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Who Is Stephanie Serikstad Gertrude Baniszewski Daughter Now – Age Wiki? The 13 Detailed Answer

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Stephanie Serikstad is the daughter of killer Gertrude Baniszewski. Let’s find out about her current age, husband and Wikipedia.

Caretaker Gertrude Baniszewski and numerous of Baniszewski’s children and neighbors were set to murder and torture an American teenager, Sylvia Marie Likens, in 1965.

Likens died on October 26 in Indianapolis, Indiana from her severe injuries and malnutrition that lasted three months.

Indiana resents generally regard the torture and murder of Sylvia Likens as the greatest crime ever committed in their state.

Who Is Stephanie Serikstad?

Stephanie Fay Seristad is one of seven children of firsthand murder of Sylvia Likens, Gertrude Baniszewski.

At the time, she was consered (possibly) the most beautiful and brilliant of the children in the family.

Although she admitted to having played some part in Sylvia’s abuse, she was given a special trial. Subsequently, the charges against her were dismissed, most likely because she agreed to use the state’s evence against her family.

She married her husband, had children, worked as a teacher. Stephanie has never publicly admitted to being involved in the crime.

Gertrude Baniszewski Daughter – Wiki

The Wikipedia records of the official biography of Stephanie Serikstad are unavailable. However, their details are covered by some blogs and media.

Stephanie was born the second child of her mother’s first husband named Stephan John Baniszewski.

She has three direct siblings from the same father, Paula, John and Marie.

Her mother divorced her father Stephan ten years later.

Stephanie and victim Sylvia used to study at the same school called Arsenal Technical High School and sang pop records together.

Sylvia is sa to have spread rumors that Stephanie and Paula were prostitutes at school.

She allegedly d so because she was irritated by Baniszewski’s family’s tendency to single her out for similar allegations.

Stephanie hit Sylvia after learning about the allegations.

Upon learning of the story, Stephanie’s boyfriend, 15-year-old Coy Randolph Hubbard, aggressively attacked Likens, punching her, slamming her into the wall, and throwing her backwards onto the floor.

When Gertrude found out, she hit Likens with a paddle.

Gertrude Baniszewski Daughter Now- Age

Stephanie Sarikstad will be 71 years old in 2021.

Stephanie was the only child in this enormous dysfunctional brood who resembled Sylvia.

She was 11 years old the year Syliva was murdered.

She reportedly now lives in Flora and also has a Facebook account where she has barely posted two photos publicly.


The Worst Lady Ive Heard Of – Gertrude Baniszewski was Trash GRWM | Mystery \u0026 Makeup – Bailey Sarian

The Worst Lady Ive Heard Of – Gertrude Baniszewski was Trash GRWM | Mystery \u0026 Makeup – Bailey Sarian
The Worst Lady Ive Heard Of – Gertrude Baniszewski was Trash GRWM | Mystery \u0026 Makeup – Bailey Sarian

Images related to the topicThe Worst Lady Ive Heard Of – Gertrude Baniszewski was Trash GRWM | Mystery \u0026 Makeup – Bailey Sarian

The Worst Lady Ive Heard Of - Gertrude Baniszewski Was Trash Grwm | Mystery \U0026 Makeup - Bailey Sarian
The Worst Lady Ive Heard Of – Gertrude Baniszewski Was Trash Grwm | Mystery \U0026 Makeup – Bailey Sarian

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Who Is Stephanie Serikstad? Gertrude Baniszewski Daughter Now …

Stephanie Serikstad is the daughter of first-degree killer Gertrude Baniszewski. Let’s find out about her current age, husband, and Wikipedia.

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Gertrude Baniszewski Daughter Now – Age Wiki, Gertrude … Stephanie Serikstad is the daughter of first-degree killer Gertrude Baniszewski.

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Who Is Stephanie Serikstad Wiki, Biography, Age, Spouse, Net Worth, Fast Facts

Warden Gertrude Baniszewski and several of Baniszewski’s children and neighbors were set to murder and torment a young American teenager, Sylvia Marie Likens, in 1965.

Indiana residents typically consider the torture and murder of Sylvia Likens to be the best wrongdoing ever committed in their state. Who is Stephanie Serikstad? Stephanie Fay Seristad is one of seven descendants of the direct murder of Sylvia Likens, Gertrude Baniszewski.

At the time, she was considered (possibly) the most immaculate and generally most gorgeous offspring of the family. Despite admitting to having some involvement in Sylvia’s abuse, she received a unique preliminary interview.

Therefore, the charges against her were excused, probably in view of the fact that she had agreed to take state evidence against her family. She married her better half, had children, acted as an instructor.

Stephanie has never admitted to being involved in the wrongdoing. Gertrude Baniszewski Daughter – Wiki The Wikipedia records of Stephanie Serikstad’s authority biography are not accessible. Their intricacies, be that as it may, are covered by certain websites and media.

Stephanie was born the second child of her mother’s first spouse named Stephan John Baniszewski. She has three close relatives from a similar father, Paula, John and Marie. Her mother separated from her father Stephan after a decade.

Stephanie and the injured Sylvia used to attend a similar school called Arsenal Technical High School and sang pop records together. Sylvia was confirmed to be spreading gossip tidbits about Stephanie and Paula being a whore at school.

She allegedly did so because she was troubled by Baniszewski’s family’s propensity to single her out on similar charges. Stephanie hit Sylvia after learning of the charges.

At the point when Stephanie’s lover, 15-year-old Coy Randolph Hubbard, was watching the story, he violently attacked Likens, punching her, pounding her against the partition and throwing her backwards to the floor.

When Gertrude spotted it, she hit Likens with an oar. Gertrude Baniszewski daughter at current age Stephanie Sarikstad is 71 years old as of 2021.

Stephanie was the only child in this gigantic broken brood that was like Sylvia. The year Syliva’s crime happened she was 11 years old. She is currently reportedly residing in Florida and also has a Facebook account where she has barely posted two photos publicly.

Fast Facts

Real Name Nickname update soon date of birth update soon age update soon place of birth update soon height (large) update soon weight update soon body measurements update soon net worth (approx….) update soon

private life and family

Father update soon Mother update soon Sister update soon Brother update soon Marital status update soon Husband (spouse) update soon Boyfriend update soon Kids update soon Hobbies update soon Smoking & Drinking update soon

Father’s name is not available. We have no further information about his father; We will try to collect information and update it soon.

The mother’s name is not available. We have no further information about his father; We will try to collect information and update it soon.

Also, we have no idea about his brother and sister, nor do we know their names.

However, we are trying to collect all information about him and will update you soon.

His girlfriend/boyfriend’s name is not available. You are in relationship from the last few years of a strong relationship. We have no information about his girlfriend/boyfriend.

But we are sure that it is not available and his spouse’s name is not available. Now his relationship is perfect. We have no further information about his wife.

We also have no information about his son and daughter. We can’t say her name. If you know some information please comment below.

education and favorite things

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Daily Habits

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net worth

Estimated net worth is $80,000 – $85,000.

Who Is Stephanie Serikstad

Find out more about who is Stephanie Serikstad in this post. Gertrude Baniszewski Daughter Now – Age Wiki, Gertrude Baniszewski Daughter – Wiki, Gertrude Baniszewski Daughter Now – Age, , Age, Height, Bio, Net worth, Relationship, Family, Career & News.

