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Killing by Example: When Trusted People Turn Bad

The following nurturers and protectors were supposed to look out and care for the people in their communities. Instead, they turned to murder.


They keep us safe. They mold our minds. They make us well. And though we think we know them, it turns out we really have no idea.

Case in point: the following books about mothers, professors, doctors, and other prominent members of society murdering, manipulating, and spewing malice all over the very people who were taught to trust them.


1. Murder in Little Egypt, by Darcy O’Brien

Murder in Little Egypt

One day he’s prescribing medication, the next he’s prescribing murder. So goes the Jekyll-and-Hyde lifestyle Dr. John Dale Cavaness leads. To the people of Little Egypt, he was someone they could depend on to make them feel better, but to his two sons, he was their final maker, allegedly shooting them both and leaving their bodies to the wild animals that roamed the area. Darcy O’Brien’s true-crime investigation into the case of Dr. Cavaness proves that you never know just who the man holding that ice-cold stethoscope to your chest is.

Download on AmazonBarnes & Noble, and iTunes.


2. Gang Mom, by Fred Rosen

Gang Mom

Forget the cookies, this Eugene, Oregon, stay-at-home mom was cooking up disaster out of her own living room. Reporter Fred Rosen carefully chronicles the murderous events surrounding Mary Louise Thompson, the mother and former police informer who used anti-gang activism to mask her own hypocrisy. A mask that was quickly removed once the execution-style murder of 18-year-old Arron Iturra had investigators banging on her door.

Download on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and iTunes.


3. Forever and Five Days: The Chilling True Story of Love, Betrayal, and Serial Murder in Grand Rapid, by Lowell Cauffiel

Forever and Five Days

The time may come when one must turn a loved one over to the powers of a skilled nursing facility. Just make sure it’s not one that’s housing a couple of lunatic lesbian lovers who play God with their patients’ lives. So goes Lowell Cauffiel’s true-crime story of Cathy Wood and Gwen Graham, the duo responsible for a slew of murders at the Alpine Manor nursing home in Grand Rapid, Michigan.

Download the book on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and iTunes.


4. Deacon of Death, by Fred Rosen

Deacon of Death

Not even God can save Sam Smithers, a deacon of a Baptist church in Plant City, Florida. Armed with the bible on Sundays but an ax every other day of the week, Smithers took the streets to flounder with prostitutes then put them in the ground. Fred Rosen dives into the holy man’s gruesome double life, offering balance via testimony from Smithers’s wife on what a stand-up hubbie Smithers was.

Download on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and iTunes.


5. The Professor and the Prostitute: And Other True Tales of Murder and Madness, by Linda Wolfe

The Professor and the Prostitute

A collection of murder and mayhem, acclaimed true-crime journalist Linda Wolfe’s book uses transcripts, interviews, and other records to craft short stories about respectable pillars of their communities doing very bad things. One such story belongs to William Douglas, the Tufts University School of Medicine professor, “devoted” husband, and father of three who fell in love a “woman of the night” then took a sledge hammer to her head.

Download on AmazonBarnes & Noble, and iTunes.

Photo: Nathan O'Nions / Flickr