The 5 All-Time Worst Fathers-to-Be
You’re talking to your pregnant friend, whose partner’s out drinking instead of there with you. “Let’s just say Darren won’t be winning any Father-of-the-Year awards,” she says. She’s right. Mainly because there are no Father-of-the-Year awards, and if there were, the odds are strongly against the nominating committee even hearing about Darren, let alone awarding him one of their medals.
If there were an award for worst father-to-be, however, and the committee did hear about Darren, we trust he’d still win nothing. There are men who do things much worse than Darren’s ever tried. Things like murder. And things like... Well, the following stories are all about murder, actually, but even knowing that, you’re going to be shocked at the specifics of what the following expectant dads did.
A Terrorist Used His Pregnant Girlfriend to Take a Bomb on a Plane
When Anne-Marie Murphy told her boyfriend she was pregnant late in 1986, he broke up with her. Then, worse, he changed his mind and wanted to get back together. In fact, he wanted to marry her. He wanted them to marry in Israel — which was a little strange, since neither of them were from Israel. Murphy was an Irish hotel maid working in London. Nezar al-Hindawi was Jordanian, and while Jordan and Israel share a border, he said he’d have trouble getting an Israeli visa, so she should fly to Tel Aviv ahead of him, alone.
This 32-year-old woman, six months pregnant, was not the sort of person who generally attracts too much scrutiny at airport security. Nevertheless, the check-in employee became suspicious after asking some routine questions about her trip. Murphy said she planned to stay at the Hilton in Bethlehem, but there was no Hilton in Bethlehem. She said she planned to use credit cards to pay for expenses, but in 1986, you couldn’t use British cards in Israel.
The check-in officer now decided on a secondary inspection of Murphy’s one bag. He emptied it, and the bag still felt heavy, suggesting a false compartment, the sort used by smugglers. He opened this compartment and found a package that he first assumed was drugs but turned out to be a bomb. Hindawi had stuck it in there on a timer, planning for it to go off in midair, killing Murphy and almost 400 other passengers.
Hindawi’s family had been from Palestine, he was a member of the Palestine Liberation Organization, and this plot was probably also planned with assistance from Syrian intelligence. Britain sentenced the man to 45 years. Murphy was present at his trial, where she shouted, “You bastard, you! How could you do this to me? I hate you, I hate you, you’re wicked!”
Pure serendipity led the airport to spot the bomb before it could kill all those people. Yes, Murphy’s odd answers aroused suspicion, but that was coincidence because she wasn’t really hiding anything. She’d had no idea the bomb was in there. The baggage also passed through an initial X-ray that spotted nothing. Plus, before the weirdly revealing part of the interrogation, the check-in worker asked Murphy the standard “did you pack your bag yourself” question, and her reply raised no flags. We suppose Murphy answered “yes,” the same way we all automatically do when asked that question. You wouldn’t say “no” if your significant other packed your bag for you. Why, if you say “no,” that could add a needless delay to your check-in.
A Jamestown Colonist Cooked and Ate His Pregnant Wife
A couple years into their founding, the settlement at Jamestown, Virginia, went through a grueling winter they called The Starving Time. Almost 90 percent of the settlers died. Along the way, as food ran short, people turned to increasingly desperate measures. They ate their horses, then snakes, then cats. Then, without even undesirable animals left, they ate their leather and boots. Some ate the blood that fell out of wounded comrades. Some dug up corpses and ate those. Finally came the ultimate form of cannibalism: murdering victims and eating their flesh.
Of the several documented cases of cannibalism, the worst may have been one man who killed and ate his wife. We don’t know the gourmand’s name, but Jamestown President George Percy documented the remaining particulars of the case.
First, the husband murdered her, then he chopped her into pieces. He salted the pieces to preserve them as he made his way through the body. The wife had been pregnant when he killed her, and you may be relieved, or confused, to learn he did not eat the fetus. Apparently, he had to draw the line somewhere. So he cut her open before the butchering process and extracted the fetus, throwing it into a river.
John Smith, among the most famous Jamestown colonists, was no longer in Virginia during this winter of 1609. He’d returned to England. But he learned of the murder, hearing the salted wife described as “powdered,” and here’s how he relayed it in his writings. “One amongst the rest did kill his wife, powdered her, and had eaten part of her before it was known, for which he was executed, as he well deserved; now whether she was better roasted, boiled or carbonado’d” (this word meant barbecued) “I know not, but of such a dish as powdered wife I never heard of.”
