A monumental milestone is upon us as Oxygen's “Snapped” series gears up for its 500th episode. That’s 500 women the show has profiled, giving insight into what makes their homicidal minds tick.
“Snapped” is Oxygen's longest-running original series and one of the most successful true-crime shows ever. Since the show’s debut in 2004, "Snapped" has engaged millions of viewers with in-depth investigations, first-hand interviews, and intimate looks into the minds of female murderers.
The 500th episode, which will air on Oxygen on Sunday, November 22 at 6/5c, will feature the grisly murder of Randy Sheridan, who was shot five times in his small Kansas town. As his murder is investigated, questions about his ex Dana Flynn, an affair with the local pastor, and a heated custody battle come to light.
As we all await this riveting episode, let’s look back at the cases featured in the most-watched “Snapped” episodes of all time.
10. Shannon Torrez
While the Missouri woman at the heart of this episode didn’t succeed in killing anyone, her heinous actions and homicidal intent shocked the nation. Shannon Torrez faked a car breakdown in 2006 so she could steal the 7-day-old baby of Stephenie Ochsenbine, a stranger who lived a few miles away. Torrez, who'd fabricated a pregnancy to family and friends, managed to get into Ochsenbine's home under the guise of needing help with her vehicle, but then turned a gun on the surprised mother and told her she was going to take her newborn daughter.
Ochsenbine tried to fight off the kidnapper, but Torrez choked her, cut her and stabbed her in the back. Then, she tied up Ochsenbine along with her 1-year-old son, who was present during the ordeal. Torrez then left the bleeding mother and her young child for dead and ran off. She was caught five days later after a manhunt that drew national attention.
Thankfully, the baby was unharmed and Ochsenbine survived. She even testified against Torrez at trial. Torrez was sentenced in 2008 to 30 years behind bars after taking an Alford plea to child kidnapping, armed criminal action, and first-degree assault. The Alford plea means she didn’t admit guilt but acknowledged that there was enough evidence for a conviction.
In 2009, “Snapped” ran an episode about her case: episode 15 of season 7.
9. Michelle Michael
Pediatric nurse Michelle “Shelly” Michael caught the eye of therapist James “Jimmy” Michael as they worked together at a West Virginia hospital in 1999. But they were both married, and their affair soon became the talk of the town.
Eventually, they both left their partners and married one another. But, this was a union that soon turned deadly. James died in 2005 when the couple’s house went up in flames. Michelle began collecting the hefty payout of his life insurance policy as investigators examined the therapist’s death. Once they discovered that James had free access to rocuronium, a paralyzing drug, they set their sights on his nurse wife.
It was eventually determined that she had injected him with the drug before setting the house on fire to cover up the murder. She was both having an affair and stood to gain half a million dollars from James’ life insurance policy. Instead she got a life sentence for murder and arson in 2005.
In 2008, “Snapped” ran an episode about her case: episode 15 of season 6.
8. Linda Henning
This "Snapped" episode featured a bizarre mix of jealousy and self-proclaimed aliens. Clothing company owner Linda Henning was obsessed with both men and conspiracies and these interests took a deadly turn when she set her gaze on Diazien Hossencofft. She met the con man at a 1999 seminar led by conspiracy theorist David Icke. Among Icke’s beliefs is that the world is controlled and manipulated by an “unseen” global network of pedophiliac, shape-shifting reptilians. Hossencofft, whose real name was Armand Chavez, told Henning he was a former member of the CIA. According to court documents, he also claimed to be an immortal alien. She fell for him and decided that in order to be together, Hossencofft’s wife Girly Chew Hossencofft needed to be out of the picture. Girly Chew went missing later that year and her body has never been found.
Hossencofft pleaded guilty to planning the murder of Girly Chew in 2002 and he was sentenced to life in prison plus 60 years. Henning was found guilty of first-degree felony murder, kidnapping, conspiracy to commit kidnapping, criminal solicitation, and tampering with evidence the same year. She was sentenced to 73-and-a-half years in prison.
In 2008, “Snapped” aired an episode about this out of this world case: episode 15 of season 6.
7. Nikki Reynolds
While a good number of “Snapped” episodes revolve around women murdering their husbands, this one focused on a Florida teen who murdered her own mother.
Nikki Reynolds was just 17 when she called 911 in 1997 to report, “I just killed my mother.” She had stabbed Billie Jean Reynolds with a kitchen knife 13 times after flying into a rage because her boyfriend had broken up with her.
Nikki was found guilty of second-degree murder in 1999 and a judge sentenced her to 34 years in prison. After an appellate court ruled Nikki’s sentencing guidelines were unconstitutional, she was re-sentenced to 21 years in 2001. She was released on parole in 2015.
In 2009, “Snapped” aired an episode on this case: episode 11 of season 7.
