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Crime News Snapped

Why Do Women Kill? These Unusual Murder Motives Horrified Investigators

Women turn to murder for all sorts of astonishing reasons, as seen on Snapped.

By Jax Miller

For the past 20 years, Oxygen’s Snapped has drawn audiences in by showing what drives some women to kill. Jilted lovers and money-hungry partners have sometimes fit the bill, though a select few motives over the past 33 seasons still leave many scratching their heads.

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

Greed, jealousy, contentious divorces, and custody battles may be part of many Snapped episodes, but these female killers had stranger, more unusual motives. Before Snapped celebrates its 20th-year anniversary with a 2-hour special airing Sunday, May12 at 6/5c on Oxygen True Crime, check out the most surprising reasons women kill.

Fetal/Baby Abduction

There have been a handful of Snapped episodes in which women murdered to steal an infant. In Season 7, Episode 15, Shannon Torrez brutally stabbed Missouri mother Abby Woods and kidnapped her days-old daughter (thankfully, mother and child survived the headline-grabbing attack).

Torrez’s motive? To pass the child off as her own for her family and friends.

In a similar case, as seen on Snapped Season 25, Episode 8, Indiana woman Geraldine Jones posed as a social worker before fatally stabbing Samantha J. Fleming, dousing her with bleach, and hiding her body in a bin, according to ABC Indianapolis affiliate WRTV.

Jones kidnapped the victim’s 3-month-old baby to keep up with a false narrative that she’d been expecting a child of her own. The baby was later found unharmed.

Betty Kirk featured in Snapped season 5 episode 33

Two additional and separate stories featured on Snapped included Kimmi Hardy (Season 32, Episode 22) and Betty Kirk (Season 33, Episode 5), both of whom killed new mothers, kidnapped their infant children, and attempted to pass the babies off as their own.

Criminal Respect

Two interesting Snapped episodes showcased the head-turning lengths some women went to prove themselves worthy in the crime underworld.

In Season 3, Episode 7, Oregon mother and purported anti-gang activist Mary Thompson was convicted of having two teens fatally shoot 18-year-old fellow anti-gang activist Aaron Iturra.

Aaron Iturra Auk 213

It was a bizarre case in which Thompson was a secret “gang leader” posing as an activist to best reach Iturra because Thompson believed Iturra’s testimony against her 16-year-old son, Beau Flynn, could have meant a hefty prison sentence for Flynn.

Thompson — who was previously convicted of selling methamphetamines and became a confidential informant in other drug-dealing cases —  later called Iturra’s mother and said her late son should have “kept his mouth shut.

The wild story was also featured in Oxygen’s An Unexpected Killer.

Fast forward to Snapped Season 29, Episode 18, when southern belle Rebecca Turpin and her husband, John Smith, murdered Turpin’s former husband, Ronald Akins, and Akins’ new wife, Juanita, in 1974. The victims were killed with a shotgun and found in an abandoned construction development in Bibb County, Georgia.

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By then, Smith and Turpin had changed their names to Tony and Becky Machetti to sound more Italian, according to The Macon Telegraph.


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Among other reasons — including standing to gain $53,000 from Akins’ death – Becky Machetti was “infatuated” with Mafia-style killings and wished to put on the image that she and John were dangerous criminal bosses. Dangerous, they were, but crime bosses, they were not.

Prison Breaks

Of course, it’s well known that some women kill for love, but Snapped Season 7, Episode 12, had one woman kill to help break her husband out of prison.

In August 2005, former prison nurse Jennifer Hyatte opened fire outside the Roane County Courthouse in Kingston, Tennessee, shooting two corrections officers, Wayne “Cotton” Morgan and Larry “Porky” Harris. The officers were loading prisoners into the transport van soon after Jennifer’s career criminal husband, George Hyatte (already serving 35 years in prison), had just pleaded guilty to burglary charges, according to NBC Knoxville affiliate WBIR-TV.

Jennifer drove her car to ambush the guards — killing Morgan and wounding Harris — before George brazenly got into the vehicle and made his escape. A nationwide manhunt ensued, but the married couple was captured the next day at a Columbus, Ohio motel about 400 miles north of the crime scene.

Both Hyattes are currently serving life in prison.


Drugs are not an uncommon motive for murder, especially in the way of drug deals and debts. But only a few Snapped episodes featured women killing amid a drug-fueled frenzy.

Back in Snapped’s debut season, successful toxicologist Kristin Rossum of the San Diego County Medical Examiner’s Office killed her husband with a fatal dose of fentanyl and attempted to stage his death as a suicide, according to court records reviewed by Oxygen.com.

The 2000 death of Gregory de Villers gained quite a bit of media attention, especially because the victim had been covered in rose petals, drawing comparisons to the popular 1999 film American Beauty.

