Judd, Winnie Ruth

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Judd, Winnie Ruth Gender: F
Winnie Ruth McKinnell
born on 29 January 1905 at 23:50 (= 11:50 PM )
Place Oxford, Indiana, 40n31, 87w15
Timezone CST h6w (is standard time)
Data source
From memory
Rodden Rating A
Collector: Rodden
Astrology data s_su.18.gif s_aqucol.18.gif 09°42' s_mo.18.gif s_sagcol.18.gif 07°56 Asc.s_scocol.18.gif 00°54'


American secretary and homicide perpetrator. She married a doctor, moved to L.A. and worked as a secretary in a clinic before moving to Arizona where she lived with two women. On 10/17/1931, she shot and dismembered the two women friends after an argument. On 10/19/1931, two trunks arrived from Phoenix to Los Angeles railroad station, stinking and vile; they turned out to contain dismembered bodies. She was arrested, tried and sentenced to hang in 1933.

Reporters had a field day with the case, calling her by such nicknames as "Velvet Tigress" and "Wolf Woman." Evading the gallows by declaring insanity, she escaped seven times from an asylum for the criminally insane until her parole and release on 12/22/1971.

A tiny, sweet-faced, redheaded young woman with enigmatic blue eyes, Judd stayed in the headlines for 40 years. In interviews for a 1992 book, she claimed she never committed murder, but had killed in self defense.

The daughter of a Methodist minister, Ruth married at 18, quitting nursing school to wed Dr. William Judd, a widower more than 20 years her senior. The couple came to Santa Monica in the '20s for Ruth to take the TB cure among the patients at the La Vina Sanatorium in Altadena. Seeking the desert climate, she moved alone to Phoenix in 1930. There, she moved in with another tubercular, Helwig "Sammy" Samuelson, 25, and an X-ray technician, Agnes Anne LeRoi, 27.

The three women had some good times together, aided by Prohibition hooch and a number of free-spending gentleman callers. When Judd and LeRoi started up dating the same man - rich, married playboy businessman Jack Halloran - Judd moved out. On the sultry night of 10/16/1931, when her beau did not call, Judd went to her friend's apartment. He was not there. According to prosecutors, Judd then killed LeRoi and Samuelson in cold blood as they slept in their beds.

According to Judd, she and LeRoi argued. Samuelson, awakened, brought out a .25-caliber pistol that Judd had left there when she moved out. As the two struggled, the gun went off twice, killing Samuelson. LeRoi swung an ironing board at Judd and Judd shot her. A gunshot wound on her hand and 147 bruises lent credence to Judd's story.

She never told this story of self defense in court, but kept silent to protect her married lover, whom she said had assured her that he would "take care of things." The next day, she took the train to Los Angeles where she intended to dump the two trunks in the ocean. Instead, she was apprehended at the train station with her gruesome baggage. She never testified but was found insane before her second murder trial.

To this day, Judd has her defenders who believe in her innocence. During one of her periods on the outside, from 1962-1968, she worked for a wealthy blind woman as a companion; it was to this family in northern California that she went when she was released. After her employer died, she wound up suing the family for keeping her in in virtual slavery. In 1983, she won a $50,000 settlement and a lifetime monthly income of $1,250; she lived out her years quietly under an assumed name.

Judd died on 10/23/1998, Phoenix, AZ.

Link to Wikipedia biography


  • Crime : Homicide Perpetration 16 October 1931 (Killed and dismembered two friends)
    chart Placidus Equal_H.
  • Social : Institutionalized - prison, hospital 1933
  • Social : Deinstitutionalized - prison, hospital 1962 (Escaped for asylum for six years)
  • Social : Deinstitutionalized - prison, hospital 22 December 1971
    chart Placidus Equal_H.
  • Financial : Gain significant money 1983 (Won law suit of $50,000)

Source Notes

Greene in Astrology Bulletina 4/1932 quotes a letter written by the doctor who delivered Judd. He got home late and registered the birth on the following day.

(T. Pat Davis verifies the date as valid and gives 7:41 PM "from one who claims to know the family," but cannot be traced. Sabian Symbols No.510 gives January 30, 1905, 00:38 AM.)

Biography: Jana Bommersbach, "The Trunk Murderess: Winnie Ruth Judd."


  • Diagnoses : Major Diseases : Tuberculosis (T.B. in the '20s)
  • Diagnoses : Psychological : Institutionalized (Asylum for criminally insane)
  • Diagnoses : Psychological : Mental Illness (Declared insane 1933)
  • Diagnoses : Psychological : Psychotic Episode (Dismembered two women)
  • Family : Relationship : Mate - Age difference more than 15 yrs (Husband older by 20 years +)
  • Family : Relationship : Number of Marriages (One)
  • Family : Relationship : Stress - Extramarital affairs (Rich, married lover)
  • Family : Parenting : Kids none
  • Passions : Criminal Perpetrator : Homicide many at once (Shot two women)
  • Personal : Death : Long life more than 80 yrs (Age 93)
  • Vocation : Business : Clerical/ Secretarial
  • Vocation : Misc. : Homemaker/Care provider (Companion to elderly women)
  • Notable : Famous : Criminal cases (Shot and dismembered two, famed for years)
  • Notable : Book Collection : Profiles Of Women