True Crime On This Day March 17th

Last Updated on September 22, 2022 by Ben Oakley

True Crime On This Day March 17th

March 17th

On March 17th in true crime, mob murders, robbery in Texas, murder in Louisiana, death sentence for torturer, and the disappeared.


In Chatham County, Georgia, Roy Willard Blankenship was arrested for the March 2nd murder of 78-year-old Sarah Mims Bowen.

Blankenship had left a bar after a night of drinking and begun to walk home but decided to break into an apartment nearby.

He entered the apartment and grabbed Bowen from behind until she was unconscious, he then dragged her to the bedroom where he raped her.

Bowen’s brutalised nude body was discovered the next day by neighbours, she had been beaten, bitten and had been raped with inanimate objects as well.

Blankenship was caught due to matching shoe prints. He was sentenced to death and executed by lethal injection in Georgia on June 23rd 2011.


In New York, four people including organised crime members Charles Padnick and William Serrano were shot dead.

After they were killed, they were dismembered and disposed of by the infamous DeMeo Crew, an Italian-American crime family run by Roy DeMeo. The four were murdered when they had travelled to the city to set up a large-scale cocaine deal with the DeMeo Crew.

Two days later, Padnick’s son travelled to New York to investigate his father’s disappearance, only to suffer the same fate. The DeMeo Crew were responsible for at least 100 grisly murders in the 1970s and 1980s.


In Harris County, Texas, the day after she had picked her wedding dress, 21-year-old bank teller, Madeline Peters, was shot dead in a robbery gone wrong.

Kenneth Dwayne Dunn had entered the store carrying a .357 Magnum and forced Peters to put cash into a bag. Despite robbing over $12,000 (USD) in cash, he shot Peters in the head at point blank range and eloped.

He was arrested three months later and convicted of murder. Dunn was sentenced to death and executed by lethal injection in Texas on August 10th 1999.


In Bossier Parish, Louisiana, 52-year-old service station attendant Ralph Shell, was shot to death by Earnest Knighton Jr. during an attempted robbery.

Knighton was arrested the same day and charged with murder and robbery. He was sentenced to death and was executed in Louisiana on October 30th 1984. The execution came after a failed appeal in August of 1984.


A year earlier, in Knox County, Tennessee, David Earl Miller, kidnapped, raped, and tortured 23-year-old Lee Standifer.

Lee had suffered brain damage when she was born and was mentally deficient. She was working and living in a hostel that hired handicapped persons.

Miller had been living in the home of ordained minister, Benjamin Calvin Thomas at the time of Standifer’s death. Miller had conversed with Standifer and convinced her to go back to Thomas’s home while he was away.

Thomas returned the next day to find the body of Standifer in the backyard of his property. Miller had raped, tortured, and beaten Standifer to death with a poker stick and a knife.

An autopsy confirmed that human strength would have been inadequate to have caused certain wounds, meaning that Miller had hammered the poker stick into various points on Standifer’s body. Miller was captured nine days later and charged with the murder.

He was sentenced to death on this day in 1982. Despite numerous appeals, he was finally executed in the electric chair on December 6th 2018.


In Saint-Martin-d’Hères, Grenoble, France, six-year-old Ludovic Janvier disappeared under mysterious circumstances.

He was last seen walking home with his two brothers after buying some cigarettes from their father. The three of them were approached by a man in construction clothing who asked them for help to find his dog.

Ludovic went with the man, and his two brothers searched elsewhere. When they realised that Ludovic or the man did not return, the brothers raised the alarm.

It is one of the most famous unsolved disappearances in France. Ludovic has been linked to the disappearances of several other children in an area known as The Disappeared. His case has never been solved.

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