What’s a girl to do when she’s hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt, but still needs some new shoes?
How about murder little old ladies and steal their credit cards?
That’s what Dana Sue Gray did in 1994. The pretty suburban woman was a former nurse and an extreme-sport enthusiast.
No one suspected her dark secret.
Dana always liked the shopping a little too much. She was divorced, newly unemployed, and drowning in debt when she murdered what police suspect was her first victim.
Eighty-six-year-old Norma Davis lived in an exclusive gated community in Canyon Lake, California, and was known to keep her doors locked and never open them unless she was expecting someone.
One of poor Norma’s friends discovered her body, and probably had nightmares for the rest of her life. Norma had been strangled before being stabbed 11 times. Two knives were sticking out of her body, and Norma’s neck wounds were so vicious that she had nearly been decapitated.
Norma was the mother-in-law of the woman who married Dana’s father.
Interestingly enough, many objects of obvious value had been left in Norma’s home, including jewelry, but the only thing that seemed to be missing were the elderly woman’s credit cards.
Unaware of a little thing called “a paper trail,” Dana went on a massive shopping spree with each of her four victims’ credit cards, often right after she killed them. She wouldn’t even stop to change her clothes! Chillingly, she often took her boyfriend’s five-year-old son along for the ride. The boy waited patiently for her in the car, unaware that she was in the midst of murdering someone.
Dana favoured strangling her victims until they were unconscious, and then bludgeoning them to death with a handy object, such as a steam iron.
On March 10th, her luck ran out. Fifty-eight-year-old Dorinda Hawkins was strangled for $25, but managed to survive the attack. She later told police she’d offered Dana everything she had of value, but that the murderer had repeatedly said,
“I’m not doing this for the money.”
That didn’t surprise Candice DeLong, a former FBI profiler. On a Deadly Women episode that featured Dana, Candice surmised that the shopaholic serial killer had selected elderly women for a reason–they reminded her of her own mother, with whom she’d had a volatile relationship.
Unfortunately, before the police caught up with her, Dana managed to murder 87-year-old Dora Beebe. When Dana was apprehended, the cops found items belonging to three of her victims, including the stolen credit cards. At first, Dana admitted taking the cards but denied killing the women. She changed her plea to guilty to avoid the death penalty.
Dana will spend the rest of her life in the California Women’s Prison in Chowchilla, where she sells her used panties on the Internet.
Do you think Dana’s crimes were just about the money, or was she expressing the rage she felt towards her mother? Had you heard of the Shopaholic Serial Killer? Have you ever seen the show “Deadly Women?”