Upon hearing Judge Rabb pronounce the verdicts, Gertrude and her children burst into tears and attempted to console each other, as Hobbs and Hubbard remained impassive. These are various news reports from WIBC 1070 about a notorious murder that took place in Indy in 1965. Damn old Gertrude died. He then ended his closing argument with a plea for the jury to return a verdict of not guilty on a girl who had "gone through the indignity of being tried in an open court". , Reflecting upon the news of Gertrude Baniszewski's death and the issues raised pertaining to her sanity at both of her trials, John Dean, a former reporter for the Indianapolis Star who had provided extensive coverage of the case, would state in 2015: "I never thought she was insane. In my own heart I cannot remember a girl so much sinned against and abused." ", However, Gertrude then informed her, and the other girls in the house, that whenever they "did something" with a boy, they would be sure to have a baby. Here, Likens was often kept naked, rarely fed, and frequently deprived of water. , When Marie Baniszewski was called to the stand as a witness for the defense, she broke down and admitted that she had heated the needle which Hobbs had used to brand Likens' abdomen.  Gertrude repeatedly falsely accused Likens of promiscuity and of engaging in prostitution, delivering rants to Likens regarding the filthiness of prostitution and of women in general. Gertrude Baniszewski eventually allowed Likens to sleep upstairs, on the condition that she learned not to wet herself. Nedder ended his closing argument by requesting a verdict of not guilty, stating Hobbs was "guilty of immaturity and gross lack of judgement", but not of the crime of murder.  On May 19, 1966, after deliberating for eight hours, the panel of eight men and four women found Gertrude Baniszewski guilty of first-degree murder, recommending a sentence of life imprisonment. The subdural hematoma was the ultimate blow. The murder charges initially filed against Gertrude Baniszewski's second-eldest daughter, 15-year-old Stephanie, were ultimately dropped after she agreed to turn state's evidence against the other defendants. Facebook. ", Gertrude Baniszewski eventually forbade Likens from attending school after she confessed to having stolen a gym suit from the school, after Gertrude had refused to purchase the clothing for her. $1 for 3 months. On Aug. 5, 1971 Gertrude was convicted of first degree … , Deputy Prosecutor Marjorie Wessner delivered the state's closing argument before the jury on behalf of the prosecution. Despite the protests of Gertrude Baniszewski and her clan, the officer took the girl away and quickly learned the truth. Sylvia Likens Famous Murders Les Aliens Evil People Young People Religion American Crime Interesting History Criminal Minds. When questioned by Leroy New as to the exhaustive interviews and assessments he had conducted with Gertrude, she had been evasive and uncooperative. Following her 1972 parole, Paula Baniszewski assumed a new identity. Scroll for more . The pair then subjected Likens to a scalding bath to "cleanse her of sin," with Gertrude grabbing Likens' hair and repeatedly banging her head against the bath to revive her when she fainted.  On one occasion, Likens was accused of stealing candy she had actually purchased. Egged on by Gertrude Baniszewski, her torturers were about the same age as Sylvia. I'm just going to have to go on a diet. , The torture and murder of Sylvia Likens is widely regarded by Indiana citizens as the worst crime ever committed in their state and has been described by a senior investigator in the Indianapolis Police Department as the "most sadistic" case he had ever investigated in the 35 years he served with the Indianapolis police.. Stephanie punched her in response, but Likens apologized to her, in tears, and Stephanie then also began to cry. The Night Stalker, "One side of me says, I'd like to talk to her, date her. She would occasionally falsely claim to the children in her household that either she herself or one of them had been the recipient of direct insults from Likens in the hope this would goad them into belittling or attacking her. Gertrude then ordered Likens—who had defecated—to clean herself. Representing Gertrude Baniszewski was William Erbecker, a respected, heavy-set attorney considered flamboyant and personable. , The injury to person charges brought against the other juveniles known to have actively physically, mentally, and emotionally tormented Likens: Anna Ruth Siscoe, Judy Darlene Duke, Michael John Monroe, Darlene McGuire, and Randy Gordon Lepper, were later dropped. 