This fifth article in a ten part series on American serial killers covers Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, and Maryland.
KANSAS: John Edward Robinson, Sr.
Luring his victims from the internet as early as 1993, John Edward Robinson, Sr. is considered to be the internet’s first serial killer.
From childhood to 1979, John Robinson had been a nuisance to society but his crimes were white collar. It was in the last year of the 70s decade that Robinson took to sexually propositioning his neighbors’ wives and joined a sadomasochism club, working his way up to Slavemaster.
While these acts weren’t criminal in nature, per se, they were a prelude to the horrendous violence Robinson was about to unleash on Kansas.
Lisa Stasi and her four-month-old daughter Tiffany were living in a battered women’s shelter in Kansas City, Kansas, when they met John Robinson in 1985. Robinson promised Lisa a job in Chicago, as well as an apartment and daycare for Tiffany while she worked. Down on her luck, Lisa undoubtedly believed Robinson was a God-send and thought nothing of it when he asked her to sign several blank sheets of stationary.
Just days after their meeting, Robinson contacted his childless brother and sister-in-law and asked if they were interested in adopting an infant girl whose mother had recently committed suicide. The couple eagerly paid the $5,500 “attorney fee” and soon welcome Tiffany, complete with a set of authentic-appearing adoption papers with the forged signatures of two lawyers and a judge, into their home and lives.
Lisa Stasi has never been seen or heard from again.
Leaving her child in the care of her parents, Catherine Clampitt moved from Wichita Falls, Texas, to Kansas City in 1987 in hopes of finding employment and starting over. Her life had been one filled with drugs and alcohol abuse, but she was ready to put it all behind her.
Answering Robinson’s employment ad, Catherine was promised extensive travel opportunities and a new wardrobe. A few days later, Catherine’s brother became concerned when she never returned to home and, in a missing persons report with police, said his last conversation with his sister centered around her new employment with John Robinson.
Catherine has never been seen or heard from again.
The same year Catherine went missing, Robinson’s fraudulent activities caught up with him and he went to prison; first in Kansas, then in Missouri.
While incarcerated in a Missouri prison, Robinson met prison librarian Beverly J. Bonner. When Robinson was released, Beverly left her husband and went to Kansas City to “work” for Robinson. Robinson soon convinced Beverly to have her alimony checks forwarded to his Post Office box.
Beverly was never seen or heard from again.
In 1994, Robinson recruited 19 year-old Paula G. Godfrey of Olathe, Kansas, to work as a sales representative for one of his fraudulent shell corporations. Just a short time into her employment, Paula told friends and family John was sending her out of state for training. A few weeks later, however, when Paula’s parents hadn’t heard from their daughter and Robinson’s answers to their questions seemed rather evasive, they filed a missing person report. Several days later Mr. and Mrs. Godfrey received a typewritten letter from their daughter saying she was okay, thanked Robinson for his employment, and said she no longer wished to have contact with her family. The letter was signed by their daughter and, as such, police closed the missing person case, telling the Godfreys their daughter was of age and free to make her own decisions.
Paula has never been seen or heard from again.
By the end of 1994, Robinson was very active in internet chat rooms. With a username of Slavemaster attached to numerous aliases, Robison met Sheila Dale Faith of Fullerton, California. After Robinson promised Sheila a job and medical care for her wheelchair-bound daughter who suffered from spina bifada, Sheila and daughter Debbie moved to Kansas City. Sheila’s pension checks were forwarded to her new address.
Sheila and Debbie were never seen or heard from again.
Polish immigrant and Indiana resident Izabela Lewicka met Robinson online in 1999. After being offered a job and a bondage relationship, she moved to Kansas City. Soon after her arrival, Izabela signed a 115-item slave contract that gave Robinson almost total control over every aspect of her life, including her bank accounts, before Robinson told a business associate she had been deported after being caught smoking marijuana.
Izabela was never seen or heard from again.
Michigan nurse Suzette Trouten moved to Kansas City after meeting Robinson online in the summer of 1999. Robinson told her they would travel the world together. The 27 year-old’s mother received several letters from her daughter during her supposed travels abroad, although they were all postmarked from Kansas City. When Suzette’s mother contacted Robinson about her daughter, he claimed she had ran off with another man after stealing money from him.
By now, though, Robinson’s name was popping up in too many missing persons reports and law enforcement was weary of the Slavemaster. They finally got the opportunity to search Robinson’s residence and business facilities when, in June 2000, a woman filed a sexual battery and theft complaint against him.
