Louise Peete told outlandish lies to cover up her financially motivated murders, and she even did 18 years behind bars for one of them. But somehow, this beguiling cretin was able to keep convincing people to trust her.
Louise was born in Louisiana to an affluent newspaper publisher. Despite her wholesome upbringing, Louise found herself in trouble as a teen for allegedly stealing from classmates, resulting in her expulsion from her pristine New Orleans private school. (Rumor has it she also engaged in “promiscuous behavior,” which, in the late 1800s, was frowned upon.) Theft was a passion of Louise’s. She stole from just about everyone she crossed paths with, it would seem. She was also really into cheating her spouses, the first of which was a traveling salesman by the name of Harry Bosley. He was so distraught to find her in bed with another guy that he killed himself. Weird as it sounds, this would be a theme repeating in Louise’s life.
Louise left New Orleans and moved to the nearby city of Shreveport where she worked as a prostitute, skimming a little extra from her clients. She then lived for a while in Boston, grifting from wealthy families who believed her when she said she was a teenage heiress who fled her conservative Texas family—despite the fact that at the time, she would have been 31.
Louise ended up next in Waco, Texas. Here, she began dating a rich oil baron named Joe Appel. Only a few weeks into their relationship, Appel was found dead. He had been shot, and robbed of all his jewels. Though Louise was arrested, she skillfully convinced a jury that he had tried to rape her and she shot him in self-defense.
Sly Louise was free again and took off to Dallas, where she met a hotel clerk named Harry Faurote. He would kill himself after she stole jewels from the hotel safe, casting suspicion on the both of them. It didn’t help that Louise cheated on him.
Louise moved on once more, this time to Denver, where she married another salesman, Richard Peete. They were married for five years, before separating. They had a daughter, who Louise took with her to Los Angeles. There, she met a wealthy retired mining engineer named Jacob C. Denton. Denton owned a very nice Tudor mansion, and Louise somehow convinced him to rent it to her for $75, a big discount from the $350 per month he’d been seeking.
Only a few days after Louise and her daughter moved into the home, Denton disappeared. She told people that Denton had had his arm amputated after being shot by some Spanish woman and no longer wished to see anyone but her. She also claimed this is why the signatures on his bank withdrawals looked to strange as well, as Denton was still acclimating to writing with his left hand.
Louise had many stories to account for Denton’s disappearance, but finally, Denton’s teen daughter decided to dig deeper and hired an attorney who hired a private detective. When Louise and her daughter decided to return to Denver, Louise rented the mansion out to various tenants. The private dick took the opportunity to search the home and found Denton’s body in the basement, buried beneath the stairs. It was determined he had been strangled and shot in the head.
In Denver, Louise told police that Denton’s killer must have been a “mysterious Spanish woman,” the same one who had shot him in the arm. However, one look at Denton’s corpse would indicate he still had both arms.
Louise was arrested and charged with murder. She was called the “Tiger Lady” by the media throughout her trial and was sentenced to life. Her husband claimed to believe in her innocence the whole way through, but killed himself after Louise stopped writing him and refused to see him. That’s three husbands dead by their own hands by our count.
After 18 years in prison, Louise was paroled in 1939 at age 59. She began working as a maid for Jessie Marcy, who had graciously lobbied for the model prisoner’s release. Unfortunately, Marcy died of natural causes shortly thereafter. So, Louise began working as a housekeeper for her probation officer, Emily Latham. Latham died of a heart attack in 1943.
Louise then began working for Margaret Logan, a social worker she had met while incarcerated her believed her to be innocent, and her husband, Arthur Logan. Just as Louise had done all those years before, Louise began to scheme. She lied to neighbors and friends of the couple, telling them that Arthur, who was suffering from dementia, was abusive towards Margaret. Margaret would soon disappear, and Louise told every that Arthur had disfigured her in a rage and that Margaret had gone into seclusion. Ah, yes, the old, “was terribly disfigured and too afraid to leave the house” lie. You’d think all that time in prison would have given Louise the opportunity to think of new ones. Arthur, meanwhile, was admitted into an institution by Louise, who pretended to be Arthur’s sister. Louise had married again and she and her husband, Lee Borden Judson, lived in the Logans’ home for many months, Logan-free. During this time, Arthur died in the institution.
Once again, the bank became suspicious those pesky withdrawal slips, which led police to search the home. There, they found Margaret buried beneath an avocado tree. She had been shot, just like Louise’s other victims. Both Louise and her husband were charged with murder. Though her husband’s charges were dropped, he threw himself out a window in downtown Los Angeles. That’s a grand total of four men who killed themselves as a result of association with Louise.
Louise was found guilty of Logan’s murder and was sentenced to death. She was executed in 1947.