Thursday, May 30, 2013

Lethal Lady Brittany Holberg Asks for New Trial

If you've been watching the Jodi Arias trial, you've heard countless people wonder how such a brutal crime could have been committed by a woman. And while Jodi's crime was savage, she seems downright mild when compared with Brittany Holberg.

Brittany, now a resident of death row in Texas, asked for a new trial this month based on the claim that she didn't receive proper legal counsel at her first one. She'll need a lot of luck--or a brain-dead judge and jury--to wriggle out of her death sentence, though.

Brittany was convicted of robbing and killing an 80-year-old man in his own home. The victim was beaten with a skillet, a steam iron, a hammer, a telephone, and a space heater, then stabbed almost 60 times with weapons including a butcher knife, a paring knife, a grapefruit knife, and a fork. She finally shoved a lamp pole five inches down the victim's throat to stop him from gurgling so much.

Just like Jodi Arias, Brittany claimed she committed the murder "in self defense." But unlike the Jodi Arias jury, Brittany's jury had no problem at all handing down a quick death sentence.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Jodi Arias, Meet Eva Dugan

If Jodi Arias is given the death penalty and executed by the state of Arizona, she would join a very small and select group. Only one woman has ever been executed there, and her story is about as wild as they get.

Eva Dugan was a feisty dame who worked as a cabaret dancer in Alaska during the days of the Klondike Gold Rush. In 1927, after all the excitement died down, Eva moved south to Arizona and took a job as a housekeeper on a chicken ranch. That job didn’t last long, though, and Eva was soon let go for unspecified reasons. Shortly afterward, the ranch owner Andrew Mathis vanished along with his car and his cash box.

Following tips from neighbors, police found that Eva had sold Mathis’s car and tried to sell some of his other possessions as well. She was imprisoned for auto theft, and when Mathis’s body turned up on his ranch nine months later, Eva was tried and convicted of murder. She accepted her death sentence with plenty of spunk, though, telling the jurors, “Well, I’ll die with my boots on and in full health. And that’s more than most of you old coots will be able to boast on.”

While in jail, Eva charged reporters $1.00 per interview and also sold hand-embroidered handkerchiefs so she could afford a fancy coffin. She also made herself a beaded jazz dress to wear to her hanging, but changed her mind at the last minute because she didn’t want the dress to get “mussed.”

After a last meal of oyster stew and crackers, Eva went to the gallows with her head held high—but not for long, because the hangman made an error when calculating the rope length and drop distance, resulting in a botched execution. Very ironic, considering the fact that Eva never lost her head during her trial and incarceration.