Serial killers : the serial homicide case of the day

The Serial Homicide Case of the Day, from "Hunting Humans, the Encyclopedia of 20th Century Serial Killers" , by Michael Newton

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  Kinne, Sharon

When James and Sharon Kinne were married in October 1956, it was a matter of necessity. At sixteen, she was pregnant, and while neither loved the other, marriage was "the thing to do" for teenage parents-to-be in Independence, Missouri. A miscarriage later removed the necessity of their union, but by then it was too late. By March of 1960, the Kin's had a mortgage and two other children, but Sharon was restless, yearning for a life with someone other than a hometown boy who still included "shucks" in his vocabulary.

On March 19, police were summoned to the Kinne residence, where they found James Iying on the bed, a bullet in his brain. Sharon told detectives that, apparently, their two-year-old daughter had been playing with a pistol when the weapon discharged, striking James. Police remarked upon the youngster's seeming familiarity with the weapon, including manipulation of its safety lever, and the death was ultimately ruled an accident.

Suddenly flush with insurance money, Sharon bought herself a new car, becoming "friendly" with the salesman, Walter Jones. On May 27, 1960, she placed a second call to the police, reporting her discovery of a woman's lifeless body on a lonely, wooded lane in rural Jackson County. Shot four times, the victim proved to be Patricia Jones, Walter's wife. Sharon explained that she was helping Walter look for his missing wife, whom he suspected of meeting another man in the secluded lover's lane. Instead of catching Patricia in flagrante delicto, they found her dead and called for the authorities.

Patricia Jones had been shot with a .22-caliber pistol, and investigators learned that Sharon had recently acquired such a weapon. She had asked a male coworker to buy the gun for her, specifically requesting that it not be registered in her name. Indicted for murder in September 1960, Sharon was subsequently acquitted when ballistics tests indicated that the gun in her possession was not the murder weapon.

Upon release, Sharon was immediately re-arrested for the murder of her husband, homicide detectives having chucked the "accident" theory in favor of darker suspicions. A two-year-old child, experts testified at Sharon's trial in January 1962, could not have pulled the trigger on the gun that killed James Kinne. Convicted of murder and sentenced to life, Sharon fought the verdict through a series of appeals. The jury deadlocked in her third trial, unable to reach a decision; a fourth trial was scheduled for October 1964, but Sharon Kinne had other plans.

On September 14, Sharon and her new boyfriend, Frank Puglise, checked into the Hotel Gin, in Mexico City. Quarreling with her lover four days later, she went out alone and picked up a local radio announcer, Francisco Ordonez, returning with him to his motel room. A short time later, the proprietor heard shots and rushed to Ordonez's room, surprised to find Ordonez sprawled on the floor, two bullets in his heart. Sharon stood over the corpse, gun in hand, and as the manager retreated, she shot him in the shoulder. They were grappling for the gun when officers arrived, responding to reports of gunfire.

A Mexican court was unimpressed with Sharon's tale of self-defense, and she was sentenced to ten years in prison; an unsuccessful appeal resulted in three more years being added to her term. In the meantime, Kansas authorities had a chance to examine the gun that had killed Ordonez, discovering that it had also killed Patricia Jones. New charges would be waiting if and when the prisoner discharged her sentence in a foreign jail.

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