The 10 Most Infamous Murderers Who Married in Prison
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.
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.
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.
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.
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."
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.
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.
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 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.
"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.
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.