January 13 – What happened today?


Michel Bellen

1946Michel Bellenalso known as the Wurger van Linkeroever, was a Belgian murderer regarded as the first serial killer in Flanders.  In August 1964, he committed his first known crime when he raped a woman after chasing her from a supermarket in Linkeroever. The woman was able to escape. After this first rape, Bellen would eventually commit three murders. The first murder happened in December 1964. After the rape of a 21-year-old nurse, he strangled her in an alley with a piece of barbed wire. A month later, in 1965, he raped and murdered a 37-year-old nurse.  He was sentenced in 1966 by the Assize Court to the death penalty which was later converted to life. However, in 1982 he was released on parole. After four months, however, Bellen murdered a student in her flat room in Leuven. He was imprisoned again after his conviction in March 1984.  From 1989 to 1994 he corresponded with artist Danny Devos, which resulted in a number of art projects and performances. Bellen died of heart failure in a psychiatric institution in Bierbeek on the night of 10 June 2020 at the age of 74.

1961Jeremy Bamberborn Jeremy Paul Marsham on 13 January 1961, is a British convicted mass murderer. He was born in London and was adopted by Nevill and June Bamber when he was six months old. Prior to the murders, he had been working on the family farm and living in a cottage in nearby Goldhanger, which was owned by his father.  In August 1985, he brutally killed his parents, Nevill and June Bamber, his sister, and his twin nephews at their White House Farm estate in Essex, England. The scene had been made to look like a murder-suicide, with his sister Sheila Caffell, who had been diagnosed with schizophrenia, initially thought to have carried out the killings before turning the gun on herself.  Bamber was found guilty of the murders and is currently serving a life sentence in the United Kingdom with a whole life tariff, meaning that he has no possibility of parole. He has repeatedly applied unsuccessfully to have his conviction overturned or his whole life tariff removed; his extended family remains convinced of his guilt. As of 2023, he has spent 38 years behind bars, making him one of the longest-serving prisoners in the U.K.


Wyatt Earp

1928Earle Nelson – commonly referred to as the Gorilla Man, the Gorilla Killer, and the Dark Strangler in the media, was an American serial killer, rapist, and necrophile. Regarded as the first known serial sex murderer of the twentieth century, Nelson, born and raised in San Francisco, California, exhibited peculiar behavior from an early age, exacerbated by head injuries sustained in a bicycle accident at age 10. Following minor offenses in his early adulthood, he faced institutionalization in Napa for a period.  Nelson embarked on a spree of rapes and murders in February 1926, initially focusing on West Coast cities such as San Francisco and Portland, Oregon. Progressing eastward in late 1926, he continued his criminal activities in various Midwestern and East Coast cities before venturing into Canada. In Winnipeg, Manitoba, he raped and murdered a teenage girl, leading to his arrest by Canadian authorities. Convicted for his final murder, that of Emily Patterson, Nelson faced the death penalty and was executed by hanging in Winnipeg in 1928.  Employing a distinct modus operandi, Nelson often targeted middle-aged landladies, frequently identified through “room for rent” advertisements. Posing as a mild-mannered and charming Christian drifter, he used the pretext of renting a room to make contact before launching his attacks. Strangulation was the common method of murder, with posthumous rape in many instances. Notably, one of his victims, 13-year-old Lola Cowan, experienced significant mutilation after death.  While Nelson’s crime spree is traditionally believed to encompass 22 murders, recent research suggests the likelihood of a higher number. His notoriety earned him the status of the third most prolific serial killer in American history. Alfred Hitchcock drew inspiration from Nelson’s story for his 1943 film “Shadow of a Doubt.”

1929Wyatt Earpborn Wyatt Berry Stapp Earp on March 19, 1848, was a renowned lawman and gambler in the American West. He was born in Monmouth, Illinois, and made a name for himself in places like Dodge City, Deadwood, and Tombstone, where he helped tame the wild cowboy culture.  Earp is perhaps best known for his involvement in the gunfight at the O.K. Corral, where he, his brothers, and Doc Holliday faced off against the outlaw Cochise County Cowboys. This event has been immortalized in various films and books, establishing Earp as a legend of the Old West.  In addition to his law enforcement duties, Earp was also a businessman, saloon owner, and reputed gunfighter. He had served as a police officer in Wichita, Kansas, and later in Dodge City, Kansas, during the mid-1870s. After leaving Dodge City, he became a shotgun rider with Wells Fargo.  Despite the many stories and legends surrounding his life, it’s important to note that many of the claims have been exaggerated or are untrue. He passed away on January 13, 1929, in Los Angeles, California, but his legacy as a symbol of the American frontier continues to this day.

