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Crime News Snapped

Teen Killers, Black Widows, and More — the Most Shocking Cases Ever Seen on Snapped

Snapped has covered hundreds of cases, but these femme fatals are some of the most notorious.

By Jill Sederstrom

For 20 years, Snapped has captivated viewers with the stories of how seemingly everyday women can become cold-blooded killers. 

How to Watch

Watch Snapped on Oxygen Sundays 6/5c and next day on Peacock. Catch up on the Oxygen App.

Over 33 seasons, the beloved true-crime series has focused on killers — or near or suspected killers — of all ages, races, and backgrounds. The murders may be motivated by jealousy, greed, revenge, or simply a misplaced sense of loyalty, but whatever the pull, these women are willing to risk their freedom and reputation to carry out the sinister acts. 

During its lengthy tenure on television, Snapped has featured hundreds of cases, but some of these femme fatales stand out from the pack due to the sheer brutality of their crimes or the notoriety that followed. 

Before Snapped airs its two-hour 20th anniversary special, premiering Sunday, May 12 at 6/5c on Oxygen, let's look back at nine of the most notorious cases ever covered during Snapped’s 20-year history: 

Pamela Smart

Pamela Smart Ap

Pamela Smart always dreamed of being famous — but the broadcasting hopeful never imagined her time in the spotlight would be linked to a shocking and brutal crime.

The blonde bombshell was just 22 years old and working as a media coordinator at Winnacunnet High School in Hampton, New Hampshire when she convinced her teenage boyfriend, William “Billy” Flynn, to murder her 24-year-old husband, Gregg Smart, according to New Hampshire Magazine.

Smart — whose case was covered in Season 2 of Snapped — met Flynn, then 15 years old, while working at the school and soon started an affair with the teen. He’d later testify that he and his friend Patrick Randall broke into the Smarts' home on May 1, 1990 and killed Gregg in what they hoped would look like a robbery gone wrong. Friends Vance Lattime Jr. and Raymond Fowler waited in a getaway car. 


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Smart always contended that Flynn, who pulled the trigger, had acted on his own in an attempt to win her heart, but she was convicted of being an accomplice to first-degree murder after student Cecelia Pierce recorded damaging conversations with Smart, under the direction of the police, that suggested she orchestrated the murder, according to WMUR.

"If you tell the [expletive] truth, you'll send me to the slammer for the rest of my [expletive] life,” Smart was recorded telling the teen.

The sensational story would later inspire the1995 hit movie To Die For, starring Nicole Kidman.

Today, Smart is serving out a life sentence without the possibility of parole at the Bedford Hills Correctional Facility. While she admits to having an affair with Flynn, Smart still insists she did not help plan her husband’s murder. 

“No one has ever explained any kind of sufficient motive for why I would want to murder my husband when I could have just gotten divorced,” she told Dateline: Secrets Uncovered from behind bars. “My parents lived in a beautiful house right up the street. We had no children and no property or any — there was nothing to lose.”

Smart has made the most of her time in prison and has earned a Master’s in Law, a Master’s in English literature, and was working toward a doctorate in biblical studies, according to the newsmagazine. She also enjoys “praise dancing” in church. 

Flynn and Randall, who were both convicted of second-degree murder, have both been released after serving their sentences. Lattime and Fowler also spent time behind bars for their role in planning the crime, but were paroled in 2005, WMUR reports. 

Margaret Rudin

Margaret Rudin, aka the Black Widow, at MCI Framingham

Once dubbed the “Las Vegas Black Widow,” Margaret Rudin’s case took a surprising turn in 2022 when her murder conviction was vacated

Margaret, whose story was told on Snapped in Season 5, was convicted of murdering her wealthy husband, Ron Rudin, in 2001 after spending years on the run, according to KTNV.

Police at the time believed Margaret had shot Ron to death in his sleep in December 1994. His burned body was found in the desert the next month. Investigators theorized Margaret killed her husband to gain access to his millions as the marriage was falling apart, per The Las Vegas Review Journal.

She was formally indicted in 1997, but by then she had already gone on the run, taking on new identities to keep investigators at bay. Rudin was tracked down in 1999 living in Massachusetts and was arrested. She was convicted three years later and sentenced to serve two life sentences in prison, per KTNV. 

After serving decades behind bars, Rudin’s conviction was vacated in 2022 after a court ruled her defense attorney had provided ineffective counsel. Prosecutors announced later that same year that they did not plan to re-try the case. 

