Sunday 3 March 2024

Deadly Women Volume 16

20 classic true crime cases of women who kill, including;

Sarah White
: A deadly fire breaks out leaving six people dead and only one survivor. But is the live-in nanny the perpetrator of this crime, or another victim?

Jean Sinclair: LaRae had opted out of the relationship saying that she wanted a husband and children. Jean had a gun and wasn’t going to let that happen.

Dorothy Ellingson: The battle lines are drawn in a bitter conflict between a devoted mother and her willful teenaged daughter. Only one of them will survive.

Lauren Stuart: Banished by her church, Lauren put her own spin on the scriptures. To her, it was obvious. The end days had arrived. Precautions had to be taken.

Tiana Browne: A terrible family secret leaks out, setting a teenager on a destructive path. Those around her don’t quite appreciate the danger they’re in.

Magdelena Luczak: A truly horrendous story of child abuse and murder, of a little boy let down by the system and a woman not fit to be called “mother.”

Ana Trujillo: The soft-spoken college professor and the hard-drinking party girl made an unlikely pair. Their booze-fueled romance would have a gruesome end.

Carole Tregoff: A frigid wife, a cheating husband, a femme fatale and a double-dealing hitman are the key elements in this classic case from 1950s L.A.

Click the "Read More" link below to read the first chapter of

Deadly Women Volume 16

Melanie Eam


Melanie Eam and James Barry met in the middle of a heated battle, dodging bullets and running for cover, covering each other’s backs as they engaged a formidable enemy. The pair were avid gamers and their love of role-playing games was what initially drew them together. Melanie was 18 then and having trouble with her high school grades. Fortunately for her, James was not only a gaming partner but a willing and conscientious coach. When it was time to turn off the X-Box and hit the books, he broached no excuses. It was largely due to his influence that Melanie gained her diploma. By then, she’d become a regular guest at the Loxahatchee, Florida home that James shared with his mother and stepfather. Often, she stayed the night.


Also living at the property at that time was a young man named Jeff Jarzabkowski, James’s best friend since childhood. Like James and Melanie, Jeff was a keen gamer. The trio would spend hours together, hunched over their controllers, zapping insurgents and aliens and zombies. It was all great fun until it wasn’t. Melanie, as it turned out, had a possessive streak. She was jealous of the friendship between James and Jeff. In fact, she demanded an end to it. She resented her boyfriend paying attention to anyone who wasn’t her.


And so, the real-life battle lines were drawn with James caught in the middle. On the one hand, there was Melanie, hinting that she might break up with James if she had to play second fiddle. On the other, there was Jeff, warning his friend that Melanie had a dark side and that she wasn’t to be trusted. James laughed off these warnings, of course. “Mel may be a bit overbearing,” he chuckled, “But she’s alright. I just wish the two of you would get along.”


To Jeff, though, this was no laughing matter. Eighteen months into James’s relationship with Melanie, he decided that he’d had enough. To him, his friend’s girlfriend was perfectly personified by her gaming handle, “Hellraiser.” Mel’s avatar was also a fair representation of her character, in Jeff’s estimation. It showed a succubus, a female demon, with its heart ripped out of its chest and held bleeding in its hand. In any case, Jeff wanted no part of Mel’s histrionics. After making his apologies to James’s mom and stepfather, he moved out of the Barry residence. 


Round one in the battle for James’s affection had gone to the possessive girlfriend. But if Mel thought that she had banished her rival, she was sorely mistaken. Jeff continued to visit when she wasn’t around, something that always sent Mel into a tantrum when she found out. She issued an ultimatum, demanding that James make a choice between them. When he refused, she stormed off to bed.


It was now that James would discover that Jeff’s warnings had not been overblown at all. While he slept that night, Mel slipped out of bed, crept down to the kitchen, and fetched a bottle of bleach. The contents of this container were poured into James’s fish tank, condemning its dozens of occupants to an agonizing death. James woke the next morning to find his prized tropical fish floating dead on the surface. He immediately knew who was responsible and Mel made no attempt to deny culpability. “I did it to show you how much I love you,” she said.            


But this supposed show of devotion would backfire badly on Melanie Eam. James wasn’t just furious at the loss of his pets, he was deeply concerned by Mel’s behavior. Perhaps Jeff had been right after all. Maybe Mel really was unhinged. While his anger over his ruined aquarium was still up, he decided to end the relationship. Mel did not take the news well.      


Melanie Eam had been James Barry’s first serious girlfriend. Now, James was discovering the heartache that always accompanies the end of a love affair. Over the weeks that followed, he moped around the house, showing little interest in anything besides his nightly gaming sessions with Jeff. His friend assured him that he’d done the right thing but James wasn’t so sure. He missed Mel terribly and longed to be with her. Gradually, his resolve began to waver. In early November 2017, he eventually gave in to his loneliness. He picked up the phone and asked Mel if he could see her. He was over the moon when she said yes.


James’s reunion with Mel drew mixed reactions in his immediate circle. His mother and stepfather had always liked the girl, who’d never been anything but ultra-respectful towards them. Jeff was less pleased, although he kept his opinion to himself. It wasn’t his place to tell James who he should be with. Perhaps he’d been too harsh on Mel. Maybe he should give her another chance.


