this day in crime history: november 6, 1982

On this day in 1982, Shirley Allen was arrested for murdering her husband Lloyd. The murder weapon? Poison. Anti-freeze, to be precise. The motive? Lloyd’s life insurance policy.

It seems that old Shirley had lost a previous hubby, John Gregg, under mysterious circumstances in 1978. Unfortunately for Shirley, Mr. Gregg had replaced Shirley as beneficiary on his life insurance policy shortly before he died.

If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. Shirley took another crack at whacking a husband while married to one Joe Sinclair. Joe noticed that his coffee tasted a little off, and went to the police. He elected not to press charges and filed for divorce instead.

For Shirley, third time was the charm. And you can bet she did her homework and checked into Lloyd’s insurance policy before she offed him. Gotta love a woman who learns from her mistakes. But Shirley never got to spend the money. Her daughter saw Shirley putting the antifreeze into Lloyd’s drink and turned her in. An autopsy confirmed that Lloyd Allen had consumed a lethal dose of anti-freeze. Shirley Allen was tried and convicted of murder. She was sentenced to life in prison.

Maybe we shouldn’t judge Shirley Allen too harshly. Her real motive may have been altruistic. Maybe she thought her husband needed anti-freeze in his system. After all, look who he was sleeping with. One. Cold. Bitch.

Murderpedia – Shirley Elizabeth Allen

History Channel: A woman ices her husband with anti-freeze

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this day in crime history: october 19, 1982


On this date in 1982, maverick auto executive John Z. DeLorean was arrested at a hotel near the Los Angeles airport. DeLorean was charged in connection with a $24 million cocaine transaction that he took part in to save his failing company. (Rumors that the $24 million in cocaine were needed to generate the 1.21 gigawatts of electricity it takes to travel through time are, to this day, unconfirmed.) DeLorean maintained that he had been entrapped by an informant working for the FBI. The jury agreed, and Delorean was acquitted (even though his defense team had called no witnesses). His business, DeLorean Motors, wasn’t so fortunate. The British government, which had partnered with DeLorean in the venture, shut it down in November of 1982.

John DeLorean died of a stroke in 2005 at the age of 80.

Further reading:

Wikipedia – John DeLorean

The Citizen, Auburn, NY (October 20, 1982) – DeLorean faces cocaine charges

this day in crime history: september 29, 1982

On this date in 1982, 12 year old Mary Kellerman of Elk Grove Village, IL took an Extra-Strength Tylenol capsule for a sore throat and runny nose.  Shortly after taking the capsule, she was found unconscious on the bathroom floor.  She was rushed to the hospital where she was pronounced dead.

That same day, 27 year old Adam Janus was rushed to the hospital after losing consciousness in his Chicago-area home.  Attempts to resuscitate him were unsuccessful.  He died shortly after arriving at the hospital.  A heart attack was suspected as the cause of death.  That evening, Janus’s family gathered at his home to mourn.  His brother and sister-in-law, both suffering from headaches, each took Extra-Strength Tylenol from a bottle they had found on the kitchen counter.  Both soon collapsed on the floor.  An ambulance was called and they were rushed to the hospital where they both died.

The sudden deaths of three family members led investigators to focus on poisoning as the cause of death.  Toxicology tests eventually showed that all three, as well as Mary Kellerman, had ingested large amounts of cyanide.  The Extra-Strength Tylenol was eventually identified as the source of the poison.  The public was alerted to the danger and a massive recall was instated by Johnson & Johnson (Tylenol’s manufacturer), but three more people in the Chicago-area had died by this time.  The other victims were Mary Reiner, Paula Prince, and Mary McFarland.

As the investigation continued, it became apparent that the five bottles that had caused the deaths (as well as three others that were discovered during the recall) were tampered with in stores, as all had not been manufactured in the same plant.  All of the poisoned capsules were found in the Chicago area.  Several suspects emerged, including a man who attempted to extort $1 million from Johnson & Johnson, but there was insufficient evidence to link them to the crime.

In recent years the FBI has shown renewed interest in James Lewis, the man who was convicted in the $1 million extortion attempt.  In January 2009, they searched his home in Massachusetts and took DNA samples from him and his wife.

In May 2011, the investigation began to focus on Ted Kaczynski, the Unabomber. Kaczynski’s early crimes took place in the Chicago area, and his parents owned a home there at the time. The investigation remains open.

Further reading:

Crime Museum – Chicago Tylenol Murders

The Eighties Club – The Tylenol Murders

Wikipedia – Chicago Tylenol murders

this day in crime history: january 28, 1982

On this date in 1982, US Army Brigadier General James Dozier was rescued by Italian police. Dozier, who had been kidnapped by Italian Red Brigades terrorists 42 days earlier, was being held in an apartment in the northern Italian city of Padua. After determining the General’s location, the Italian police sent in the NOCS, a special operations unit trained in hostage rescue. A bulldozer was started near the building to cover the noise of the rescuers as they moved into position. A 12-man NOCS team stormed the apartment and overpowered the terrorists without firing a shot, rescuing the General, and taking five of his captors into custody.

