The 10 Most Infamous Murderers Who Married in Prison - Rolling Stone
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The 10 Most Infamous Murderers Who Married in Prison

Charles Manson might soon join Ted Bundy, Richard Ramirez, the Menendez brothers, and other notorious killers in tying the knot while behind bars

Star and Charles Manson

Elaine 'Star' Burton and Charles Manson

Manson Direct/Polaris

When the news got out last week that 80-year-old convicted murderer Charles Manson and Afton Elaine “Star” Burton, the 26-year-old woman who runs his social media sites, have been granted a marriage license by the state of California, it caused a considerable uproar — especially among lonely singles who lamented their own inability to find love while ol’ Charlie somehow got engaged without ever leaving the confines of Corcoran State Prison.

But as the saying goes, it’s not you — it’s them. While killing someone isn’t a recommended way to attract a mate, it certainly does seem to work for some folks. Hybristophilia — the condition of being turned on by someone who commits a violent crime — has often been cited by psychologists as an explanation for why some women (and men) willingly marry jailbirds. If Manson does get hitched while rotting in prison, he certainly won’t be the first convicted murderer to do so.

Susan Atkins (center), escorted by sheriff's deputies to a court appearance in 1970

Susan Atkins, appearing cheerful and wearing a low-cut dress, is escorted by sheriff's deputies to a court appearance, Feb. 4, 1970 in Los Angeles. She and other alleged members of the Charles Manson hippie clan are accused of seven murders, including that of actress Sharon Tate. Ms. Atkins was successful in winning a delay in start of her trial until March. (AP Photo)

AP Photo

Susan Atkins

Manson family member Atkins, a.k.a. Sadie Mae Glutz or "Sexy Sadie," was serving a life sentence for her role in the Tate/LaBianca murders and the killing of Gary Hinman when she married eccentric self-described multi-millionaire Donald Lee Laisure — or Lai$ure, as he preferred it spelled — in a 1981 ceremony at the California Institution for Women in Frontera, California. Atkins had their marriage annulled soon after, when she reportedly learned that he wasn't as rich as he had claimed and that he had been previously married some 35 times. In 1987, she tied the knot again, to Harvard law student James Whitehouse, who was 15 years her junior. They remained together until her death in 2009.

Tex Watson

Tex Watson (front), escorted to a court appearance circa 1971

John Malmin/Los Angeles Times/Polaris

Tex Watson

Manson family member Charles Denton "Tex" Watson beat both Atkins and Manson to the altar, marrying Kristin Joan Svege in 1979 while serving a life sentence for seven counts of first-degree murder pertaining to the Tate/LaBianca slayings. Watson — who converted to Christianity in 1975 and eventually became an ordained minister — fathered four children with Svege before 1996, when the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation banned conjugal visits for lifers. The couple divorced in 2003.

Ted Bundy

28 Jul 1978, Tallahassee, Florida, USA --- Original caption: Chi Omega murder suspect Theodore Bundy walks forward and waves to TV camera as his indictment for the January murders of FSU coeds Lisa Levy and Margaret Bowman is read at the Leon County Jail. Bundy wanted to make a statement to the press but was told a court order forbidding him to speak to the newsmen was still in effect. --- Image by © Bettmann/CORBIS


Ted Bundy

An admitted serial killer, rapist and necrophile, Bundy confessed to 30 homicides, though his victim total may have been much higher. That didn't stop Carole Anne Boone — a twice-divorced mother of two, who'd dated him before his initial arrest — from smuggling cash to Bundy to help fund a 1977 escape from prison, or marrying him in a courtroom in February 1980 during the penalty phase of his trial in Florida. Boone gave birth to a daughter in 1982, and named Bundy as the father.

Richard Ramirez

LOS ANGELES - DECEMBER 12: Serial killer Richard Ramirez aka "The Night Stalker" in his mug shot or booking photo on DECEMBER 12, 1984 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)

Getty Images

Richard Ramirez

Dubbed "The Night Stalker" by the press, Ramirez was sentenced to death in 1989 on charges that included 13 murders, five attempted murders and 11 sexual assaults. Seven years later, he married freelance magazine editor Doreen Lioy, who had begun a correspondence with him shortly after his arrest. "He's kind, he's funny, he's charming," she told CNN in 1997. "I just believe in him completely. In my opinion, there was far more evidence to convict O.J. Simpson, and we all know how that turned out."

Lyle Menendez

09 Mar 1994, Los Angeles, California, USA --- TRIAL OF BROTHERS LYLE & ERIK MENENDEZ, PARRICIDES --- Image by © Ted Soqui/Sygma/Corbis

Ted Soqui/Corbis

Lyle Menendez

Convicted in 1994 along with his brother Erik for the shotgun murders of their wealthy parents, Lyle has been married twice while serving a life sentence in prison — first to former model Anna Erikkson (who divorced him after she found out he was writing to another woman) and then to magazine editor Rebecca Sneed, who has since become an attorney. There may be trouble in paradise between Lyle and Rebecca, however, due to recent tabloid revelations that Menendez is living a "double life" in prison as a gay man.

