John Murrell Ran A Horrific Underground Railroad Scam
via BrayBree Publishing
Back in the 1800s, a white man named John Murrell hatched an ingenious plan. He would partner up with a black slave, then "steal" the slave and sell him to another slave owner. Then he would "steal" the slave again, and the two of them would repeat this process, splitting the money between them until they'd earned enough to allow the slave to start a new life in the free North. That sounds pretty great, right? Sort of like a charming outlaw version of the Underground Railroad.
The thing is, when it came time for Murrell to split the proceeds with his African American "business partners," he would simply kill them, slice their bodies open, fill them with stones, and chuck them into a river before going off to find himself another unsuspecting black person longing for freedom. This is because John Murrell was one of the evilest tar-blooded motherfuckers who ever lived.
via The Harpeth River: A Biography
Congratulations, John Murrell. You managed to invent a fate worse than slavery.
Murrell continued to eviscerate his way through the South's slave population on a wagon of false hope until he was finally turned over to the authorities and punished for his crimes. Unfortunately, this being the antebellum South, his crimes amounted to nothing more than "property theft."
That's right; the powers-that-be were far more concerned with Murrell committing grand larceny than they were with how he had coldly murdered and disemboweled several human beings. As such, he was charged with "Negro stealing" (again, the 1800s) and sentenced to ten years in the slammer. Once he got out, he spent the rest of his days eking out a meager living as a blacksmith. Good to know he could put that little bump in the road behind him.
Dorothea Puente Poisoned Her Tenants For Their Social Security Checks
Genaro Molina/Sacramento Bee
Sometimes, landlords can be the worst. Like how they're always hounding you for the rent, telling you to keep the noise down, or drugging you to death and burying your corpse in the yard. Admittedly, that last one may only apply to Dorothea Puente, a grandmotherly landlady who in the 1980s ran a boarding house in Sacramento for old folks, alcoholics, and the disabled -- all of whom she killed in order to get her hands on their cash.
Not your grandmother's grandmother.