The Excedrin poisonings: ‘Take two and I’ll bury you in the morning”
For five years Stella Nickell studied library books on how to poison, and even experimented on her husband, Bruce.7 Finally she got it right: she laced Excedrin with cy anide and waited for Bruce to get his final headache. The coroner’s report did not detea the cyanide and therefore recorded Bruce as dying from pulmonary emphysema But this angered Stella. She wanted the cyanide to be discovered so the death could be listed as accidental and blamed on the altered Excedrin. Why? If he died of an accident, she would col lea $176,000 in insurance money (versus $71,000 if he died of a hean attack). So to prove it was an accident, she put cyanide in the Excedrin in local supermarkets. A beautiful woman named Sue Snow bought some Excedrin and was killed.® Immediately eighty-five FBI agents and police officers got into the act. Ultimately Stella was convicted. But only Stella’s greed led to her conviction.
As with Blanche Taylor Moore, when we work from the unconscious assumption "she’s a woman, she’s innocent, don’t investigate" we risk the lives of other innocent women and men. The initial refusal even to investigate Stella and Blanche left us with female killers roaming free – free to mother, collect insurance, remarry – but instead of being called criminals on probation, they were called a mother who was widowed. In this sheepskin their serial killing female style snatched yet another body.
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When Delissa Carter stabbed her mother to death, she said her husband, Nathaniel, had done it – that she saw him do it.9 Two witnesses testified to Nathaniel’s presence in Peekskill, New York, at the time of the slaying (a considerable distance from the murder scene). Although Delissa was at the scene of the crime, the New York State Supreme Court took her word over a man’s and two witnesses. Nathaniel was sentenced to twenty-five years to life in prison. Had three unusual events not occurred, Nathaniel would never have been found innocent.10 By that time, though, Nathaniel had already served more than a year in prison.
When a woman and man are each trying to persuade a judge and jury to believe them – when their credibility is pined against each other – she is unconsciously assumed innocent unless proven guilty, he is presumed guilty unless proven innocent. The innocent woman principle underlies not only the innocent woman defense, but almost all the others as well.
run over him repeatedly, and then, uncertain he was dead, do it again, then claim postpartum depression and be given ом/patient medical help.15 No feminist protested.
In the 1970s, then, feminists were saying "My body, my choice." By the 80s and 90s, they were saying, "My body, my choice if that increases my freedom to kill," and "My body, no choice if that increases my freedom to kill."
Ms. magazine justified these contradictions with, "Well, each woman is different"14 True. But PMS as a legal defense for murder is sexism against women waiting to happen Why? If a woman could murder while under the influence of PMS, couldn’t she be a reckless driver while under the influence. and if she doesn’t know when she is under the influence, doesn’t this become a reason not to let women drive? We are back to women as children.
The "hormones affect some women more than others" excuse allows one woman to apply for an executive position and say, "Hire me – PMS doesn’t affect me," while another murders and says, "Free me – PMS affects me." It also allows a woman to get a job as an executive, murder later, and say, with legal clout, "Free me – PMS just started affecting me." If raging hormones continue to be a legal defense for females who murder, it will soon be a legitimate question for female employment Discrimination for women begets discrimination against women.
The PMS defense also paves the way for the TP defense – the testosterone poisoning defense If women can murder and claim PMS, why can’t men rape and claim testosterone poisoning’ The solution? Punish the crime – with female or male hormones as only a minor mitigating factor. 
When Jennifer Eidenschink and her husband, Steven, separated, Jennifer bought a gun. She invited Steven over to remove a deer head from the wall, and then, while his hands were occupied, she unloaded all eight shots from her.22-caliber semiautomatic pistol.16 Five shots entered him – three in the abdomen.
Steven, an athlete, suffered irreparable nerve damage and a permanent limp that would prevent him from playing the sports that meant so much to him. Jennifer said he had abused her. But because Steven survived, he was able to present evidence that made her acknowledge she was lying.17 The Dane County Court of Wisconsin did not sentence her to a single day in jail or prison. . . just counseling and two and a half weeks of voluntary service. For attempted murder. The judge was influenced by two things: the children’s needs for their mother, and Steven’s testimony on his wife’s behalf.18 But that’s only the beginning. . .
When Steven recovered, he moved back in with his wife – just like in the movie! Oh yes, the state did order Jennifer to pay $22,000 for her husband s medical bills. But Jennifer was not working. Guess who paid Ins wife’s billfor shooting him?
It’s easy to think, "Oh, my God, they deserve each other!” But something else is going on here. I call this the husband defense because I have yet to hear of a wife providing the legal defense for a husband who premeditated her murder.
The husband defense is quintessential learned helplessness. When women display even a fraction of this learned helplessness, we recognize it not only as a disease but as a disease that overpowers her to such a degree that it can now be used as a defense to kill a man and go free. When a man experiences this learned helplessness, he can never use it to get away with trying to kill her, only to defend her for trying to kill him. It works like this. . .