Stephanie Serikstad is the daughter of killer Gertrude Baniszewski. Let’s find out about her current age, husband and Wikipedia. Likens died on October 26 in Indianapolis, Indiana from her severe injuries and malnutrition that lasted three months.

Stephanie Serikstad is the daughter of killer Gertrude Baniszewski.

Let’s find out about her current age, husband and Wikipedia.

Janitor Gertrude Baniszewski and numerous of Baniszewski’s children and neighbors were set to murder and torture a teenage American girl, Sylvia Marie Likens, in 1965.

Stephanie Fay Seristad is one of seven children of firsthand murder of Sylvia Likens, Gertrude Baniszewski.

At the time, she was considered (possibly) the most beautiful and brilliant of the children in the family.

Although she admitted to having played some part in Sylvia’s abuse, she was given a special trial.

Subsequently, the charges against her were dismissed, most likely because she agreed to use the state’s evidence against her family.

She married her husband, had children, worked as a teacher.

Stephanie has never publicly admitted to being involved in the crime.

Stephanie was born the second child of her mother’s first husband named Stephan John Baniszewski.

She has three direct siblings from the same father, Paula, John and Marie.

Her mother divorced her father Stephan ten years later.

She allegedly did so because she was irritated by Baniszewski’s family’s tendency to single her out for similar allegations.

Upon learning of the story, Stephanie’s boyfriend, 15-year-old Coy Randolph Hubbard, aggressively attacked Likens, punching her, slamming her into the wall, and throwing her backwards onto the floor.

Stephanie was the only child in this enormous dysfunctional brood who resembled Sylvia.

Indiana residents generally regard the torture and murder of Sylvia Likens as the greatest crime ever committed in their state.

The Wikipedia records of the official biography of Stephanie Serikstad are unavailable. However, their details are covered by some blogs and media.

Stephanie and victim Sylvia used to study at the same school called Arsenal Technical High School and sang pop records together.

Stephanie hit Sylvia after learning about the allegations.

When Gertrude found out, she hit Likens with a paddle.

Stephanie Sarikstad will be 71 years old in 2021.

She was 11 years old the year Syliva was murdered.

She reportedly now lives in Florida and also has a Facebook account where she has barely posted two photos publicly.

I hope you enjoyed the information, profile about , age, height, bio, wiki, profile and news. Share it with your friends and family to keep them updated.

Biography, Facts, Career, Life

The murder of Sylvia Likens was a child murder that took place in October 1965 in Indianapolis, Indiana. Likens, a 16-year-old girl, was held captive and subjected to increasing levels of child abuse, neglect, humiliation, and torture for almost three months by her caregiver Gertrude Baniszewski, many of Baniszewski’s children, and several other children from the neighborhood before finally being released on the Died of her injuries on October 26.

Baniszewski; her eldest daughter Paula; her son John; and two neighborhood youths, Coy Hubbard and Richard Hobbs, were tried and convicted in May 1966 for neglecting, torturing, and murdering Likens, with attorneys at the defendants’ trial calling the case the “most diabolical” of them all was ever tried before a court or jury, and Likens was subjected to acts of “degradation you would not commit on a dog” before her death.

The torture and murder of Sylvia Likens is widely regarded by Indiana citizens as the worst crime ever committed in their state and has been described by a senior Indianapolis Police Department investigator as the “most sadistic” case he has seen in 35 years years He served with the Indianapolis Police Department.

backgrounds

Gertrud Baniszewski

Gertrude Nadine Baniszewski (née Van Fossan; September 19, 1928 – June 16, 1990) was born in Indianapolis, Indiana to Mollie Myrtle (née Oakley) and Hugh Marcus Van Fossan Sr., both originally from Illinois and were American and of Dutch descent. Baniszewski was the third of six children and her family was from the working class. On October 5, 1939, Baniszewski saw her 50-year-old father die of a sudden heart attack. Six years later, she left high school at age 16 to marry 18-year-old John Stephan Baniszewski (1926–2007), originally from Youngsville, Pennsylvania, to whom she bore four children. Although John Baniszewski had a volatile temper and occasionally hit his wife, the two stayed together for ten years before their first divorce.

After their divorce, Baniszewski married a man named Edward Guthrie. This marriage only lasted three months before the couple divorced. Shortly thereafter, Baniszewski remarried her first husband and bore him two more children. In 1963, the couple divorced for the second time.

Weeks after her third divorce, Baniszewski began a relationship with a 22-year-old named Dennis Lee Wright, who also physically abused her. She had one child with Wright, Dennis Lee Wright Jr. Shortly after his son’s birth, Wright left Baniszewski. Shortly thereafter, Baniszewski filed a paternity suit against Wright for financially supporting her child, although Wright was rarely able to pay her son’s maintenance.

By 1965, Baniszewski lived alone with her seven children: Paula (17), Stephanie (15), John (12), Marie (11), Shirley (10), James (8), and Dennis Lee Wright Jr. (1). Although she was 36 years old and 170 cm tall, she weighed 100 pounds and was described as a “skinny, underweight asthmatic” chain smoker who suffered from depression due to the stress of three failed marriages, one failed relationship. and a recent miscarriage. Aside from the sporadic checks she received from her first husband—a former Indianapolis police officer—on which she depended primarily to support her children financially, Baniszewski occasionally did odd jobs for neighbors and acquaintances, such as sewing or cleaning, for money to earn. Baniszewski resided in Indianapolis at 3850 East New York Street, where the monthly rent was $55.

Sylvia Likes

Sylvia Marie Likens (January 3, 1949 – October 26, 1965) was the third of five children born to carnival worker Lester Cecil Likens (1926–2013) and his wife Elizabeth Frances “Betty” (née Grimes, 1927–1998). She was born between two sets of fraternal twins: Dianna and Daniel (two years her senior) and Jenny and Benny (one year younger). Jenny Likens suffered from polio, which left one of her legs weaker than the other. She suffered from a significant limp and had to wear a steel splint on one leg.

Lester and Elizabeth’s marriage was unstable; They often sold candy, beer, and soda at Indiana Mardi Gras booths throughout the summer, moved frequently, and regularly experienced serious financial difficulties. The Likens’ sons regularly helped their parents on trips, although Lester and Elizabeth, concerned for the safety and education of their younger daughters, disliked Sylvia and Jenny traveling with them in this occupation. Both girls often lived with relatives – often their grandmother – so that their schoolwork would not suffer while their parents and brothers traveled with the carnival.

In her teens, Likens occasionally made money by babysitting, running errands, or doing ironing jobs for friends and neighbors — often giving her mother a portion of her earnings. She was described as a friendly, confident, and vivacious girl with long, wavy, light brown hair that fell below her shoulders and was known as “Cookie” to her friends.

Though she was ebullient after losing a front tooth in a child’s play in a collision with one of her brothers, Likens always kept her mouth shut when she smiled. She also had a fondness for music – particularly the Beatles – and was particularly protective of her significantly more shy and insecure younger sister. On several occasions, the sisters visited a local ice rink, with Jenny attaching a single roller skate to her strong foot and Sylvia holding her hand while the sisters skated around the rink.

Summer 1965

In June 1965, Sylvia and Jenny Likens were living with their parents in Indianapolis. On July 3, her mother was arrested and subsequently jailed for shoplifting. Shortly thereafter, Lester Likens arranged for his daughters to be placed with Gertrude Baniszewski, mother of two girls the sisters had recently met while studying at Arsenal Technical High School: Paula and Stephanie Baniszewski. At the time of this pension agreement, Gertrude assured Lester that she would take care of his daughters as if they were her own children until his return.

