Nannie Doss is credited with killing at least 11 people. By the time she married her third husband, three people had been killed. Read on to learn about the last seven.
A huge fan of newspaper classifieds, Nannie Doss began looking for a third husband shortly after the murder of her second. Doss believed in true love and romance, and she wasn’t willing to wait to find it. It didn’t take long before she’d found her next victim.
Doss’ Third Husband, Arlie Lanning
In 1947 she met Arlie Lanning, and just two days later they married. Though Lanning also was an alcoholic, unlike second husband Frank Harrelson, Lanning was not violent. During their marriage, Doss would disappear for long periods of time, and by 1950, she must have been fed up with Lanning’s alcoholism. Lanning died of heart failure that year, and although there was no autopsy, it was reported that Lanning felt dizzy and spent many hours vomiting before his death.
Just eight weeks after Lanning died, the house he and Doss lived in burned to the ground. Lanning’s sister was designated to receive the house through his will, but instead, an insurance check was sent to Doss for the damages. Doss quickly skipped town, but only after her mother-in-law, with whom she had been staying, died in her sleep.
Doss returned home to help care for her sick sister, Dovie. Soon, Dovie’s condition began to worsen, and it wasn’t long before she, too, died in her sleep.
Doss’ Fourth Husband, Richard Morton
Doss met her fourth husband, Richard Morton, through a singles club. The couple married in October of 1952 and moved to Kansas, and Doss soon discovered that Morton owed large debts to many people. In addition, Morton had another girlfriend who he met before Doss.
Doss soon began plotting to kill Morton, but, under unrelated circumstances, her father died and Doss’ mother came to stay with her. Within days of arriving, Doss’ mother died of stomach pains. Three months later Morton died of similar symptoms.
Doss’s Fifth Husband, Sam Doss
During her marriage to Morton, Doss already had began to correspond with new men. One such pen pal was Sam Doss, who would become her fifth husband. Sam Doss was different from her previous husbands in that he was neither threatening nor violent, did not drink or swear, and was a money-grubbing penny-pincher. At one point, in order to gain more control of the finances, Doss left from Oklahoma, where the couple currently lived, and went home to Alabama. Almost immediately, her husband gave her equal control of the bank account and opened up two life insurance policies, naming Doss as the beneficiary.
Within months, Sam Doss was in the hospital with a digestive tract infection. He spent 23 days in the hospital before returning home. Within hours of his return, Doss had served him a port roast dinner with a cup of coffee – laced with arsenic. He was dead before midnight.
Suspicions, Arrest, and Confession
The doctor, thinking something suspicious, immediately ordered an autopsy and found Sam Doss’ digestive tract full of arsenic. Nannie Doss was promptly arrested.
Before long, she confessed to killing not only her four husbands, but confessed to seven other murders as well. She was only charged with the murder of her final husband, and pleaded guilty on May 17, 1955 – almost 25 years after she began her killing spree. Doss was sentenced to life in prison, where she died of leukemia in 1965.
Nannie Doss’ life of murder did not start with Arlie Lanning. Continue reading about the prolific serial killer and her previous murders.
- Nannie Doss: Lonely Hearts Lady Loved Her Man To Death Geringer, Joseph. TruTv Crime Library. trutv.com.