Women who love murderers too much

William Durrant

William Durrant

What women love is a bad boy. A real bad boy. Who can be more of a bad boy than someone on trial for murder? For some god-awful reason, women always love these guys; just look at the Menendez brothers, Ted Bundy and Richard Ramirez (the Night Stalker), who all had female admirers. Our new favorite alleged wife killer, Scott Peterson, has been deluged with mail, gifts, telephone calls and pornographic photos, too.

It’s nothing new. The first noted murderer groupie was the Sweet Pea Girl during the trial of William Durrant, one of America’s first serial killers. In 1895, the Sweet Pea Girl would attend each morning with a fresh bouquet of sweet-pea flowers (thus the nickname). At one point, the killer Durrant even wore a sweet-pea flower in his lapel. Although the Sweet Pea Girl actually was married (her behavior did cause a rift in her marriage), each day people would wait to see her arrival at court. One reporter noted her melodramatic poses and gestures throughout the trial. Obviously, the Sweet Pea Girl craved attention. Sadly, though, the Sweet Pea Girl tried to visit Durrant in his cell. He flatly refused. Ah, unrequited murderer love.

Ted Bundy

Everyone’s favorite law student turned serial killer, Bundy, also had a faithful group of adoring female followers known as “Ted Groupies.” (He was much dreamier than that horrible looking Richard Speck. And a law student even!) They would sit in the row behind Bundy and giggle when he flashed that brilliant smile of his. Bundy, by the way, would have sex with his dead victims numerous times after brutally killing them.

For those about to rock, we salute you. Yes, everyone’s beloved AC/DC fan, Ramirez, drew groupies with his dark, brooding looks. An avowed Satanist, he was known as the “Death Row Romeo,” who had a juror fall in love with him even after she helped to convict him. In 1996, Ramirez married one of his groupies, a 41-year-old magazine editor who wrote more than 75 letters to him before she was allowed to see him in prison. Ramirez once was quoted as saying, “I love to kill people. I love watching them die.”

Even jolly old John Wayne Gacy Jr., who not only raped but also killed 33 young boys, received love letters from women throwing themselves at the former children’s-birthday-party clown. Gacy ended up having a “committed” relationship with a delusional woman who was in denial about his heinous crimes, even as the rotund man sat on death row.

Why do chicks dig these guys? Hell, we live in a celebrity-obsessed nation. People are attracted by the notoriety and the fame of these tabloid superstars and crave some of that attention.

According to Sheila Isenberg in her book Women Who Love Men Who Kill, control over the relationship is another factor for groupies of murderers. When their man is locked up behind bars, they get to decide when to visit and accept phone calls, and they get to be their dream man’s link to the outside world. Along with that is the aspect of being completely delusional. They think they’re in love, but it’s more of a thing out of supermarket romance novels, hearkening back to medieval days. There is usually no sex and no real intimacy, just romance, passion and intensity and a hell of a lot of attention. Put all that in the mix with, perhaps, a dysfunctional background via family or marriage ("Ted Bundy wouldn’t treat me that way!"), and you’ve got yourself a recipe for jailhouse romance of the most murderous kind.