The Biggest Plot Twists In True Crime Cases



The article outlines various unexpected twists in true crime history. Here’s a summary of the key points:


Golden State Killer Capture:

The notorious Golden State Killer, responsible for rapes and murders in California during the 1970s and 1980s, was finally identified as Joseph James DeAngelo, a U.S. Navy veteran and former cop, in 201DeAngelo pleaded guilty to multiple charges in 2020.


Sally Clark’s Miscarriage of Justice:

In 1999, Sally Clark, a solicitor, was wrongly convicted of murdering her two infants. Expert testimony, including flawed statistics, led to her conviction. Clark was eventually freed in 2003, but the experience contributed to her tragic death in 2007.


Sherri Rasmussen’s Murder:

Sherri Rasmussen, a nurse, was murdered in 1986, and the case went cold. In 2009, it was revealed that Stephanie Lazarus, an LAPD officer and Rasmussen’s ex-boyfriend’s ex-girlfriend, was the killer. Lazarus was sentenced to 27 years to life in prison.


Steven Stayner’s Kidnapping:

Steven Stayner was abducted at age 7 and lived with his captor, Kenneth Parnell, for seven years. Stayner eventually escaped in 1980, bringing another kidnapped boy, Timmy White, with him. Stayner died in 1989, and White attended his funeral.


Jussie Smollett’s Faked Assault:

In 2019, actor Jussie Smollett claimed he was a victim of a racist and homophobic assault. Investigations revealed it was a staged attack, and Smollett was arrested for filing a false police report. He was sentenced to 150 days in jail in 2021.


Phantom of Heilbronn:


A mysterious criminal known as the Phantom of Heilbronn was believed to be responsible for multiple crimes in Germany and Austria. It was later revealed that the DNA found at crime scenes belonged to a woman working at the factory where forensic swabs were manufactured, exposing a case of forensic contamination.

Azaria Chamberlain’s Death:

In 1980, Lindy Chamberlain claimed a dingo took her baby, Azaria. Lindy was wrongfully convicted of murder, but new evidence, including the discovery of Azaria’s jacket near a dingo habitat, led to her exoneration in 1988.


Shannon Matthews’ Kidnapping:

In 2008, 9-year-old Shannon Matthews was reported missing in the UK. It was later revealed that her own family, including her mother Karen, orchestrated the kidnapping to claim reward money. Both Karen Matthews and an accomplice were jailed.


John Leonard Orr’s Arson:

John Leonard Orr, a respected arson investigator, was responsible for over 2,000 arsons. His novel “Points of Origin” hinted at his crimes. Orr’s true identity as an arsonist was revealed through improved fingerprint technology.


Canoe Man Hoax:

In 2007, John Darwin, presumed dead after a canoeing accident in 2002, turned himself in, revealing he faked his death. His wife, Anne, was aware of his whereabouts, and they collected life insurance money. Both were sentenced to prison for fraud.


Robert Durst’s Confession:

Millionaire Robert Durst, suspected in multiple murders, inadvertently confessed during the final interview of the 2015 HBO documentary “The Jinx.” The audio confession was used in court, leading to his conviction for the murder of Susan Berman.


Dolly Oesterreich’s Secret Lover:

In the early 20th century, Walburga “Dolly” Oesterreich had a secret lover, Otto Sanhuber, living in her attic. When her husband Fred was shot dead in 1922, the affair and Otto’s involvement were revealed.


Russ Faria’s Framing:

Russ Faria was wrongly convicted of his wife Betsy’s murder in 201Betsy’s friend Pam Hupp framed him, having become the beneficiary of Betsy’s life insurance. Faria was eventually freed on appeal.


Delimar Vera’s Return:

In 1997, Delimar Vera was assumed dead in a house fire. Years later, her mother discovered her alive, kidnapped by a woman named Carolyn Correa. Delimar was reintroduced to her family after social services confirmed her identity.

These true crime stories highlight the unpredictable and often shocking turns that real-life criminal cases can take.