Reason First: Serial Killer Amy Archer-Gilligan
How does one acquire so much arsenic?
Arsenic seems like the go-to crime weapon when it comes to these serial killer cases. And another woman cropped up in the case which happened in Windsor, Connecticut from 1911-1916. Amy Archer-Gilligan poisoned at least ten people a year.
This all stemmed from the founding of the Archer Home for the Elderly and Infirm. Without proper medical credentials, Archer-Gilligan skirted the medical authorities and opened this place up anyway. This all took place after James Archer established the Sister Amy’s Nursing Home for the Elderly in Newington, Connecticut.
In the coming years, James Archer perished and Amy kept up the business.
Then Amy married someone who had lost a spouse as well, Michael W. Gilligan. Soon he passed away as well.
Something weird then happened at the Home. People of good health began to die due to mysterious reasons.
Authorities found that at least 48 deaths had occurred in five years. Police picked up on the eerie and macabre occurrences at the Home. They exhumed two bodies that contained arsenic.
In 1917, Amy received the cold steel of justice around her wrists. Her trial took place in the capital of Connecticut in Hartford. Prosecutors pointed out that she had bought a significant amount of arsenic. She tried to cop a plea and say that she dedicated herself to her faith and to being a nurse. The jury and the judge didn’t take her at her word. A conviction based on five murders led to a death sentence. However, this resulted in a retrial and Amy evaded death and received a life sentence. Amy died in a psychiatric ward for the criminally insane.
How did a want-to-be nurse get caught up in a web of murder? Amy’s ideas stood in disarray. She could not order the ideas to be for the positive. The negativity that was present in her psyche took over her mind. She felt that she could kill as many people as possible and skate away without any reproach. Of course this ideation failed. And that was for the better, of course.
Amy’s ideation to kill people who would die naturally in the near future demonstrated that she had a sadistic streak in herself.
And about the arsenic. Who stockpiles poison? That is unless Amy was trying to preserve wood. But this was not the case. She deliberately bought copious arsenic to dispatch people. Her crimes extended to the very people who she was supposed to care for at her Home. As an angel of death, Amy brought her full sense of wickedness to the fore. To poison people is awful enough but to murder the very people entrusted to your care is especially malevolent.
She did not think. Not only did her actions land her in prison but she committed irredeemable evils. These breaches of morality that would never be forgiven weighed heavily on Amy’s consciousness, allegedly. That’s why she died in an asylum. It was almost poetic justice that she would be under nurses’ care during her final days. The difference of course that these nurses didn’t poison Amy with arsenic.
As another woman serial killer, she became a part of a tiny tradition and a forerunner to other women killers that would follow her in the future. The early 20th century was fraught with just as much wickedness as any time in human history. Amy just represented the ugliness of those who wished to participate in the health business. While there shouldn’t be licenses for medical care, there should be background checks and reviews for the companies. Maybe if the victims took heed to the fact that Amy was illegitimate when it came to medicine they would’ve lived a bit longer lives.