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Winnie Ruth Judd
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Murderer (Alleged)
    (January 29, 1905-October 23, 1998)
    Born in Darlington, Indiana
    Birth name was Winnie Ruth McKinnell
    Accused of killing her former roommates, Agnes LeRoi and Hedvig Samuelson (October 16, 1931)
    Convicted of first degree murder and sentenced to death (1933)
    Death sentence overturned when she was ruled to be insane
    Sent to Arizona State Mental Hospital
    Released on parole (1971)
    Known as the Trunk Murderess
    She was having an extra-marital affair with married businessman Jack Halloran.
    According to prosecutors, she killed LeRoi and Samuelson in their sleep out of jealousy over their relationships with Halloran.
    After the murders, she left Phoenix for Los Angeles, with two trunks containing the bodies (one dismembered) of the two victims.
    During her sanity hearing, she laughed hysterically, clapped her hands and threatened to throw herself out of the window.
    She escaped from the Arizona State Hospital seven times.
    She looked like actress Norma Shearer.
    She miscarried twice.
    Several reporters suggested that if her attorneys had chosen self-defense rather than insanity as a grounds of defense, she might have been acquitted.
    Dr. Grace Homman, who examined her after her arrest, found 147 fresh welts and cuts and wrote, 'Mrs. Judd put up a tremendous fight for her life.'
    Decades later, Pheonix reporter Jana Bommersbach found evidence suggesting that Jack Halloran was responsible for at least one of the deaths and convinced Judd to take the rap by promising to use his influence to ensure she would not go to jail.
    She was popular with staff and fellow patients at Arizona State Mental Hospital, where she worked as a cook and hairdresser.

Credit: C. Fishel


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