crazy. How can you rationalize women who love killers?
Some experts believe that these women want to somehow save these lost men. However, another theory is that some people are aroused by danger. There is actually a name for this phenomenon: hybristophilia.
hybristophilia n. sexual interest in and attraction to those who commit crimes. In some cases, this may be directed toward people in prison for various types of criminal activities.
Let’s get to the list.
5. Charles Manson and Afton Burton
In August of 1969, the Manson Family brutally murdered actress Sharon Tate and her unborn child, along with Abigail Folger, Wojciech Frykowski, Steven Parent, and Sharon Tate under the orders of cult leader and longtime criminal Charles Manson. This gruesome crime was followed the next day by the murders of Leno LaBianca and Rosemary LaBianca committed by the Manson Family. Manson was sentenced to death but his sentence was later commuted to life in prison. Manson is quiet possibly the most famous murderer in American history.
There’s no way Afton Burton wasn’t aware of Manson’s crimes in 2007 when she first wrote him. Afton Burton was 17 when she began writing to Charles Manson in prison and Manson was 80. It’s been in the media and general cultural zeitgeist since before she was born in 1988. Regardless, she moved from her family home in Illinois to California with the goal of being closer to Manson in mind.
Burton says that she was attracted to Manson because of his environmental writings and philosophies. This commitment to saving the planet erased those murders I guess. She even went as far as carving the infamous X on her forehead and shaved off her hair.
Buckle up, reader, because things are about to become bananas. Burton and Manson did get a marriage license but it expired before they actually married. Burton claims she wanted to marry Manson for love, but some say that she actually wanted legal rights to his body after his death. Burton allegedly planned to display Manson’s corpse for tourists in a money-making scheme.
Manson died in 2017 without ever marrying Burton.
4. Ted Bundy
The murders and crimes of Ted Bundy have been covered ad nauseum by now. In fact, I really don’t want to even talk about him again for the rest of my life, but I would be remiss not to include him on the list. As a quick summary, he kidnapped, raped, and murdered at least 30 people during the 1970s. Many believe his body count is actually higher than that. He often approached women in public places and pretended to be an authority figure before knocking them out. Bundy escaped from prison twice and claimed more victims while on the run. He was eventually sentenced to death for these crimes.
Bundy met Carole Ann Boone in 1974 while he was in the midst of this spree. The unique thing about Boone and Bundy is that they were in a relationship prior to his arrest and conviction. She stood by her man though. Throughout all of the court proceedings, Boone passionately defended her boyfriend.
The pair wanted to get married but shockingly (that’s sarcasm) they could not find any ministers willing to perform the marriage. Bundy figured out how to get around this by using an old law that said a proposal in open court in front of court officers is a legal marriage ceremony. It worked and they were officially married.
Boone had a daughter she claimed belonged to Bundy in 1982, but no one is really sure how that could happen because conjugal visits weren’t allowed. The most likely explanation is that they bribed a guard into giving them some alone time. Others think that Boone smuggled Bundy’s semen out of the prison in a condom. Yes, you read that right.
Bundy and Boone got divorced in 1986 and she didn’t speak to him again before his execution in 1989.
3. Richard Ramirez and Doreen Lioy
Richard Ramirez, also known as the Night Stalker, robbed, raped, and killed 13 people in California in a reign of terror from 1984-1985. Ramirez was involved in Satanism and the occult and began by burglarizing to support himself and his drug habit. His crime spree was unique in that Ramirez didn’t have a “type” of person that he killed. This increased the fear in the area because anyone could be a victim. Ramirez was arrested on August 31, 1985, and he has never shown any remorse for his crimes.
For reasons I will personally never understand, Ramirez became somewhat of a sex symbol during his trial. Women were writing him letters and even visited him.
I can’t imagine that his teeth that were literally rotting out of his mouth smelled very nice. Surviving victims commented on the odor of Ramirez. This didn’t deter some people the way that it would me.
It didn’t stop journalist Doreen Lioy either. Lioy sent Ramirez 75 letters while he was in prison over an 11 year period. She believed Ramirez to be innocent even in the face of the strong evidence against him for these savage crimes. They married in 1996. As I’m sure you can imagine, Lioy’s family was not happy with this match and basically disowned her.
Ramirez died on death row in 2013. The pair were still married, but Lioy had apparently not visited Ramirez in several years leading up to his death.
2. Lyle Menéndez and Anna Eriksson/Rebecca Sneed
On August 20, 1989, brothers Lyle and Erik Menéndez shot and killed their parents Jose and Mary Louise Menéndez inside their mansion in Beverly Hills. The young adult brothers claimed that they were scared for their lives and that their father had abused them verbally, physically and sexually for years.
Prosecutors disagreed. They believed that their motive was their inheritance of their father’s estate that was worth several million dollars. Both original trials ended in mistrials. However, they were found guilty during a second trial and sentenced to life in prison without parole.
Unlike Richard Ramirez, the Menéndez brothers were clean-cut, all-American handsome men. But beauty is in the eye of the beholder, right?
Lyle Menéndez married in prison not just once but twice. His first wife was Anna Eriksson who had been writing him letters. They married in 1996, however they divorced after she found out that Menéndez was still writing letters to other women in 2001.
By 2003, Menéndez married another woman named Rebecca Sneed. Sneed met Lyle in 1993 while she was working as a magazine editor. In an ironic twist, she eventually finished her law degree and is now a practicing defense attorney.
Both Menéndez brothers are now in their 50s and they are still serving their life sentences. Lyle and Rebecca are still as happily married as a couple can be with one person in prison.
1. Phillip Jablonski and Carol Spadoni
Phillip Jablonski was convicted for the 1978 murder of his girlfriend Linda Kimball. She had left Jablonski and had returned to their apartment to retrieve her belongings. She was found dead the same day. Jablonski served 12 years in prison for that crime. In 1985, while in prison, he attempted to strangle his mother with a shoelace. Despite this crime, he was let out of prison in 1990 for good behavior. During the next year, he murdered four more women. He was found guilty of these crimes and sentenced to death.
I buried the lede here intentionally. One of victims Jablonski killed after his release in 1990 was his wife Carol Spadoni. In 1978, while in prison Jablonski ran a personal ad in the newspaper. Spadoni responded and they corresponded for several years before getting married in 1982.
A few years into their marriage Spandoni grew to fear Jablonski, which duh because he was in prison for killing another girlfriend. Spadoni reportedly told friends that Jablonski was weird. By the time she found out that Jablonski was going to be released, Spadoni was terrified. She was living with her mother Eva Petersen at the time.
Leading up to his 1990 release, Spadoni had a friend take Jablonski’s things that were at her house and told his parole officer of her fears. Jablonski was told not to contact Spadoni. Jablonski didn’t listen. The details of this crime are gruesome. I won’t go into the grisly details, but he murdered both Spadoni and her elderly mother before killing another 3 people.
Jablonski died in 2019 while still on death row.