Jessica Fletcher <JessicaF291>

"The most successful serial killer America has ever known"

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Jessica Fletcher charged with 689 murders274 weeks ago
From The Chaser, Wednesday, 30 May 2007

Popular mystery writer Jessica Fletcher has been charged with 689 homicides previously declared solved. Police say Fletcher concocted an image as a harmless busybody and amateur sleuth as a means of avoiding suspicion, allowing to kill her victims with means varying from a marble bust toppled from a roof-top to a rigged stunt man's gun. She avoided detection for many years, before prosecutors uncovered statistics showing Fletcher on or near the scene of hundreds of different homicides.
Cabot Cove, the sleepy Maine town the writer called home, was similar in size to nearby, violence-free towns, but suffered dozens of bloody murders in less than a decade. "It was just too much of a coincidence to ignore," FBI profiling expert John McDonald said. "A perpetrator offering to assist in the investigation of homicide they themselves has committed is a pattern we often see in serial killings. The explanations for the crimes were just getting more and more improbable."

Fletcher was able to convince police she was genuine with a combination of homespun wisdom and plucky charm, even going as far as developing a relationship with the gruff but lovable local sheriff. "She was very convincing," said one investigator. "Her pat summation of the facts of the case, her uncanny ability to elicit a confession out of the least likely suspect, it was all very impressive. I mean, put her up against a crooked property developer trying to buy an old marina, and who are the cops going to believe?"

The FBI started to investigate Fletcher after receiving a tip-off from a cruise ship operator. "It got to the point where no cruise company would let her board one of their ships because they knew that as soon as she showed up, a corpse would soon follow," McDonald said.

Shakespearean actor Lionel Hitchens was one of those framed by the sociopathic widow. Despite protestations of innocence, he was led away in handcuffs after Fletcher gave a glib summation of his motives for a senseless crime. "Why would I kill another actor just because I was his understudy to play Hamlet? In an amateur theatre production? It didn't make any sense. But as soon as the police had spent a half-hour investigating it, they just went with the first explanation they heard, and didn't want to know any more."

While investigators say the evidence against Fletcher is overwhelming, they have not ruled out a surprise twist, possibly involving a surprise special guest star witness.
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