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Shortly after the July 4th holiday, the sisters moved to 3850 East New York Street so that their father and later mother could travel to the East Coast with the Mardi Gras, with an arrangement that Gertrude would receive a weekly meal allowance of $20 would look after their daughters until they returned in November of that year to pick up Sylvia and Jenny.

For the first few weeks that Sylvia and Jenny lived in the Baniszewski household, the sisters received little discipline or abuse. Likens regularly sang to pop records with Stephanie, and she willingly took part in housework at the Baniszewski residence. Both girls also regularly attended Sunday school with the Baniszewski children.

abuse

Although Lester Likens had agreed to pay Gertrude Baniszewski $20 a week in return for caring for his daughters, those weekly payments gradually failed to arrive on the agreed dates (payments were occasionally a day or two late). In response, Gertrude began venting her frustration at this fact on the sisters, slapping their bare buttocks with various instruments, such as a quarter-inch paddle and making statements such as, “Well, I’ve got you two little bitches cared for a week for nothing!” On one occasion in late August, both girls were hit about 15 times on the back with the aforementioned paddle after Paula accused the sisters of having, at a church dinner attended by all the children of the household, too much to eat.

By mid-August 1965, Gertrude Baniszewski had begun to focus her abuse almost exclusively on Sylvia, her primary motivation likely being jealousy of her physical appearance. According to later trial testimonies, this abuse was originally inflicted on Sylvia after she and Jenny returned to the Baniszewski residence from Arsenal Technical High School, and on weekends. This initial abuse included subduing Likens and denying him adequate food (which would gradually lead to Likens eating leftovers or spoiled food from garbage cans). At one point, Likens was accused of stealing candy she actually bought; On another occasion, she was humiliated when she admitted she once had a boyfriend. Upon hearing this, Gertrude Baniszewski’s eldest daughter Paula (herself three months pregnant and also jealous of Liken’s slender appearance) kicked Likens in the genitals and accused her of being pregnant. One time when the family was having dinner, Gertrude, Paula, and a neighborhood boy named Randy Gordon force-fed Lepper Likens a hot dog overloaded with condiments such as mustard and condiments. Likens vomited afterwards and was later forced to consume what she vomited.

Likens was later falsely accused of spreading rumors at Arsenal Technical High School that both Paula and Stephanie Baniszewski were prostitutes. This provoked Stephanie’s friend, 15-year-old Coy Hubbard, to physically attack Likens while Stephanie just watched and giggled. On another occasion, Paula punched Likens in the face with such force that she broke her own wrist after targeting her punches primarily at Likens’ teeth and eyes. Paula later used the cast on her wrist to continue punching Likens. In addition, Gertrude repeatedly falsely accused Likens of promiscuity and prostitution; Preaching misogynistic sermons to Likens about the filthiness of prostitution and women in general. Gertrude later would occasionally force Jenny to hit her own sister, and hit Jenny when she didn’t comply.

Coy Hubbard and several of his classmates frequently visited the Baniszewski residence to torment Likens both physically and verbally, often working alongside Baniszewski’s children and Gertrude herself. With Gertrude’s active encouragement, these neighborhood children would routinely beat Likens, sometimes using them as dummies in violent judo sessions, tearing up their bodies, burning them more than 100 times with lit cigarettes, and severely injuring their genitals. At one point, in order to entertain Gertrude and her teenage accomplices, Likens had to strip naked in the family living room and insert an empty Coca-Cola bottle into her own vagina in her presence, with Gertrude explaining to everyone present that this act of humiliation was for her Sylvia to “prove Jenny what kind of girl you are”.

Gertrude Baniszewski eventually banned Likens from attending school after she confessed to stealing a sports suit from school after Gertrude refused to buy the clothes for her. For this theft, Gertrude whipped Likens with a three-inch wide police belt. Gertrude then moved on to the “evils” of premarital sex before repeatedly kicking Likens in the genitals while Stephanie rallied in defense of Likens, shouting, “She didn’t do anything!” Gertrude then burned Likens’ fingertips with matches before she continued to flog. A few days later, Gertrude repeatedly hit Jenny with the police belt after she reportedly stole a single tennis shoe from school to wear on her strong foot.

revolt

The Likens sisters were afraid to tell either family members or adults at their school about the rising incidences of abuse and neglect, both fearing it would only worsen their predicament. Jenny in particular resisted the urge to notify family members, having been threatened by Gertrude that if she did so, she would be abused and tortured to the same extent as her sister. Jenny was also bullied by girls in her neighborhood, and was occasionally taunted or hit when she alluded to Sylvia’s situation.

During July and August, both Lester and Elizabeth Likens occasionally returned to Indianapolis to visit their daughters whenever their travel schedule afforded them the opportunity. The last time Lester and Elizabeth visited their daughters was at the end of August. On this occasion, neither girl showed any visible sign of distress at her mistreatment of her parents – probably because both were in the presence of Gertrude and her children. Almost immediately after Lester and Elizabeth left the Baniszewski household on their last visit, Gertrude turned to Likens and said, “What are you going to do now, Sylvia? Now are they gone?”

On one occasion in September, the girls ran into their older sister, Dianna Shoemaker, at a local park. Both Jenny and Sylvia updated Dianna on the abuse they suffered at the hands of their caregiver on that occasion, adding that Sylvia was specifically targeted for physical abuse – almost always for things she had neither said nor done. Neither sister mentioned the actual address they lived at, and at first Dianna believed her sisters must have exaggerated their claims about the extent of their abuse.

A few weeks earlier, Sylvia and Jenny had met Dianna at the same park while eating a sandwich in the company of 11-year-old Marie Baniszewski and Sylvia when she mentioned to her sister that she was hungry. Likens remained silent on the matter, although Marie shared that fact with her family in late September. In response, Gertrude accused Likens of engaging in gluttony before she and Paula choked and bludgeoned her. The couple then subjected Likens to a scalding hot bath to “cleanse her from sin,” with Gertrude grabbing Likens’ hair and repeatedly banging her head against the bathtub to revive her as she passed out.

Shortly after this incident, the father of a neighborhood boy named Michael John Monroe called Arsenal Technical High School to anonymously report that a girl with open wounds all over her body was living in the Baniszewski household. Because Likens had missed school for several days, a school nurse visited 3850 East New York Street to investigate these claims, although Gertrude claimed to the nurse that Likens had run away from her home for the past week and that she knew nothing of her real one Whereabouts, adding that Likens was “out of control” and that her open sores were the result of Likens’ refusal to maintain proper personal hygiene. Gertrude further exclaimed that Likens was a bad influence on both her own children and her sister. The school conducted no further investigation into Likens’ welfare.

The immediate neighbors of the Baniszewski family were a middle-aged couple named Raymond and Phyllis Vermillion. Both initially viewed Gertrude as the ideal caregiver for the Likens sisters and both had visited the Baniszewski residence twice while the girls were under Gertrude’s care. On both occasions, the Vermillions saw Paula physically abuse Likens – who suffered a black eye on both occasions – and openly brag to them about her child abuse. On their second visit to the Baniszewski household, they both observed that Likens appeared extremely gentle and somewhat “zombified” by nature. Despite this, the Vermillions never reported Likens’ apparent mistreatment to authorities.

