10 Women Who Killed Men and Why They Did It

Some did it for the money or for justice. Others just got bored.

They say that hell hath no fury like a woman scorned, but not all man-killers share a motive. Some are angry. Some are just bored. Others, well, they weren’t in a great mood.

Belle Gunness

Standing six feet tall and weighing nearly 200 lbs., Belle Gunness was a lot of woman, but she still fought dirty. She poisoned her first husband, Mads Ditlev Anton Sorenson in 1844 then spent the next 23 years on a killing spree, slaying nearly 40 people, mostly men. She liked to collected on life insurance policies, stole cash, and robbed families of their valuables. She almost always got what she wanted.

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Joanna Dennehy

Joanna Dennehy gained worldwide recognition in 2013 when the bodies of three men were found in ditches outside Peterborough, England. Each victim had bled out from stab wounds and one was found dressed in a black sequined dress. Dennehy went on the record stating that she initially had plans to kill 9 men in total, and had started the killing to entertain herself. After the murders a former cell mate who knew Dennehy from a prior stint in the joint, said she wanted to become a famous criminal. She succeeded.

Sheila LaBarre

Known for her cruelty, Shelia LaBarre was sentenced to two consecutive life sentences after killing two men in New Hampshire. LaBarre was known to emotionally torture her subjects – accusing one of being a pedophile – and considered herself to be a sort of angel of justice. No evidence ever suggested that her victims had done anything wrong.

Jill Coit

Ex-model Jill Coit was married eleven times. Few of her suitors seem to have asked what became of her former husbands, who met a variety of unsavory ends. In 1995 she earned the nickname “Black Widow” after torturing and killing her ninth husband. Her motives could only be guessed at, but Coit’s relationship all seemed to follow a similar arc.

Aileen Wuornos

Disturbingly resurrected by Charlize Theron in 2003’s Monster, Aileen Wuornos achieved notoriety as a serial killer despot a low body count. The former prostitute murdered seven men – each of whom she claimed had sexually assaulted her – in Florida over the course of two years. In 2002, she was executed by lethal injection without having ever expressed remorse. Her last words: “I killed those men, robbed them as cold as ice. And I’d do it again, too.”

Judy Buenoano

Judy Buenoano is the first woman to be executed in the electric chair since 1957, an honor she received after poisoning her husband with arsenic in 1971. She would have gotten away with it too if she hadn’t also murdered his son – in an attempt to collect insurance money – and tried to kill her next lover. She was not the sort of woman you wanted on your policy.

Katherine Knight

Katherine Knight tried strangling her first husband to death on the night of their wedding and later dropped their baby on a stretch of train tracks. Not too surprisingly, that union didn’t work out. The next one was even worse: She stabbed Jon Price 37 times then skinned him. Police later found his epidermis draped on a hook, his head boiling in a pot on the stove, and fried pieces of his his behind waiting on the table for his two children to devour. Beside the meal was a note explaining that she’d killed him for supposedly raping her daughter.

Miata Phelan

Chicago native MiataPhelan felt a wave of rage this year when her boyfriend returned home from the mall empty handed and in response, stabbed him. Seven months pregnant and infuriated, she watched him squirm in the middle of the street while screaming, “This is what you get for messing with me.”

Jordan Linn Graham

When most brides get cold feet, they call off the engagement. Jordan Linn Graham took a different approach, going through with it then pushing her new husband off of a cliff. “I wasn’t really happy,” she later explained. Presumably, he wasn’t either.

Susan Walters

After returning home from work in September of 2007, Walters came face-to-face with a male crack addict armed with a hammer. Instead of freezing she went into survival mode, pushed him to the floor, and got him in a chokehold. Before taking his final breath, he squeezed out two last words: “You’re strong.” Later she found out that her husband, a janitor at Fantasy Adult Video, offered the man $50,000 to kill her. He was sentenced to ten years in prison. She went home to some peace and quiet.

Photos by Barnaby Hall / Getty Images