Winnie Ruth Judd: The Trunk Murders
by J. Dwight Dobkins; Robert J. Hendricks
Genre: True Crime
Publisher: Grosset & Dunlap
No. of Pages: 248
No. In Series:
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The story began in 1931 with the discovery of two bodies shipped to Los Angeles and Mrs Judd’s surrender in a funeral parlour there. Released from prison in December, 1971, Winnie went to live on the West Coast, having endured a series of trials, 7 escapes from a mental institution and 40yrs. of headline publicity. A vivid personality, she always claimed public attention and a coterie of sympathisers who believed her innocent or long since rehabilitated. No such case since Lizzie Borden had so many varied aspects : Psychological trauma rising from Winnie’s relationship with the two murdered lesbians and a sexual ‘quadrangle.’ Courtroom drama – at her first trial, Winnie was sentenced to hang, escaped the noose by a few days and, in a second trial, owing to violent temper tantrums and strange fantasies, she was declared insane. Winnie’s dramatic escapes – committed to the State Hospital, Winnie kept the press active for years until the authorities and public were so distracted and intrigued by her cunning that most people were happy with her final escape in 1963 (for 6yrs.) Coincidence – Winnie was apprehended in 1969, her fingerprints found on a car near a murder site. Police later disassociated her with that crime. Winnie Ruth Judd’s story belongs in the classic genre of psychological murder, in the tradition of Lizzie Borden, the Black Dahlia and the Boston Strangler.
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