The Serial Homicide Case of the Day, from "Hunting Humans, the Encyclopedia of 20th Century Serial Killers" , by Michael Newton
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Born in 1922 at Worms, Germany, young Christa Ambros lost her mother to an asylum while still in her teens. Neglected by her father, she grew up wild and undisciplined, serving a term of probation on conviction for petty theft. In 1944, she married an alcoholic named Karl Lehman, responding to his inattention with several affairs that became open secrets in her hometown.
On September 17, 1952, Karl Lehman died at his home, in convulsions, a doctor listing the cause of death as a ruptured stomach ulcer. Thirteen months later, on October 14, 1953, Christa's father-in-law collapsed on the street and died in convulsions, twenty minutes after leaving her house. Ignoring the strange coincidence, authorities accepted another verdict of death by natural causes, and the case was closed.
On February 15, 1954, Christa handed out chocolate truffles to some of her neighbors, with startling results. One recipient, Annie Hamann, bit into a piece and pronounced it bitter, lapsing into convulsions and death a short time later. A dog that ate the truffles also died, and tests revealed traces of a new phosphorous-based pesticide, known as E-605.
Arrested on February 23, Lehman confessed to spiking the truffles with poison in an effort to kill elderly Eva Ruh, a neighbor who lived with Annie Hamann. Ruh had earned Christa's animosity by criticizing her friendship with Hamann, but the murder scheme backfired, landing her in court on multiple homicide charges. Lehman was convicted on September 20 and sentenced to life, reports of her trial ironically prompting dozens of Germans to purchase E-605 and commit suicide.
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