A search of Robinson’s farm near La Cygne, Kansas, uncovered two chemical drums which held the bodies of Izabela and Suzette. Just across the state line in Missouri, a search of a rented storage facility led to the discovery of the bodies of Beverly, Sheila, and Debbie in barrels identical to the ones in Kansas.
In 2002, Robinson was convicted of murdering Suzette Trouten, Isabella Lewicka, and Lisa Stasi, as well as the kidnapping and sale of Stasi’s baby. He received a death sentence for Suzette and Isabella and a life imprisonment sentence for Lisa (because her murder occurred before Kansas reinstated the death penalty). Additionally, he was sentenced to 5 to 20 years for parental interference charges related to Tiffany, 20.5 years for Suzette’s kidnapping, and seven months for theft.
Over in Missouri, Robinson entered a plea agreement with prosecutors to avoid a capital murder conviction on the murder charges of Paula, Catherine, Beverly, Sheila, and Debbie. Robinson was sentenced to five life sentences with possibility of parole.
As of this writing, Robinson is incarcerated with the Kansas Department of Corrections El Dorado Correctional Facility. A date of execution has not been set at this time.
KENTUCKY: DONALD HARVEY
Donald Harvey claimed victims in Kentucky and Ohio. He was actually convicted in Ohio and is now incarcerated in an Ohio prison. But since Kentucky has no other real serial killers to talk about, they get this “Angel of Death.”
Harvey got his start as an Orderly at Marymount Hospital in London, Kentucky, at the age of eighteen. During his ten month employment at Marymount, at least a dozen patients died; later Harvey admitted to detectives he had killed these patients, using a variety of methods, to put them out of their suffering.
The majority of Harvey’s crimes, however, took place during his employment at the Veteran’s Administration Medical Hospital and Drake Memorial Hospital – both in Cincinnati, Ohio. Nicknamed the “Demon of Death” at the latter facility because of his presence during many patient deaths, Harvey’s favorite methods of murder were with cyanide and arsenic; although he wasn’t adverse to shutting off ventilators, suffocation, or overdosing patients with insulin or morphine – just to name a few.
Harvey’s murderous urges weren’t saved solely for ill patients, however. In the early 1980s, he poisoned gay lover Carl Hoeweler to keep the man from cheating on him; he poisoned a female neighbor with whom he’d had an argument by putting arsenic in her pies and she died a week later; and he poisoned Hoeweler’s parents and Mr. Hoeweler died as a result.
Harvey avoided suspicion until the death of John Powell, a patient who had been comatose for several months but had shown recent signs of improvement. Following his sudden death an autopsy was performed during which the medical examiner detected the faint hint of almonds – a tell-tale sign of poisoning.
In 1987, Harvey pled guilty to 12 murders in Kentucky and received eight life sentences plus an additional 20 years. In February 1988, Harvey pled guilty in an Ohio court to three additional murders plus three attempted murders and was sentenced to three life sentences, as well as three additional 7 to 25 years terms.
Just how many patients died at the hands of Donald Harvey will probably never be known, but he claims he murdered 87 patients – most out of sympathy for their ailments, others because he was angry with them. Law enforcement estimates, however, place the possible number of victims between 37 and 57.
As of this writing, Donald Harvey is incarcerated at the Allen Correctional Institute in Lima, Ohio. He will be eligible for parole in April 2043 when he is 91 years old.
LOUISIANA: Derrick Todd Lee
The Bayou State has survived several serial killers. There’s just one problem: few have been caught!
While those unidentified killers make for interesting reading, so does one who was caught: Derrick Todd Lee, The Baton Rouge Serial Killer.
Lee brought to America’s attention that serial killing isn’t just for white men anymore when he began stalking and murdering the women of Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
It began in September 2001 with the murder of Gina Wilson Green, a nurse and office manager, whose body was found on Stanford Avenue near Louisiana State University (LSU).
On January 14, 2002, a man broke into the mobile home of Geralyn DeSoto and attacked her. Geralyn managed to escape the hold of her attacker and rushed to her bedroom where she kept a loaded shotgun. Unfortunately, her attacker took it away from her before killing her with a knife.
Five months later in May 2002, the body of 22 year-old graduate student Charlotte Murray Pace was found by her roommate in their Sharlo Avenue townhouse.
Foreign DNA was recovered from both women and lab testing discovered that the samples belonged to one person. There was a single known killer in both cases.
On July 12, 2002, Pam Kinamore was at her 8338 Briarwood Place home in Baton Rouge when her killer probably knocked on her door and used some excuse to get into her home. Once inside, he assaulted Pam and took her from the home. Four days later, a state highway survey crew discovered Pam’s body below a bridge.
DNA would link Pam’s killer to that of Gina and Charlotte.