2.9 out of 5 stars 20. Baniszewski gained a new trial on appeal - but was again convicted and sent back to prison. , On October 25, Likens attempted to escape from the basement after overhearing a conversation between Gertrude and John Baniszewski Jr. pertaining to the family's plan to abandon her to die. Within a few short months, Sylvia was beaten, humiliated, and ultimately left to die from neglect and severe abuse. The couple had two children. Skyword offers an enterprise content marketing platform, a global … He died on February 5, 2012, at the age of 47. Watch Documentary. 00. Refraining from acknowledging the catalog of atrocities each had inflicted upon Likens, Bowman repeatedly emphasized his clients' age, stating each was only guilty of assault and battery before seeking a verdict of not guilty for each youth. , John Stephen Baniszewski Jr. lived in relative obscurity under the alias John Blake. What are you going to do?  This ruling further stated that the circumstances regarding the prejudicial atmosphere created during their initial trial, due to the extensive news media publicity surrounding the case, impeded any chance of either appellant receiving a fair trial. Whether in print or on film, the examination into the darkest aspects of the human experience has fascinated scribes, scholars, scientists and the general public for centuries on end. It looks like you're going to have a baby." She later married and has several children. Nor did she ever come close to offering any explanations for her bizarre and cruel acts - to those who sought to discover her reasons, Gertrude Baniszewski … City By The Sea. Gertrude, however, was convicted of first degree murder again and given another life sentence.  She primarily blamed her actions upon the medication she had been prescribed to treat her asthma. Somehow, the conversation got around to tattooing. , Jenny Likens later married an Indianapolis native named Leonard Rece Wade. Shortly thereafter, Lester Likens arranged for his daughters to board with Gertrude Baniszewski, the mother of two girls with whom the sisters had recently become acquainted while studying at Arsenal Technical High School, Paula and Stephanie Baniszewski.  For this act of theft, Gertrude whipped Likens with a three-inch-wide (7.6 cm) police belt. Baniszewski was the third of six children, and her family was working class.  Another witness to testify on behalf of the prosecution, Grace Sargent, stated how she had sat close to Paula on a church bus and had heard her openly bragging about breaking her own wrist due to the severity of a beating she had inflicted to Likens' face on August 1. The members of two anti-crime groups also traveled to Indiana to oppose Baniszewski's potential parole, and to publicly support the Likens family.  He died of diabetes in the Lancaster General Hospital on May 19, 2005, at the age of 52.  The same day, Richard Hobbs, Coy Hubbard, and John Baniszewski Jr. each received sentences of 2-to-21 years, to be served in the Indiana Reformatory. She was tortured to death by Gertrude Baniszewski, Gertrude's children, and other young people from their neighborhood. ", New concluded his closing argument by emphasizing the defendants' unison in their collective mistreatment of Likens, before asking the jury to dismiss arguments made by various defense counsels regarding who may have actually inflicted the "fatal blow" to Likens' head, stating: "Every mark on that girl's body contributed directly to her death, and that was testimony. 4 notes Sep 22nd, 2019. Denzel Washington and Russell Crowe team with Director Ridley Scott in this powerful epic inspired by a true story. On October 5, 1939, Gertrude witnessed her 50-year-old father have a sudden heart attack and die. Likens' gray casket remained open throughout the ceremony, with a portrait of her taken prior to July 1965 adorning her coffin. Gertrude then switched her conversation to the "evils" of premarital sex before repeatedly kicking Likens in the genitals as Stephanie rallied to Likens' defense, shouting, "She didn't do anything! Watch Documentary. , One of the first witnesses to testify on behalf of the prosecution was deputy coroner Charles Ellis, who testified on April 29 as to the intense pain Likens had suffered: stating that her fingernails were broken backwards, numerous deep cuts and punctures covered much of her body, and that her lips were "essentially in shreds" due to her having repeatedly bitten and chewed upon them. , On October 26, 2015, numerous Indianapolis citizens, including Likens' older sister, Dianna Bedwell, gathered in Lebanon to honor Sylvia Likens, to reflect upon her life upon the fiftieth anniversary of her death, and to honor all children who lose their lives to child abuse. 