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Pushing Daisies

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Women Behind Bars EpisodesSeason 1    

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  • Rose Parker & Celeste Fox
    Rose Ann Parker, the daughter of a preacher, grew up in Ontario, California. Drawn to show biz, she eventually became involved with Art Boga, a wealthy man who threw frequent parties attended by the entertainment elite. For four years, Rose had an on-and-off relationship with Art, which included using drugs with him. In 1986, after learning she was pregnant, Rose decided to break things off for good and get clean. But things quickly turned bad again when Art showed up and the two went on a drug binge that lasted four days. When Rose's brother tried to intervene, a fight broke out, and Rose, fearing for her life, fatally shot Art in the shoulder. Rose confessed to the murder, and was sentenced to 27 years in prison for murder. After 15 years as a model inmate, she was released from prison in December 2000. She has since returned to her roots and become a religious counselor and minister. Celeste Fox grew up in St. Augustine, Florida. She was pulled out of school early to help take care of her siblings, and as Celeste tells it, experienced abuse at the hands of her mother. As an adult, Celeste struggled to make ends meet, and became addicted to drugs. Her grandmother tried to help out by giving Celeste a place to live in exchange for doing odd jobs. On June 2, 2001, Celeste and her grandmother got into a fight. Celeste claims that after the argument, she went to visit a neighbor, and stayed away for the rest of the night getting high on cocaine. The following day, Celeste's grandmother was found dead in her home. Celeste quickly became the prime suspect in the murder after it was determined that she had stolen her grandmother's jewelry for drug money. She was charged with first-degree murder, and given a 25-year sentence. Although she pled "no contest", Celeste still maintains she is innocent.

  • Stacey Lannert & Charaty White
    The first of two stories in this episode features Stacey Lannert, who was convicted of murder in 1992. Stacey grew up in St. Louis Missouri. According to Stacey, her father began to molest her in the basement of their home when Stacey was eight years old. Convinced by her father that her mother knew about the abuse and didn't care, Stacey kept quiet. On the night of July 3rd, 1990, Stacey and her sister returned to their home after being out with friends. Stacey says she could no longer take the abuse and took her father's gun and shot him twice, fatally wounding him. Stacey confessed to the police and agreed to do a video re-enactment of the crime. She was convicted of murder in the first degree and received a life sentence without parole. She is hoping to be granted clemency by the Governor of Missouri. Charaty White grew up in a depressed neighborhood of St. Louis, Missouri where the streets were filled with violence and crime. She left home at 15, became a member of a gang, assumed the nickname "Baby Doll", and was known to the police for drug dealing, burglary, and carrying a weapon. When a double cross drug deal went bad, Charaty and her boyfriend Demetrius were involved in a murder. In an effort to keep Demetrius from being convicted, Charaty, along with two of her girlfriends, fatally tortured and stabbed 19-year-old Danielle Montgomery who had become a "secret witness" to the police. Charaty is now serving a life sentence without parole for the murder.

  • Cindy Countess & Jennifer Blake
    In 2004, Cindy Countess is found guilty of her mother's murder and sentenced to 30 years in prison; in 2002, Jennifer Blake is found guilty of suffocating and strangling her mother with the aid of her boyfriend.

  • Peggy Hilt & Susan D'Aquila
    Peggy Hilt was charged with murder in 2006. Peggy and her husband Chris adopted a little girl from Russia who immediately exhibited behavioral issues. In July 2005, while Chris was at work, an emotionally unstable Peggy snapped and, according to police records, savagely beat her two-year-old daughter who died the next day. Peggy confessed and pled guilty to second-degree murder. Her projected release date is set for 2022. When Susan D'Aquila was 30 years old, she married her best friend Tony D'Aquila, a 56 year old, physically disabled groundskeeper. About six months after the wedding, in May of 1986, Tony, Susan, and four of Susan's friends went to Hoffman Dam on the Des Plaines River in Illinois. Tony, who had difficulty swimming, drowned in the river. One of the friends confessed to authorities that he and Susan had pushed Tony into the water. Susan was convicted of murder and sentenced to 60 years in prison. Susan still maintains she is innocent.

  • Delpha Spunaugle & Carmen Ortiz
    Delpha Spunaugle was convicted of murder in 1993. According to police, Delpha, a former high school valedictorian, had made two attempts to solicit help in murdering her fourth husband, Dennis Spunaugle. Then she found Edwin Woodward who, along with Delpha, beat, stabbed and strangled Dennis. Delpha denies participating in his murder but does admit to helping to dispose of the body. She was charged with capital murder and given the death penalty. Two years later, in exchange for pleading guilty, she was given life without parole. Carmen Ortiz grew up in a poor neighborhood on the North side of Chicago, and by the time she was in her mid-twenties, she was single mom to a daughter, and strung out on heroin. In January 1998, Carmen met Oswaldo Gonzalez, a fellow drug user and Chicago gang member. Carmen became Oswaldo's lookout while he robbed and murdered Antoni Rafalo, a Polish immigrant, outside a liquor store. When police questioned Carmen about a rash of burglaries in which Oswaldo was a suspect, she confessed to being present at the murder of Rafalo. She was convicted of felony murder and sentenced to 25 years in prison.