On or about October 1, Dianna Shoemaker discovered that her sisters were temporarily staying at the Baniszewski residence. She visited the property to establish regular contact, although Gertrude Baniszewski refused Dianna entry to her property, stating that she had “[received] permission” from her parents not to allow any of the girls to see her. She then ordered Dianna to leave her property. About two weeks later, Dianna ran into Jenny near 3850 East New York Street and inquired about Likens’ well-being, only to be gruffly informed, “I can’t tell you or I’ll be in trouble.”

escalation

Due to the increasing frequency and brutality of the torture and abuse she was subjected to, Likens gradually became incontinent. She was denied any access to the bathroom and forced to wet herself. On October 6, as punishment for her incontinence, Gertrude simply threw Likens in the basement and tied her up. Here Likens was often kept naked, rarely fed, and frequently deprived of water. Occasionally, she was handcuffed to the banister of the basement stairs like a torture rack, with her feet barely touching the ground.

In the weeks before Likens was locked in the family basement, Gertrude had made it increasingly a habit to abuse and torment the child, a pastime. She would occasionally falsely claim to the children in her household that either she or one of them had received direct insults from Likens, hoping that this would lead them to belittle or attack them. On one occasion, Gertrude held up a knife and challenged Likens to “fight me”, to which Likens replied that she didn’t know how to fight. In response, Gertrude inflicted a minor wound on Likens’ leg. Physical and mental torment like this was occasionally set aside by the Baniszewskis to watch their favorite TV shows. Neighborhood children were also occasionally charged five cents each to see the “exhibit” of Liken’s body and humiliate, beat, scald, burn and – ultimately – maim her. During Likens’ confinement in the basement, Gertrude frequently – with the help of her children and/or her friends – held Likens before placing her in a bathtub filled with boiling water before proceeding to rub salt into her wounds. To stifle Liken’s screams and pleas for mercy, her abusers routinely put a cloth gag in her mouth while they abused her.

On one occasion, Gertrude and her twelve-year-old son, John Jr., rubbed urine and feces from Gertrude’s one-year-old son’s diaper into Liken’s mouth before giving her a cup half filled with water, explaining that the water was all she would receive for the rest of the day.

On October 22, John Baniszewski Jr. tormented Likens by offering to eat a bowl of soup with his fingers, then quickly taking the bowl away when Likens — by then suffering from extreme malnutrition — tried to eat the food. Gertrude Baniszewski eventually allowed Likens to sleep upstairs on the condition that she learned not to wet herself. That night, Sylvia whispered to Jenny to secretly give her a glass of water before she fell asleep.

The next morning, Gertrude discovered that Likens had urinated himself. As punishment, Likens was forced to masturbate with an empty glass Coca-Cola bottle in the presence of the Baniszewski children before Gertrude ordered her down to the basement.

“Gertrude called [Sylvia] upstairs to the kitchen. Somehow the conversation turned to tattooing. Gertrude asked Sylvia if she knew what a tattoo was… she said ‘You branded my kids so now I’m going to brand you.’ —Richard Hobbs, witnessing Gertrude Baniszewski’s decision to carve an insult into Liken’s stomach on October 23, 1965.

Shortly thereafter, Gertrude yelled at Likens to return to the kitchen, then ordered her to strip naked before announcing, “You branded my daughters; now I’m going to brand you.” She began carving the words “I AM A PROSTITUTE AND PROUD OF IT” into Liken’s stomach with a heated needle. When Gertrude couldn’t finish the branding, she instructed one of the neighborhood kids in attendance, 14-year-old Richard Hobbs, to etch the words into Liken’s flesh while she took Jenny to a nearby grocery store. In what Hobbs later insisted were “short, light” etchings, he proceeded to burn the text into Liken’s stomach while she gritted her teeth and groaned. Both Hobbs and 10-year-old Shirley Baniszewski then led Likens to the basement, where each attempted to burn the letter “S” under Likens’ left breast with an anchor bolt, although they applied part of the noose backwards. and that deep burn scar would resemble the number “3”. Gertrude later taunted Likens by claiming she would never be able to marry due to the words engraved on her stomach, saying: “Sylvia, what are you going to do now? You can’t get married now. What will you do? Crying, Likens replied, “I guess there’s nothing I can do.” It was then carried back to the basement by Coy Hubbard. Later that day, Likens had to show the carving to local children, with Gertrude claiming she had the inscription on received from a sex party.

That night, Sylvia confided in her sister, “Jenny, I know you don’t want me to die, but I will die.

The next day, Gertrude Baniszewski woke Likens and forced her to write a letter while she dictated the contents, intended to mislead her parents into believing that their daughter had run away from the Baniszewski residence. The contents of this letter were intended to blame a group of anonymous local boys for the extensive abuse and mutilation of Likens, having initially agreed to engage in sexual relations with them before inflicting the extreme abuse and torture on her body. After Likens wrote this letter, Gertrude finished formulating her plan to have John Jr. and Jenny blindfold Sylvia, then take her to a nearby wooded area called Jimmy’s Forest and just leave her there to die.

After she finished writing the letter, Likens was again tied to the banister and offered crackers to eat, although she declined, saying, “Give it to the dog, I don’t want it.” In response, Gertrude forced the crackers in Liken’s mouth before she and John Baniszewski punched her — specifically in the stomach.

25-26 October

On October 25, Likens attempted to escape from the basement after overhearing conversations about Gertrude Baniszewski’s plan to simply leave her to die. She attempted to escape to the front door, although due to her severe injuries and general weakness, Gertrude caught her before she could exit the property. Likens was then given toast but was unable to eat the food due to her extreme dehydration. Gertrude forced the toast into her mouth before repeatedly slapping her face with a curtain rod until parts of the instrument were bent at right angles. Coy Hubbard then took the curtain rod from Gertrude and hit Likens again, knocking her unconscious. Gertrude then dragged Likens into the basement.

That evening, Likens tried desperately to alert the neighbors by yelling for help and banging on the walls of the basement with a spade. An immediate neighbor of the Baniszewskis later told police that she heard the desperate commotion and identified the source as coming from the basement at 3850 East New York Street, but that the noise suddenly stopped around 3:00 a.m. She decided not to inform the police about the disturbance.

Death

On the morning of October 26, Likens could neither speak intelligibly nor properly coordinate the movement of her limbs. Gertrude took Likens into the kitchen and – after leaning her back against a wall – tried to feed her a donut and a glass of milk, although she threw Likens on the floor in frustration when Likens couldn’t move the glass of milk properly your lips. She was then taken back to the basement.

Shortly thereafter, Likens went insane, moaning and muttering repeatedly. When Paula asked her to say the English alphabet, Likens couldn’t say anything but the first four letters or get up off the floor. In response, Paula verbally threatened her to stand up or she would inflict a long leap herself. Gertrude then ordered Likens – who had defecated – to clean herself.

That afternoon, several of Likens’ other tormentors gathered in the basement. Likens jerked her arms in an apparent attempt to point at the faces of the tormentors she could recognize, making statements like “You’re…Ricky” and “You’re Gertie” before Gertrude snapped, “Shut up! You know who I am!” Minutes later, Likens unsuccessfully tried to bite into a rotten pear that had been given to her to eat, explaining that she could feel the looseness in her teeth. Upon hearing this, Jenny replied, ” Don’t you remember Sylvia, your front tooth was knocked out when you were seven.” Jenny then left Sylvia in the basement to do yard work for neighbors, hoping to earn pocket money.

