Mothers usually act admirably as the nurturing protectors of their family – most of all looking out for the children. Sadly, this motherly protection isn’t always the case in certain criminal situations. For monetary gain, or romantic satisfaction, some moms take the unimaginable step of doing physical harm to their own kids. Names like Diane Downs, Susan Smith and Andrea Yates shock the world as murdering moms.
Perhaps it’s because society still favors women – and more specifically women who are also moms – as being the more caring, supportive and nurturing of the sexes, that it’s so shocking when a woman is convicted for crimes of brutal murder. Here’s few of the most infamously murderous moms of the crime world.
Susan Smith killed both her toddler children, by drowning them in the family car, then lied to the world that a black man had stolen the vehicle along with her kids.
Her own childhood was one of abuse at the hands of her stepfather, Beverly Russell. Smith’s dad committed suicide. It’s clear this hard life must have taken its town on the woman, however the savage nature of her heinous crime against her own children makes an excuse ring conveniently false.
In the TV movie, Small Sacrifices, based on writer Ann Rule’s book, Farrah Fawcett portrayed this notorious child killing mom, Diane Downs, who in 1983 shot her three children to continue on with a romantic affair with Robert Knickerbocker.
Downs has solidly maintained her innocence all along, and in 2008 on her application for parole she said, “Over the years, I have told you and the rest of the world that a man shot me and my children. I have never changed my story.”
Television veteran Mary Tyler Moore (The Dick Van Dyke Show) played the con artist and convicted triple murderess Sante Kines in the TV movie Like Mother, Like Son: The Strange Story of Sante and Kenny Kimes.
Sante joined destructive forces with her son Kenny, and the two are thought to have killed Indian banker Syed Bilal Ahmed, Irene Silverman and David Kazdin. Kines summoned the audacity to perpetrate ID theft, along with murder. She sought to actually pose as Silverman, and take control of her $7.7 million dollar Manhattan mansion.
On June 20, 2001, mother Andrea Yates drowned her five children; Noah, John, Paul, Luke and Mary – in the family bathtub. She then called the police to report her crime, and phoned her husband to tell him that she’d hurt their children.
Yates suffered from severe mental illness for many years. Despite being under the care of several psychiatrists since 1999, Yates kept going in and out of psychotic depressive states. Here’s how Yates explained the crime to her jail psychiatrist, “It was the seventh deadly sin. My children weren’t righteous. They stumbled because I was evil. The way I was raising them, they could never be saved. They were doomed to perish in the fires of hell.”