  • Virginia Twenter & Diane Metzger
    Twenty-six year old Virginia, a divorced mother of two, was having trouble making ends meet. On May 5th, her father and stepmother were found dead, and Virginia became the prime suspect. She claims she did not commit the murders, but when circumstantial evidence pointed to possible financial motives, she was found guilty of both murders. She was convicted in 1988 and her initial sentence was later reduced to two life terms without the possibility of parole. Virginia still holds onto hope that she will ultimately be exonerated. Diane Metzger met her husband Frank when she was 21 years old. He was estranged from his wife, Marti, and their three sons. A year later Diane and Frank moved in together, but Frank missed his other sons, and wanted to regain custody. On August 28th, 1974, Frank entered Marti's home while Diane waited in the car. A struggled ensued and Frank beat Marti with a flashlight and suffocated her. Frank and Diane fled the scene along with the boys. Six weeks later, when the couple got wind that the authorities were looking for them, they drove the boys to a hotel, abandoned them there, and fled to Idaho where they were ultimately arrested. In 1976 Frank and Diane were convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to life without parole. At Diane's trial, Frank Metzger took total responsibility for the killing, and continues to do so to this day. Diane maintains she did not know Frank was going to kill Marti that night, and hopes to be given clemency.

  • Patricia Johnson & Rebecca Bivens
    Patricia Johnson was found guilty in the shooting death of her husband in 1991. Patricia was married twice and divorced twice, but both relationships were characterized by addiction or abuse. Patricia then married her third husband, Peter Johnson, but like the other marriages, it quickly became abusive. In 1991 Patricia shot and killed Peter in their home. She was convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to 29 years. Patricia was given a new trial in 2006, and her conviction was reduced to second-degree murder. From an early age there were signs that Rebecca Bivens had severe mood swings. At the age of 25, the mother of four was finally admitted to a psychiatric center where she was diagnosed with bipolar disorder and borderline personality disorder. Claiming that prescription medication made her lethargic, she stopped her medication and continued her pattern of extreme emotional states. After getting divorced in 1995, her children went to live with relatives, and Rebecca remarried. On the morning of November 17, 1998, Rebecca was getting her five-year-old stepdaughter, Dani, ready for school when the two began to argue. Rebecca snapped and fatally beat Dani. She was charged with first-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison. An appeal reduced her time to 40 years.

  • Mary Anne Acker & Deborah Pierenger
    The first of two stories in this episode features Deborah Pieringer, who was charged with capital murder in 2003. Deborah was born and raised in Fort Worth, Texas. As an adult, she ran into financial troubles and began to lean on her parents, Agnes and Loyd Courtney, for loans. On the morning of November 2, 2001, Deborah stopped by her parent's home for a visit. According to Deborah, when she left, both her parents were alive. Later that afternoon, authorities found Agnes and Loyd murdered; the cause of death was multiple stab wounds and blunt force trauma. DNA evidence ultimately led investigators back to the couple's own daughter as the murderer. Deborah was eventually convicted of capital murder and sentenced to life in prison. Deborah maintains her innocence. Maryann Acker, a recent high school graduate, was living in Phoenix, Arizona, when she met and fell in love with William Acker. According to testimony, Acker hid his extensive criminal past from Maryann. The couple married and went to Hawaii for a honeymoon, but when it was time to return to the states, Maryann claims William forced her to take part in a scheme to rob tourists to fund their stay. One of their victims was Laurence Hasker. The couple met him at a hotel bar, robbed him, and according to Maryann, William then shot Laurence and dumped the body. The pair then headed back to the states where police say the couple robbed and killed another victim, Cesario Arauza. In a dramatic case of "he said, she said", both Maryann and William blamed each other for the two murders. Maryann was ultimately found guilty of both murders. William was found guilty of the California murder, but in exchange for his testimony against Maryann in the Hasker trial in Hawaii, the charges against him were dropped. He is currently in prison serving time for the California murder. Maryann is currently in prison serving time for the two murders, while awaiting a retrial for the murder of Laurence Hasker.