While trying to wash Likens, a laughing John Baniszewski Jr. sprayed her with a garden hose, which was brought into the house by Randy Lepper that afternoon at Gertrude’s request. Likens tried again desperately to get out of the basement, but collapsed before she could reach the stairs. In response to this effort, Gertrude stomped on Liken’s head before standing up and staring at her for a few moments. Stephanie then decided to give Likens a warm soapy bath, although Likens stopped breathing before she could be carried out of the basement. She was 16 years old. Realizing this fact, Stephanie attempted to administer mouth-to-mouth resuscitation while Gertrude repeatedly cried out to the children and teenagers present in her home her belief that Likens was faking her death.

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Just after 5:30 p.m., Richard Hobbs returned to the Baniszewski residence and immediately made his way down to the basement. He slipped on the wet basement stairs and fell heavily to the basement floor, only to be confronted by the sight of Stephanie crying and cuddling Liken’s emaciated and torn body.

arrest

When Gertrude Baniszewski finally accepted that efforts to revive Likens by bathing her and her own efforts to hit Likens twice in the face with a book to revive her were unsuccessful, she directed Richard Hobbs to police one nearby payphone. When police arrived at her address at around 6:30 p.m., Gertrude led officers to Likens’ emaciated, badly beaten and mutilated body lying on a dirty mattress in one of the bedrooms before handing them the letter to which she Likens had previously been forced to write to her dictation, and also claimed that she “doctored” the child for an hour or more before she died, having treated Likens’ wounds with alcohol in a futile attempt at first aid before her death. She added that Likens previously ran away from her home with several teenagers before returning to her house bare-breasted and the note in hand earlier in the afternoon.

Bible in hand, Paula Baniszewski – after explaining to everyone in the household that Likens’ death was “scheduled” – then glanced in Jenny’s direction and said calmly, “If you want to live with us, Jenny, we’ll treat.” You like our own sister.”

As previously instructed by Gertrude, just after 5:30 p.m., Jenny Likens recited the rehearsed version of the events leading up to Liken’s death. to the police that afternoon before whispering to officers, “Take me out of here and I’ll tell you all.”

Jenny Likens’ formal statement prompted officers to arrest Gertrude, Paula, Stephanie and John Baniszewski Jr. within hours of the discovery of her body on suspicion of Likens’ murder. Coy Hubbard and Richard Hobbs were also arrested the same day and charged with the same offenses. The three eldest Baniszewski children and Coy Hubbard were placed in the care of a nearby juvenile detention center; The younger Baniszewski children and Richard Hobbs were incarcerated at the Indianapolis Children’s Guardians Home. Alle wurden ohne Kaution bis zum Prozess festgehalten.

Anfangs bestritt Gertrude jegliche Beteiligung an Likens Tod, obwohl sie bis zum 27. Oktober gestanden hatte, „die Kinder“ – insbesondere ihre Tochter Paula und Coy Hubbard – gekannt zu haben, die Likens körperlich und emotional missbraucht hatten. Gertrude gab weiter zu, das Mädchen etwa dreimal gezwungen zu haben, im Keller zu schlafen, nachdem sie das Bett nass gemacht hatte. Sie wurde ausweichend, als ein Beamter erklärte, die wahrscheinlichen Gründe für die Inkontinenz von Likens seien ihre psychische Belastung und ihre Nierenverletzung.

Fünf weitere Kinder aus der Nachbarschaft, die an Likens Missbrauch beteiligt waren – Michael Monroe, Randy Lepper, Darlene McGuire, Judy Duke und Anna Siscoe – waren ebenfalls am 29. Oktober festgenommen worden. Alle wurden wegen Körperverletzung angeklagt und anschließend freigelassen das Sorgerecht für ihre Eltern unter Vorladung, als Zeugen beim bevorstehenden Prozess zu erscheinen.

autopsy

Die Autopsie des Körpers von Likens ergab, dass sie mehr als 150 verschiedene Wunden an ihrem gesamten Körper erlitten hatte und zum Zeitpunkt ihres Todes extrem abgemagert war. Die Wunden selbst variierten in Ort, Art, Schweregrad und dem tatsächlichen Heilungsstadium. Zu ihren Verletzungen gehörten Verbrennungen, schwere Blutergüsse und umfangreiche Muskel- und Nervenschäden. Ihre Vaginalhöhle war fast zugeschwollen, obwohl eine Untersuchung des Kanals ergab, dass ihr Jungfernhäutchen noch intakt war, was bewies, dass Likens noch Jungfrau war, und somit Gertrudes Behauptungen diskreditierte, Likens sei im dritten Monat schwanger, eine Prostituierte und promiskuitiv gewesen. Darüber hinaus waren alle Fingernägel von Likens nach hinten gebrochen und die meisten äußeren Hautschichten auf dem Gesicht, den Brüsten, dem Hals und dem rechten Knie des Kindes waren abgeschält oder zurückgegangen. In ihrem Todeskampf hatte Likens offensichtlich ihre Lippen durchgebissen und Teile davon teilweise von ihrem Gesicht abgetrennt.

Die offizielle Todesursache von Likens wurde von Gerichtsmediziner Dr. Arthur Kebel als subdurales Hämatom aufgeführt, da sie einen schweren Schlag auf ihre rechte Schläfe erhielt. Sowohl der Schock, den sie hauptsächlich aufgrund der schweren und anhaltenden Schädigung ihrer Haut und ihres Unterhautgewebes erlitten hatte, als auch die schwere Unterernährung wurden als Faktoren aufgeführt, die zu ihrem Tod beitrugen. Die Leichenstarre hatte sich zum Zeitpunkt der Entdeckung ihres Körpers vollständig entwickelt, was darauf hindeutet, dass Likens möglicherweise bis zu acht Stunden verstorben war, bevor sie gefunden wurde, obwohl Dr. Kebel bemerkte, dass Likens kürzlich gebadet worden war – möglicherweise nach dem Tod – und dass dies der Fall war Tat hätte den Verlust der Körpertemperatur und damit das Einsetzen der Totenstarre beschleunigen können.

burial

Die Trauerfeier für Sylvia Likens wurde am Nachmittag des 29. Oktober im Russell & Hitch Funeral Home im Libanon abgehalten. Die Trauerfeier wurde von Reverend Louis Gibson mit mehr als 100 Trauernden zelebriert. Der graue Sarg von Likens blieb während der gesamten Zeremonie offen, und ein Porträt von ihr, das vor Juli 1965 aufgenommen wurde, schmückte ihren Sarg.

In seiner Laudatio erklärte Reverend Gibson: „Wir alle haben unsere Zeit (zu vergehen), aber wir werden nicht so leiden, wie unsere kleine Schwester in den letzten Tagen ihres Lebens gelitten hat.“ Reverend Gibson ging dann auf Likens Sarg zu, bevor er hinzufügte: „Sie ist in die Ewigkeit gegangen.“

Following this service, Likens’ casket was placed by pallbearers in a hearse and driven to the Oak Hill Cemetery to be interred. This hearse was one of a 14-vehicle procession to drive to the cemetery for Likens’ burial. Her headstone is inscribed with the words: “Our Darling Daughter.”