58k Followers. She was afflicted with a notable limp and had to wear a steel brace on one leg. STAY UPDATED! Neither sister mentioned the actual address where they resided and, initially, Dianna believed her sisters must be exaggerating their claims regarding the scope of their mistreatment.  Dr. Schuster was subjected to over two hours of intense cross-examination by Gertrude's lawyer, William Erbecker, although he remained steadfast that Gertrude was not and had never been psychotic. Save 97%. Scroll for more . " Dean has also likened the case to William Golding's novel Lord of the Flies, although he has stated Likens' increasing physical and emotional abuse was not a result of "children going wild; it was children doing what they were told".  After Likens had written this letter, Gertrude finished formulating her plan to have John Jr. and Jenny blindfold Sylvia, then take her to a nearby wooded area known as Jimmy's Forest and leave her there to die. The same day, Coy Hubbard and Richard Hobbs were also arrested and charged with the same offenses. At this memorial service, Dianna informed those present that Sylvia's legacy "must always be remembered. Gertrude Nadine Baniszewski (September 19, 1929 – June 16, 1990), also known as Gertrude Wright and Nadine Van Fossan, was an Indiana murderer who, with the aid of most of her own children and neighborhood children, oversaw and facilitated the prolonged torture, mutilation, and eventual murder of Sylvia Likens, a teenage girl she had taken into her home. In 1971, Gertrude and Paula Baniszewski were granted another trial by the Indiana Supreme Court on the grounds of heavy media coverage prior to the original trial, and jury bias. Paperback $7.99 $ 7. The three minors who were also arrested, including Baniszewski’s two sons, each did two years in a reformatory. , On May 25, Gertrude and Paula Baniszewski were formally sentenced to life imprisonment. Dr. Schuster testified as to his belief that Gertrude was sane and fully in control of her actions, adding that she had been sane in October 1965, and remained sane to this date. ", The trial of the five defendants lasted 17 days before the jury retired to consider its verdict. Likens thought Gertrude was kidding with her and said, "Yeah, it sure is getting big. , On another occasion, in late-August, Likens was subjected to humiliation when she claimed to have a boyfriend in Long Beach, whom she had met in the spring of 1965 when her family lived in California. , Clutching a Bible, Paula Baniszewski—having stated to all present in the household that Likens' death was "meant to happen"— then glanced in Jenny's direction and calmly stated: "If you want to live with us, Jenny, we'll treat you like our own sister. She had one child with Wright, Dennis Lee Wright Jr. Dennis Wright Jnr passed … She never expressed any genuine remorse, and when anyone inquired about her reasons, she would say, I had to teach her a lesson. ", --Section of Deputy Prosecutor Marjorie Wessner's. Paula—herself overweight, three months pregnant and also jealous of her physical appearance—then participated in attacking Likens; knocking her off her chair onto the kitchen floor, shouting, "You ain't fit to sit in a chair! to rouse her, then, panicking, instructed Richard Hobbs to call the police from a nearby payphone. The woman [Gertrude] is stark mad!" , During the initial weeks in which Sylvia and Jenny resided at the Baniszewski household, the sisters were subjected to very little discipline. , After she had finished writing the letter, Likens was then again tied to the stair railing and offered crackers to eat, although she refused them, saying: "Give it to the dog, I don't want it." , Murder of American teenager in Indianapolis, United States, Lester and Elizabeth Likens' oldest daughter, Dianna Shoemaker, was somewhat. You'll have to live with your conscience the rest of your life if you send an insane woman to the electric chair. Gertrude would later occasionally force Jenny to strike her own sister, beating Jenny if she did not comply. In 1965, she agreed to board sixteen years old Sylvia Likens and her sister Jenny, who was a year younger.  