Further reading:

Wikipedia – James L. Dozier

Wikipedia – Red Brigades

NY Times – General Dozier Freed in Major Red Brigades Defeat

SpecWarNet – NOCS

this day in crime history: november 6, 1982

On this day in 1982, Shirley Allen was arrested for murdering her husband Lloyd. The murder weapon? Poison. Anti-freeze, to be precise. The motive? Lloyd’s life insurance policy.

It seems that old Shirley had lost a previous hubby, John Gregg, under mysterious circumstances in 1978. Unfortunately for Shirley, Mr. Gregg had replaced Shirley as beneficiary on his life insurance policy shortly before he died.

If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. Shirley took another crack at whacking a husband while married to one Joe Sinclair. Joe noticed that his coffee tasted a little off, and went to the police. He elected not to press charges and filed for divorce instead.

For Shirley, third time was the charm. And you can bet she did her homework and checked into Lloyd’s insurance policy before she offed him. Gotta love a woman who learns from her mistakes. But Shirley never got to spend the money. Her daughter saw Shirley putting the antifreeze into Lloyd’s drink and turned her in. An autopsy confirmed that Lloyd Allen had consumed a lethal dose of anti-freeze. Shirley Allen was tried and convicted of murder. She was sentenced to life in prison.

Maybe we shouldn’t judge Shirley Allen too harshly. Her real motive may have been altruistic. Maybe she thought her husband needed anti-freeze in his system. After all, look who he was sleeping with. One. Cold. Bitch.

Murderpedia – Shirley Elizabeth Allen

History Channel: A woman ices her husband with anti-freeze

this day in crime history: october 19, 1982


On this date in 1982, maverick auto executive John Z. DeLorean was arrested at a hotel near the Los Angeles airport. DeLorean was charged in connection with a $24 million cocaine transaction that he took part in to save his failing company. (Rumors that the $24 million in cocaine were needed to generate the 1.21 gigawatts of electricity it takes to travel through time are, to this day, unconfirmed.) DeLorean maintained that he had been entrapped by an informant working for the FBI. The jury agreed, and Delorean was acquitted (even though his defense team had called no witnesses). His business, DeLorean Motors, wasn’t so fortunate. The British government, which had partnered with DeLorean in the venture, shut it down in November of 1982.

John DeLorean died of a stroke in 2005 at the age of 80.

Further reading:

Wikipedia – John DeLorean

The Citizen, Auburn, NY (October 20, 1982) – DeLorean faces cocaine charges

this day in crime history: september 29, 1982

On this date in 1982, 12 year old Mary Kellerman of Elk Grove Village, IL took an Extra-Strength Tylenol capsule for a sore throat and runny nose.  Shortly after taking the capsule, she was found unconscious on the bathroom floor.  She was rushed to the hospital where she was pronounced dead.

That same day, 27 year old Adam Janus was rushed to the hospital after losing consciousness in his Chicago-area home.  Attempts to resuscitate him were unsuccessful.  He died shortly after arriving at the hospital.  A heart attack was suspected as the cause of death.  That evening, Janus’s family gathered at his home to mourn.  His brother and sister-in-law, both suffering from headaches, each took Extra-Strength Tylenol from a bottle they had found on the kitchen counter.  Both soon collapsed on the floor.  An ambulance was called and they were rushed to the hospital where they both died.

The sudden deaths of three family members led investigators to focus on poisoning as the cause of death.  Toxicology tests eventually showed that all three, as well as Mary Kellerman, had ingested large amounts of cyanide.  The Extra-Strength Tylenol was eventually identified as the source of the poison.  The public was alerted to the danger and a massive recall was instated by Johnson & Johnson (Tylenol’s manufacturer), but three more people in the Chicago-area had died by this time.  The other victims were Mary Reiner, Paula Prince, and Mary McFarland.

As the investigation continued, it became apparent that the five bottles that had caused the deaths (as well as three others that were discovered during the recall) were tampered with in stores, as all had not been manufactured in the same plant.  All of the poisoned capsules were found in the Chicago area.  Several suspects emerged, including a man who attempted to extort $1 million from Johnson & Johnson, but there was insufficient evidence to link them to the crime.

In recent years the FBI has shown renewed interest in James Lewis, the man who was convicted in the $1 million extortion attempt.  In January 2009, they searched his home in Massachusetts and took DNA samples from him and his wife.

In May 2011, the investigation began to focus on Ted Kaczynski, the Unabomber. Kaczynski’s early crimes took place in the Chicago area, and his parents owned a home there at the time. The investigation remains open.

Further reading:

Crime Museum – Chicago Tylenol Murders

The Eighties Club – The Tylenol Murders

Wikipedia – Chicago Tylenol murders