Velma Barfield was the first woman to be executed in the United States after the resumption of capital punishment. Velma Barfield who was classified as a serial killer would be convicted of one murder but would confess to six murders. Velma Barfield was executed on November 2, 1984 by lethal injection.
Velma Barfield was born on October 29, 1932 in South Carolina to an abusive father and a mother who would not intervene. Velma would escape her home by getting married at seventeen to Thomas Burke. Unfortunately Velma would suffer medical issues and have to undergo a hysterectomy which would lead to her abusing pain killers.
Soon after the marriage began to fall apart with Thomas Burke starting to drink and Velma worsening drug addiction. Thomas Burke would pass out on April 4, 1969 and Velma would take their kids and leave the home. When they returned the house was completely burnt down to the studs.
Velma Barfield would get married again in 1970 to Jennings Barfield who would die a year later from heart complications.
In 1974 Velma Barfields mother Linda began to have health problems and began to have severe vomiting and nausea. Linda would be admitted to the hospital and recover. At Christmas the same year Linda would be readmitted into the hospital with the same illness and would die within hours
In 1976 Velma Barfield began to work as a personal assistant for an elderly couple, Montgomery and Dollie Edwards. Montgomery Edwards would die in January of 1977 of the same illness that killed Velma’s mother Linda. A month later Dollie Edwards would die a few months later of the same.
In 1977 Velma worked for another elderly couple, Record and John Lee, John would die from a severe stomach illness a few months later.
The last victim was Rowland Stuart Taylor, who was dating Velma Barfield and a relation to Dollie Edwards, would end up dying after he was fed arsenic. Turns out Velma was stealing from Rowland and she was worried that he would find out.
Authorities would exhume the body of her second husband, Jennings Barfield and it turned out he died from arsenic poisoning
Velma Barfield was only charged with the murder of Rowland Taylor, which she was convicted and sentenced to death. Velma would confess to the murders of Linda Bullard, Dollie, and John Henry Lee.
Velma Barfield would be executed on November 2, 1984 by lethal injection
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After two marriages ended with the death of her husbands, by 1977 Velma Barfield was in a relationship with Stuart Taylor, who was a widower and tobacco farmer. As she had been doing for years, she forged checks on Taylor’s account to pay for her addiction to prescription drugs. Fearing that she had been found out, she mixed an arsenic based rat poison into his beer and tea. Taylor became very ill and Velma volunteered to nurse him. As his condition worsened she took him to hospital where he died a few days later.
Unfortunately for her there was an autopsy which found that the cause of Taylor’s death was arsenic poisoning and Velma Barfield was arrested and charged with his murder. At the trial her defense pleaded insanity but this was not accepted and she was convicted. The jury recommended the death sentence. Velma appeared cold and uncaring on the stand and actually gave the District Attorney a round of applause when he made his closing speech.
Velma Barfield later confessed to the 1974 murder of her own mother (in whose name she had taken out a loan) and of two elderly people, John Henry Lee (by whom she was being paid as a housekeeper/caregiver) and Dollie Edwards (a relative of Stuart Taylor). Velma Barfield always attended the funerals of her victims and appeared to grieve genuinely for them.
The body of her late husband, Thomas Barfield, was later exhumed and also found to contain traces of arsenic. Velma denied that she had killed him. Her motives for these four murders were the same. She had misappropriated money from her victims and then according to her, tried to make them ill so she could nurse them whilst finding another job to enable her to repay the money. Needless to say, the jury was less than impressed by this defense.
Velma Barfield gained notoriety as the “Death Row Granny,” becoming the first woman to be executed in the U.S. since 1962, and the first since the reinstatement of the death penalty in 1976.
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Why Was Velma Barfield Executed
Velma Barfield was executed for one murder however she confessed to six more
When Was Velma Barfield Executed
Velma Barfield was executed on November 2, 1984