Home > Criminal Defense Guide

6 Obscure Criminal Defence Cases

If you find yourself looking for Alberta Criminal Defence Lawyers, you are certainly not alone. Many people need a criminal defender at some point in their lifetime. Some are falsely accused. Other defendants are guilty but try to work within their right to a fair trial.

 Few cases are ever sensationalized. But some hit the public airwaves and develop a following because of their characters, mystery, drama or suspense. Below are six of the most intriguing yet obscure criminal defence cases from around the world.

Papin Sisters Murders of France

 Lea and Christine Papin were two French sisters employed as servants for the Lancelin family in 1926. Although witnesses described the sisters as odd, reclusive and disinterested in anything but each other, they managed to maintain their job with this French family for seven years.

 Despite their lengthy employment, the Papin sisters eventually became embittered with the family. In February 1933, the girls confessed to murdering Mrs. Lancelin and her adult daughter with a hammer. Mr. Lancelin had returned to the home that evening and found his family members' bodies, faces smashed, and eyes gouged from their sockets. He quickly locked the Papin sisters in their bedroom. That is where the police found them later that night, bloody hammer next to them on their bed.

 When separated in prison, Christine became so distressed in missing Lea that she suffered a mental breakdown. She attempted to gouge out her own eyes. During her trial, Christine received a life sentence as the instigator in the murders. Her sister only stayed in prison until 1943. Upon release, Lea went to work in a French hotel under a new name.

British Serial Killer John George Haigh

 Called the "acid bath murderer," John George Haigh murdered six people in the late 1940s. He disposed of their bodies using sulphuric acid but claimed to have drank their blood. Without bodies left behind, he presumed he would be found not guilty. But he eventually led police to the remains of his last victim, a 69-year-old man. He could have used the expert defence representation of an experienced criminal defence lawyer because his bragging only led him straight to the gallows. He was hanged in 1949 after being found guilty.

Robert Berdella, the Butcher of Kansas

 In the 1980s, Kansas resident Robert Berdella tortured six men before murdering them. He then chopped up their bodies and disposed of them in dog food bags. His seventh would-be victim, 22-year-old Christopher Bryson, escaped through Berdella's home window and alerted police. Berdella's own meticulous notetaking about his misadventures eventually helped law enforcement officers and prosecutors prove his guilt.

 Initially, Berdella was only suspected of sexual assault of Bryson. With a better criminal defence lawyer, he may have gotten away with murder. But police executed a search warrant on Berdella's home and found the other victims' wallets with some human remains. This led to his conviction and life imprisonment until his death in 1992.

London Murderer Dennis Nilsen

 In the 1970s and 1980s, 15 London men perished at the hands of a serial killer. These men left bars with Nilsen under the guise of romantic connection at his home. Instead, he strangled or drowned them. After their deaths, each body was bathed, dressed and kept for an extended period of time, during which he maintained a physical relationship with the deceased. Nilsen is still serving a life sentence at HMP Full Sutton Prison in Yorkshire.

Katherine Knight of Australia

 In 2000, Katherine Knight of Australia stabbed her partner John Price to death. After inflicting 37 stab wounds, she skinned him and removed his head. She then cooked body parts to serve as the main course with baked potatoes and other vegetables. Her guests of honour for this meal were none other than Price's own children. Knight had gone so far as to set her table for them, including placement of individually handwritten notes for each of them.

 Her dinner plans did not go as she had hoped. Instead, the police arrived and found John's head in a boiling pot of soup. Knight was in a comatose state after an overdose of pills. She survived and became the first woman in New South Wales to receive a sentence of life imprisonment without parole. She is currently serving her term in Silverwater Correctional Complex of NSW.

The Shoe Fetish Slayer of Salem, Oregon

 In early 1968, foot fetishist Jerry Brudos terrorized Portland, Oregon's women. Four women he targeted vanished altogether, but residents and police eventually located five bodies connected to the Shoe Fetish Slayer. He confessed to all of the murders and held nothing back, when it came to relaying the gory details.

 According to Brudos, he kept his first victim's body for months. He dressed her up to admire her before eventually dumping her in a river. He sawed off one foot before disposing of the body and used that foot to try on heels and take photos. He kept his victims' shoes, bras and undergarments as souvenirs, along with a set of breasts made into a paperweight.