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US News Nursing home serial killer is freed from prison 33 years after she helped her girlfriend smother five women, trying to pick victims whose initials spell 'MURDER' - as detective who worked the case fears there were more deaths and says she could kill aga

00:00  18 january  2020
00:00  18 january  2020 Source:   dailymail.co.uk

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Nursing home serial killer is released from prison 33 years after she helped her girlfriend smother five women , trying to spell ' MURDER ' in victims ' initials - as detective who worked the case fears there were more deaths and says she could strike again.

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Catherine Wood, 57 (pictured left in 1988 when arrested and right in 2018 at her parole hearing) walked free from prison in Tallahassee, Florida, on Thursday morning after being granted parole for her part in the slaying of five elderly women in 1987 Catherine Wood, 57 (pictured left in 1988 when arrested and right in 2018 at her parole hearing) walked free from prison in Tallahassee, Florida, on Thursday morning after being granted parole for her part in the slaying of five elderly women in 1987

A female serial killer has been released from prison 33 years after she helped her girlfriend smother five people in a depraved game where they tried to choose victims whose initials spelled out 'MURDER'.

Catherine Wood, 57, walked free from prison in Tallahassee, Florida, on Thursday morning after being granted parole for her part in the slaying of five elderly women in 1987.

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Wood and her accomplice Gwendolyn Graham, 56, dubbed 'the Lethal Lovers' and 'Angels of Death', suffocated the patients while they both worked as nurse aides at Alpine Manor nursing home in Grand Rapids, Michigan. 

a little girl looking at the camera: The murderous pair handpicked their victims by selecting vulnerable patients whose initials spelled out 'MURDER' as part of their depraved game © Provided by Daily Mail The murderous pair handpicked their victims by selecting vulnerable patients whose initials spelled out 'MURDER' as part of their depraved game

Wood claimed they killed because of their intense lesbian 'love bond'.

Their victims were: Mae Mason, 79, Edith Cole, 89, Marguerite Chambers, 60, Myrtle Luce, 95, and Belle Burkhard, 74. 

The pair met in 1986 when Graham moved to Michigan from Texas and they quickly became lovers. 

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Graham and Wood murdered their first victim in January 1987. With that death put down to natural causes, the 'Angels of Death' ramped up their killing spree over the next year. 

They handpicked their victims by trying to select vulnerable patients whose initials spelled out 'MURDER' as part of a depraved game. However, this proved to be too difficult so they began killing victims at random. 

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Their murderous rampage came to an end in 1988 when Wood confided in her ex-husband about their crimes and he contacted police. 

This led to Wood being interviewed by the police and confessing to the crimes, claiming that her lover had murdered the victims by suffocating them with washcloths and she had only played the part of the lookout.    

a person posing for the camera: Wood and her accomplice Gwendolyn Graham, 56, (above) dubbed 'the Lethal Lovers', claimed they killed because of their intense lesbian 'love bond' © Provided by Daily Mail Wood and her accomplice Gwendolyn Graham, 56, (above) dubbed 'the Lethal Lovers', claimed they killed because of their intense lesbian 'love bond'

At trial, Wood testified against Graham and Graham was convicted of first-degree murder of all five victims and handed five life sentences. She is serving her sentence in Michigan's women's prison where she has no chance of parole. 

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A serial killer who helped her girlfriend murder at least five elderly women while they worked at Catherine Wood, 57, was freed from a federal prison in Tallahassee, Florida, on Thursday morning The twisted pair tried to pick out women whose initials spelt the word ‘ MURDER ’ in a bid to turn

Wood pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of second-degree murder in Chambers' death and a separate count of conspiracy to commit second-degree murder and was sentenced to 20 to 40 years in prison. 

a vintage photo of a person: Belle Burkhard (pictured) was one of the five known victims. Cops believe there were many more deaths © Provided by Daily Mail Belle Burkhard (pictured) was one of the five known victims. Cops believe there were many more deaths

She became eligible for parole in 2005 but had her request denied eight times before the Michigan Department of Corrections granted it in September 2018, stating she was no longer a menace to society and had accepted responsibility for her crimes.

However, families of the victims and investigators believe Wood downplayed her role in the murders.   

Crime author Lowell Cauffiel, who wrote about the case, has previously said Wood was actually the mastermind of the crimes and the one who carried out the killings. 

a truck that is driving down the street: The pair met in 1986 when Graham moved to Michigan from Texas and they both worked as nurses's aides at Alpine Manor nursing home (above) in Grand Rapids, Michigan © Provided by Daily Mail The pair met in 1986 when Graham moved to Michigan from Texas and they both worked as nurses's aides at Alpine Manor nursing home (above) in Grand Rapids, Michigan

Wood allegedly confessed the killings to two prison inmates and admitted to turning on her lover after Graham left her for another woman who worked at the nursing home.  