Rudin, who continues to maintain her innocence, told The Las Vegas Review Journal that she was “very grateful.” 

“I’m writing a book and putting all of the information in there,” she said in 2022 of her future plans.

Jodi Arias

jodi arias

Jodi Arias' brutal murder of ex-boyfriend Travis Alexander was so shocking it took two episodes to tell in Season 11 of Snapped. The infamous murder was also revisited in an 120-minute episode covering the latest in the case in Season 26.

The case began in June 2008 after Alexander, a handsome Mormon businessman, was discovered dead in the bathroom of his Mesa, Arizona home. He had been shot, stabbed nearly 30 times, and had his throat slit, according to The Arizona Republic.

Investigators soon turned their attention to Alexander’s ex Jodi Arias, a woman Alexander’s friend Sky Lovingier Hughes described to 20/20 as possessive and “completely obsessed with him.” 

The toxic relationship ended, yet the pair continued to be drawn together and friends say Arias was “stalking” Alexander before his death.

Arias was linked to the brutal crime scene after investigators discovered long brown hairs and her fingerprints, according to PEOPLE. A digital camera that was thrown in the washing machine also had photos of the pair together the day of the murder. 

Arias was arrested and charged with first-degree murder. 

The sensational murder trial that followed garnered so much media attention and public interest it drew comparisons to O.J. Simpson’s 1995 murder trial and has inspired a series of books, movies, and podcasts in its wake. 

Arias took the stand herself for 19 days, claiming that she killed Alexander in self-defense after being trapped in an emotionally and physically abusive relationship. She also described the couple’s sex life in graphic detail. 

Arias was convicted in 2013 and was later sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. 

Today, Arias is serving out her sentence at the Perryville state women’s prison in Arizona, where she works as a library aide, according to PEOPLE. 

Brynn Hartman

Phil Hartman

Actor Phil Hartman was at the top of his game when his wife, Brynn, shot him in the head as he slept at his Encino, California home.

The Saturday Night Live alum was known for his work on The Simpsons, the NBC sitcom NewsRadio and movies like Jingle All the Way and Sgt. Bilko

Phil — an avid sailor and pilot — also loved being a dad to his children Sean, 9, and Birgen, 6, PEOPLE reported.

But by May 1998 there were some obvious cracks in his marriage to Brynn. Friends say the model and aspiring actress was jealous of her husband’s success and resented the amount of time he spent away from home either for work or pursuing his own hobbies, according to ABC News. Brynn also struggled with a cocaine addiction. 

Then, on the early morning hours of May 28,1998, Brynn returned home after a night out and shot her husband as he slept three times, including one bullet to the forehead.

Ron Douglas, Brynn’s ex-boyfriend, would later tell police that although he saw her earlier that night, she returned to his house around 3:45 a.m. to confess to the killing.

“I killed Phil,” he reported her saying, per ABC News. “I don’t know why.”

Douglas went with her back to the house, and after discovering the actor dead, he took the gun and went out in the hallway to call 911. Brynn managed to barricade herself inside the bedroom and shot herself with another gun.

“For me it is one of the most tragic scenes … [Hartman] had actually experienced the American dream that most people don't get to experience,” responding LAPD officer Daniel Carnahan said of finding the two bodies side by side on the bed. “To have that taken away in this fashion seems so contradictory and so out of place and so unfair.”

The couple’s two children — who had been home at the time of the shooting but were not hurt — were raised in the midwest by Brynn’s sister and her husband.

Aileen Wuornos 

Aileen Wuornos

Known as the “Damsel of Death,” female serial killer Aileen Wuornos is believed to have taken the lives of seven men. 

Wuornos — whose story was featured in a special edition of Snapped: Notorious in Season 23 — had a troubled childhood, filled with abandonment, with allegations of rape and violence. By the age of 16, according to Tampa Bay Times, Wuornos dropped out of high school, was regularly using drugs, and was working as a prostitute.

After several years moving across the country, Wuornos settled in Florida, where she continued to support herself with sex work and began dating girlfriend Tyria Moore. 

Moore would later tell investigators, according to court documents, that on Dec. 1, 1989 an intoxicated Wuornos returned to the motel where they were living and said she had shot and killed a man, later identified as Richard Mallory. 

When media reports surfaced a few months later that authorities were searching for two women suspected in a string of murders, Moore panicked and left Wuornos to return to her family in Pennsylvania. She eventually agreed to return to Florida to help authorities catch a taped confession of Wuornos admitting to the killings.