Indictments

On December 30, 1965, the Marion County grand jury returned first-degree murder indictments against Gertrude Baniszewski and two of her three oldest children: Paula and John Baniszewski Jr. Also indicted were Richard Hobbs and Coy Hubbard. All were charged with having repeatedly struck, beaten, kicked, and otherwise inflicting a culmination of fatal injuries to Sylvia Likens with premeditated malice.

Three weeks prior to the filing of the indictments against the five defendants, Stephanie Baniszewski had been released from custody upon a writ of habeas corpus bond, with her attorney successfully contending the state had insufficient evidence to support any murder or culmination of fatal injuries charges against her. Stephanie chose to waive her immunity from any potential impending prosecution while agreeing to testify against her family and any other individuals charged with abusing and murdering Likens.

“She (Paula) represented the situation as one in which the girl Sylvia had become quite withdrawn and negativistic in her behavior to the extent that she refused to eat and showed no response to pain.” –Section of Paula Baniszewski’s psychiatric evaluation detailing her indifference to Likens’ mistreatment, February 1966.

At a formal pretrial hearing held on March 16, 1966, several psychiatrists testified before Judge Saul Isaac Raab as to their conclusions regarding psychiatric evaluations they had conducted upon three individuals indicted upon Likens’ murder. These experts testified that all three were mentally competent to stand trial.

study

The trial of Gertrude Baniszewski, her children Paula and John, Richard Hobbs and Coy Hubbard began on April 18, 1966. All were tried together before Judge Raab at Indianapolis’ City-County Building.

Initial jury selection began on this date, and continued for several days. The prosecution consisted of Leroy K. New and Marjorie Wessner, who announced their intention to seek the death penalty for all five defendants on April 16. They also successfully argued before Judge Raab that all the defendants should be tried together as they were ultimately charged with acting “in concert” in their collective crimes against Likens and that as such, if each were tried separately, neither judge nor jury could hear testimony relating to a “total picture” of the accumulation of offenses committed.

Each prospective juror was questioned by counsels for both prosecution and defense in relation to their opinions regarding capital punishment being a just penalty for first-degree murder and whether a mother was actually responsible for the “deportment of her children”. Jurors who expressed any opposition to the death penalty were excused from duty by Leroy New; any who either worked with children, expressed prejudice against an insanity defense, or repulsion regarding the actual horrific nature of Likens’ death, were excused by defense counsels.

Gertrude Baniszewski was defended by William Erbecker; her daughter Paula was defended by George Rice. Richard Hobbs was defended by James G. Nedder; John Baniszewski Jr. and Coy Hubbard were defended by Forrest Bowman. The attorneys for Richard Hobbs, Coy Hubbard, Paula and John Baniszewski Jr. claimed they had been pressured into participating in Likens’ torment, abuse, and torture by Gertrude Baniszewski. Gertrude herself chose to plead not guilty by reason of insanity.

Testimony

One of the first witnesses to testify on behalf of the prosecution was deputy coroner Charles Ellis, who testified on April 29 as to the intense pain Likens had suffered: stating that her fingernails were broken backwards, numerous deep cuts and punctures covered much of her body, and that her lips were “essentially in shreds” due to her having repeatedly bitten and chewed upon them. Ellis further testified that Likens had been in an acute state of shock for between two and three days prior to her death and that Likens may have been in too advanced a state of shock to offer much resistance to any form of subjected treatment in her final hours, although he emphasized that aside from the extensive swelling around her genitalia, Likens’ body bore no evidence of sexual molestation.

Jenny Likens watching the proceedings of the Baniszewski trial. She instigated the investigation and the subsequent arrest of her sister’s torturers and murderers.

On May 2 and 3, Jenny Likens testified against all five defendants, stating that each had repeatedly and extensively both physically and emotionally abused her sister, adding that Likens had done nothing to provoke the assaults and that there had been no truth in either the rumors she had been falsely accused of spreading or the slurs each had made against Likens’ character. During her testimony, Jenny stated the abuse her sister and, to a much lesser degree, herself endured began approximately two weeks after they had begun to live in the Baniszewski household, and that as the abuse her sister was forced to endure escalated, Likens had occasionally been unable to produce tears due to her acute state of dehydration. Jenny burst into tears as she recalled how, just days before Likens died, she had said to her: “Jenny, I know you don’t want me to die, but I am going to die. I can tell it!”

Sections of Jenny Likens’ testimony were later corroborated by that of Randy Lepper, who stated he had once witnessed Likens crying, but that she had shed no actual tears. Lepper then visibly smirked as he confessed to having beaten Likens on anywhere between 10 and 40 separate instances.

On May 10, a Baptist Minister named Roy Julian testified to having known a teenage girl was being abused in the Baniszewski household, although he had failed to report this information to authorities as, having been informed by Gertrude that Likens had “made advances to men for money”, he had believed the girl was being punished for soliciting. The same day, 13-year-old Judy Duke also testified, admitting to having witnessed Likens once endure salt being rubbed into sores upon her legs until she screamed. Duke also testified to one occasion where she witnessed 10-year-old Shirley Baniszewski rip open Likens’ blouse, to which Richard Hobbs had made the casual remark, “Everybody’s having fun with Sylvia.”

The following day, Gertrude Baniszewski testified in her own defense. She denied any responsibility for Likens’ prolonged abuse, torment, and ultimate death, claiming her children, and other children within her neighborhood, must have committed the acts within her home, which she described as being “such a madhouse.” She also added that she had been too preoccupied by her own ill health and depression to control her children.

In response to questioning relating to whether she had physically abused the Likens sisters, Gertrude claimed that although she had “started to spank” Likens on one occasion, she was emotionally unable to finish doing so, and had not hit the child on any further occasions. She denied any knowledge of Likens having ever endured any beating, scalding, branding, or burning within her home.

Two days later, Richard Hobbs testified in his own defense, describing how Gertrude had called Likens to the kitchen on October 23 and stated to her: “You have branded my children so now I’m going to brand you.” Hobbs testified Gertrude had begun etching the insult into Likens’ abdomen before asking him to finish the task. Although Hobbs testified this act of branding had brought blood to the surface of Likens’ flesh and that Likens had begged him to stop, he remained adamant the section of branding he had inflicted had been light. Hobbs further testified that he had initially believed Likens would not be at the Baniszewski household on 26 October, as Gertrude had informed him she intended to “get rid of” Sylvia the day prior.

When Marie Baniszewski was called to the stand as a witness for the defense, she broke down and admitted that she had heated the needle which Hobbs had used to brand Likens’ abdomen. Marie also testified as to her mother’s indifference to Likens’ evident distress in relation to the physical and mental abuse she had increasingly suffered with her mother’s full knowledge, stating that on one occasion, Gertrude had simply sat upon a chair and crocheted as she watched a neighborhood girl named Anna Siscoe attack Likens. Marie added that although all five defendants had repeatedly physically and mentally tormented Likens, she had most often witnessed her mother and sister committing these acts before her mother had forced Likens to live in the basement where the abuse had further escalated and she had ultimately died. Another witness to testify on behalf of the prosecution, Grace Sargent, stated how she had sat close to Paula on a church bus and had heard her openly bragging about breaking her own wrist due to the severity of a beating she had inflicted to Likens’ face on August 1. Sargent testified Paula had finished her boasting by stating, “I tried to kill her!”

