Contrary to Hallmark’s projection, the meaning of Valentine’s Day is not all chocolate covered strawberries, overpriced flowers and prefix menus to remind the ones who stick with us through thick and thin that we care for them. While the details of St. Valentine’s identity and the good deeds that earned him his sainthood are rather murky, one thing the different versions of the story share is the untimely death of the Saint. Whether putting his life on the line to marry Roman soldiers or delivering the first “valentine” to his lover before his death, St. Valentine was obviously a hopeless romantic. One who believed that true love is more than just a fluttery feeling and supplying copious amounts of chocolate on February 14th . Without a solid foundation of trust, mutual respect and shared interests, in the words of my guiltiest pleasure, Tina Turner, “what’s love got to do with it?”
Today’s Friday 5 is a list of lovers who were as thick as thieves (pun intended). Because let’s be honest, if you can’t depend on your special someone to help you hide the body maybe you should skip the trip to Godiva and settle for Russell Stover.
1. Raymond Fernandez and Martha Beck
This pair kept the tabloids busy throughout the late 1940s. They became known as the “Lonely Hearts Killers” in 1949 just before their trial at the Bronx Criminal Court that summer. Fernandez, who believed he was quite the ladies man and his love-stricken accomplice, Beck preyed on seemingly lonely women with ads published in local newspapers personals section. Oddly enough, the pair actually met through a personal ad placed by Beck. Story has it that Hernandez had every intention of conning Beck and taking her for everything she was worth but as cupid would have it they fell in love. They spent the next few years posing as brother and sister, conning, stealing and occasionally murdering their victims. Despite killing at least four people, the trashy, love-struck couple felt that Beck was a victim of the tabloid writers who often made jokes about her weight.
2. Charles Starkweather and Caril Fugate
These lovers are the youngest couple to make the Friday 5, Starkweather was 19 and Fugate was only 14 at the time of their murdering spree. They met through a mutual friend a year prior to the murders that began in Fugate’s home on January 21, 1958. Despite being faced with poverty at a young age, Starkweather knew he wanted to marry Fugate not long after they started dating. But not being able to bring home the bacon he slowly convinced himself he would have to lead a life of crime to do so. He committed his first crime, robbing a gas station and murdering an attendant in the process, just months before The Fugate family became his victims. He immediately found himself a suspect of the gas station case, although he was never convicted. Fugate’s family was horrified and refused to allow their relationship to continue. Defying her family’s wishes, this young couple murdered Fugate’s family before setting out on their first road trip in the winter of 1958 claiming the lives of 11 people on the way. The manhunt for the couple finally came to a close when Starkweather couldn’t control the brakes on their most recent stolen car and as fate would have it the car stalled. It was reported that during the arrest Fugate was frantic and pleading for police to “save her” from her maniacal boyfriend. The moral of the story is if you have to kill her parents to date her, she’s too young for you bro.
3. Myra Hindley and Ian Brady
One of the most despised and notorious criminal duos from across the pond lends their story to prove that there might be some truth to that old adage, ‘two’s a couple and three’s company’. Myra Hindley and Ian Brady, also known as the Moor Murders, frequented the Saddleworth Moor of Northern England for picnics. As innocent as this might seem it was the talk of their picturesque rendezvous that led to the investigation of their appalling crimes. Just after walking Hindley home her brother-in-law, David Smith, had a taste of what the couple had been up to on the Moor. A seemingly casual setting, Hindley invited Smith in for a drink, but upon entering he was greeted with a loud thud. Looking over he saw Brady beating a man on the brink of lifelessness. Not wanting to be rude, Smith offered to help clean up the mess that had just been made and listened intently as they recounted similar acts that had taken place in their home. Smith, of course, took his time to leave the couple before hightailing to the nearest authorities. With Smith’s report and confirmation from friends of the couple who had joined them on more innocent trips to the Saddleworth Moor, the bodies of their victims were recovered. The couple was apprehended in October of 1965 and sentenced to life in prison.
4. Fred and Rosemary West
What horrifying Valentines Day list would be complete with out this spine tingling pair? Giving true meaning to “till death do us part” this cryptic couple was actually married. Fred and Rosemary West also hail from England and were parents to seven children, two of which became their victims. Shortly after the Wests met, their relationship escalated when Rosemary became pregnant. For twenty years the Wests both played active roles in their crimes. Mostly scattering their victims around their home in central Gloucester, needless to say you definitely did not want a house-warming gift from these two. The road to incarceration began after the murder of their daughter, Heather. Years after her murder the Wests found themselves surrounded by detectives questioning the whereabouts of their daughter. However, their story of Heather running away and changing her name did not satisfy authorities. Police searched their property and discovered three bones. Immediately, Fred confessed to the murder of his daughter but martial bliss was soon cut short when the bones found did not belong to Heather. The Wests have since been separated by what I believe to be divine intervention.
5. Bonnie Parker and Clyde Burrow
The one and only, the most famous crime duo to ever grace the states. I mean, you guys knew this was coming, right? As predictable as this might make me they’re Bonnie and Clyde. Enough said. Perpetuating our cultural straight through to today, the infamous couple set out on the country during the Great Depression. While there are different versions of the couple’s first meeting it has been said that it was ‘love at first sight’. From 1932 to 1934 the couple pillaged, murdered and added to their band of malicious men. Working their way from petty thieves to nationally known bank robbers together. The couple remained true to one another until they were killed during a police shoot out in May of 1934.
(The featured image is of Faye Dunaway and Warren Beatty as Bonnie and Clyde in the featured film released in 1967).