The ‘Lonely Hearts’ Husband Killer. Nannie Doss. The Giggling Granny. She was sentenced to life imprisonment in 1955, but died 10 years later from leukemia. Also referred to as “The Jolly Black Widow”. Nannie Doss had killed 11 people between the years of 1920 and 1954.
Also referred to as “The Jolly Black Widow”.
Nannie Doss had killed 11 people between the years of 1920 and 1954.
Some of these people included her two sisters, her mother, a grandson, a nephew and four of her husbands.
Nannie married her 1st husband, Charlie Braggs, in 1921 at the age of 16.
They had 4 kids together.
There was a lot of anger between herself, Charlie and his mother causing distress in the marriage.
They divorced after the birth of her youngest daughter.
Braggs had left her after suspecting Nannie killed their 2 middle daughters, when in reality they died of food poisoning.
She was left with 2 children, and living with her mother.
Her second marriage in 1929 to Robert (Frank) Harrelson, a 23-year-old factory worker from Jacksonville.
They lived happily in their new home with her two surviving daughters.
A few months after marriage she had found out that Frank was an alcoholic and had a criminal report.
The marriage lasted 16 years anyways.
Her oldest daughter Melvina gave birth to Doss’ grandson, Robert, in 1943.
In 1945 Melvina gave birth to her daughter. She had seen (while exhausted from labor and on drugs and ether) Nannie push a hatpin into her baby’s head.
The death was never explained
While under Doss’s care at the age of 2, Robert had died mysteriously.
The cause of the death was diagnosed as asphyxia from unknown causes.
She had collected $500 from a suspicious strategic life insurance policy on Robert.
In 1945 when the Japanese surrendered to the allied powers, they had celebrated, and her husband had celebrated excessively and spent the night drunk, and raped Nannie Doss.
The next day she found his Corn Whiskey Bottle in the back yard and topped it off with rat poison.
He died a painful death that night.
Nannie had married Arlie Lanning 3 days after meeting him.
They found each other in the lonely hearts column, just like all her other husbands.
Just like her second husband, Arlie was and alcoholic.
The difference in this marriage was that Nannie was the one who kept disappearing for months.
Soon mystery began to erupt.
Her husband had died of “Heart Failure”, and when he died the whole town came to his funeral to support Nannie.
Soon after, their house had burned to the ground, just before the house was going to be given to Arlie’s sister.
Once again, Doss received a large amount of insurance money after taking out a policy on the home.
She left town soon after Arlie’s mother had died in her sleep.
She then began to live with her sister, Dovie.
Dovie was bedridden, and not in strong health.
Dovie died soon after Nannies arrival.
Years later Nannie Doss joined the Diamond Circle Club in search for another husband.
She met Richard L. Morton from Emporia, Kansas.
Richard was not an alcoholic, he was a womanizer.
In 1953 before she poisoned Richard, she lived with her mother for a while.
She had poisoned and killed her mother soon after.
When she returned home, a few months later, she poisoned and killed Richard.
She was a widow once again.
Nannie married Samuel Doss in June of 1953.
Samuel was not and alcoholic, nor a womanizer.
He was a weekly church-going man, with good intentions.
In September of 1954 he was admitted to the hospital for having severe flu-like symptoms.
His doctor recovered and released him October 5th.
Nannietook out 2 life insurance policies on him, almost certain that he would die in the hospital.
Nannie killed him that evening in a rush for her insurance money.
The doctor was shocked in such sudden death after recovery and demanded an autopsy.
They had found excessively severe amounts of arsenic in his system.
Nannie Doss was immediately arrested.
She was born ‘NannieHazle” to James and Lou Hazlein 1905.
They lived in Blue Mountain, Alabama.
Her father was very strict, and made all his children work on the farm daily, they hardly went to school.
When Nannie was 7 she had a traumatic head injury.
Since then she suffered black-outs, migraines and depression.
She was never diagnosed with any mental disorders, but was labeled as mentally unstable.
When she was arrested, she was seen to be laughing, and throughout the police interrogation she continued to laugh hysterically.
All pictures taken of her while in prison shows her laughing.
She was charged with the murder of only Samuel Doss.
In her small Alabama home town, she is considered a legend, but to her family, nothing but a black sheep unspoken of.