On May 16, a court-appointed doctor named Dwight Schuster testified on behalf of the prosecution. When questioned by Leroy New as to the exhaustive interviews and assessments he had conducted with Gertrude, she had been evasive and uncooperative. dr Schuster testified as to his belief that Gertrude was sane and fully in control of her actions, adding that she had been sane in October 1965, and remained sane to this date. dr Schuster was subjected to over two hours of intense cross-examination by Gertrude’s lawyer, William Erbecker, although he remained steadfast that Gertrude was not and had never been psychotic.

Closing arguments

Prosecution

Deputy Prosecutor Marjorie Wessner delivered the state’s closing argument before the jury on behalf of the prosecution. As each defendant except Richard Hobbs (whose head dropped into his lap) remained impassive, Wessner recounted the continuous mistreatment Likens had endured before her death, emphasizing that at no point had Likens either provoked any of the defendants, or received any medical care beyond occasionally having margarine rubbed into scalded sections of her face and body. Referencing specific forms and means of abuse and neglect at the defendants’ hands and their collective failure to either help Likens or deter each other from mistreating her, Wessner described Likens’ abuse as “stomach-wrenching” and compared her treatment at the hands of all five defendants as being the equivalent in severity to that committed against prisoners in Nazi concentration camps.

“There was practically no fat on [Sylvia’s] body. She hadn’t eaten for a week! We’ll never know the pain and suffering that Sylvia endured … the best evidence of that was the picture of her lips—lips that were bitten into shreds!” –Section of Deputy Prosecutor Marjorie Wessner’s closing argument at the trial of Gertrude Baniszewski.

In reference to the premeditated nature of Likens’ death, Wessner pointed the jury’s attention to the notes Gertrude had forced Likens to write on October 24, stating: “[Gertrude] knew on [October 24] she was going to hold these notes until she and the rest of the defendants had completed the murder of Sylvia.” Holding aloft a portrait of Likens taken before July 1965, Wessner added: “I wish she were here today, with eyes as in this picture—full of hope and anticipation.”

Defense

William Erbecker was the first defense attorney to deliver his closing argument before the jury; he attempted to portray his client as being insane and thus unable to appreciate the severity or criminality of her actions, stating: “I condemn her for being a murderess, that’s what I do, but I say she’s not responsible, because she’s not all here!” Erbecker then tapped his head to emphasize his reference to her state of mind, before adding: “If this woman is sane, put her in [the electric chair]. She committed acts of degradation that you wouldn’t commit on a dog … She has to be crazy, or she wouldn’t have permitted that. You’ll have to live with your conscience the rest of your life if you send an insane woman to the electric chair.” Holding aloft an autopsy photograph of Likens, Erbecker instructed the jury to “look at this exhibit”, adding: “Look at the lips on that girl! How sadistic can a person get? The woman [Gertrude] is stark mad!” Erbecker then referred to the earlier testimony of a psychiatrist who had called into question Gertrude’s sanity before concluding his argument.

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Forrest Bowman began his closing argument in an openly critical manner as he attacked the decision of the prosecution to seek the death penalty for juveniles, stating: “I would like to have an hour of [the jury’s] time to explain why 16-year-olds and 13-year-olds should not be put to death.” Refraining from acknowledging the catalog of atrocities each had inflicted upon Likens, Bowman repeatedly emphasized his clients’ age, stating each was only guilty of assault and battery before seeking a verdict of not guilty for each youth.

George Rice began his closing argument by decrying the fact Paula and the other defendants had been tried jointly. Sidestepping the multiple instances of testimony delivered at trial describing Paula and her mother as by far the most enthusiastic participants in Likens’ physical abuse, Rice claimed the evidence presented against his client did not equate to her actual guilt of murder. He then ended his closing argument with a plea for the jury to return a verdict of not guilty on a girl who had “gone through the indignity of being tried in an open court”.

James Nedder began his closing argument in defense of Richard Hobbs by referring to the loss of Likens, stating: “She had a right to live. In my own heart I cannot remember a girl so much sinned against and abused.” He then referred to Hobbs’ courage in opting to testify in his own defense and the “savage and relentless cross-examination” to which he had been subjected by Leroy New. Nedder attempted to portray his client as a follower-type personality who had acted under the control of Gertrude Baniszewski, suggesting that had he not carved part of the profane insult into Likens’ abdomen at Gertrude’s request, Hobbs could well have been a state’s witness as opposed to Stephanie Baniszewski. Nedder ended his closing argument by requesting a verdict of not guilty, stating Hobbs was “guilty of a lot of things”, but not of the crime of murder.

Rebuttal

Leroy New rebutted the defense counsels’ closing arguments by promising to “speak through the mangled and shredded lips of Sylvia Likens”. Outlining the catalog of mistreatment Likens had endured prior to her death at the hands of each of the defendants, New directly addressed criticism he had earlier received from Forrest Bowman in his closing argument regarding the prosecution “cross-examining children”, stating: “The prosecutors’ job is to present the evidence to the best of our ability. Now, let’s look at some of the responsibilities here. Each one of [the] five defendants had first and foremost the responsibility to leave Sylvia Likens alone; we had the responsibility to bring all the evidence we could find that could explain this crime.”

Referring to the sentimental closing arguments made by various defense counsels regarding reasoning and motivation for their clients’ actions, their attempts to divert responsibility to other defendants or participants, and their clients’ collective failure to either help Likens or to notify authorities, New added: “All we hear is whining appeal, anything but blame where the blame belongs.” He then speculated as to the reason Likens did not try and escape from the Baniszewski household prior to the abuse increasingly escalating in the final weeks of her life, stating: “I think she trusted in man … I think she did not believe these people would do this and continue to do it.”

New concluded his closing argument by emphasizing the defendants’ unison in their collective mistreatment of Likens, before asking the jury to dismiss arguments made by various defense counsels regarding who may have actually inflicted the “fatal blow” to Likens’ head, stating: “Every mark on that girl’s body contributed directly to her death, and that was testimony. The subdural hematoma was the ultimate blow. This is the most hideous thing Indiana has ever seen and, I hope, will ever see.” Stating that “not a shred of evidence” had been produced indicating any defendant was suffering from a form of mental illness, New again requested the death penalty for each defendant, stating to the jury: “The issue here is not about the electric chair, or a hospital, but about law and order. Will we shy away from the most diabolical case to ever come before a court or jury? If you go below the death penalty (in your verdicts) in this case, you will lower the value of human life by that much for each defendant. The blood of this girl will forevermore be on their souls.”

Convictions

The trial of the five defendants lasted 17 days before the jury retired to consider its verdict. On May 19, 1966, after deliberating for eight hours, the panel of eight men and four women found Gertrude Baniszewski guilty of first-degree murder, recommending a sentence of life imprisonment. Paula Baniszewski was found guilty of second-degree murder, and Hobbs, Hubbard, and John Baniszewski Jr. were found guilty of manslaughter. Upon hearing Judge Raab pronounce the verdicts, Gertrude and her children burst into tears and attempted to console each other, as Hobbs and Hubbard remained impassive.

On May 25, Gertrude and Paula Baniszewski were formally sentenced to life imprisonment. The same day, Richard Hobbs, Coy Hubbard, and John Baniszewski Jr. each received sentences of 2-to-21 years, to be served in the Indiana Reformatory.