Her headstone is inscribed with the words: "Our Darling Daughter. , Lester and Elizabeth's marriage was unstable; they often sold candy, beer, and soda at carnival stands around Indiana throughout the summer, moving frequently, and regularly experiencing severe financial difficulties.  Gertrude further claimed that Likens was a bad influence on both her own children and her sister. The mother is none other than Gertrude Baniszewski. "[n 5] Gertrude then burned Likens' fingertips with matches before further whipping her. She began carving the words "I'M A PROSTITUTE AND PROUD OF IT" onto Likens' abdomen with a heated needle. Drama.  On several occasions, the two sisters would visit a local skating rink, where Jenny would fasten a single roller skate to her strong foot and Sylvia would lead her by the hand, as they skated around the rink. ", Following this service, Likens' casket was placed by pallbearers in a hearse and driven to the Oak Hill Cemetery to be interred. Drama. " On one occasion, in late-August, both girls were beaten approximately 15 times on the back with the aforementioned paddle, after Paula had accused the sisters of eating too much food at a church supper the household children had attended. An Iowa teacher's aide has been fired from her job following the revelation that she was a member of an Indiana family notorious for torturing and killing a girl in their basement in 1965.  A few days later, Gertrude repeatedly whipped Jenny with the police belt after she reportedly stole a single tennis shoe from the school to wear on her strong foot. FREE Shipping on your first order shipped by Amazon . They reside on the servers of popular video sharing sites like Youtube, DailyMotion, Archives.org, Putlocker (FireDrive), Sockshare, and others.. Any copyright claim(s) should be made there. ", The formal statement provided by Jenny Likens prompted officers to arrest Gertrude, Paula, Stephanie, and John Baniszewski Jr. on suspicion of Likens' murder within hours of the discovery of her body. FBI Profiler Candice DeLong counts down the '10 Deadliest Women' featured on the show in seasons 2--4... Albert Fish [n 8], Three weeks prior to the filing of the indictments against the five defendants, Stephanie Baniszewski had been released from custody upon a writ of habeas corpus bond, with her attorney successfully contending the state had insufficient evidence to support any murder or culmination of fatal injuries charges against her. SUBSCRIBE NOW. ", On December 30, 1965, the Marion County grand jury returned first-degree murder indictments against Gertrude Baniszewski and two of her three oldest children: Paula and John Baniszewski Jr. Also indicted were Richard Hobbs and Coy Hubbard. She then kicked Likens in the genitals. ", Elizabeth and Lester Likens died in 1998 and 2013 respectively. She then ordered Dianna off her property. Sylivia and her siblings would live in 19 separate addresses between 1949 and 1965. All of these lawyers worked for their indigent clients free of charge. Rigor mortis had fully developed at the time of the discovery of her body, indicating Likens may have been deceased for up to eight hours before she was found, although Dr. Kebel did note Likens had been recently bathed—possibly after death—and that this act could have hastened the loss of body temperature and thus speeding the onset of rigor mortis. Stephanie was in all likelihood nothing more than an ambivalent observer to Sylvia's intense pain. As a punishment, Likens was forced to insert an empty glass Coca-Cola bottle into her vagina in the presence of the Baniszewski children before Gertrude ordered her into the basement. Gertrude Nadine Van Fossan was born on September 19, 1929 in Indianapolis, Indiana to Mollie Myrtle (née Oakley) and Hugh Marcus Van Fossan Sr., both of whom were originally from Illinois and were of Polish and Dutch descent. Now, let's look at some of the responsibilities here. She never expressed any genuine remorse, and when anyone inquired about her reasons, she would say, “I had to teach her a lesson.” In 1985, Gertrude was released on parole, and lived … Gertrude forced the toast into her mouth before repeatedly striking her face with a curtain rod until sections of the instrument were bent into right angles.  Upon their second visit to the Baniszewski household, both observed Likens to appear extremely meek and somewhat "zombified" in nature. 