On November 21, 2002, 23 year-old Marine Treneisha Dene Colomb disappeared. Three days later, rabbit hunters found her body in a wooded area in St. Landry Parish. Colomb had viciously fought her attacker. DNA would link Treneisha’s murder to the three previous cases.
In each case, a personal piece of property was taken and FBI profilers were certain these items would be found in the serial killers possession. Descriptions of these items were, in an rare occurrence, disclosed to the public along with a profile of the killer which said, among other things, that he was male, extremely strong, and he most likely worked a job where he had limited social interaction and earned a below average to average income.
Thousands of tips came in, but police had still yet to name a suspect when 26 year-old Carrie Lynn Yoder, a LSU doctoral student, went missing from her Dodson Avenue home on March 3, 2003. Ten days later a fisherman discovered her body floating in the Atchafalaya River Basin.
Baton Rouge residents, especially women, were demanding police solve these horrific murders. Despite their best efforts and having the killer’s DNA, they were having no luck catching their man.
Unfortunately three more women would die. Their deaths were never officially linked to the Baton Rouge Serial Killer because DNA was not recovered. However, they were suspected to be related because of the similarity to their disappearances and manner of death.
During the last week of May in 2003, investigators took a swab from a man whose name had previously come from a tipster and who greatly resembled the most recent police sketch provided by witnesses. He was 34 year-old Derrick Todd Lee.
On May 26, 2003, lab results of the DNA samples identified Lee as the killer. A warrant was immediately issued for his arrest but police learned Lee had fled Louisiana but the next day, Lee was apprehended in Atlanta, Georgia.
After Lee’s arrest, the public learned he had a lengthy recorded that stretched all the way back to 1984 when, at the age of 18, he’d been arrested for being a “Peeping Tom.”
On August 8, 2004, Lee was found guilty of murdering Geralyn DeSoto and was sentenced to life in prison with possibility of parole. Two months later on October 14, 2004, Lee was found guilty in the first degree murder of Charlotte Pace and was sentenced to die by lethal injection.
As of this writing, Derrick Todd Lee sits on death row in one of America’s harshest prisons: the Lousiana State Penitentiary in Angola, Louisiana.
MAINE: John Joseph Joubert IV
John Joseph Joubert IV‘s parents divorced when he was six and thereafter his mother forbade him from having any contact with his father. So… I’m thinking we have a vindictive, jealous mother to thank for this serial killer who, although executed in Nebraska, earns the spot as Maine’s only serial killer on record to date.
At the same time his parents were divorcing and his mother was eliminating his father from his life, Joubert began having fantasies about murdering a neighborhood girl. He later told a psychiatrist he had nothing against her, he simply saw her as “someone to kill.” Fortunately, he never acted out on this fantasy.
When Joubert was 8 years-old he joined the Cub Scouts in an effort resolve the problem of being an outcast with his peers. As he went about scouting though, Joubert later said, he began fantasizing about murdering random strangers he met on the streets. Just as with the neighbor girl, Joubert, fortunately, did not act out this violent fantasies.
At the age of eleven, Joubert’s mother moved them to Portland, Maine. It was after this move that Joubert began experimenting with homosexuality – which only caused him to be ostracized even more by his peers in 1974.
Joubert was thirteen when he took the first step to becoming a murderer. It was this year he stabbed a girl with a pencil and said he was sexually stimulated by her cries of pain. The next day he slashed a girl with a razor blade as she rode past him on her bike and experienced the same reaction. Joubert relished the power of bullying and it became his favorite sport, especially directed toward girls and younger children.
When he was 16 years-old, Joubert nearly strangled an eight year old boy but was unsuccessful. Just as it had been with the pencil stabbing and razor blade, Joubert suffered no consequences and was coming to believe he was invincible.
Joubert was 19 years-old when Richard “Ricky” Stetson, 11, went jogging in Portland, Maine, and never came home on August 22, 1982. The next day a motorist spotted his little body lying along I-295. A suspect was arrested but when his teeth failed to match a bite mark on Ricky’s body, he was released and the case grew cold.
During this time, Joubert enlisted with the Air Force and was relocated to Offutt Air Force Base near Omaha, Nebraska.
Danny Joe Eberle was delivering Sunday newspapers when he disappeared in Bellevue, Nebraska, on September 18, 1983. His brother, who was delivering newspapers on a different route at the same time, remembered they had been followed by a white man in a tan car in the days prior to Danny’s disappearance. Three days later Danny’s body was discovered approximately four miles from where he’d delivered his last paper but police had no leads about the man in the tan car or any other viable suspects.