1999Robert Eugene Brashersborn on March 13, 1958, in Newport News, Virginia, was an American serial killer and rapist. He was the younger of two living children born to Doulis and Nancy Brashers. When he was young, the family moved to Huntsville, Alabama, where Brashers spent his childhood and youth. He reportedly had no problems with the law during his teenage years, did not use drugs or alcohol, and after graduation, he enlisted in the Army and served in the Navy for several years. In the early 1980s, Brashers resigned from the Army and moved to Louisiana, settling in a house in New Orleans, but by the mid-1980s, he moved again to Fort Myers, Florida. He married in the early 1990s, had a daughter with his wife in 1992 and at some point had adopted two little girls.  Brashers committed at least three murders between 1990 and 1998 in the states of South Carolina and Missouri. He committed suicide to avoid arrest for an unrelated crime and was not identified as the killer until 2018, by CeCe Moore with the help of improved DNA technology. His family was not aware of the several crimes he committed. He lived a double life as his family was not aware of the several crimes he committed. In an interview, his daughter Deborah Brashers said, “I feel ashamed for it being my father. And I feel…every day I feel a different way about him. He never got charged. Never got caught. And got away with this for almost 20 years. Even being dead, got away with this for 20 years.” To his children, he was an ideal father who had his own construction company and business cards. She also stated that he would often be gone for weeks. In 1998, Brashers was arrested for attempted burglary, and according to Deborah, this is when he visibly started behaving oddly. Previously, he had been convicted of attempted murder in 1986. In any case, it was only in 2018, that the true extent of Brashers crimes saw the light.

2004Harold Shipmanknown to acquaintances as Fred Shipman, was born on January 14, 1946, in Nottingham, England. He was an English general practitioner and is considered to be one of the most prolific serial killers in modern history, with an estimated 250 victims.  Shipman was particularly close to his mother, who died of lung cancer when he was aged seventeen. Her death came in a manner similar to what later became Shipman’s own modus operandi: in the later stages of her disease, she had morphine administered at home by a doctor. Shipman witnessed his mother’s pain subside, despite her terminal condition, until her death on 21 June 1963.  On 5 November 1966, he married Primrose May Oxtoby; the couple had four children. Shipman studied medicine at Leeds School of Medicine, University of Leeds, graduating in 1970.  He targeted vulnerable elderly people who trusted him as he was their doctor. He killed his victims either by a fatal dose of drugs or by prescribing them an abnormal amount. On 31 January 2000, Shipman was found guilty of murdering fifteen patients under his care. He was sentenced to life imprisonment with a whole life order.  Shipman hanged himself in his cell at HM Prison Wakefield, West Yorkshire, on 13 January 2004, aged 57. The Shipman Inquiry, a two-year-long investigation of all deaths certified by Shipman, chaired by Dame Janet Smith, examined Shipman’s crimes. It revealed troubling questions about the powers and responsibilities of the medical community in Britain and about the adequacy of procedures for certifying sudden death. Shipman, who was nicknamed “Dr. Death” and “The Angel of Death”, is the only British doctor to date to have been convicted of murdering patients.

2021Lisa Montgomerywas born on February 27, 1968. She was a convicted murderer from the United States. In 2004, she committed a horrific crime that shocked the nation. Montgomery attacked and killed a 23-year-old pregnant woman, Bobbie Jo Stinnett, and then cut the unborn child from the woman’s womb. The woman had been pregnant for eight months.  The crime took place in Skidmore, Missouri. Montgomery, then aged 36 years old, strangled Stinnett to death and fled the scene. There was no sign of forced entry; authorities believe that Montgomery, posing as a customer, had arranged to visit Stinnett’s house on that day. Stinnett’s baby was safely recovered by authorities and returned to the father.  Montgomery was arrested in Kansas the next day and charged with kidnapping resulting in death – a federal crime. She was tried and found guilty in 2007. She was sentenced to death and was executed by lethal injection shortly after midnight on January 13, 2021. Montgomery became the first female federal inmate since 1953 to be executed by the United States federal government, and the fourth overall.


Bernhard Goetz

1980 – The head of the Narcotic Brigade is arrested for drug smuggling in Belgium

1987 – Seven top New York City Mafia bosses were sentenced to 100 years in prison each

1989 – Jerry Parks, Oklahoma defensive back is charged with shooting a teammate

1989 – Subway vigilante Bernhard Goetz begins 1-year jail sentence

1992 – American serial killer Jeffrey L Dahmer pleads guilty but insane

1994 – Tonya Harding’s bodyguards, Shawn Eric Eckardt & Derrick Brian Smith are arrested and charged with conspiracy in the attack of figure skater Nancy Kerrigan

1999 – Hae Min Lee goes missing

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