  • Celeste Johnson & Bernice Ahrens
    The first of two stories in this episode features Celeste Johnson. In 1995, after three failed marriages, Celeste married multi-millionaire Steven Beard in Austin, Texas. Despite the 38-year age difference, the couple seemed like the perfect match. But soon their relationship began to deteriorate. In 1995, 55-year-old Bernice Ahrens was a lonely widow living in Houston, Texas with her two adult children, Hope and Craig.In 1998, authorities say Suzanne met a 59-year-old mentally impaired man named Buddy Musso while visiting relatives in New Jersey. She convinced Buddy to move to Texas so they could be married, but the marriage never happened. Instead, as soon as Buddy arrived, Suzanne began abusing him and laying claim to his finances.

  • Connie Keel & Roena Lee Ashing
    The first of two stories in this episode features Roena Ashing who was charged with murder in 1992. Roena was born and raised in Granite City, Illinois. After 17 years of marriage, she got a divorce from her husband and as a single mother of three worked as a cab driver. One of her customers, a 57-year-old disabled man named Tom Bauer, accused her of stealing $500. According to police reports, Roena had enlisted the help of her 25-year-old boyfriend, Jeff Ramsey, and a group of his friends to stop Bauer from going to police about the alleged theft by murdering him. The following day Bauer was found dead in his home, which had been engulfed in flames. Two members of Jeff's crew confessed to police and implicated Roena as the mastermind. Fearing the death penalty, Roena pled guilty and was sentenced to 40 years in prison. Her term has been reduced to 20 years and she is expected to be released in 2012. She maintains she had nothing to do with the murder. Connie Keel, who grew up in Santa Monica, California began dating Ricky Keel when she was 15. At 16 she got pregnant with her daughter. The couple married in 1979 and shortly after had a son. But the marriage was full of conflict because Connie claims Ricky was into drugs and was committing armed robberies. Fearing for her children's safety, Connie tried to leave the marriage several times but always came back. On February 26, 1980, Connie and Ricky and his cousin Jeffrey ended a night out by going to a local liquor store. According to Connie, despite her pleas to the contrary, the two men robbed and murdered the liquor store clerk, while Connie waited in the car. All three were arrested and charged and convicted of armed robbery and murder. Connie was given 25 years to life in prison with the possibility of parole while Ricky and Jeffrey were given life without the possibility of parole.

  • Deana Farchild & Leslie Demeniuk
    The first of two stories in this episode features Leslie Demeniuk who was charged with murder in 2001. In 1996, Leslie married and gave birth to twin boys. Three years later, Leslie's relationship began to crumble and she began to suffer from depression. In 2001, Leslie started taking anti-depressants and claims she experienced severe side effects including hallucinations, suicidal thoughts, and started drinking heavily. According to court records, in the afternoon of March 17, 2001, Leslie was upset that her ex-husband could not baby-sit her four-year-old twins that evening. Leslie then shot and killed her twin sons. Although Leslie admitted killing her children, she claims that she was temporarily insane from her medication. She was found guilty of two counts of first-degree murder and is serving two consecutive life sentences. Deana Fairchild lived with her boyfriend Joe Martin, Jr. on his parents' farm in Florida with her nine year old son, Matthew. On the evening of July 21, 1996, while Joe and his parents were sleeping in their home, Deana and Matthew were watching TV in the barn. Matthew remembers dozing off, then hearing a huge explosion and then running to the house, which was on fire. It burned to the ground, killing Joe and his parents. Police discovered blisters on Deana's hands, and she was eventually charged with arson and three counts of murder. At her trial, Matthew testified against her. She was convicted and is serving three life sentences. She maintains her innocence.

  • Chanel Boyd & Rita Nitz
    Rita Nitz and her husband Richard lived in a trailer in rural Illinois, near a park which gay men were known to frequent. Richard had a reputation for harassing these men and threatening to kill them because of their sexual orientation. In April, 1988, Michael Miley, one of the men from the park, began arguing with Rita and Richard in front of their home. Richard threatened to kill him if he didn't get off his property, and then allegedly beat him to death with a baseball bat while Rita watched. Rita helped Richard get Miley's body into the trunk of the car. She adamantly denies that she participated in the murder. In the end, Richard was convicted and sentenced to death, while Rita was also found guilty and sentenced to life in prison. Chanel Boyd grew up in inner city Chicago. When she was 15 she became pregnant by a local drug dealer, Jermaine Mullen, and gave birth to a daughter, Chontella. After Jermaine had been released from prison following a drug conviction, Chanel and baby Chontella moved in with him. In February 1988, eight-month-old Chontella began having trouble breathing and was rushed to the hospital. She was put on life support, but two days later, she died. Investigators found evidence of head trauma, and Chanel confessed to throwing her baby against a wall, but later claimed that Jermaine had smashed the baby's head against the wall. They were both were tried for murder. Chanel was 16 at the time, but was tried as an adult, and found guilty of murder. She was sentenced to 40 years in prison. Jermaine was acquitted due to lack of proof that he was present when baby Chontella received her fatal injuries. Chanel still maintains she is innocent.
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