Cold-Blooded Killers Who Got Married While Incarcerated

Welcome to True Crime Tuesday where we review, recommend and generally obsess over everything crime-related.

Whether you want a big destination wedding, a small wedding at city hall, or you just want to elope without telling anyone, generally speaking, you picture the day you get married to be a certain way. And the vision in your head probably isn’t of a 10 minute ceremony in a nondescript room at a maximum security prison. And yet, for some people, that’s exactly what they get. Not only that, but the person they’re marrying isn’t exactly the kind of partner they always envisioned bringing home to meet their family at Thanksgiving. The person they are vowing to love til death do they part is a cold-blooded killer.

If you’ve heard of serial killer groupies who fawn over the most infamous killers than it shouldn’t surprise you that some “fans” actually go so far as to get hitched to the murderer they’ve been obsessed with for years. There’s even a word for it: Hybristophilia—the condition of being turned on by someone who commits a violent crime. These killers are serving life sentences, so they have nothing to lose by getting married, but why would anyone in their right mind want to marry someone who is set to spend the rest of their days behind bars? If that isn’t unconditional love, then what is, right? These murderers somehow managed to find love and get married while serving a life sentence, proving that you can’t choose who you love.

Richard Ramirez
Richard Ramirez, aka the Night Stalker, terrorized the L.A. and San Francisco areas with a string of break-ins and and murders from June 1984 until August 1985. He was captured after his mugshot was broadcast on the news and published on the front of every newspaper in California. To prevent him from getting away, a group of civilians chased him, held him down and beat him until the police arrived. As an avowed Satanist, Ramirez never expressed an ounce of remorse for his crimes. When he was convicted and sentenced to death he said, “Big deal. Death always went with the territory. See you in Disney Land.”

Leading up to and during his trial, Ramirez had a number of fans who were writing him letters and visiting him in prison. One in particular, Doreen Lioy, wrote him nearly 75 letters before he proposed to her in 1988. They got married in 1996 in San Quentin State Prison and Lioy said she planned to commit suicide when Ramirez was executed. She told CNN that she believed Ramirez was innocent and said “He’s kind, he’s funny, he’s charming… I think he’s really a great person. He’s my best friend; he’s my buddy.” Lioy and Ramirez were separated by the time Ramirez died of cancer at the age of 53.

Philip Carl Jablonski
Philip Carl Jablonski was always a violent man but somehow he still managed to have relationships with several women. He was violent with many different women on many occasions but the first one he killed was Linda Kimball, the mother of his infant daughter. He was convicted and sent to prison, but that didn’t stop him from meeting more women. From his cell he would place ads in the newspaper advertising for a pen pal. Carol Spadoni began corresponding with him and the two got married while Jablonski was still incarcerated in 1982. He was released in 1990 and within the year he killed four more women including his wife Carol and her mother. He was arrested again days later, convicted and sentenced to death.

Needless to say, Carol’s fate is pretty much the worst case scenario of what can happen when you marry a convicted murderer. But at least if they’re serving a life sentence, you’ll never have to worry that they’ll get out and make you their next victim.

Ted Bundy
Ted Bundy may have been a heartless, sociopathic killer underneath his charming, normal-guy facade, but he never seemed to have a problem when it came to dating. In fact, he had a pretty serious girlfriend named Elizabeth Kloepfer for a six years, including during his four year killing spree, before she finally started to realize he was up to something. Kloepfer even called the police when she started to get suspicious about Ted’s behaviour—but she still didn’t break up with him. Bundy was finally arrested for the final time after this murder spree in Florida, convicted and sentenced to death.

Kloepfer may have been done with him, but Ted had plenty of fans who were more than willing to take her place. Carole Ann Boone was friends with Ted before and during his killing spree, but it wasn’t until he was on trial for murder that she fell in love with him. She even testified as a character witness for him during the penalty phase of his trial for the murder of Kimberly Leach. Since Ted was acting as his own lawyer he was able to take advantage of an obscure Florida law that stated a marriage declaration in court in the presence of a judge constituted a legal marriage. So Bundy and Boone were legally married and days later he was sentenced to death for a third time. Even though conjugal visits were not allowed, Boone gave birth to a daughter two years later and named Bundy the father. By the time he was executed on January 24, 1989, he and Boone were estranged—apparently she wasn’t too happy when he started confessing his guilt since she had always fully believed in his innocence.

Lyle and Erik Menendez
The Menendez brothers, Lyle and Erik were only 21 and 18 respectively when they murdered their parents by shooting them with a 12-gauge shot gun. Seven years later they were sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. The same day they were sentenced, Lyle married his longtime pen pal Anna Eriksson, a former model. They later got divorced when Anna found out her inmate husband was writing to another woman, which she considered “cheating”. Two years later, Lyle re-married, this time to magazine editor and long time friend, Rebecca Sneed. They are still together to this day.

In 1999, Erik married Tammi Ruth Saccoman, a woman almost 10 years older than him. She said their “wedding cake” was a Twinkie and “it was a wonderful ceremony until I had to leave. That was a very lonely night.” In an interview with People magazine, Tammi said not having a physical relationship with Erik is hard, but she is very emotionally attached to him. She’s even written a book about their relationship called They Said We’d Never Make It: My Life With Erik Menendez. Erik has said “Tammi is what gets me through. I can’t think about the sentence. When I do, I do it with a great sadness and a primal fear. I break into a cold sweat. It’s so frightening I just haven’t come to terms with it.”

Kenneth Bianchi and Angelo Buono Jr.
Known as the Hillside Strangers, Kenneth Bianchi and Angelo Buono Jr. were cousins who committed at least 10 rapes and murders together between October 1977 and February 1978. They were both convicted and sentenced to life in prison, but that didn’t stop them from dating. Bianchi had a relationship with a woman named Veronica Compton who he convinced to attempt to strangle a woman while he was in prison to imply to authorities that the real Hillside Stranger was still on the loose. He even gave her a sample of his semen to leave at the crime scene. Luckily, Compton was unsuccessful. He later married Shirlee Book, a long time pen pal who had also attempted to woo Ted Bundy. The two were divorced a few years later after she found out he was still writing to other women.

Angelo Buono Jr. had always considered himself a ladies man and that didn’t change even after he became a convicted murderer. Buono met Christine Kizuka while she was visiting her husband and father of her three children in prison in what happened to be the cell right next to Buono’s. Kizuka left her convict husband and married Buono in 1986. Since he was serving a life sentence, and because of the nature of his crimes, Buono and Kizuka were not allowed to have conjugal visits. Still, they stay married until 2002 when Buono died of a heart attack in his cell at the age of 67.

Courtney Hardwick

Courtney Hardwick

Courtney Hardwick is a freelance writer based in Toronto. Her work has appeared on AmongMen.com, 29secrets.com, therichest.com, and ELLECanada.com.  When she isn’t writing about relationships, and the best TV shows and books you should really already know about, she is working on her novel. She hopes to have it published by 2025. You can follow her on Twitter @Courtooo.

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