Nicholas Godejohn, 29, has been sentenced to life imprisonment without parole for his role in the 2015 murder of Clauddine “Dee Dee” Blanchard, 48, the mother of his then-girlfriend Gypsy Rose, who is also serving time for her role in the murder.
As documented by the 2017 HBO documentary Mommie Dead and Dearest, Blanchard reportedly struggled with Munchhausen by proxy, a rare mental illness in which a caregiver purposefully makes a child sick in order to gain attention and sympathy. For years, family and friends believed that Gypsy Rose had terminal cancer, even though Gypsy, now 25, claims that Blanchard forced her to remain in a wheelchair and feign illness for much of her childhood. Gypsy also claimed that she was subject to physically abusive behavior by Blanchard, and that she would regularly be threatened with violence if she exposed her mother’s secret.
According to the documentary, as well as an in-depth 2016 BuzzFeed piece on the murder, Gypsy struck up an online correspondence with Godejohn when Gypsy was 18. The two fell in love, engaging in an increasingly violent and sexual correspondence over the course of two years, culminating in an alleged pact to murder Blanchard, who disapproved of the relationship. Blanchard was found stabbed to death in her Missouri home in June 2015.
After Godejohn was apprehended by the police, he soon confessed to the murder, telling police, “I would have never did it if it were not for me and her.” While Gypsy initially shifted much of the blame for the murder on Godejohn (and, to some extent, continues to do so in the documentary), she eventually pled guilty to her role in her mother’s murder, and she is now serving a 10-year sentence for the crime.
During Godejohn’s trial, his lawyers claimed that Gypsy manipulated him into murdering her mother, and that his autism prevented him from realizing the full consequences of his actions. Jurors, however, were unmoved, delivering a guilty verdict in November of last year.