But while Jeff might have been ready to let bygones be bygones, Mel was not in the mood for such indulgences. No sooner was she back in the picture when she started pressuring James again, insisting that he end his friendship with Jeff. James wasn’t going to do that but he did come up with a compromise. Mel would have her time and Jeff would have his. James would do his best to keep the two of them apart.


This uneasy truce was never going to last. It would be put to its first (and ultimately, last) test on November 17, 2017. Jeff and James were in the midst of an online game that evening when, in the midst of the action, another player entered the fray…Hellraiser. This was a clear infraction of the rules the trio had agreed on. In disgust, Jeff threw down his game controller and stalked off to bed.


Just weeks after his reunion with Mel, James had been forced to face a harsh reality. He’d made a big mistake letting Mel back into his life. Mel hadn’t changed. She was still the same obsessive, controlling individual who had driven him away in the first place. No matter how much hurt it might cause in the long run, he realized now that there was no future for them. With Mel still online, he clicked over into chat and started typing. “You’ll always be special to me but this was a mistake. It’s over Mel. I’m sorry. Maybe one day, when this is behind us, we can talk it through.” Before Mel had a chance to respond and try to convince him otherwise, James logged out.


About an hour later, just after midnight, James was in bed and unable to fall asleep when there was a knock at the door. He went to answer it and was surprised to find Mel on his doorstep. “You said we could talk about it,” she insisted, pushing past him and entering the house, where she stalked off toward the kitchen.


“Mel, it’s late, can’t we just…” James started to say before Mel cut him off.


“Do you love me?” she demanded.


“Mel, I…”


“Do you?” she insisted.


This was James’s moment of truth. The next words out of his mouth would determine how this went. If he backed down now then the whole thing would start again, the possessiveness, the jealousy, the demands for attention. Faced with that prospect, James made a decision, one that would have catastrophic results.


“The truth, Mel, is that I don’t love you. I did once but not anymore. This just isn’t working. I hope that you can understand and that we can still be friends.”


It was the typical “let me down easy” speech, with the exception that James meant what he was saying. Mel, though, wasn’t listening. She was rummaging through a kitchen drawer. When she turned around she was holding a 13-inch carving knife. Without saying a word, she swung at him.


The first swing nicked James on the wrist, creating a graze that he hardly noticed. The second was deeper but still barely a nick. “Mel, stop,” James begged, warding off the next lunge, “Let’s talk about this.” But Mel wasn’t stopping. Blinded by rage, she continued swinging with the knife, inflicting six superficial wounds on her boyfriend’s arms as he tried to defend himself. Then, suddenly, she shifted her grip on the knife handle and thrust the blade rather than arcing it.


The move caught James by surprise. Before he could even react, the knife had pierced his skin. Directed upward under the ribcage, it sliced through flesh, inflicting massive damage as it penetrated the left ventricle of the heart. James staggered back, mortally wounded, the heft of the knife still protruding from his chest. Mel, perhaps realizing what she’d done, turned and fled.


Jeff Jarzabkowski was sound asleep in bed when he was awakened by a crash and then the sound of someone crying out in pain. The sight that greeted him as he opened his eyes must have convinced Jeff that he was still asleep, afflicted by a nightmare. James had staggered into the room, clutching his chest and gasping for help. Impossibly, there appeared to be a knife sticking out from his chest. And the blood, so much of the stuff, welling out from between his friend’s fingers.


Jeff was out of bed in a single movement. He caught James just before he collapsed to the floor. Jeff screamed for help. His cries were answered by Guy Hand, James’s stepfather. Guy immediately started CPR but every breath that he exhaled into his stepson’s lungs was gushing out through the ugly wound in James’s chest. “Call 911!” Guy yelled to his wife. Unfortunately, it was already too late.


James Barry was already dead by the time paramedics arrived. That made this a murder and investigators soon had a suspect to focus on. The problem was that Melanie Eam was gone. She’d quit town, destination unknown. It would be three days before detectives tracked her to her family home in Silver Spring, Maryland. Taken into custody, Melanie made no pretense at innocence. She admitted stabbing James, saying that she’d done so in a fit of rage after he’d ended their relationship via a text message. “That set me off,” she said. “He could, at least, have had the decency to do it in person.”


By the time the matter came to trial, however, Melanie Eam’s defense team had concocted a new version of events. They now claimed that it was Guy Hand who had stabbed James. According to this narrative, Melanie and Guy had gotten into an argument. James had stepped in to break it up and had been accidentally stabbed in the resulting melee. As unlikely as this scenario seemed, it struck a chord with the jurors. They were unable to reach a unanimous verdict. A mistrial was declared.


And so to the second trial, beginning in January 2019. This time around, the jury was not convinced by Melanie’s tall tale of an altercation that resulted in an accidental stabbing. She was found guilty of second-degree murder and sentenced to 50 years in prison. Should she serve her full term, Melanie Eam will be in her seventies by the time she is released.

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