(by Student #18 AMH 2010 1115)
In 1922, there were two state prisons in California, San Quentin and Folsom. San Quentin is the oldest prison in California. San Quentin is the largest prison in the United States. San Quentin used to have gas chambers before the gas chamber was converted into execution chamber for lethal injection. Folsom is California’s second oldest prison, and the first in the United States to have electricity. Folsom was also one of the first maximum security prisons in America. The casefile I have is about a woman named Louise L. Peete who resided in San Quentin State Prison. I picked this case because she was classified as a serial killer. While researching this case I hope to find what drove her to becoming a serial killer and how many people did she kill.
I came across Peete file while I was doing research about San Quentin’s prison system. Then, Peete’s mugshot popped up showing she was an inmate. Consequent to seeing Peete’s mugshot I clicked on it only to find that she was labeled a serial killer. For some reason her being a serial killer captivated me maybe it is because I am not used to hearing about female serial killer, I usually hear about the males such as the Zodiac Killer, Ted Bundy, Jack the Ripper etc. I read the arrest report only to see she was convicted of two murders. After seeing that I was really intrigued how can someone be a serial killer with two murders? All the serial killers I heard of killed multiple people! So, looked up the definition of a serial killer according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), “a serial killer is someone who commits at least three murders over more than a month with an emotional cooling off period in between. “Another surprise, my mind was completely blown.
Louise L. Peete was born Lofie Louise Preslar September 20th, 1880. In 1903, she married a traveling salesman named Henry Bossley. The two have only been married for three years before he committed suicide. In 1906, he committed suicide after finding out about Peete’s affair. After the death of her husband the real killings begin. Peete moved to Waco, Texas where she meant a man named Joe Appel, Appel was an oilman with a small fortune, shortly after meeting Appel Peete shot Appel in the back and stole all of Appel’s diamonds. Peete was arrested for his murder but was not convicted she told the grand jury that she killed him in self-defense. But, anyone who knows Peete knew this was a lie Peete was all about her money and would do anything to get it. Her husband did not commit suicide because she had an ordinary affair he committed suicide because she was prostituting. When she was done with Appel she moved to Dallas, Texas and married a man name Harry Faurote. Faurote was a night clerk who worked at a hotel. Shortly after the two married, Peete stole 20,000 dollars’ worth of jewels from the hotel's safe. The police got involved and questioned both Faurote and Peete, but they were cleared due to lack of evidence. After the investigation Faurote committed suicide. Keep in mind people this is husband number two who committed suicide. It is very mysterious how Peete had two husbands commit suicide after finding out about the true her. So now I am starting to wonder what really happened to her formers husbands did they really commit suicide or did Peete kill them to make it look like a suicide, so she can move on to her next victim.
Two years after Faurote suicide Peete moved to Denver, Colorado where she meant and married husband number three Richard Peete a salesman in 1915. You know what they say “the third ones the charm” and he was it. Peete had finally got pregnant starting a family and settling down or, so it seems. After they got married she gave birth to their daughter Betty in 1916. Five years into marriage Mrs. Peete called it quits she left her four-year-old daughter with the father and moved to Los Angeles, California. In Los Angeles she meant a man name Jacob Denton, Denton was a retired mining engineer with millions of dollars. She began to live with him but not as his wife or girlfriend she was tenant renting out a room from him. Peete moved in sometime before he went on a business trip. After he came back from his business trip Denton went missing. When Denton was missing Peete hired a gardener to deliver some soil to the basement her reason being she planned on growing some mushrooms. Mushrooms in a basement did not sit right with me but, I am not a gardener, so I looked up how to grow mushrooms. According to the National Gardening Association mushrooms prefer dark, cool, moist, and humid growing environments. So, you can grow mushrooms in a house or basement.
While Denton was missing Peete forged Denton's signature to withdrawal some money from his bank account and to gain access to his safety deposit box. Peete told the bank teller that the signature looked unusual because she had to help Denton write checks and sign his name with his left hand, supposedly some “angry Spanish woman shot him in the right arm.” Weeks passed since anyone have heard from Denton they begin to question Peete, she began to give multiple statements about his whereabouts the people started to get suspicious. Peete rented out the mansion and fled back to her family that she had abandoned. Once Peete was out the house Denton family searched the house and found Denton’s body buried in the basement. The same basement she started to grow mushrooms in. Denton’s autopsy showed that he had been strangled and shot in the head. Jacob Denton was the murder that got Peete her first conviction. She was sentenced to life in prison.
Peete got out on parole in 1939 after serving eighteen years, she was released into the custody of Jessie Marcy. Marcy is some woman who had lobbied for her to be released. Shortly after moving in with Marcy, Marcy died of natural causes. Peete then moved in with her probation officer, Emily Latham, then Latham died of a heart attack in 1943.Neither deaths were investigated. A lady named Margaret Logan believed that Peete was innocent and had also lobbied for her release. In 1944 she married a man name Lee Judson he was a banker.
In1945, Peete was convicted a second time for murder. This time she murdered her employer Margaret Logan the same lady who lobbied for her release. Logan was the first lady that Peete has ever officially killed she usually kill males. When Margaret disappeared, she committed her husband Arthur into a hospital since he had dementia. Peete and her husband continued to live in the house and spend the Logan’s money with checks that Peete had forged. Until one day the banker noticed the signature was off and called the police while the police were investigating they discover Mrs. Logan’s body buried in the backyard.
Both Peete and Judson were taking in for questioning they both got arrested. But, Judson was charges were dropped due to insufficient evidence and he was released. After his release he committed suicide. This is now husband number three who committed suicide. As stated before they say, “the third times a charm” and this was it Peete official third murder the murder that would get her sentenced to death. Peete was executed in April of 1947 making her the second, and one of only four women, to be executed in California gas chambers.
In concluding my report, I found that Louise Peete had a long history of criminal mischief that included none to less murder, grand theft, forgery, and check fraud. And she was labeled a serial killer because she officially killed three people not two (I still have my suspicions about those suicides but could not find any evidence to prove them). Although she claimed the first murder (Joe Appel) was self-defense I see why the people do not see it that way and labeled her a serial killer, that does not fall into the FBI serial killer definition. But, the National Institute of Justice defines a serial killer as someone who commits two or more murders with a psychological motive and sadistic sexual overtones. Peete got off on seducing men and stealing their wives’ jewelry or just from them, married four times and committed three murders.