A Guy Killed His Girlfriend for the Life Insurance Money, Then Staged an Elaborate Cover-Up
On October 23, 1989, Boston couple Charles and Carol Stuart went to a birthing class together. A few hours later, Charles dialed 911. When they were at a stoplight, he said, some Black guy had entered the car, robbed them and shot them both. Charles, shot in the stomach, was in bad shape but would make it through. Carol, shot in the head, died soon after being rushed to the hospital — but not before doctors delivered a child by Caesarian. This boy, named Christopher, would also die as a result of the shooting, making whoever was responsible a double murderer in the eyes of the law.
Boston police went out in the city in search of someone who fit the description “Black male,” and they managed to find quite a few such people. Charles picked out one of them named Willie Bennett in a police lineup. Meanwhile, a life-insurance company quickly paid out $82,000 on a policy Charles had on Carol. Then a second company announced he’d taken out a separate policy with them, one worth even more money. He may have taken out additional policies as well; investigators weren’t sure.
A couple months after the shooting, Charles’ brother Matthew approached police. They should let Bennett go, he said. The truth was, Charles had done the shooting himself. He’d talked about it with his whole family, saying he didn’t want to be a dad and thought Carol taking time off from work would cost the couple a bunch of money. Charles had taken care to shoot himself nonfatally, while shooting Carol more seriously (though, did not kill her cleanly or instantly).
Matthew’s role in all of this was meeting Charles that night and taking away the gun and Carol’s purse to make it look like a robbery. He threw the gun and purse into a river. When he heard his brother had given him up, Charles now threw himself into a river, and died.
Nero Killed His Wife Then Made a Replacement From Some Guy
As we go slightly further back in history, it becomes harder to nail down details of crimes. We therefore can’t state with certainty how the pregnant Roman empress Poppaea died. We have multiple conflicting accounts — that each say Nero killed her. They vary, though, in how Nero killed her.
Perhaps he kicked her right in her pregnant belly, with great fury. Perhaps he kicked her right in her pregnant belly, but casually. Perhaps he poisoned her to death.
In any event, it seems like he missed her after she died. He sought out another woman who looked Poppaea. Next, he found someone else, a former slave named Sporus, who looked even more like Poppaea. Only problem was, Sporus was a man. This was no great obstacle, however. The two got married anyway, and Nero still insisted that people call Sporus “empress.” Then, to improve the simulation, Nero had Sporus castrated. We don’t imagine Sporus had much say in this matter. Nero just insisted, missing both Poppaea’s face and general feminine form.
Someone Impregnated His Girlfriend So He Could Kill the Child in Revenge
Murder tends to be pretty horrific. Rage, greed, politics and lunch are all bad reasons to kill someone. Still, we think we’ve got an even worse motive with our final story: killing someone solely to inflict suffering on someone else. It’s worse than that, though. Our final father created someone and then killed them solely to inflict suffering on someone else.
In 1996, Ronald Shanabarger’s father died. Ronald and his girlfriend Amy were on a cruise, and he left to go to the funeral, but she wanted to stay on the boat. This was unforgiveable. He’d have to find some way to make her hurt the same way he was hurting.
He could murder her father, but that might be difficult. Her father was a big guy and might defend himself. Or, he could murder her child — that would hit her even harder. The problem here was she didn’t have a child. So, he’d have to give her one. And if they were going to follow the traditional path of childbearing, he’d have to marry her first.
So, that’s what he did. He pressed the relationship forward. He proposed. They wed. They had a child, a boy they named Tyler. Then on June 19, 1999, when Tyler was seven months old, Ronald covered the baby’s head with plastic wrap. He left Tyler for 20 minutes, during which Ron ate a snack and brushed his teeth. Then he came back to the crib, removed the plastic wrap, and left the child facedown, so the death would be called SIDS.
It was ruled SIDS all right — for four days. That was how much time passed before Ronald broke down and went to the local jail and confessed everything. Upon confessing, he asked the officers to shoot him dead, which they did not do. He instead went on trial and was sentenced to 49 years in prison.
We aren’t certain why Ronald picked June 19th to do the deed. But it did ensure Amy would find the body on June 20th. June 20th was Father’s Day.