It's totally normal to find serial killers captivating, right? Surprisingly, the answer is yes. But regardless of what you think about this issue, there are women out there who went out of their way to get romantically involved with serial killers. Some even started families with them.
What is even more surprising is that these women seem to come from all backgrounds.
It's pretty strange that although most of society shunned and considered these criminals to be monsters who had no business living among regular folk, there were women who loved and adored them.
That is why some of the most famous serial killers in history managed to get married even while locked up for their heinous crimes. Maybe the phrase "there's someone for everyone" is absolutely true after all.
Hybristophilia Might Explain Why Some Women Fall For Criminals
Women who marry these criminals might be suffering from hybristophilia, also known as the "Bonnie and Clyde syndrome." Quite simply, this is a bizarre sexual desire based on the knowledge that the partner has committed unbelievable crimes.
Today, we even have women who proudly carry their hybristophilia. Still, experts think that much of this attraction comes with the media spotlight associated with well-known criminals. After all, many television shows romanticized killers who commit heinous crimes.
Our fascination with true crime is real. We don't want to see the horrors these people commit, yet we can't look away.
Time and time again, the media has made these heartless monsters seem like celebrities, which gets them a lot of public attention.
For instance, Ted Bundy's trial was broadcast on television, introducing a dark world of crime entertainment that exists to this day. In fact, he married his "lover" while still on trial, and many other killers also found love despite being found guilty of unspeakable crimes.
Bizarrely, we like to be scared because fear gives us an adrenaline rush, and taking an interest in crime allows us to feel scared without putting ourselves at any risk. No wonder some women fall in love with terrible killers, and here are some of them.
1. Rebecca Sneed And Lyle Menendez
The two brothers, Lyle and Erik Menendez ended up in prison for killing their parents in 1989, a crime they both regretted. Lyle was 21, and his brother was 18 when they shot their parents, Kitty and Jose Menendez, multiple times. By the time they were done, the bodies of their parents were pretty much unrecognizable.
The two brothers came from a wealthy family and actually committed the shocking crime in their Beverly Hills mansion. The murders got a lot of media attention given the unusual nature of this crime, especially after the two brothers decided to go on shopping sprees soon after their crime.
Eventually, they were sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. Nonetheless, their cold-blooded murders did not keep them from attracting devoted fans. For instance, Anna Eriksson, a former Playboy model, fell for Lyle:
"I was watching the lawyers thanking people for all these letters of support Erik got. I thought to myself, 'What about Lyle?'"
Soon enough, she sent him a letter encouraging him to "hang tough." Ultimately, a relationship began, and the two got married in 1996. However, that marriage ended in 2001 after Eriksson found out that Lyle was also writing letters to other women although he was married.
In 2003, Lyle got married to Rebecca Sneed, and she was thrilled by the occasion. Sneed later turned into an attorney, although she was working for a magazine when they got married. The marriage has lasted several years, and Sneed has chosen to remain private, although her husband Lyle gets a lot of media attention.
Lyle admits that he shares a very intimate relationship with Sneed:
"Our interactions tends to be very free of distractions and we probably have more intimate conversations than most married spouses do, who are distracted by life's events."
Lyle admits that the two talk on the phone several times a day, which helps him keep going. However, he is not entitled to conjugal visits since he is serving life without parole.
His brother Erik has been married to Tammi since 1999, and he wrote about their relationship in her book, They Said We'd Never Make It, in 2005.
2. Doreen Lioy And Richard Ramirez
Richard Ramirez killed at least 14 people in a period of about one year. His crime spree happened between 1984 and 1985. During that time, he earned the name "Night Stalker."
Ramirez also raped several women, and many of his crimes involved Satanic rituals. Eventually, he was caught while at a convenience store and was put in prison.
While on death row, Ramirez got many love letters, but Doreen Lioy's persistence stood out among them all. She sent him 75 letters over a period of 11 years, and the two got married in 1996.
Ramirez had suffered abuse at his father's hands, and he also grew up around drugs and violent crimes.
Doreen was drawn to him and described him as funny and charming. Her family, however, had a very different opinion of him and ended up disowning her after she married him.
Ramirez passed away in 2013 after suffering from B-cell lymphoma. However, his relationship with Doreen was very strong, and she would visit him four times every week.
Still, even she admitted that her relationship with Ramirez was strange. In fact, in the years before he died, the two didn't see each other, although there were no reports that they divorced.
3. Carole Ann Boone And Ted Bundy
Most people probably wonder why someone would remain in a relationship with one of the most cold-blooded killers in history, but for Carole Boone, Ted was a shy person who was also dignified and restrained:
"I liked Ted immediately. We hit it off well."
This might be a serious case of hybristophilia, considering that she married him in court while he was being tried for the murder of a 12-year-old. They went on to have a child together.
