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7 Of The Most Horrific Crimes Involving The Seven Deadly Sins
Mary Ellen Samuels, or “The Green Widow,” earned her nickname from an infamous photograph of her lying on a bed naked, covered with $20,000 in cash.
Gluttony, lust, greed, pride, wrath, sloth and envy — the Seven Deadly Sins go back to the earliest days of Christianity, when they were identified by hermetic monks as behaviors to be overcome (lest they lead to immorality and transgression). They were later codified by Pope Gregory I in 590 CE, and remain part of modern Christian teachings.
They have long captured the popular imagination — most notably in David Fincher’s 1995 film “Seven,” which imagines a self-righteous serial killer picking off victims one by one according to the different vices. Today, one only has to tune in to “Snapped,” airing Sundays at 6/5c on Oxygen, to see them acted out by everyday people.
From the “Snapped” archives, here are seven horrific crimes that embody the Seven Deadly Sins:
Gluttony: Mary Ellen Samuels, “The Green Widow”
Mary Ellen Samuels earned her moniker from an infamous photograph of her lying on a bed naked, covered with $20,000 in cash. She had her estranged husband murdered when it looked like he might cut her off financially, and then she hired someone else to kill the hit man.
After collecting $500,000 from her husband’s estate, she began spending it with a vengeance, buying fur coats, sexy lingerie, high-end clothing and a $50,000 Porsche for her new boyfriend. By the time police caught up with her, she had spent most of the money. She was sentenced to death in 1994, according to the Los Angeles Times, and currently sits on California’s death row.
Lust: Pamela Smart and Billy Flynn
Heavy metal-loving high school teacher Pamela Smart married young, but she quickly tired of her husband, Gregg. She found solace in the arms of one of her students, 15-year-old Billy Flynn. After the two began a sexual relationship, Flynn said, Pamela told him the only way they could continue to be together was if Billy murdered her husband, according to The Washington Post.
In 1990, Flynn shot Gregg in the back of the head, then ransacked the Smart home with two friends to make it look like a robbery. Flynn was sentenced to life in prison, but he was granted parole in 2015, according to New Hampshire’s WMUR. Pamela Smart received a life sentence without the possibility of parole. A request for a hearing to reduce her sentence was denied in May 2019, according to New Hampshire Public Radio.
Greed: Lynn Turner
Georgia-born Lynn Turner liked marrying cops and spending their money. Her first husband, Cobb County Police Officer Glenn Turner, had to take a second job just to pay for her lavish lifestyle. He died in 1995 after suffering flu-like symptoms, resulting in a $150,000 life insurance payout to Lynn, who also received a robust police pension from her dead husband, according to Reader’s Digest.
Within days of his death, she sold their house and moved in with Forsyth County Sheriff's Deputy and firefighter Randy Thompson, later encouraging him to take out a $200,000 life insurance policy. His 2001 death under similar circumstances led to a police investigation, and traces of antifreeze were found in both men.
In 2004, she was found guilty and sentenced to life in prison for Glenn’s death and convicted of Thompson’s murder in 2007, resulting in a second life sentence, with no possibility of parole, according to local newspaper the Statesboro Herald. Lynn committed suicide in prison in 2010, as reported by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Pride: Amy Bosley
Rather than own up to her husband about the financial fraud she had committed at his roofing company, Amy Bosley decided to murder him. On May 17, 2005, Amy called 911 to report that her husband, Bill Bosley, had been shot by an intruder.
When police arrived at the home, it appeared the crime scene had been staged, and they suspected Amy might have had something to do with the slaying. Then, IRS agents showed up at police headquarters, and they were interested in the murder as well.
According to “Snapped,” the IRS had been investigating Bob not only for failure to pay taxes, but also for not reporting business income for years. He owed the government $1.7 million.
Police believed Amy, who was the financial director of the company, had been using the money to fund their extravagant lifestyle and didn’t want to have Bob find out and divorce her and possibly lose custody of their children. On September 24, 2006, Amy pleaded guilty to her husband’s murder in exchange for the minimum sentence of 20 years, according to Fox19.
Wrath: Dixie Shanahan
For years, Dixie Shanahan suffered horrific physical abuse at the hands of her husband, Scott Shanahan, whom she dated in high school in the 1980s. Finally, in 2002, she could take no more, and she fired a shotgun into the back of his head while he slept, later telling their friends and neighbors he had moved away.
Fourteen months later, police found his rotting corpse in a back bedroom of their house. Dixie was found guilty of second-degree murder in 2004 and sentenced to spend at least 35 years in prison. In 2010, however, Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack shortened the mandatory amount of time she must serve to 10 years, according to Radio Iowa. She was granted work release in 2018, according to the Des Moines Register.
Sloth: Carri Standsoverbull
In April 2015, 38-year-old Jeffrey Christopher Hewitt’s charred remains were found on the Crow Indian Reservation in Montana, according to the Great Falls Tribune. He had recently moved to the area from California to live with his girlfriend, Carri Standsoverbull, who had grown up on the reservation. Hewitt was a successful welder, and he soon began paying the bills and taking care of Standsoverbull.
According to Hewitt’s family, their relationship soured after the couple became engaged, and they claimed Standoversbull took Hewitt’s money and bossed him around. Even though Hewitt loved Standsoverbull and wanted to support her, he was thinking of calling off the wedding and moving back to California.
Police would later learn Standsoverbull hosted wild, drunken parties at her apartment. At one of them, she turned on her boyfriend and savagely beat him with a group of male friends. Hewitt died from his injuries, and Carri allegedly had her brothers dispose of his body. Patrick Standsoverbull pleaded guilty to two felony counts of tampering with evidence and one misdemeanor count of assault. He later received the maximum sentence of 20 years in prison. Isaiah Standsoverbull has never been charged with any crimes related to Jeff Hewitt's death.
Carri would later plead guilty to negligent homicide, aggravated assault by accountability and two counts of tampering with evidence, and was sentenced to 40 years in prison, according to the Billings Gazette.
Envy: Shawna Nelson
While married with two children, Shawna Nelson had an affair with Greeley Colorado Police Officer Ignacio Garraus, whom she met through her job as a 911 dispatcher. When Garraus refused to leave his wife, even after Nelson gave birth to his son, she donned a Grim Reaper mask and shot Heather Garraus execution-style outside her work, telling a friend, “If I can’t have him, nobody can,” according to The Denver Post. In 2008, Shawna Nelson was found guilty of murder and sentenced to life in prison without parole, reported the Associated Press.
Tune in to the Season 26 premiere of "Snapped," airing Sunday, Sept.1 at 6/5c on Oxygen.