Death Sentence: The True Story of Velma Barfield's Life, Crimes, and Execution

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Penguin Group, 1998 - Social Science - 371 pages
A haunting true story that resonates with today's headlines, Death Sentence takes us inside the life of a multiple killer - and the only woman to be executed in the United States from 1962 until 1998. On February 3, 1978, North Carolina farmer Stuart Taylor was rushed to the hospital. His forty-six-year-old fiancee, Velma Barfield, a devout Sunday school teacher, held vigil at his bedside. But prayers couldn't save him. An autopsy revealed that arsenic had killed him. To those who knew her, Velma was a devoted mother and grandmother, a sweet and selfless caregiver. But her life was a fragile web of lies that unraveled with alarming speed, exposing a deeply disturbed woman addicted to prescription drugs, driven to bouts of suicidal despair. And murder. Turned over to the police by her son, Velma stunned her family by admitting to having murdered four people over the course of ten years - including her own mother. But there were secrets she held back... secrets not known until now.

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User Review  - jlsimon7 - LibraryThing

This book was well researched and well written. I can't say just why I didn't care for it. I guess I couldn't relate to anyone in the story. Still I would recommend Bledsoe's work to anyone who enjoys true crime books. Read full review

DEATH SENTENCE: The True Story of Velma Barfield's Life, Crimes and Execution

User Review  - Kirkus

Veteran true-crime writer Bledsoe (Before He Wakes, 1994, etc.) offers a vividly bifurcated portrait of a woman who was by turns a cruel killer and a loving grandmother. Velma Barfield was the first ... Read full review



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About the author (1998)

Jerry Bledsoe was born July 14, 1941, in Danville, Virginia. Bledsoe is a newspaperman. He writes true crime stories as well as humor columns. He has won several awards, including the National Headliners Award (1969) and the Young Newspaperman Award from the International Newspaper Promotion Association (1971). As a writer Beldsoe focuses on North Carolina's land and people. Some of his titles include Some Funny Things Happened on the Way Back to the Land (1976), Visitin' with Carolina People (1980), and Blood Games: A True Account of Family Murder (1991). Blue Horizons: Faces and Places from a Bicycle Journey along the Blue Ridge Parkway was published in 1993. Before He Wakes: A True Story of Money, Marriage, Sex and Murder appeared in 1994. Bledsoe lives in Ashboro, North Carolina.

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