With Halloween upon us, here are five real-life horror stories about people who either murdered or attempted to murder others, largely in an effort to obtain life insurance policy proceeds from the victims. Apparently, they never learned that crime doesn’t pay.
Ill-gotten insurance proceeds used to fund anti-government militia
Pvt. Isaac Aguigui of Fort Stewart, Ga., already jailed and charged in the deaths of two people in an unrelated crime, has been charged with the 2011 murder of his wife, Sgt. Deirdre Aguigui, and their unborn child. Isaac had received more than $500,000 in life insurance and benefit payments after his wife died. He had sent a chilling text message to an ex-girlfriend shortly before the murder of his wife, telling the ex that they would “have plenty of money.”
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Deirdre, 24, was found dead on July 17, 2011, at her apartment in Fort Stewart, and a military autopsy was unable to determine the cause of death. But a second opinion from a Savannah-based medical examiner for the Georgia Bureau of Investigation concluded that Deirdre had been choked or suffocated by essentially ruling out other causes of death.
Isaac’s defense attorneys suggested the wounds on Deirdre’s wrists and other injuries came from them having rough but consensual sex a few hours before he found her dead on a couch.
When Isaac’s Article 32 hearing, similar to a civilian grand jury, opened on July 1, Army investigators testified that Isaac had received the life insurance and benefits proceeds, and witnesses testified that the couple had been fighting, had separated and were considering divorce because of Isaac’s infidelity and drug use.
Subsequent reports revealed civilian prosecutors in neighboring Long County say Isaac used some of the money to buy guns and bomb components for an anti-government militia group he formed, and he and two other soldiers face the death penalty on civilian murder charges in a double slaying in Dec. 2011, just a few months after Deirdre’s death. In that case, a recently discharged private and his 17-year-old girlfriend were each shot in the head. Isaac and the two others were charged shortly after the bodies were found. The two were reportedly killed because they knew too much about the anti-government militia group, which civilian prosecutors say talked of bombing a park fountain in Savannah, poisoning apple crops in Washington state, and even killing the president.
Isaac, already sentenced to life in prison for the other killings, is currently awaiting court martial proceedings for the murder of Deirdre and their unborn child.
Second time not a charm for Black Widow
In February 2013, Janeene Lea Jones, 49, of North Port, Fla., was charged by Sarasota authorities with two felony counts of solicitation to commit murder in the first degree after police uncovered a life insurance-motivated murder-for-hire plot.
Jones allegedly was looking to hire a hit man for $4,000 to kill her husband while she would be away on a cruise as an alibi. Unfortunately for her, the “hit man” she thought she was meeting was actually an undercover police officer. While she had the hit man’s talents available, Jones, dubbed the “Black Widow” by Sarasota authorities, figured she could spend another $4,000 to have him “whack” a tenant at a property where she was the landlord. She was involved in a civil suit with the tenant that was costing her too much money, and the tenant already knew “way too much.”
The first intended victim of the plot was Jones’ second husband, whom she allegedly wanted to have killed in order to receive proceeds as the beneficiary of his life insurance policy. It’s a plot Jones may have executed once before. Police have received information about suspicious circumstances in the death of her first husband back in 2011. They are looking into whether she may have murdered him and whether she received a large amount of money as the beneficiary of his life insurance policy.
And finally, Jones was once a corrections officer at the Charlotte County Jail, where she worked for about six months before resigning amid allegations that she had a romantic relationship with one of the inmates she was assigned to guard, according to an internal affairs investigation from the Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office.
If convicted of the solicitation to commit first degree murder charges, Jones would face life in prison.
Trial begins for man accused of killing son for life insurance proceeds
While Carl Carlson is known as Homer Simpson’s innocuous co-worker and drinking buddy on The Simpsons, we can only wish a real-life Karl Karlsen was fictional.
Testimony begins Oct. 28 in the second-degree murder and insurance fraud trial of Karlsen, 52, in Waterloo, N.Y. He is accused of knocking a pickup truck off its jack, allowing it to fall onto his 23-year-old son Levi’s chest, crushing him and leaving him to suffocate back in 2008. Karl had removed the truck’s front tires and raised it on a single jack before asking Levi to repair the brake and transmission lines.
The insurance fraud charge stems from the fact that Karlsen received more than $707,000 from a life insurance policy on Levi bought just 17 days before the incident, which also happened just a day before Levi was to take a medical exam required to keep the policy in effect. Karl had taken Levi to a financial advisor to secure a life insurance policy under the auspices of protecting his two young daughters’ futures, and to make sure Levi’s ex-wife would not receive the funds, Levi named Karl as the beneficiary. The New York Life policy paid an additional $300,000 in the event of an “accidental death.”
Karlsen has pleaded not guilty to all charges, but there is plenty more to this story. Levi’s death was originally ruled an accident, but authorities reopened the case after learning additional details.