Some of the most chilling murders in recent history have taken place between family members, including the case of the Memphis mother who slashed four of her babies’ throats in July 2016, the Texas mom who fatally shot her two daughters in June 2016 to “punish” her husband, and more. Here, Us Weekly has rounded up the most infamous family murders of our times.
Some of the most chilling murders in recent history have taken place between family members, including the case of the Memphis mother who slashed four of her babies’ throats in July 2016, the Texas mom who fatally shot her two daughters in June 2016 to "punish" her husband, and more. Here, Us Weekly has rounded up the most infamous family murders of our times.
A Memphis mother of five, Shanynthia Gardner, allegedly cut the throats of four of her young children in a fit that relatives later said was uncharacteristic of the 29-year-old woman. She chased her fifth child, her eldest son, Dallen, around the apartment with a butcher’s knife, but he was able to escape. Gardner’s ex and Dallen’s father, Detrail Clayton, told The Commercial Appeal that he considered his ex a “wonderful, sweet young lady.”
Texas mom Christy Sheats called a family meeting on a Friday afternoon in June, at which her estranged husband, Jason Sheats, assumed she would be telling their two teenage daughters that the couple was divorcing. Instead, the 42-year-old mother pulled out a .38-caliber handgun and shot her two daughters — Taylor, 22, and Madison, 17, point-blank. She had “ample time and opportunity” to shoot Jason as well, but she did not because she “wanted him to suffer," Jason later said in a statement. Police called to the scene shot and killed Christy.
Yoga teacher Alexandria Duval (real name: Alison Dadow), whose identical twin sister, Anastasia Duval (real name: Ann Dadow), died after their SUV plunged off a 200-foot cliff in Hawaii, was charged with murder shortly afterward. The sisters were reportedly arguing and physically fighting with one another while driving on dangerous terrain before they plunged into the rocks below. Alexandria was arrested when police discovered she was attempting to flee the state.
A pregnant mother of two was stabbed to death by her husband of nearly six years at their home in Eden Prairie, Minnesota. According to the Star Tribune, 23-year-old Lyuba Savenok was 26 weeks pregnant when her husband, Eugene, allegedly stabbed her to death. Their son, who would have been named Ellis, was delivered via emergency C-section, but died several minutes after delivery. The couple’s two young children — Matthew, 4, and Vivienne, 3 — were not harmed.
Emile Weaver, a former Muskingum University student, gave birth to her daughter at the Delta Gamma Theta sorority house in New Concord, Ohio, in April 2015, but she stuffed the newborn into a plastic bag and placed the body in the garbage immediately afterward. It was later determined that the baby died of asphyxiation. Weaver then texted the man she believed to be the father, with the simple message: “No more baby.” She was found guilty of aggravated murder, abuse of a corpse and two counts of tampering with evidence, and was sentenced to life in prison more than a year later in June 2016.
Jennifer Hudson’s world was turned upside down when her ailing mother, Darnell Donelson, and her brother, Jason, were found shot dead in the house where the American Idol alum grew up in Chicago’s South Side. Three days later, her 7-year-old nephew Julian’s body was found in Jason’s abandoned SUV. The little boy had been shot in the head. Police later determined that it was Jennifer’s sister Julia’s estranged husband who had committed the horrific crimes.
To this day, doubts about Andrea Yates’ claims of insanity after she drowned all five of her children remain unanswered. The Houston, Texas, mother had suffered a nervous breakdown in 1999 and had been in and out of psychiatric hospitals when she committed the horrific crime. She pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity, but in 2002, the jury rejected the defense; in 2005, the decision was reversed. But one year later, the decision was reversed yet again, and she is currently committed to a mental hospital for her unthinkable crime.
One of the nation’s enduring mysteries is who killed 6-year-old Colorado beauty queen JonBenet Ramsey. The case remains unsolved nearly 20 years after the little girl was found strangled in the basement of her home. Her mother, Patsy, who was a suspect in the case, died of ovarian cancer in 2006, and her father, John, continued to maintain his innocence. DNA evidence cleared the parents in 2008.
A case of hidden identity. John List of Westfield, New Jersey, may go down in history as one of the most notorious incidents of family-perpetuated homicide. The accountant — who had, unbeknownst to his family, lost his job prior to the horrifying incident — shot and killed his wife and mother at their family home that day before shooting two of his children, Patricia and Frederick, when they returned home from school. He then watched his third child, son John Jr., play in a soccer game at school before driving him home and shooting and killing him as well. List went into hiding but was later found living in Richmond, Virginia, as Robert Clark. He was sentenced to five consecutive life terms for the murders and died in prison in 2008 at age 82.