OFF THE GRID

No Doubt About It, Women Make Ace Killers

Apr 16, 09 | 8:19 AM   byMichael Wolff
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Gosh, there are a lot of evil women. Gruesome murder, once exclusively a man’s game, is now the province of horrifying ladies.

There’s Casey Anthony, whose alleged murder of her daughter, Caylee, is as gruesome as it comes. There’s the accused California Sunday School murderer, Melissa Huckaby, now facing the death penalty for acts that we did not even think a woman could technically commit. There’s the Florida mom, Marie Moore, who, in order to send her son to heaven and herself to hell, shot him, and then herself. In New York, there’s dentist mom Mazoltuv Borukhova, who had her husband gunned down in a playground in front of their daughter. And in Italy, there’s college girl Amanda Knox, on trial now for the alleged sex murder of her roommate on her junior year abroad.

This is, as the profilers will tell you, aberrational. Writing about Huckaby, the San Francisco Chronicle notes that “instances of women committing crimes such as the ones Huckaby is accused of are so uncommon that criminologists…struggled to come up with similar examples.” Women kill out of desperation and fear and occasionally avarice, but not sadism and perversity. That’s guy stuff. And when women do ghastly things, it’s usually because they fall under the influence of a rotten man. But not this crew—these women are on their own.

True, there are not a lot of random killings here, which is what the male sadists usually like. All of these women knew or were related to their victims. Still, given the level of planning and viciousness in each of these instances, their prior relationships make them even more bloodthirsty.



(Melissa Huckaby, AP Image)

Melissa Huckaby has so stretched the envelope that, in some lack of suitable vocabulary, the police have even charged her with the rape of 8-year-old Sandra Cantu.

This could be depression-related. Not just as in “suffering from depression,” which some of these woman are said to be, but as in the vast economic downturn. It’s a new American gothic—beneath the veneer of affluence and consumerism, there’s mayhem waiting. (This is Charlize Theron as Aileen Wuornos in Monster.)

Or, it’s cable television. After 20 years of watching the crimes of horrible men played out in detail, women have gotten into the act, too—blood lust and publicity lust somehow intertwined.

Or we’ve reached the outer edge of an American woman’s psyche—women have made it to the violent fringe.

Anyway, it’s bound to be the new archetype. Forget the lonely, fat, erotically addled boy-man living with his mother; it’s the plotting, vengeful, cold, empowered, loony, and merciless woman who's coming to our dreams—and to our television movies.

More of Newser founder Michael Wolff's articles and commentary can be found at VanityFair.com, where he writes a regular column. He can be emailed at michael@newser.com

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