February 14th won’t be remembered as Valentine’s Day for the families and friends of these victims. Instead, on this day, these chilling murders took place…
10. The Chilling and Unsolved Valentine’s Day Dance Murders
In 1971, 19-year-old Jesse McBane of Pittsboro and his girlfriend, 20-year-old Patricia Mann, attended a Valentine’s Dance at Watts Hospital in Durham. They both walked back to her dormitory, and she told roommates that she would be back by 1 am. The pair were never seen again.
During a search for her the following day, Mann’s roommates found McBane’s locked car parked at a part of Hillandale Golf Course known as “lovers lane.” They called the Durham Police Department who did not start an investigation as they had been missing for only a few hours, yet her roommates said they knew something was up telling police, “I knew immediately. I just got the sickest feeling in my stomach that something terrible had happened. She was a good girl. She went by the rules.”
Then on February 25th, a man found in the woods nearby what he thought was a mannequin’s leg, when he looked closer he saw the young couple laying dead next to each other. Their hands had been tied behind their backs with thick ropes, and more ropes were stretched tight and knotted around their necks. They had both been tied to a tree, their upper bodies slumped over, side-by-side together. Investigators discovered they had been tortured to death.
The case went cold and still remains unsolved.
9. Olympian Oscar Pistorius shoots his girlfriend through the bathroom door
On Valentine’s Day 2013, South African model Reeva Steenkamp was murdered by her athlete boyfriend Oscar Pistorius, after he mistook her for an intruder hiding in the bathroom. Steenkamp had been dating the South African Olympic and Paralympic runner since November 2012.
During the trial the jury heard that Pistorius had fired four shots through a locked toilet door, hitting Steenkamp, who was inside, three times. Prosecutor Gerrie Nel claimed that Pistorius had put on his prosthetic legs, walked across his bedroom to the bathroom, and shot Steenkamp with intent. Pistorius said that he had thought Steenkamp was in the bed, and that the person in the toilet was an intruder. Witnesses reported they heard shots fired, a woman screaming and then further shots fired.
Pistorius was sentenced to a maximum of five years in prison for culpable homicide which in South African criminal law is the negligent unlawful killing of another – the equivalent of the English and US manslaughter.
8. Was Al Capone behind the St Valentine’s Day Massacre?
During the Prohibition Era on Valentine’s Day 1929, seven mob associates of the North Side Irish gang, which was led by Bugs Moran, were murdered in the brutal ‘St Valentine’s Day Massacre.
The seven men had been lined up against a wall inside a garage at 2122 North Clark Street, in the Lincoln Park neighborhood of Chicago’s North Side. They were then shot by four men using Thompson submachine guns (“Tommy Guns”), two of men had been dressed as uniformed policemen witnesses claimed.
When the real Chicago police officers arrived at the scene, one victim, Frank Gusenberg was still alive. Gusenberg was rushed to hospital after sustaining fourteen bullet wounds, he was asked by the police who shot him, to which he replied, “No one shot me.” He died three hours later.
People still believe Al Capone was behind the shootings as had gained power over the Chicago outfit at the time, though it was never confirmed.
7. They were “inseparable” in marriage – until he killed her…
Dr. John Hamilton was well respected in Oklahoma City, and often showered his wife, Susan, with gifts, including a Porsche he presented her on their wedding day. They enjoyed exotic vacations during their fourteen years of marriage, with friends and family claiming they were “inseparable.” Shary Coffey, Susan’s best friend, revealed, “I think John was so astounded that he had her … that he had such a wonderful, perfect — almost perfect — wife, in his opinion.”
Then on Valentine’s Day 2001, Dr. Hamilton, made his way home to present his wife with an expensive bouquet of red orchids. To his horror he found her body lying on the bathroom floor in a pool of blood. One of his own ties had been used to strangle her and her head had been so badly smashed parts of the skull were visible. He attempted to save her life by performing CPR, but when the ambulance arrived she was declared dead.
There was no sign of forced entry into the house and nothing had been taken so the police ruled out the option of burglary. Dr. Hamilton also had enemies who were anti-abortion protestors that would protest outside his surgery and even his own home. Investigators also discovered that Dr. Hamilton didn’t quite have the perfect marriage after all – his wife had caught him making private phone calls to a stripper and had confided in friends that she had asked for a divorce. District Attorney Wes Lane later told Primetime, “When he saw that this incredible woman was looking like she was leaving him, he lost it.”
Further investigation discovered that Susan Hamilton’s blood was found on the steering wheel of Dr. Hamilton’s car. His defense was the blood had appeared on the steering wheel after he moved his car to make room for the emergency ambulance. The defense team then hired a blood expert in a bid to plead Hamilton’s innocence, but what he actually revealed was Hamilton’s guilt in that the blood splatters on Hamilton’s body were consistent with a brutal attack and not from administering CPR. The expert said, “Ultimately, you take an oath to tell the truth and that overrides any allegiance I may have to any client.”
Hamilton was convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison.
6. The dismembered body of his wife was found in the garage…
On Valentine’s Day 2007, Stephen Grant reported to the Macomb County Sheriff’s office in Michigan that his wife, Tara Lynn Grant, was missing. After questioning Grant, police discovered five whole days had passed between the time Grant had last seen his wife and when he notified them.
