It's not uncommon for imprisoned serial killers to receive letters from fascinated female admirers. But for the admirer to actually meet the murderer, fall in love and say “I do”? Most women would run the other way. However, sometimes a lover’s brutal past does not deter a woman from standing by their man. Here are the stories of ten women who were wooed by ten deadly men.
10. Rosalie Martinez Married Oscar Ray Bolin Jr.
Oscar Ray Bolin Jr. was tried and found guilty 10 separate times for the 1986 murders of Natalie Blanche Holley (age 25); Stephanie Collins (17); and Teri Lynn Matthews (26). While awaiting his execution date, Bolin was labeled as especially dangerous and a flight risk. Prior to his first murder trial, Bolin concocted an elaborate escape plan that involved kidnapping and holding hostage the relatives of the Hillsborough Sheriff and high-ranking sheriff's officials.
He married Rosalie Martinez, a socially prominent Tampa woman who acted as a member of his defense team for over a decade. Martinez had left her prominent attorney-husband and four young daughters to marry Bolin. A television audience of 12 million watched their wedding in 1996. It wasn't exactly a traditional ceremony.
She was in her apartment in Gainesville and he was in the county jail as they read out their vows over speakerphone at her apartment while she wore a wedding dress. There was a framed photo of Bolin to compensate for his absence. As newlyweds, they met every Saturday in the cafeteria of the state prison in Starke, Florida where they kissed, hugged and held hands.
On her visit days, Martinez would be escorted by armed guards to see her husband. She later said this made her feel as if she “was going in to see Hannibal Lector.” On the day of his execution, Bolin spent three hours with his wife.
9. Doreen Lioy Married Richard ‘The Nightstalker’ Ramirez
Ramirez's highly publicized home invasion crime spree terrorized the residents of the greater Los Angeles area and later the residents of the San Francisco area from June 1984 until August 1985.
He was found guilty of 13 counts of murder, 5 attempted murders, 14 burglaries, and 11 sexual assaults. His crimes were especially sadistic and brutal and he claimed to be a Satanist.
Beginning in 1985, Doreen Lioy, a former magazine editor, wrote him nearly 75 letters during his incarceration over an 11-year period. In 1988, Ramirez proposed to Lioy, and on October 3, 1996, they were married in California's San Quentin State Prison. For many years before Ramirez's death,
Lioy stated that she would commit suicide when Ramirez was executed. She was lonely in the years following the marriage as her family broke off communication with her upon the announcement of their engagement. In 2013, Ramirez died of complications from B-cell lymphoma while awaiting execution on California's death row at age 53.
8. Christine Kizuka Married Angelo Buono Jr.
Alongside his cousin Kenneth Bianchi, Angelo Buono Jr. became known as “The Hillside Strangler.” The pair were convicted of killing ten young women (ages 12 to 28) in Los Angeles, California between the short time span of October 1977 and February 1978.
During the months they were on their spree, Bianchi applied for a job with the L.A. Police Department and was along for several rides with officers while they searched for the Hillside Stranglers.
Bianchi was eventually questioned by police and testified against Buono, leading to his arrest and the end of a terrifying time for the citizens of Los Angeles.
Christine Kizuka, a mother of three and a supervisor at the California State Employment Development Department, married Buono in 1986 at Folsom Prison, California.
The couple met when Kizuka was visiting her husband in the same prison, and following her divorce, she began a relationship with the murderer. He died of a heart attack in 2002 at the age of 67.
7. Shirlee Joyce Book Married Kenneth Bianchi
Kenneth Bianchi is the other half of “The Hillside Stranglers” duo. These cousins cruised around Los Angeles in Buono's car and lured their victims in with fake badges, persuading gullible young women that they were undercover police officers.
They killed ten women using this method, driving them to Buono’s home to torture and murder them. In addition to the ten women and girls he murdered alongside Angelo Buono Jr., Bianchi killed two more women after moving to Washington by himself.
In an attempt to obtain a reduced sentence, Bianchi agreed to testify against Buono. However, in giving his testimony, Bianchi made every effort to be as uncooperative and self-contradictory as possible, apparently hoping to avoid being the ultimate cause of Buono's conviction. In the end, Bianchi's efforts were unsuccessful. Buono was convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment. Bianchi, too, is currently serving a sentence of life imprisonment in Washington State Penitentiary.