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Cauffiel also claimed that Graham was likely to be incapable of the attacks because of her diagnosis of borderline personality disorder.  

A retired detective who worked on the case also said he believes Wood was the 'brains' behind the murders.  

'I believe that Cathy Wood was the mastermind, she was the one that was pulling strings on Gwendolyn Graham,' Roger Kaliniak told News 8. 

'Gwendolyn Graham handled the dirty work and Cathy Wood was the brains behind it.'

a person standing in front of a mirror posing for the camera: Marguerite Chambers (pictured) was murdered by the 'Angels of Death' in 1987 © Provided by Daily Mail Marguerite Chambers (pictured) was murdered by the 'Angels of Death' in 1987

Kaliniak said he fears Wood could strike again. 

'For safety reasons, I wouldn't want my grandchildren or elderly patients around her,' he said. 'She's a serial killer and she could do it again, and most of them do.'      

Detectives also believe there could be many more than five victims.  

Court documents released in May to try and keep Wood behind bars revealed that the murderesses had tried to kill at least 10 patients. 

The documents stated that Wood had told police during the original investigation that Graham had 'killed five female patients and tried at least five others, but was unsuccessful because some of the elderly men and women fought back'. 

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After a minute of silence for the victims , the bearded, heavyset Hoegel listened impassively, his head lowered, as Prosecutors say at least 36 were killed at a hospital in Oldenburg where he worked , and about 64 more at a clinic He was sentenced in 2008 to seven years in prison for attempted murder .

a man wearing glasses: Woods has long claimed that partner in crime, Gwendolyn Graham (pictured) murdered the victims and that she had only played the part of the lookout © Provided by Daily Mail Woods has long claimed that partner in crime, Gwendolyn Graham (pictured) murdered the victims and that she had only played the part of the lookout

It added: 'She and Graham talked of spelling MURDER with the victims' initials but they abandoned that plan after some of the slayings failed.'  

Retired Detective Sergeant Tom Freeman told 24 Hour News 8 last year that Wood had told him the murder count was higher but that the details were kept hidden because prosecutors could only prove five. 

'She (Wood) thought there were approximately a dozen or so victims at Alpine Manor. Actually killed,' he said. 

Wood's partner in crime branded her former lover 'evil' in an interview back in June. 

'I'm telling you, she's an evil person,' Graham told Target 8 from the Huron Valley Women's prison in Ypsilanti. 

a group of people in a field: At trial, Wood testified against Graham and Graham was convicted of first-degree murder of all five victims Graham and handed five life sentences. Wood pleaded guilty to lesser charges and was granted parole in September 2018 and has been released from prison © Provided by Daily Mail At trial, Wood testified against Graham and Graham was convicted of first-degree murder of all five victims Graham and handed five life sentences. Wood pleaded guilty to lesser charges and was granted parole in September 2018 and has been released from prison

Graham also said the two were innocent of the murders: 'After all these years, I still don't believe that anybody was murdered. I just don't.'  

Wood will move in with family members in South Carolina, official records show. 

THE 'LETHAL LOVERS'

1986 - Catherine Wood and Gwendolyn Graham meet when Graham moves to Michigan from Texas and starts working with Wood at Alpine Manor nursing home in Michigan. The pair quickly became lovers    

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1987 - Graham and Wood murder their first victim in January 1987. With that death put down to natural causes, they ramp up their killing spree over the next year murdering at least five elderly women

1988 - Wood confesses to her ex-husband about the murders after Graham starts seeing another woman. He turns them into the police and Wood is interviewed where she claims her lover was the murderer and she had only played the part of lookout

1989 - Wood testifies against Graham at trial and Graham is convicted of first-degree murder of all five victims and handed five life sentences. Wood pleads guilty to the lesser charge of second-degree murder in Chambers' death and a separate count of conspiracy to commit second-degree murder and is sentenced to 20 to 40 years in prison

2005 - Wood is eligible for parole. Michigan Department of Corrections denies her first request for parole. She is denied parole a further seven times between 2006 and 2018   

2018 - Michigan Department of Corrections grants Wood parole in September, stating she is no longer a menace to society and had accepted responsibility for her crimes

2019 - Families of the victims appealed against her release and court documents reveal the murderesses had allegedly tried to kill at least 10 patients. However, a judge rules that Wood can be released

2020 -  Wood is freed from prison and will move in with family in South Carolina. Graham continues to serve her sentence in Michigan's women's prison where she has no chance of parole


Murder accused told gardaí he believed mother-in-law tried to kill her husband .
The jury was listening to garda interviews today in the trial of Kieran Greene (34).“She wanted us dead one at a time, starting with Gus. She wanted us all dead, down to the kids,” the father-of-three told interviewing detectives.

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