Lawyer Referral Service

LRS Blog

Posted by: Maricopa Lawyers on Mar 6, 2015

Winnie Ruth Judd (The Trunk Murderess)

Winnie Ruth Judd was a Phoenix medical secretary found guilty of murdering Agnes Anne LeRoi and Hedvig Samuelson.  According to police, on the night of October 16, 1931, the three women were fighting over Phoenix businessman John J. Halloran. All three were romantically interested in him. Judd allegedly murdered the other two women and  she and an accomplice dismembered Samuelson after the murders and stuffed the body parts into a black trunk.  LeRoi’s body was stuffed intact into a second trunk.

The trial began January 19, 1932, three months after the bodies had been discovered in the trunks. Judd had taken the trunks with her to California. The jury found her guilty of first-degree murder on February 8, 1932, and she was sentenced to be hanged. The death sentence was overturned after a hearing found her mentally incompetent. She was then sent to Arizona State Asylum for the Insane. Judd escaped seven times over several decades, was paroled in 1971 and died in 1998.

Ernesto Miranda

On March 13, 1963, Miranda was arrested in Phoenix for kidnapping and sexual assault. He was taken to the police station, identified by the victim, and taken into an interrogation room. Two hours later, investigators emerged with a written confession signed by Miranda. He was convicted and received a 20-year sentence.

The US Supreme Court voted to overturn Miranda’s conviction, declaring that the police did not properly notify Miranda of his rights to an attorney, and that he was compelled to incriminate himself.

Thanks to television police shows, the Miranda warning has become a statement of a citizen’s rights familiar to many Americans. Eventually, Miranda was stabbed to death and his killer was never convicted.

Jodi Arias

On June 4, 2008, Travis Alexander was murdered in Mesa, Arizona. He sustained multiple stab wounds, a slit throat, and a gunshot to the head. On July 9, 2008, Jodi Arias, Alexander’s former girlfriend, was indicted by a grand jury for the first-degree murder.  She was arrested on July 15 and extradited to Arizona. Arias pleaded not guilty on September 11.

The murder and trial received widespread media attention. Arias gave several different accounts about her involvement, and eventually, she told police that she killed Alexander in self-defense, claiming that she had been a victim of domestic violence. She was convicted of first-degree murder on May 8, 2013, and sentencing is ongoing.