Erik Menendez

Erik Menendez looks back and smiles at the spectator section during he and his brother Lyle?s murder trial, Aug. 11, 1993 in a Van Nuys courtroom in Los Angeles. The Menendez brothers are accused of murdering their parents in their $4 million Beverly Hills mansion in 1989. The brothers face the death penalty if convicted of first-degree murder. (AP Photo/Nick Ut)

Nick Ut/AP Photo

Erik Menendez

The younger of the two Menendez brothers has enjoyed a comparatively more stable married life while in prison than his older sibling. In 1999, Erik got hitched to pen pal Tammi Saccoman in a Folsom Prison waiting room — "Our wedding cake was a Twinkie," she later recalled — and the couple remain married to this day. Six years later, Tammi self-published a memoir called They Said We'd Never Make It: My Life With Erik Menendez, which would form the basis of a 2010 A&E documentary called Mrs. Menendez.

Kenneth Bianchi (center), escorted by police to a court appearance

Kenneth A. Bianchi, center, is escorted into a hallway from an elevator to a courtroom on Friday, Jan. 20, 1979 on Bellingham, Wash. for arraignment on a stolen property charge. Bianchi is being questioned in the Los Angeles “Hillside Strangler” case. (AP Photo)

AP Photo

Kenneth Bianchi

Arrested in 1979 for his role in the "Hillside Strangler" sex murders that terrorized Los Angeles in the late Seventies, Bianchi convinced one of the female admirers who'd contacted him during his trial to give false testimony on his behalf; she was later arrested and convicted for attempting to strangle a woman to make it seem as if the Hillside Strangler was still at large. In 1989, Bianchi married pen pal Shirlee Joyce Book, who'd reportedly tried to woo Ted Bundy before moving on to Bianchi.

Angelo Buono

30 Oct 1979, Los Angeles, California, USA --- Original caption: 10/30/1979-Los Angeles, CA: "Hillside strangler" suspect Angelo Buono leaves Criminal Courts Building 10/30 after he pleaded innocent at arraignment to a 25-count felony indictment including 10 murders and a slate of sexual offenses. --- Image by © Bettmann/CORBIS


Angelo Buono Jr.

Kenneth Bianchi's cousin and partner in the "Hillside Strangler" killings, Buono caught the eye of Christine Kizuka while she was visiting her husband and the father of her three children, who spent five months in a cell next to Buono at the Los Angeles County Jail while serving an 18-month stint for assault with a deadly weapon. Buono and Kizuka tied the knot at Folsom Prison in 1986, though prison officials emphasized at the time that the horrific nature of Buono's crimes (which included torture and sexual assault) disqualified him from enjoying any conjugal visits with his new bride.

Oscar Ray Bolin Jr.

Oscar Ray Bolin Jr., center, watches as the jurors walk into the courtroom Thursday, April 19, 2012 in Tampa. The jury found 50-year-old Bolin Jr. guilty of second-degree murder. Previous first-degree murder convictions and death sentences in the killing of 25-year-old Natalie Blanche Holley were overturned on appeal, so prosecutors this time went for the lesser charge. While receiving only a life sentence for Holley's murder, Bolin already has death sentences for the 1986 murders of 26-year-old Teri Lynn Matthews and 17-year-old Stephanie Collins. (AP Photo/The Tampa Tribune, Chris Urso, Pool)

Chris Urso/The Tampa Tribune/AP Photo

Oscar Ray Bolin Jr.

"Bolin the Butcher," who is currently on Death Row for the brutal mid-Eighties rapes and murders of three Florida women, scored a major coup of sorts in 1996, when he married (in a telephone ceremony) his erstwhile public defender. Rosalie Martinez, a mother of four and the wife of a prominent attorney when she first met Bolin, lost both her first husband and her position at the public defender's office after jail officials suggested she'd been caught in positions of a more compromising nature in the killer's cell.

Varg Vikernes

This picture taken on April 25, 1994 shows the leader of the black metal band Burzum, neo-nazi sympathizer and convicted murderer Kristian Vikernes, aka Varg, also known as Count Grishnackh. Varg Vikernes, and his wife, have been arrested and taken to custody in the Correze region of France on July 16, 2013. According to French Interior Minister Norwegian national is suspected of planning a massacre. His wife, Marie Cachet, a French national and a member of a shooting club, had recently legally purchased four rifles. AFP PHOTO/ SCANPIX - JOHNNY SYVERSEN (Photo credit should read Johnny Syversen/AFP/Getty Images)

Johnny Syversen/Getty

Varg Vikernes

Vikernes, the influential black metal musician behind one-man band Burzum, married and impregnated his wife Marie Cachet while serving 15 years of a 21-year sentence in a Norwegian prison for the killing of Mayhem guitarist Øsytein "Euronymous" Aarseth and the arson of several architecturally significant churches. Now living in France with their four children, Vikernes and Cachet were arrested in 2013 under suspicion of plotting a terrorist attack together, and the musician was ultimately found guilty in French court of inciting racial hatred against Jews and Muslims.

In This Article: Charles Manson, Ted Bundy

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