Bundy proposed to Boone in court, which turned out to be one of the strangest proposals ever. The proposal was actually a marriage since the law stipulated that such a proposal would count as an actual marriage ceremony as long as there were court officers present.
The two had met when they were working together at the Department of Emergency Services in Washington. During the day, the cold-blooded serial killer helped authorities find missing women. However, at night, he was killing them.
Although Carole knew Bundy was a psychotic killer, she wrote him letters and visited him in prison. In fact, some believe that she helped him escape prison in 1977. She often defended his innocence despite the overwhelming evidence against him.
Carole went as far as moving to Florida to defend him in court.
Eventually, Bundy confessed to 30 murders, although it is believed he might have committed as many as 100 murders. Nonetheless, Carole stuck by him, and their daughter, Rose Bundy, was born when Bundy was on Death Row.
Today, nobody knows where Carole and Rose Bundy are.
4. Afton Burton And Charles Manson
Few criminally-inclined cult leaders are as popular as Charles Manson, who had people do heinous crimes at his say-so. Manson did not actually kill anyone, but his charm, charisma, and influence resulted in multiple deaths.
That made him an evil person who had to be put behind bars to pay for his crimes.
In the year 1971, he was found guilty of killing Sharon Tate and six others. For that, he was sentenced to life in prison.
Afton insisted that Manson was completely innocent, and she considered him an environmentalist who was wrongly put in prison. However, the evidence against him was too much to ignore, but Afton was still willing to be his wife.
At only 17, she started writing to him. In the end, she spent all her savings and moved from Illinois to California, and began visiting him.
She admitted that the decision cost him long-time friends who wanted nothing to do with her, which hugely impacted her life.
In the end, the two got a marriage license in 2014. At the time, she was 26, and Manson was 80. He called her a "star."
After his death, she claimed that the marriage was a publicity stunt.
However, her family stood by her even as she married the cult leader, with her father, Phil Burton, saying that he would not allow Charles Manson to ruin their relationship.
Although some claim she married him to get access to his body and use it to make money, others think she fell under Manson's infamous spell like the girls he convinced to commit murders. After all, she once shaved her head and put an "X" on her forehead, which is what other young female Manson followers had done during his trial back in the 70s.
5. Shirlee Joyce Book And Kenneth Bianchi
Kenneth Bianchi left a trail of bodies behind him during an intense killing spree targeting girls between 12 and 28. He earned the name "Hillside Strangler" for killing and leaving the bodies on the hills of Los Angeles.
Shockingly, the murders happened within a four-month period between 1977 and 1978.
Later, it was discovered that Kenneth got help from his cousin, Angelo Buono. Together, they raped, tortured, and killed 10 women.
The police caught Bianchi and soon gave up his cousin, and the court sentenced them to life in prison.
The heinous murders he committed did not stop Shirlee Joyce from seeing him as the ideal husband. They started writing letters to each other in 1986 and got married in 1989.
This was clearly a pure case of hybristophilia as Shirlee had also tried to get Ted Bundy's attention.
Bianchi had no shortage of female attention and had even managed to get a woman to give false testimony in his favor during his trial. The woman even tried to strangle another woman as a way to prove to the courts that the Hillside Strangler was still out there.
Shirlee and Bianchi got married at the Washington State Penitentiary chapel. Shirlee's parents attended the ceremony.
Later, it was reported that she divorced him after finding out he was exchanging letters with other women.
6. Rosalie Martinez And Oscar Ray Bolin
Rosalie shocked many people with her decision to publicly declare her love for Oscar Ray Bolin, a well-known serial killer. Her life seemed perfect since she was married to a successful lawyer from Tampa, with whom they had four daughters at the time.
She confessed that she wanted to "break out" and be put on an "emotional pedestal" rather than being pampered with material things.
The unlikely lovebirds met in 1995. Martinez was working at the public defender's office when she was assigned to Bolin's case.
At the time, he was doing time for kidnapping and rape. However, even after he was found guilty of killing three young women, Martinez remained with him:
"I never, never, ever thought for a second that he was guilty of those three murders."
The two got married over the phone, with a minister present and a photo of Bolin taking his place. Just three days after they got married, Bolin was handed the death sentence.
Clearly, she was with him because she desired a more exciting romance. Still, this might be another case of hybristophilia since she was well aware of the evidence against him in the three murders he was convicted of committing.
She admitted that the wedding was not just a way for them to express their love for each other but also a way to bring attention to Bolin's case.
In the end, Bolin was executed, despite Martinez's relentless attempts to get him acquainted. He was killed through lethal injection in 2016, and she was among the last people to see him before he was put to death.
7. Carol Spadoni And Phillip Jablonski
Although many relationships between serial killers and their spouses don't end well, the marriage between Carol Spadoni and her serial killer husband ended in an especially terrible way. After Carol Spadoni married Jablonkski, she eventually became one of his victims when he killed her while on parole for good behavior.