Not long before his death, de Villers discovered Rossum and her boss, Dr. Michael Robertson, were romantically involved. Prosecutors stated Rossum killed de Villers, not just to hide her affair, but to hide her and Robertson’s out-of-control methamphetamine addiction.

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Drug addiction was also cited as the reason Eileen Leone of Egg Harbor Township, New Jersey, beat her boyfriend to death with a fire poker, as highlighted in Season 23, Episode 16. It also factored into why Clara Rector stalked and murdered Missouri pastor Tommy Hope, which can be found in Season 29, Episode 15.

Neighbor Feuds

In one of the most unique cases featured in the sixth season of Snapped, Malaika Griffin fatally shot her neighbor, Jason Patrick Horsley, during a neighborly dispute in Denver, Colorado. Griffin seemingly grew upset when Horsley – a construction worker — left his tools on the sidewalk. Detectives later discovered that Griffin, who was Black, was a fierce racist, as recorded in her journal entries, according to The Denver Post.

“I am so sick and tired of looking at white people,” one of Griffin’s entries stated. “I can’t stand them. I don’t want to be around them. I don’t want them to live. Kill them.”

Griffin’s case gained notoriety after the suspect went on the run, only to be featured a whopping eight times in the series America’s Most Wanted.

In 2005, six years after the murder, authorities found Griffin living as a lab tech in California.

Lonnie Paul Tracey featured on Snapped Episode 3308

More recently, featured in Snapped Season 33, Episode 8, Lennie Paul Tracey was convicted of killing neighbor Tony Davis, the latter gunned down at the doorstep of Tracey’s Santa Clarita, California home. The homicide punctuated an eight-year feud between the Tracey and Davis households, one that included restraining orders and shining floodlights into one another’s homes.

Stolen Identity

Two unforgettable Snapped episodes had women motivated by identity theft, and in both instances, it was sister versus sister.

In Snapped Season 3, Episode 4, Jeen Han recruited two teens to murder her identical twin, Sunny Han, in a murder-for-hire plot that was eventually thwarted by local police.

It was a case that garnered a lot of “good twin, bad twin” press, shedding light on the South Korean sisters with a love-hate relationship that hit a breaking point point when Sunny accused Jeen of stealing her credit cards and reported her to local authorities, according to PEOPLE

Jeen Han was paroled in 2018.

In a separate story, Sarah Mitchell (Snapped Season 30, Episode 14) of Oakland, California, violently murdered her sister, Stevie Allman. Sarah — pretending to be Stevie — showed up at a neighbor’s residence with burn injuries, claiming vengeful drug dealers set fire to her home. In real life, Sarah beat Stevie to death as she slept, dismembered her, hid the body in a freezer, and set their own home ablaze.

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Investigators discovered Sarah — who continued to impersonate her sister for authorities — stole Stevie’s identity to empty the sister’s bank accounts and, according to The San Mateo Daily Journal, collect thousands in sympathy checks.

Spiritual, Supernatural

Only a few Snapped episodes featured motives that could be categorized as spiritual or supernatural, including the Season 6, Episode 15 case of Girly Chew, which also was profiled on Oxygen’s Charmed to Death.

In 1999, the Malaysian-born woman disappeared in New Mexico not long after discovering her estranged husband, Diazien Hossencroft, was a conman.

Chew’s body was never found, but investigators linked her presumed death to Hossencroft and his new girlfriend, Linda Henning. Hossencroft and Henning were deeply entrenched in conspiracy theories involving alleged reptilian aliens and U.F.O activity. Prosecutors argued that Hossencroft convinced Henning that Chew was an alien queen who needed to be vanquished.

Both were ultimately convicted of first-degree murder.

In Snapped Season 25, Episode 7, Sharon Halstead (listed as one of Oxygen’s 10 Most Popular Snapped Episodes) believed her 9-year-old son spoke on God’s behalf. With her sister, Deborah Halstead, Sharon shot a family of four, killing two and injuring two others, including a toddler who is now paralyzed from the chest down, according to The Associated Press.

Purportedly acting on the 9-year-old’s instructions, the Halsteads claimed the victims were possessed by demons.

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In another Snapped episode (Season 32, Episode 25), self-proclaimed Satanists Pazuzu Algarad and Amber Burch were charged with the separate killings of two missing North Carolina men found buried in their yard. Burch was sentenced to 30 to 40 years on murder charges, while Algarad died by suicide before trial.

Pazuzu Algarad Amber Burch featured on snapped episode 3225

Both were heavily into the occult, with reports that they drank one another’s blood. Algarad’s appearance, which included a tattooed face and filed teeth, added to the aesthetic of the couple’s lifestyle that many said could only be described as “evil.”

Catch up on all 33 seasons of Snapped, now available to watch on Oxygen and Peacock.

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