The 7 Most Notorious Crimes Of Passion

From Phil Hartman to Lorena Bobbitt, these 7 crimes of passions left a mark on the American psyche. 

By Gina Tron

Some of these crimes were so intense they made national headlines. Others involved the tragic loss of talented stars, killed by those close to them. 

1. Lorena Bobbitt

In 1993, Lorena Bobbitt cut off 2.5cm of her husband’s penis. Lorena claimed that her husband, John Wayne Bobbitt, raped her. After cutting off John’s penis, she left the house and threw the dismembered member on the side of a road. She was found not guilty, according to The New York Times, for the attack because of sexual abuse and infidelity she suffered by her husband. John moved on to partake in X-rated films and reality shows. 

2. Dorothy Stratten

20-year-old Playboy model Dorothy Stratten was murdered by her estranged husband, Paul Snider, founder of The Chippendales. She was the Playmate of the Year in 1980 and was tragically killed that same year as she and her husband discussed their divorce. She was shot with a shotgun by Paul, who killed himself afterwards. Dorothy’s body was found raped, and police were unsure if the assault came before or after she died.

3. Amy Fisher and Joey Buttafuco

The Amy Fisher story is one of the most infamous love triangles. Amy, known as the Long Island Lolita, was 17 when she began having an affair with Joey Buttafuoco, an auto body shop owner. Eventually Joey ended the relationship, choosing his wife Mary Jo over Amy. The teen didn’t take it well. On May 19, 1992, Amy knocked on Mary Jo’s door, and told her that Joey was having an affair with her 16-year-old sister. Mary Jo told Amy to leave, and Amy shot her in the face. Amy was sentenced to seven years for first-degree murder attempt. Joey was sentenced to six months for statutory rape. Mary Jo survived the attack but suffered paralysis on one side of her face as well as hearing issues. 

4. Lisa Nowak

In 2007, NASA astronaut Lisa Nowak became enraged when her love interest became involved with another woman. She drove more than 950 miles from Houston to Orlando to meet with love rival Colleen Shipman, who was flying from Houston to her home in the Orlando at the same time. Lisa packed a drilling hammer, a disguise, latex gloves, a BB pistol, plastic bags and a knife for the trip. She told the police she had worn diapers for the murderous trip so that she would not have to stop to use the restroom. That way, she could arrive in time to meet Captain Shipman’s flight at the airport. Lisa later denied wearing diapers. She attacked her rival in a parking lot but police quickly broke it up.  Lisa was charged with the attempted kidnapping, burglary and battery of Colleen Shipman. In the end, Lisa pleaded guilty to reduced charges and received just one year’s probation.

5. Phil Hartman

Phil Hartman was known for his comedic sketches on Saturday Night Live and his voice acting on The Simpsons. His talented life was cut short in 1998 when he was shot and killed by his wife of ten years, Brynn. That night, she got into an argument with Phil over her drug use. While Phil was asleep, Brynn shot him three times and soon after committed suicide. Cocaine use and alcohol was reportedly a factor.  In 1999, Hartman's estate filed a wrongful-death lawsuit against Brynn’s psychiatrist and Pfizer, the manufacturer of the antidepressant that Brynn was on. Pfizer settled.

6. Marvin Gaye

Singer and Motown legend Marvin Gaye was shot and killed by his own father one day short of his 45th birthday. Marvin’s father was a preacher with a knack for drinking. Marvin Sr. allegedly deeply envied his son’s success, and Marvin Jr. harbored unresolved feelings toward his father. After years of international success, Marvin Jr. moved back home in 1983 as he struggled with drug abuse and depression. An argument between father and son escalated into a physical fight one morning. Marvin Sr. used a gun gifted to him by Marvin Jr. and shot him three times in his chest.

7. Jodi Arias

Jodi Arias was convicted of the brutal murder of her ex-boyfriend Travis Alexander, a motivational speaker and insurance salesman,  in 2008. The pair only dated a few months before breaking up. However, they continued a sexual relationship. Travis’ corpse was found in a pool of blood in his shower, four days after he was killed.  He had a gunshot wound to the head, more than two dozen stab wounds and a slit throat. She claimed she killed her ex in self defense.

[Photos of Arias and Bobbitt courtesy of NBC News. Other images courtesy of Getty]

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