Murder Most Foul No. 52


Four little girls died in a senseless house fire. But could a mother really commit such an unspeakable crime?

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Four little girls died in a senseless house fire. But could a mother really commit such an unspeakable crime? When firemen arrived at the scene they found Sandi Nieves and her son David covered in soot, still gagging from the poisonous smoke. Then they found David’s sisters dead ont he kitchen floor dressed in their nightshirts in a scene that resembled a pyjama party. The jury at Sandi’s trial sat in stunned silence as her defence lawyer tried to play down her actions, saying that she had tried to commit suicide at the time of the crime and she had been so distraught that she didn’t know what she was doing. Indeed, the key issue was Sandi’s state of mind. The jury were unmoved by her pleas, and Sandi has now joined the other 11 women on California’s DeathRow. But did the jury reach the right decision?

In Florida, meanwhile, former cop Jimmy Duckett also languishes on Death Row, the only former policeman in the state to do so. Duckett has been behind bars since 1987 when he was first confronted by his colleagues for the rape-murder of an 11-year-old girl. Opinion is still sharply divided between those who believed that he has wrongly spent half his adult life in jail, and those who say he was a monster in uniform, using his badge to intimidate and seduce young girls. He was sentenced to death in 1988 and he is now grimly aware that his time is fast running out. For his part, Duckett has always maintained his innnocence, and if DNA tests were to be allowed in his case he might get what he’s wanted all these years – at best his freedom; at worst a new trial. Meanwhile he waits knowing that each tick of the clock brings him closer to execution.

This quarter also boasts a host of British-based cases – from still unsolved slaying of Cheshire credit draper Harry Baker in 1958, to the almost bizarre murder in Wolverhampton of a man nobody knew, to the strange alibi given by the man accused of the strangulation murder of Mrs. Nellie Officer in Kingston-upon-Thames, Surrey.

From Death Row Sandi’s Anguished Plea: "I Never Planned To Kill My Children"
Surrey Killer’s Amazing Confession: "Did I Kill Nellie? I just Don’t Know"
Wife-Killing Horror From Honduras: 40 Years For "The Butcher Of New York"
The Wolverhampton Victim Nobody Knew
The Only Cop On Florida’s Death Row
The Cheshire Sack Murder: Did Liverpool Gangsters Murder Harry Baker?
"The Garbage Can Murderer"
Murder Played A Ukulele
Three Murders From Victorian Calderdale
From Best Friend To Stalker and Killer
Double Killer Uncovered By A Hollywood Horse
European Crime Special: Group Sex Led To murder
Released To Kill Again
Murder In Strangeways
"Murder Will Drive You Crazy"
Murdering Son Leaves No Trace Of Mum
From Mexico: Bomb Flast Horror On April Fool’s
Staying Alive In School

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