Categories: Women Murderers.
||Anna (Filser) Hahn is a black sheep because they were outcast, outlawed, or outlandish.|
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Anna Marie Hahn, nicknamed "the Blonde Borgia," preyed on elderly victims in Cincinnati and became the nation's first female serial killer to be executed in the electric chair by the state of Ohio.
Anna Marie Filser was born in Bavaria, Germany; the youngest of 12 children.
Several stories exist of a relationship between Anna and a Viennese physician. One alleges that as a teenager, she had an affair with this physician and became pregnant. Her scandalized family sent her to America in 1929 at the age of 23, while her son remained in Bavaria with her parents.
Another tells that she and the physician married in Germany after which time, she became pregnant with their son Oscar. Not long after the birth of their son, the family immigrated together, but the doctor died shortly after their arrival in the states.
No records have ever been found of a Viennese doctor using the name (unknown) she gave.
While staying with relatives Max and Anna Doeschel in Cincinnati, Anna met fellow German immigrant and telephone operator, Philip Hahn. The two were married in 1930. Anna Marie briefly returned to Germany to retrieve her son, Oscar, and returned with him to Cincinnati,OH. Soon after, the three settled in to a seemingly typical family life.
Anna's family prospered by running two bakeries in the German district of Cincinnati. Despite her success, Anna grew bored with the mundane working hours and meager earnings.
Not long into their marriage, Anna's husband, Philip suddenly became ill. At the request of his mother, and, strangely enough, Anna's objections, he went to the hospital. While Philip ultimately survived the mysterious sickness, his marriage to Anna did not.
Desiring more money and hindered by mounting gambling debts, she made the decision to become a live-in attendant for elderly gentlemen. While Anna had no prior experience as a caregiver, she charmed her way into the position and soon implemented her deadly plan.
A master chef of potions, Anna stealthily poisoned each of her clients. She tallied more than ten murders in a span of five years. Her killing spree began with Ernest Koch, a lively man with no apparent health issues who unexpectedly died on May 6, 1933. Anna befriended Koch shortly before his death and apparently compelled him to bequeath his house to her upon his demise.
Anna's next victim, Albert Parker, 72, also died soon after she began caring for him. Prior to Parker's death, she signed an I.O.U. for $1,000 that she borrowed from him. After his death the document apparently "disappeared".
Another victim, Jacob Wagner, 78, died on June 3, 1937, leaving $17,000 cash to his "beloved niece" Anna.
She soon began caring for 67-year-old George Gsellman, also of Cincinnati. For her service, before his death on July 6, 1937, she received payment of $15,000.
Last, but certainly not least, of her victims was Georg Obendoerfer. Obendoerfer died, on August 1, 1937, after he traveled to Colorado Springs, Colorado with Anna and her son, Oscar. Police stated that Obendoerfer, a cobbler, "died in agony just after Mrs. Hahn had bent over his deathbed inquiring his name, professing she did not know the man". Anna's son testified at her trial that Obendoerfer traveled to Colorado by train with him and his mother, and that Obendoerfer began displaying symptoms en route.
An autopsy revealed high levels of arsenic in Obendoerfer's body. This alerted police to potential foul play, at which time, they ordered the exhumations of two of Anna's previous clients. These exhumations also revealed that each had been poisoned.
Detectives waited in Cincinnati for Anna with arrest warrants in hand. After searching her home, one detective commented that they found “enough poison to kill half of Cincinnati.”
Anna was eventually arrested and charged with murder. While the charges continued mounting, she maintained her innocence. Anna played the part well from her clean attire to her neatly styled hair. She stood strong against the accusations, even though evidence continued to grow. She was put on trial for murder in the fall of 1937.
After a sensational four week trial, Anna was convicted of murder in November 1937.
The jury took less than 3 hours to decide her guilt and offered no recommendation for mercy. The jury realized later what a historic moment this would be for Ohio.
The jury's decision to not offer a recommendation for mercy meant that Anna would automatically be sentenced to death. This made Anna Marie Hahn the first woman to be executed in the state.
On November 10, 1937, Anna was brought before Judge Bell who formally sentenced her to death by electrocution. She maintained her innocence even as the Judge announced her fate.
As her execution date drew near, Anna pleaded her case with anyone who would listen. Very few were interested in showing her mercy. On December 1, 1938, Anna was transferred to the Ohio State Penitentiary.
While her attorneys delayed the impending execution by bringing the case to the Supreme Court, Anna’s fate was sealed when the Court ultimately refused to block the death sentence.
During her final hours, Anna wrote letters to her attorney fully confessing her crimes. She expressed her confusion as to her motives, and her deep concern for the fate of her son, Oscar.
With officials satisfied by the confession, authorities sold the letters to the Cincinnati Enquirer under the condition that the money be wired to a trust fund for Oscar.
On the evening of December 7, 1938, at the Ohio Penitentiary in Columbus,OH, Anna Marie Hahn was executed for her crimes. At 8:13pm she was pronounced dead
Anna's son Oscar eventually settled into a foster care family in the Midwest and lived a fairly normal life. He also served in the Navy during the World War II.
Anna Marie Hahn is buried in Mount Calvary Cemetery in Columbus, Ohio.
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