When Spadoni met Jablonski, he was in prison for murdering his wife. But that did not keep her from pursuing a relationship with him when he put a personal ad in the paper.
After knowing each other for some time, they got married in 1982 in San Quentin Prison. However, after a while, Spadoni considered ending the relationship because the man was "weird." However, she was fearful after learning that Jablonski was about to be released for good behavior.
She imagined that he would hurt her or her mother, whom she was living with.
Jablonski thought he would live with Spadoni after getting his freedom and even had this stuff sent to her home before he was released. However, Spadoni had his things removed from her home. She also got in touch with his parole officer and made him aware of her concerns.
For this reason, Jablonski was not allowed to visit Spadoni's home under any circumstances.
However, he never heeded that warning and went to their home in 1991 and murdered Spadoni and her mother. He shot and stabbed the two before mutilating their bodies after they died. He also raped his mother-in-law after she was dead.
Spadoni's mouth and nose were covered so tightly in duct tape she could not breathe, and a stab wound in her throat is what allowed her to breathe. She had three other stab wounds in her abdomen and many more in her vagina, as well as a bullet wound behind her ear.
Jablonski died in prison in 2019 when he was 73 years old.
8. Christine Kizuka And Angelo Buono Jr.
Angelo Buono Jr. was one of the men responsible for the murders attributed to the Hillside Strangler. His partner in crime was his cousin, Kenneth Bianchi.
Together, they killed at least 10 women, but that didn't stop both of them from finding partners even after they were found guilty of these heinous crimes.
Before she got into a relationship with Buono Jr., she was a 35-year-old mother of three. She got married to Buono in 1986. Although he was excited to take this important step in his life, he was not eligible for conjugal visits due to the nature of his crimes, which involved violence against women.
The ceremony lasted only five minutes, and Kizuka hid it from her family. She had met Buono through her husband, who had been in jail for five months as Buono was doing time for assault using a deadly weapon.
Buono died in 2002 after a "massive heart attack" at the age of 67 in his cell. It is not known what became of Christine Kizuka.
9. Kristin Svege And Charles "Tex" Watson
Charles "Tex" Watson was a member of the Manson Family. He did most of the dirty work for Manson, and he famously proclaimed as they broke into Sharon Tate's house:
"I am the devil. I am here to do the devil's business."
Eventually, he was directly involved in over half a dozen murders. After his arrest and trial, he was convicted of seven first-degree murders and would spend the rest of his life behind bars.
It was while in jail that he began corresponding with Kristin Svege, a fan. A romance started.
Later, he converted to Christianity and established a religious website, "Abounding Love Ministries."
Kristin had no problem marrying Watson, and together, they had four kids during conjugal visits before these meetings were finally ruled out.
However, the pair divorced in 2003. In 2017, he was denied his 17th parole hearing.
Why Women Marry Serial Killers
As you can probably tell, these aren't the only women to get married to serial killers. For instance, Karla Homolka married Paul Bernardo and even helped him rape and murder young girls. Experts call this a case of aggressive hybristophilia, whereby the love interest actually encourages the partner's crimes.
However, nobody can tell for sure what these women sought to achieve by getting married to killers who had committed shocking crimes. Many of these ladies knew exactly what they were getting into and how controversial their decisions to marry these dreadful criminals were.
A study in 2010 found out that on Amazon, reviews about true crime books are mostly by women (70 percent). By comparison, 82 percent of the comments on books about war are by men.
This goes to show that women find crime and criminals quite fascinating for some reason. Of course, this might be because most criminals are males, and most victims are females. These women might be trying to learn how to keep themselves from turning into victims from the survivors of true crimes.
What's The Lesson Here?
The unusual brutality of serial killers is likely so extreme and unimaginable that it leaves an impression that can often turn into fascination.
Naturally, we try to understand things that can't be explained by logic. Often, the line between curiosity and desire is so thin that this fascination turns into emotional attraction, the sort these women probably experienced.
Of course, serial killers often had seemingly normal personalities.
For instance, Ted Bundy was a handsome man with a non-threatening demeanor and would even wear casts to make himself seem vulnerable and approachable. Additionally, many serial killers have the reputation of being quite charming. Many people, including the women who fall in love with them, find it hard to reconcile these character traits with the unbelievable atrocities they were accused of committing.
That helps explain why many of the women involved with these killers believed in their innocence despite the evidence and the men's confessions to the crimes.
It is also possible that these ladies married killers because women have been traditionally attracted to physically aggressive males, such as those who take part in sporting events. There is something about dominant males that charms people, and the ability to kill, unfortunately, is a sign of dominance.
Still, it should be pretty clear that getting involved with a serial killer is generally not a good idea. In addition to the social stigma that comes with this decision, some women have paid for the mistake with their lives while others lost a chance to lead a normal happy life.