Hey, y’all. Valentine’s Day is here and obviously, I had to research the dark side of Valentine’s Day with a look at gruesome murder cases that happened on the day of love. Valentine’s Day is typically associated with love, romance, and affection, but it has also been the site of some of the most tragic and gruesome crimes in history. Let’s get into it.
The St. Valentine’s Day Massacre
Where else to start but the OG Valentine’s day murder.
The St. Valentine’s Day Massacre was one of the most shocking gang killings in American history. It occurred on February 14, 1929 in Chicago, Illinois and was a result of a power struggle between two rival gangster groups, the North Side Gang and the South Side Gang, during the Prohibition era.
The North Side Gang, led by George “Bugs” Moran, was a major player in the city’s bootlegging and illegal gambling operations, while Al Capone and his South Side Gang controlled the majority of the city’s illegal alcohol trade. The two groups were constantly at odds and tensions were high.
On the morning of February 14, seven members of the North Side Gang were lined up against a wall in a garage on North Clark Street and shot to death by members of Al Capone’s South Side Gang, dressed as police officers. The massacre was a turning point in the history of organized crime in Chicago and helped solidify Al Capone’s reputation as a ruthless gangster.
Despite widespread speculation, the identity of the killers was never officially determined and no one was ever charged with the crime. The St. Valentine’s Day Massacre remains one of the most notorious gang killings in American history and a chilling reminder of the violence that characterized the Prohibition era.
Oscar Pistorius Murdered His Girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp
Oscar Pistorius is a former South African sprinter and convicted murderer who gained worldwide recognition as the first amputee to compete in the Olympic Games. Born on November 22, 1986, in Johannesburg, Pistorius had both legs amputated below the knee when he was just 11 months old due to a congenital defect. Despite this, he went on to become a highly successful Paralympic athlete, winning several gold medals and setting world records in track events.
On February 14, 2013, Pistorius shot and killed his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, in his Pretoria home. He claimed that he mistook her for an intruder, but the prosecution argued that the killing was premeditated. After a highly publicized trial, Pistorius was found guilty of culpable homicide in September 2014 and sentenced to five years in prison.
He was released on parole in October 2015 after serving one year of his sentence, but in December 2015, his conviction was upgraded to murder and he was sentenced to six years in prison. Pistorius has maintained his innocence and has appealed the murder conviction.
The Murder of Denise Leuthold
Denise Leuthold was a 28-year-old mother of two who lived in Fullerton, California. On February 14, 1988, she was murdered in her own home.
Her husband, Robert Leuthold, claimed that he had returned home from work to find his wife strangled to death with a telephone cord. He immediately called the police and reported the crime.
However, police quickly became suspicious of Robert’s story and began investigating him. They discovered that Robert was having an affair and had a mistress whom he had been seeing for several months. Further investigation revealed that Robert had taken out multiple life insurance policies on Denise and stood to gain a significant amount of money from her death.
The police arrested Robert and charged him with Denise’s murder. He was later found guilty and sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
The Murder of Young Lovers Jesse McBane and Patricia Mann
Jesse McBane and Patricia Mann were young lovers who met while they were both pursuing their dreams. Despite the distance that separated them, the couple was deeply in love and had a bright future ahead of them.
However, their dreams were cut short on February 12, 1971, when the two were last seen alive at the Valentine’s Dance. After the dance, the couple left around 11:30 p.m. to go to a lover’s lane.
A land surveyor later discovered their bodies tied to an oak tree in the woods, four miles from where they were last seen. The young couple had been tied up and murdered, their hands tied behind their backs and a rope around their necks. The case remains unsolved to this day, fifty-two years later, and many are still searching for closure and answers.
The Murder of Tara Lynn Grant
Tara Lynn Grant was a 34-year-old woman who was murdered in her home in Michigan on February 9, 2007. She was last seen alive on February 9th, 2007, by her husband, Stephen Grant.
On February 14, 2007, Tara’s husband Stephen Grant contacted the Macomb County Sheriff’s Office to report that his wife, Tara Lynn Grant, had been missing for five days. In his statement, he mentioned that this was not an uncommon occurrence and that Tara had left home before, which is why he didn’t report her missing immediately.
Stephen Grant was initially considered a person of interest in his wife’s disappearance, but he was later named as the prime suspect. On February 12th, 2007, Stephen Grant led the police to his wife’s body, which was found in a shallow grave in a nearby county. He was charged with her murder and later convicted.
The trial received widespread media coverage and became one of the most high-profile murder cases in Michigan history. Stephen Grant is currently serving a life sentence without the possibility of parole for the murder of his wife, Tara Lynn Grant.
The Murder of Ignacia Manriquez
Juan Manuel Navarro committed a horrific act of violence against his ex-girlfriend, Ignacia Manriquez, on Valentine’s Day in 1993. Despite Ignacia having taken out a restraining order against Navarro after their break-up, he showed up at her home, where their children still lived. Ignacia attempted to make him leave, but Navarro refused and followed her to a local supermarket parking lot in San Bernardino, California.
The altercation that ensued resulted in Navarro shooting Ignacia in the head and stomach at point-blank range. Their four-year-old son witnessed the murder but could only tell the police, “There is ketchup everywhere.”
The Murder of Tiana Notice
Tiana Notice was a 25-year-old woman who graduated from the University of Hartford with a bachelor’s degree in political science. She was in the process of getting her master’s degree when she met James Carter II on an internet dating site.
Six months into their relationship, James was sentenced to five months in jail for domestic abuse of a previous girlfriend and Tiana learned he had a rap sheet for numerous other violent crimes. Despite multiple attempts to report James for violating a restraining order and threatening e-mails, the police took no action.
Carter persisted in his attempts to see Tiana both at her residence and work. He also wrote her a large number of letters, expressing both extreme hostility and extreme regret. At times, he attempted to reconcile and make things right with Tiana.
Tiana’s car was vandalized and she found a letter pinned to her door asking for forgiveness. On Valentine’s Day, Tiana was viciously stabbed by James when she went back to her apartment to pack a bag. He was sentenced to 60 years in prison.