6. Tracie Andrews
The British public was horrified when, in 1996, a bruised and teary-eyed woman named Tracie Andrews begged for help catching her fiancé’s killer. She claimed that a "fat man with staring eyes" attacked Lee Raymond Dean Harvey in front of her during a road rage incident, stabbing him more than 30 times, the BBC reported in 2008.
Of course, the killer was not a random man but Andrews herself. Investigators soon learned of the couple's turbulent and often violent relationship and concluded Andrews was the culprit. She was sentenced to life after being found guilty in 1997. However, she only served 14 years before being released from prison in 2012. She has remarried, British tabloid Daily Mail reported in 2017.
“Snapped” aired an episode on the case in 2010: episode 20 of season 7.
5. Marni Yang
This is a case of romantic rivalry taken to the extreme. Former model Marni Yang viciously killed former Chicago Bear Shaun Gayle’s longtime girlfriend Rhoni Reuter and her unborn child in 2007.
Reuter, seven months pregnant, was found dead on the floor of her apartment in suburban Chicago. She had been shot multiple times at point-blank range and two of those shots were fired right at her stomach area.
While Gayle had been dating Reuter for 18 years, he had been seeing several other women over the years, including Yang, a mother of three. Prosecutors said Yang killed Reuter to eliminate competition. Yang was convicted in 2011 of killing Reuter and her unborn baby. She is currently serving a double life sentence. She has been pushing for a new trial and has maintained her innocence.
“Snapped” aired an episode on the case in 2012: episode 10 of season 9.
4. Leslie Mackool
In a disturbing case of greed, Leslie Mackool killed her own mother for money. In 2003, Mackool’s father Lester Ballard died, leaving Janie Ballard, his wife and Mackool’s mother, the primary beneficiary of his $2.4 million estate, according to court records. Mackool, meanwhile, received the comparatively meager sum of $25,000. When the will was read, Mackool’s husband, Mike Mackool, interpreted it to mean that if Janie died within 30 days of Lester’s death, Leslie would inherit everything. It was around this time that Janie began to express to others her fears that Leslie and Mike would kill her for her money.
Janie was found stabbed to death in her Arkansas home in 2003. Mike was convicted of first-degree murder and theft of property. He was sentenced to 60 years behind bars. Leslie was sentenced to life without parole for her role.
“Snapped” aired an episode on the case in 2008: episode 27 of season 6.
3. Kelly Forbes
A 2007 honeymoon ended horribly after a Long Island man was strangled to death with an electrical cord by his much tinier wife. The media seemed to marvel at the fact that Kelly Forbes, who stood at 5'5'' and weighed 150 pounds, had been accused of strangling her new husband Michael Forbes, a 6'1'' man who weighed 250 pounds. The pair had only been married for two months.
Kelly later admitted strangling her new husband but claimed she did so in self-defense. He had a history of violence and in 1984 pleaded guilty to rape, robbery, and burglary, Newsday reported in 2007. Kelly claimed Michael grabbed her before she strangled him. A judge determined the killing wasn’t justified and Kelly was sentenced to 21 years in 2008.
“Snapped” aired an episode on the case in 2009: episode 17 of season 7.
2. Rebecca Sears
Most love triangles don’t end well, but this one ended in an exceptionally gruesome manner. Rebecca Bowers Sears was having an affair with the husband of neighbor Laverne “Kay” Parsons and she apparently wanted her rival out of the picture.
So, she convinced her 20-year-old son Christopher Bowers to beat Parsons to death with a bat and hammer in 2009. He did so and even tried to stage the scene as a robbery gone bad.
The next night, Bowers shot Sears in the leg to wound her in a staged attack designed to steer police away from the mother-son duo. However, their plot ultimately unraveled.
Both mother and son were sentenced to life behind bars in 2012.
“Snapped” aired an episode on this case in 2013: episode 17 of season 10.
1. Monique Berkley
It’s a case of betrayal and greed on several levels. Monique Berkley was decades younger than her Army reservist husband Paul Berkley, but everyone seemed to support their marriage. Paul’s reserve unit was deployed to Iraq in 2005, which meant that Monique was left to run their Raleigh, North Carolina household despite only being a few years older than her stepchildren.
As Paul was away, his daughter Rebecca began hanging out with two teenage boys named Latwon Johnson and Andrew Canty. Rebecca began dating Johnson and Canty unofficially moved into the Berkley home. Monique, 26, soon began having an affair with the 18-year-old Canty.
During a two-week leave in December 2005, Paul and Monique were walking in a local park when they were ambushed. Monique was shot in the shoulder, and Paul was shot in the back of the head. But, it was all a ploy, engineered by Monique and carried out with the help of both Johnson and Canty in order to get a payout from Paul’s $400,000 life insurance policy. Nobody got money; they all got prison time instead.
Canty, who pulled the trigger, pleaded guilty to first-degree murder in exchange for life in prison without the possibility of parole. Johnson pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and conspiracy to commit first-degree murder receiving a 23-year sentence. Monique was sentenced to life.
“Snapped” aired an episode on this case in 2008: episode 7 of season 6.
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