"I will not let you be involved in the picture. You’re not the one,” she told Moore in one recording, according to The Los Angeles Times. “I am the one who did everything. I did it all myself." 

Police suspect she killed seven men who had been clients, often leaving the bullet-ridden bodies in wooded areas.

During her trial for killing Mallory, Wuornos insisted she killed the man in self-defense after he raped her. But a jury didn’t buy her claim and she was convicted of first-degree murder on Jan. 27, 1992 and sentenced to death. She later pleaded no contest to five other deaths. 

The remaining victim’s body was never discovered and she was never formally charged in that case.

Wuornos was executed by lethal injection in 2002, according to ABC News. The next year, her story would play out on the big screen in the critically acclaimed movie Monster. Actress Charlize Theron, who played the troubled killer, took home an Oscar for her performance.

Amy Fisher

Amy Fisher G

Amy Fisher — later nicknamed the “Long Island Lolita”— was just 17 years old when she knocked on her lover’s front door and shot his wife in the head. 

The victim, Mary Jo Buttafuoco, miraculously survived, but the shocking case, profiled in Season 24 of Snapped, would captivate the nation and become an enduring symbol of the ‘90s. 

Fisher began an affair with married father and auto mechanic Joey Buttafuoco after her father brought her into the auto shop to get his car repaired, according to Fox News.

The teen soon became so infatuated with her much-older lover that she decided to get rid of his wife and boldly knocked on the family’s front door in Massapequa, New York on May 19, 1992. When Mary Jo answered, she fired a shot into her head.

Fisher was arrested and charged with attempted murder. She later pleaded guilty to first-degree assault and spent seven years behind bars, PEOPLE reported.

Joey was indicted on 19 counts of statutory rape, sodomy, and endangering the welfare of a child for the underage relationship and later pleaded guilty to one count of statutory rape, according to ABC News. He received a six-month sentence. 

While Mary Jo initially stood by her man, she and Joey divorced in 2003 and she later released a book about the harrowing ordeal. In September 2017, according to PEOPLE, Mary Jo underwent surgery to repair the partial paralysis she suffered in her face as a result of the shooting.

Fisher — now a mom of three — released her own book in 2004 and went on to have a short-lived career in the adult entertainment industry after a sex tape was released. 

Joey, who has since remarried, has also cashed in on his fame by appearing in multiple movies and television shows including Celebrity Boxing and Judge Janine Pirro.

Pam Hupp

Pamela Hupp

Pam Hupp was once the star witness in her friend’s gruesome murder — but she now stands accused of killing her

The complicated case, featured in Season 26 of Snapped, began on Dec. 27, 2011 when Betsy Faria, a Missouri mom recently diagnosed with terminal cancer, was found stabbed to death in her Troy, Missouri home with the knife still lodged in her neck.

Betsy’s best friend, Pamela Hupp, was the last known person to see Betsy alive after driving her home that night. Just four days before the killing, Betsy had changed her life insurance policy to list Hupp as the sole beneficiary. 

When police spoke to Hupp she was quick to point suspicion toward Betsy’s husband, Russ Faria, claiming he had a violent temper and insisting Betsy was afraid of him and was considering leaving the marriage, according to St. Louis Magazine.

Russ insisted he had nothing to do with his wife’s death and had been at a friend’s house all night, something four other alibi witnesses confirmed. 

But Russ was arrested and charged with the murder. As the trial got underway, Hupp served as the prosecution’s star witness, helping to put Russ away for the murder. But three years after he was convicted and sentenced to life in prison, the verdict was overturned and Russ received a new trial. This time, Russ was acquitted in a bench trial.

The case took another strange twist in 2016 when Hupp claimed 33-year-old Louis Gumpenberger attacked her in the driveway of her home, holding her by knife-point and demanding she take him to get “Russ’s money,” an apparent reference to the life insurance money she had collected in Betsy’s death, according to KMOV.

She claimed she ran into her home, grabbed a gun, and shot Gumpenberger — a man who suffered a brain injury years earlier — in self defense. Yet, authorities would later announce that they thought Hupp had actually posed as a Dateline producer, convincing Gumpenberger she’d pay him to re-enact a 911 call for the show before shooting him in cold blood, St. Louis Magazine reported. 