In 1989, he exchanged vows with Shirlee Joyce Book at Washington State Penitentiary. It was a very short ceremony, lasting only fifteen minutes. Strangely enough, the newlyweds had the opportunity to pose for pictures for the National Enquirer. Bianchi’s parents, two of Bianchi’s inmate friends and Book’s mother were witness to the wedding.
Book and Bianchi had become pen pals and spoke on the phone several times before they married, but had only met face-to-face once—the day before their wedding ceremony. They are still married today.
6. Anna Eriksson and Tammi Ruth Saccoman Married Lyle and Erik Menendez
The Menendez Brothers were convicted in 1994 for the 1989 shotgun murders of their wealthy parents, entertainment executive José Menéndez and his wife, Mary.
The brothers were not considered suspects at first as they had an alibi in a group of friends they went to the movies with immediately after committing the crime. But suspicions about their involvement arose when they began to spend money lavishly after the murders.
They attempted to deflect blame for the murders by claiming they had suffered abuse from their parents their whole lives. They were first tried separately, but both juries deadlocked, which resulted in a mistrial. For the second trial, they were tried together and found guilty. The brothers were sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
Lyle married former model Anna Eriksson in July of 1996, but they divorced on April 1, 2001 when she discovered he had “cheated” on her with other female pen pals. Two years later, Lyle married his second wife, Rebecca Sneed, whom he had known for ten years before the engagement.
On June 12, 1999, Erik married Tammi Ruth Saccoman at Folsom State Prison in a prison waiting room. The couple had a Twinkie as a substitute for their wedding cake. Tammi later stated: “It was a wonderful ceremony until I had to leave. That was a very lonely night.” Speaking about the murders, Tammi said, “I do know the person Erik is. I do know what happened that night and I believe that within everybody, in certain circumstances, you will be able to kill somebody. But I do know Erik is a very good person.”
In an October 2005 interview with ABC News, Saccoman described her relationship with Erik as “something that I've dreamed about for a long time. And it's just something very special that I never thought that I would ever have.” In this interview, Tammi also said that she and her daughter drive 150 miles every weekend to visit Erik.
Erik has stated that Tammi is what gets him through thoughts of his endless life sentence—“I can't think about the sentence. When I do, I do it with a great sadness and a primal fear …It's so frightening I just haven't come to terms with it.”
5. Carol Spadoni Married Philip Carl Jablonski
Philip Carl Jablonski was convicted of killing five women in California and Utah between 1978 and 1991. He is currently on death row.
Jablonski was in relationships and married multiple times. His first wife, whom he met in high school, left him when he became violent with her to the extent of strangling her on multiple occasions. He then had a three-year relationship with a woman named Jane Sanders, who left him for the same reasons as his previous wife. In February 1977, Jablonski met Linda Kimball and by August they were living together.
Kimball gave birth to their daughter in December 1977. On the evening of July 6, 1978, Jablonski went to the home of Kimball’s mother with the intention of raping her but couldn’t go through with it as he said: “All he could see was Linda’s face.” Pahls managed to escape to a neighbor's house but did not report the incident to the police.
A few days after the incident, Kimball sought safety by moving in with Pahls. On the morning of July 16, she returned to the apartment she had shared with Jablonski to pick up belongings for their daughter. That afternoon she was found dead inside the apartment, beaten, stabbed and strangled. Jablonski was arrested 11 days later and served 12 years in prison for Kimball's murder. He was released in 1990.
During his sentence, Jablonski met his final wife, Carol Spadoni, who had responded to a lonely hearts ad for prisoners. The couple at first became pen pals and, following his release, moved in together. One year later, both Spadoni and her mother, Eva Petersen, were found dead at their home after being murdered by Jablonski.
4. Natalya Pichushkin Married Alexander ‘The Chessboard Killer’ Pichushkin
This Russian serial killer is believed to have killed at least 48 people, and possibly as many as 62, between 1992 and 2006 in Southwest Moscow's Bitsa Park, where a number of the victims' bodies were found. He earned his unique nickname—”The Chessboard Killer”—because it was his goal to kill 64 people, matching the number of victims to the number of squares on a chessboard.
He was caught in June of 2006 and was sentenced to life imprisonment a year later. He claimed that while killing people he felt like God as he decided whether his victims should live or die. “For me, life without murder is like life without food for you,” Pichushkin said after his capture. “I felt like the father of all these people since it was me who opened the door for them to another world.”