On December 2, 1983, 11 year-old Christopher Paul Walden disappeared from Papillion, Nebraska. Witnesses said they had seen a white man in a tan car approach Christopher. Two days later, the little boy’s body was found eight miles from where he had disappeared.
It was January 11, 1984, when a preschool teacher in the area of the murders spotted a suspicious young man driving slowly through the area. When he noticed she was copying down the numbers from his license plate, he exited the vehicle and threatened her before fleeing the area. When she reported the incident to police, they discovered it was a vehicle being rented by John Joubert while his tan Chevrolet Nova was in the body shop.
Joubert drove a tan car and matched witnesses description, leaving police to believe they’d found their killer. Further investigation found Joubert had left his barracks during the time Christopher disappeared and a search uncovered rope which matched that discovered with Danny’s body.
Confronted with the evidence, Joubert confessed to the murders and on January 12, 1984, he was formally charged by the state of Nebraska in the murders of Danny and Christopher. Initially he entered a not guilty plea but later changed it to guilty and was sentenced to death by a three-judge panel. Later he received a life imprisonment sentence in Maine for Ricky’s murder.
Joubert was executed on July 17, 1996, following years of unsuccessful appeals.
In 1991, Mark Pettit released a book about the crimes of John Joubert titled A Need to Kill. Now out of print, the book can be purchased at Amazon.
MARYLAND: Hattie V. Blackburn Stone
It definitely didn’t take much effort to find a Maryland serial killer, but I’m particularly fond of historical true crimes and, as such, I wanted to report the story of Hattie V. Blackburn Stone of Havre de Grace, Maryland, who in 1929, was charged with the murder of her son.
Are you thinking this is not a serial killer, just another case of filicide? Wrong. Although she never stood trial for them, Hattie is believed to have murdered her husband, her mother-in-law, and another son. Considering she is suspected to have done so with the aid of a couple of lovers who were also her boarders, I think she well qualifies for Maryland’s serial killer spot.
In 1910, Hattie Blackburn married Edward A. Stone. Old newspaper accounts say Hattie worked as a Nurse while Edward worked in nearby Edgewood. The couple had two sons, Edgar Stone and George Stone.
During the 1920s, the Stone family, along with Edward’s parents, moved into a home on Bourbon Street in Havre de Grace. The Stones appeared to be your average God-fearing American family.
And they were – except for one.
Emma Stone, Hattie’s mother-in-law, fell ill in 1925, with stomach pains and nausea being just a few of her symptoms. Reportedly she told her sister-in-law May Barker she had been poisoned, but when Emma died her death went unquestioned.
Two years later in 1927, the Stones eldest son Edgar died of convulsions which were believed to be the result of epilepsy.
Tragedy would strike the Stones again in 1928 when Edward, boarding a train soon after eating a breakfast prepared for him by Hattie, boarded a commuter train for work and, while en route, fell ill and began convulsing. After being rushed to a nearby doctor, 39 year-old Edward Stone, otherwise a healthy man, died. Finding no other possible cause for his death, doctors declared his passing to be because of heart failure.
The widow Hattie had definitely suffered great tragedy and most people in the area looked upon her with much sympathy, but that changed in 1929 when her youngest son, the only surviving child, became ill and suffered many of the same symptoms as her mother-in-law, husband, and older son. When 15 year-old George died, Hattie fell under suspicion – especially considering she had collected life insurance proceeds after each of the deaths.
Unlike the others, an autopsy was performed on young George and uncovered lethal levels of strychnine in his system. The other members of her family were exhumed and autopsied. Unfortunately, too much time had passed and the results were inconclusive with the exception of Edward whose body still had a small trace of the poisoning.
With little evidence in the first three victims, prosecutors charged Hattie with George’s murder only. In addition to the forensic evidence of poisoning, May Barker, Emma Stone’s sister-in-law, served as a star witness with her testimony that Hattie had confessed to murdering her youngest son.
During the trial it came to light Hattie was a woman with secret lovers who may have helped her in murdering the members of her family. The men, identified as James Abert and John Paul Jones, had been boarders in the Stone home in the time just before or during the murders. However, neither man was ever charged with a crime.
After Hattie made nationwide headlines in 1929 for being convicted of the second-degree murder of son George and was sentenced to 18 years in prison, she simply faded away.
There are a rumors Hattie received an early release, that she married the prison warden’s son, and worked as a waitress after serving her sentence but none of things have been confirmed. It’s also said Hattie is buried in an unmarked grave, nearby her family/victims, in Angel Hill Cemetery in Havre de Grace but this too is unconfirmed.
Do you know what happened to Hattie Stone?