She was hoping the killing would draw suspicion in Betsy’s murder back onto Russ. After being charged with murder in Gumpenberger’s death, Hupp took an Alford plea, which doesn’t admit guilt but acknowledges prosecutors had enough evidence to convict her. 

She’s currently serving out her life sentence at the Chillicothe Correctional Center, according to records from the Missouri Department of Corrections. But her legal troubles don’t end there. Hupp is also now suspected of killing Betsy herself to cash in on the life insurance and is facing pending murder charges.

Hupp’s sensational story served as the backdrop for the popular podcast, The Thing About Pam and the NBC limited series of the same name, starring Renee Zellweger as Hupp. 

Betty Broderick

Betty Broderick Snapped Use Only

When Betty Broderick snuck into the California home belonging to her ex-husband, Dan, and shot him and his new, much younger bride to death as they slept, the shocking case divided the nation. 

While some believed Betty, who was profiled in Season 27 of Snapped,  was nothing more than a cold-blooded killer, others saw the mom of four as a hero of sorts to scorned women everywhere. While waiting to go on trial for the brutal homicides, Betty got scores of fan mail. 

The relationship between Betty and Dan began with so much promise. Betty was just 18 years old when she met Dan, then a senior, while spending the weekend at the University of Notre Dame, according to The Los Angeles Times. The couple eventually married and Betty helped put Dan through medical school and law school.

After years of saving, the couple was finally able to enjoy the fruits of their labor after they moved to southern California and Dan began his career as a successful medical malpractice attorney.

But just as Betty was settling into her life as one of San Diego’s social elite, Dan left her for his much younger secretary Linda Kolkena, according to KFMB-TV

Betty quickly set out for revenge, burning Dan’s clothes in the street, leaving obscene phone messages for the couple, and once even driving her car through the new couple’s front door. 

During the long-drawn out divorce battle, Dan used his legal prowess to often gain the upper hand and engaged in what Betty would call “overt emotional terrorism,” according to The Los Angeles Times.

The feud finally came to a head on Nov. 5, 1989 when Betty stole her daughter’s key to Dan’s home, snuck in, and shot the newlyweds as they slept. Before fleeing, Betty disconnected the phone from the wall so the victims were unable to call for help.

At trial, while prosecutors claimed she was fueled by notions of revenge, Betty said she was pushed over the brink after suffering years of emotional and psychological abuse. 

The first trial ended in a hung jury, but Betty was later convicted of two counts of second-degree murder, per KFMB-TV. She was sentenced to 32 years to life behind bars.

Today, Betty is serving out her sentence at the California Institution for Women. Although she’s appeared before the parole board on several occasions, her requests have always been denied. 

A dramatized version of her story was recently retold in the limited series Dirty John: The Betty Broderick Story.

Candy Montgomery

Candy Montgomery Spd 3015

Suburban housewives Candy Montgomery and Betty Gore first met at a Methodist church service, but their final meeting would prove fatal, according to Texas Monthly.

Candy Montgomery, a mother of two, was growing restless in her own marriage to Pat Montgomery when she approached Betty’s husband, Allan Gore, about starting an affair. Allan initially turned Candy down, but before long, the two were carrying on a secret relationship, agreeing that they would end their arrangement if either got “emotionally involved.” 

Candy didn’t let the relationship interfere with her friendship with Betty and even hosted a baby shower in honor of Betty’s second child. 

But by the summer of 1980, Allan put an end to the secret romance in an effort to focus on his own marriage. Then on June 13, 1980, while Allan was away on business, Betty was found by a neighbor brutally hacked to death with an ax on the laundry room floor.

“It was a vicious set of blows to the body, the face, the arms, the head, the torso. even into the legs,” Dr. Irv Stone, former chief of physical evidence in Dallas, told Snapped

Candy quickly became the prime suspect in the slaying after investigators learned that she had been the last person to see Betty alive. Candy ultimately admitted to killing her friend, but claimed she had killed her in self-defense after she said Betty confronted her about the affair, grabbed an ax, and began to attack her, according to Texas Monthly.

Candy grabbed the ax and struck Betty 41 times, only stopping when she reached “the point of utter exhaustion," she claimed.

After hearing the defense, a jury found Candy not guilty of the murder. 

Today, Candy’s whereabouts are unknown. The Dallas Morning News reported in 2010 that she moved to Georgia and became a certified family counselor. 

Candy’s sensational case recently inspired the miniseries Love & Death, starring Elizabeth Olsen as Candy. Jessica Biel also played the controversial mother in the 2022 limited series Candy.