Grant defended himself by explaining this was was not the first time his wife had disappeared. Further more, Grant accused the authorities of harassment and made several TV appearances complaining about his treatment during the search for his missing wife.
Two weeks later authorities were finally able to gain a search warrant for Grant’s home in Washington Township. Here they discovered a portion of his wife’s dismembered body in the garage. He was immediately arrested for murder. Grant then gave a detailed confession explaining how he had strangled his wife before dismembering her body.
The confession was released to the general public, yet Tara’s family agreed the couple’s children would only be able to read their father’s confession when they became adults. The tragedy for the family was not over yet, a year later Stephen’s father, William Allen Grant, devastated by his son’s actions, committed suicide in Capac, Michigan, from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
5. She lured her husband with a Valentine’s promise – but took his life instead…
Mother-of-three Stacey Schoeck lured her fifth husband and adopted father of her children, Richard Schoeck, to an isolated area in Belton Bridge Park in Hall County, GA., with the promise of a romantic Valentine’s Day evening in 2010. Actually what she had planned was for a hit-man, a personal trainer Reginald Coleman nicknamed “Mr Results”, to shoot him dead.
The prosecution alleged Schoeck paid Coleman $10,000 for the hit job, with hopes that she could then cash in her husband’s $500,000 life insurance policy. Schoeck used a fabricated tale that her husband had molested the children as her defense – a claim which was later denied by her children. Schoeck admitted the plot and narrowly missed the death penalty. She has been serving a life sentence with parole since 2012.
4. Tiana Notice made 30 calls to the police before her murder…
On Valentine’s Day 2009, James P. Carter murdered his ex-girlfriend, 25-year-old University of Hartford graduate Tiana Angelique Notice, stabbing her to death on the front steps of her own apartment in Plainville, CT. He was sentenced to serve 60 years in prison in 2012.
A jury later found that two Plainville police officers were negligent in their handling of Tiana Notice’s complaints against Carter. Notice had made over thirty calls to the police complaining that Carter was harassing her with phone calls and emails, yet nothing was followed up. The jury awarded $10 million to Notice’s estate, which is looked after by her father, Alvin Notice. The Tiana Angelique Notice Foundation has since been founded in her name to help the prevention of domestic violence.
3. The Pitchfork Murders still haunt to this day
Charles Walton, a farmer from Lower Quinton, Warwickshire, was found murdered at a farm called The Firs on Valentine’s Day, 1945. The murder scene was quite brutal – Walton had been beaten over the head with his own stick, his neck slashed open with a hook, and a pitchfork either side of his neck, pinning him to the ground. He also had the symbol of a cross cut into his torso.
Locals began to speculate that Walton had been killed as a blood sacrifice or as part of a witch hunt ceremony. Seventy years prior to Walton’s murder another local lady, eighty-year-old Ann Tennant, had been killed with a pitchfork on the grounds that she was a witch. Ann too had been pinned to the ground with a pitchfork and her neck slashed with a hook.
To date, this is still Warwickshire’s longest unsolved murder.
2. He murdered his wife as a “Valentine’s Gift” for his mistress…
Nathan Leuthold, a former missionary who was described by many as a “good person”, killed his wife, Denise Leuthold, on Valentine’s Day, 2013. During the trial, prosecutors argued Nathan’s motive was to kill his wife as a “Valentine’s Day present” for his mistress, 21-year-old Lithuanian student Aina Dobilaite.
Leuthold staged a break-in at his in-laws’ home in Peoria, Illinois, where his wife was staying, yet investigators claimed the scene seemed too neat for a burglary. They also revealed in evidence that Nathan didn’t “act right” when first told about his wife’s murder.
Evidence proved that Nathan had previously searched on the Internet ways to silence a .40-caliber Glock, the same weapon used to shoot his wife. The top prosecutor declared, “Symptomatic of the person we were are here today to see sentenced, he pulls the trigger, blows his wife’s head off and then goes about his affairs.” He was sentenced to eighty years in prison.
1. The fifth-deadliest university shooting in United States history…
On Valentine’s Day 2008, Steven Kazmierczak shot and killed six people, injuring another twenty-one, at The Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, Illinois, before shooting himself. It was the fifth-deadliest university shooting in United States history.
At the Cole Hall Campus at approximately 3:05 p.m, the school was placed on lockdown and students were advised to find a secure location, and take cover. Kazmierczak, who was wearing a black T-shirt with the word “Terrorist” written across the chest over an image of an assault rifle, had three handguns (a 9×19mm Glock 19, a .380 ACP SIG Sauer P232, and a .380 ACP Hi-Point CF380), eight loaded magazines, and a knife. He was also carrying a 12 gauge Remington Sportsman 48 shotgun concealed in a guitar case. He entered a large auditorium-style lecture hall and opened fire into the crowd of students.
Kazmierczak was a former NIU Sociology graduate student. NIU Police Chief Donald Grady described him as “an outstanding student.” Grady further reported Kazmierczak had stopped taking his psychiatric medication making him “somewhat erratic”.