2.1k Followers. , That evening, Likens desperately attempted to alert neighbors by screaming for help and hitting the walls of the basement with a spade. Gertrude walks out of the church to calm the baby down. Mermel, Marcy: "Mrs. Baniszewski Portrayed as a New Woman", Unnamed author: "150 Hear Likens Case Sentences,", Beaman-Conrad-Liscomb-Union-Whitten school district, List of child abuse cases featuring long-term detention, "Looking Back on Indiana's Most Infamous Crime, 50 Years Later", "Boone County Child Advocacy Center to be Named in Honor of Sylvia Likens", "The Murder of Sylvia Likens, As Told Over 50 Years Ago", "The 1965 Torture and Murder of Sylvia Likens", The Torturing Death of Sylvia Marie Likens: Foster Care, The Torturing Death of Sylvia Marie Likens: A Dubious Start, "Jenny Fay Likens - Sister of Deceased - Sylvia Likens", "The Torturing Death of Sylvia Marie Likens. Tap. --Richard Hobbs, testifying as to Gertrude Baniszewski's decision to carve an insult into Likens' abdomen on October 23, 1965. On October 5, 1939, Baniszewski saw her 50-year-old father die from a sudden heart attack. $1 for 3 months. RSS "Gertrude Baniszewski" Documentaries .  She also had a fondness for music—in particular the Beatles—and was notably protective of her markedly more timid and insecure younger sister. Documentary index; About The Site; Make a Donation! When the service is over, the girls board the old school bus sans church bus, once seated another congregant walks by Gertrude complimenting her on her ironing business which she ran out of her home to help support her 7 children living with her at the time. , Gertrude Baniszewski was defended by William Erbecker; her daughter Paula was defended by George Rice.  Jenny, in particular, struggled against the urge to notify family members, as she had been threatened by Gertrude that she would herself be abused and tortured to the same degree as her sister, if she did so. ", William Erbecker was the first defense attorney to deliver his closing argument before the jury; he attempted to portray his client as being insane and thus unable to appreciate the severity or criminality of her actions, stating: "I condemn her for being a murderess, that's what I do, but I say she's not responsible, because she's not all here!" Gertrude, however, was convicted of first degree murder again and given another life sentence.  Neighborhood children were also occasionally charged five cents apiece to see the "display" of Likens' body and to humiliate, beat, scald, burn, and—ultimately—mutilate her. She worked in the prison sewing shop and was known as somewhat of a "den mother" to younger female inmates, becoming known to some within the prison by the nickname "Mom". Coy Hubbard then took the curtain rod from Gertrude and struck Likens one further time, rendering her unconscious. The surname of all three children was legally changed to Blake in the late 1960s, after their father regained their custody. Gertrude was the third of six children. By 1965, Baniszewski lived alone with her seven children: Paula (17), Stephanie (15), John (12), Marie (11), Shirley (10), James (8), and Dennis Lee Wright Jr. (1).  On this occasion, Paula Baniszewski opted to plead guilty to voluntary manslaughter rather than face a retrial; she was sentenced to serve a term of between two and twenty years' imprisonment for her part in Likens' abuse and death. Watch Documentary. In 1971, Gertrude and Paula Baniszewski were granted another trial by the Indiana Supreme Court on the grounds of heavy media coverage prior to the original trial, and jury bias. Gather Solutions. , In response to questioning relating to whether she had physically abused the Likens sisters, Gertrude claimed that although she had "started to spank" Likens on one occasion, she was emotionally unable to finish doing so, and had not hit the child on any further occasions.  All were charged with causing injury to person and each was subsequently released into the custody of their parents under subpoena to appear as witnesses at the upcoming trial. An American Crime is a 2007 American crime horror film directed by Tommy O'Haver and starring Elliot Page and Catherine Keener.The film is based on the true story of the torture and murder of Sylvia Likens by Indianapolis single mother Gertrude Baniszewski.It premiered at the 2007 Sundance Film Festival.. Because of internal problems with the film's original distributor, First … In response, Gertrude forced the crackers into Likens' mouth before she and John Baniszewski beat her—particularly around the stomach. 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