While imprisoned, he found an admirer in Natalya Pichushkin, whom he eventually proposed to. Natalya refers to the cold-blooded killer, who suffers from narcissistic personality disorder, by his pet name “Sasha.” She recalls, “Sasha has created such a stir not only in our country but throughout the world.
So, I was curious to know what he really is like. It turned out that he was not so bad as he is shown in media.” The killer himself also revealed, “I proposed to (Natalya). It was spontaneous. She immediately agreed. Maybe if I were free, I would not have paid any attention to her but here she is ideal for me. I have been here since 2008 and I need her.”
3. Kristin Joan Svege Married Tex Watson
Watson played an integral role in the “Manson Family,” led by infamous cult leader Charles Manson. On August 9, 1969, Watson and other Manson followers murdered pregnant actress Sharon Tate and four of her friends at Tate’s Los Angeles home. The next night, Watson participated in the murders of Leno and Rosemary LaBianca. He was found guilty of murder and imprisoned in 1971.
In 1979, Watson married Kristin Joan Svege. Through conjugal visits, the couple conceived four children. He was ordained as a minister in 1981 and began operating a prison ministry— “Abounding Love Ministries” at Mule Creek State Prison in Northern California—with his wife. Visits for life prisoners were banned in October 1996 and, after 24 years of marriage, Svege divorced Watson after meeting another man in 2003, though Svege and Watson have remained friends.
Tens of thousands of people have submitted petition signatures and several thousand letters opposing Watson's parole, although this has not deterred him from attempting to receive parole. He has been denied 17 times and remains behind bars for a life sentence.
2. Carol Anne Boone Married Ted Bundy
Bundy confessed to 36 killings of young women across several states in the 1970s, but experts believe that the final tally may be closer to 100 or more. He often lured his victims into his car by pretending to be injured and asking for their help.
In 1975, Bundy was arrested in the kidnapping of Carol DaRonch, one of the few women to escape his clutches.
He was convicted and received a one-to-15-year jail sentence. Bundy managed to escape prison twice in 1977. After his second escape, he made his way to Tallahassee, Florida where he broke into the Chi Omega sorority house at Florida State University.
He attacked four female residents, killing two of them. He was caught a month later, convicted and received two life sentences for these murders.
Bundy’s good looks, charm and intelligence made him something of a celebrity during his trial. For nine years Bundy fought to avoid the death penalty by offering information on some of unsolved murders. But in 1989, he was executed in Florida’s “Old Sparky” electric chair.
In February 1980, Bundy married Carole Ann Boone, a mother-of-two whom he’d known for six years prior and dated before his initial arrest. The couple had met when they both worked at the Department of Emergency Services in Olympia, Washington. Boone said of their first meeting: “I liked Ted immediately. We hit it off well. He certainly was more dignified and restrained than the more certifiable types around the office.”
Bundy proposed and she accepted in the presence of the judge, making the marriage legitimate in Florida. Boone gave birth to a daughter, Rose, in 1982, and she named Bundy as the father. For the most part, Boone was supportive of her husband, despite his heinous actions. However, once Boone eventually came to terms with Bundy’s guilt, she divorced him, three years prior to his execution. She stopped visiting him during the last two years of his imprisonment.
1. Afton Elaine Burton Married Charles Manson
Charles Manson was an infamous American cult leader whose followers carried out as many as 35 notorious murders in the late 1960s, including the murder of actress Sharon Tate. Manson was imprisoned for life (he had initially been handed the death penalty in 1971 but it was later converted to a life sentence) and died in 2017 after spending more than four decades behind bars.
Afton Burton claimed in a 2013 interview that she and Manson were in a relationship—”I'll tell you straight up, Charlie and I are going to get married…Charlie is my husband. Charlie told me to tell you this.”
At the age of 19, she moved from Illinois to California to be near the prison where Manson was incarcerated. She also ran multiple websites aimed at securing his release. She revealed, “I think he’s the most handsome man in the world.”
Recalling the first time she saw Manson, she said, “I just thought he was the cutest thing. He probably asked me ten times if I wanted to get married.” Burton also showed her commitment to the mass murderer by shaving her head in the same fashion as his other female followers.
In November 2014, the 26-year-old woman and 80-year-old Manson obtained a marriage license. However, that license expired in 2015. Allegations were made in February of that year by writer Daniel Simone that Burton primarily intended to marry Manson so she could publicly display his corpse for profit after his death. She refuted these claims, but their marriage never did come to pass before Manson's death.