Retrials

In September 1970, the Indiana Supreme Court reversed the convictions of Gertrude and Paula Baniszewski on the basis that Judge Saul Isaac Raab had denied repeatedly submitted motions by their defense counsel at their original trial, for both a change of venue and separate trials. This ruling further stated that the circumstances regarding the prejudicial atmosphere created during their initial trial, due to the extensive news media publicity surrounding the case, impeded any chance of either appellant receiving a fair trial.

The pair were retried in 1971. On this occasion, Paula Baniszewski opted to plead guilty to voluntary manslaughter rather than face a retrial; she was sentenced to serve a term of between two and twenty years’ imprisonment for her part in Likens’ abuse and death. Despite twice unsuccessfully having attempted to escape from prison in 1971, she was released in December 1972. Gertrude Baniszewski, however, was again convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison.

Over the course of the following 14 years, Gertrude Baniszewski became known as a model prisoner at the Indiana Women’s Prison. She worked in the prison sewing shop and was known as somewhat of a “den mother” to younger female inmates, becoming known to some within the prison by the nickname “Mom”. By the time of Gertrude’s ultimate parole in 1985, she had changed her name to Nadine Van Fossan (a combination of her middle name and maiden name), and described herself as a devout Christian.

parole

News of Gertrude Baniszewski’s impending parole hearing created an uproar throughout Indiana. Jenny Likens and other immediate family members of Likens vehemently protested against any prospect of her release. The members of two anti-crime groups also traveled to Indiana to oppose Baniszewski’s potential parole, and to publicly support the Likens family. Members of both groups initiated a sidewalk picket campaign. Over the course of two months, these groups collected over 40,000 signatures from the citizens of Indiana, including signatures obtained from outraged citizens too young to contemporarily recollect the case. All signatures gathered demanded that Gertrude Baniszewski remain incarcerated for the remainder of her life.

Within her parole hearing, Baniszewski stated her wish that Likens’ death could “be undone”, although she minimized her responsibility for any of her actions, stating: “I’m not sure what role I had in [Likens’ death], because I was on drugs. I never really knew her … I take full responsibility for whatever happened to Sylvia.”

Gertrude Baniszewski, photographed one year after her release from the Indiana Women’s Prison.

Taking Gertrude’s good conduct in prison into account, the parole board marginally voted in favor of granting her parole. She was released from prison on December 4, 1985.

aftermath

Following her 1985 release from prison, Gertrude Baniszewski relocated to Iowa. She never accepted full responsibility for being the ultimate architect in Likens’ prolonged torment and ultimate death; insisting she was unable to precisely recall any of her actions in the months of Likens’ prolonged and increasing abuse and torment within her home. She primarily blamed her actions upon the medication she had been prescribed to treat her asthma. Gertrude Baniszewski lived in relative obscurity in Laurel, Iowa until her death due to lung cancer on June 16, 1990, at the age of 61.

Reflecting upon the news of Gertrude Baniszewski’s death and the issues raised pertaining to her sanity at both of her trials, John Dean, a former reporter for the Indianapolis Star who had provided extensive coverage of the case, would state in 2015: “I never thought she was insane. I thought she was a downtrodden, mean woman.” In reference to Gertrude Baniszewski’s actual motive for tormenting and ultimately murdering Likens, attorney Forrest Bowman opined in 2014: “She had a miserable life. What I think this was ultimately about was jealousy.”

Following her 1972 parole, Paula Baniszewski assumed a new identity. She worked as an aide to a school counselor for 14 years at the Iowa Beaman-Conrad-Liscomb-Union-Whitten school district, having changed her name to Paula Pace and having concealed the truth regarding her criminal history to the school district when applying for the position. She was fired in 2012 when the school discovered her true identity. Paula reportedly lives in a small town in Iowa. She is married and has two children. The baby daughter to whom she had given birth while being tried in 1966, and whom she named after her mother, was later adopted.

The murder charges initially filed against Gertrude Baniszewski’s second-eldest daughter, 15-year-old Stephanie, were ultimately dropped after she agreed to turn state’s evidence against the other defendants. Although prosecutors did re-submit their case against Stephanie before a grand jury on May 26, 1966, the decision to later prosecute her in a separate trial never materialized. Stephanie Baniszewski assumed a new name and became a school teacher. She later married and has several children. Stephanie Serikstad currently lives in Florida.

Following the arrest of their mother, the Marion County Department of Public Welfare placed Marie, Shirley, and James Baniszewski in the care of separate foster families. Dennis Lee Wright Jr. was later adopted. His adoptive mother chose to name him Denny Lee White. He died on February 5, 2012, at the age of 47.

Richard Hobbs, Coy Hubbard, and John Baniszewski Jr. each served less than two years in the Indiana Reformatory before being granted parole on February 27, 1968.

Richard Hobbs died of lung cancer on January 2, 1972, at the age of 21—four years after his release from the Indiana Reformatory. In the years between his release from the Indiana Reformatory and his death, he is known to have suffered at least one nervous breakdown.

Following his 1968 release from the Indiana Reformatory, Coy Hubbard remained in Indiana, and never attempted to change his name. Throughout his adult life, Hubbard was repeatedly imprisoned for various criminal offenses, on one occasion being charged with the 1977 murders of two young men, although he was acquitted of this charge. Shortly after the January 2007 premiere of the crime drama film An American Crime, Hubbard was fired from his job. He died of a heart attack in Shelbyville, Indiana, on June 23 of that year at the age of 56.

John Baniszewski Jr. lived in relative obscurity under the alias John Blake. He became a lay minister, frequently hosting counseling sessions to the children of divorced parents. Several decades after his release from the Indiana Reformatory, John Baniszewski Jr. issued a statement in which he acknowledged the fact he and his co-defendants should have been sentenced to a more severe term of punishment, adding that young criminals are not beyond rehabilitation and describing how he had become a decent and productive citizen. He died of diabetes in the Lancaster General Hospital on May 19, 2005, at the age of 52. Prior to his death, he had also occasionally spoken publicly about his past, readily admitting he had enjoyed the attention Likens’ murder brought upon him.

The injury to person charges brought against the other juveniles known to have actively physically, mentally, and emotionally tormented Likens: Anna Ruth Siscoe, Judy Darlene Duke, Michael John Monroe, Darlene McGuire, and Randy Gordon Lepper, were later dropped. Siscoe ultimately married. She died on October 23, 1996, at the age of 44, already a grandmother. Lepper—who had visibly smirked as he testified to having hit Likens on up to 40 separate occasions—died at the age of 56 on November 14, 2010.

The granite memorial dedicated to the memory of Sylvia Likens and her legacy. This memorial was formally unveiled in June 2001.

Jenny Likens later married an Indianapolis native named Leonard Rece Wade. The couple had two children. She died of a heart attack on June 23, 2004, at the age of 54. At the time of her death, Jenny resided in Beech Grove, Indiana. Fourteen years prior to her death, Jenny Likens Wade had viewed Gertrude Baniszewski’s obituary in a newspaper; she clipped the section from the newspaper, then mailed it to her mother with an accompanying note simply reading: “Some good news. Damn old Gertrude died. Ha ha ha! I am happy about that.”

Elizabeth and Lester Likens died in 1998 and 2013 respectively. In the years prior to her own death, Jenny Likens Wade had repeatedly emphasized no blame should be placed upon either of her parents for placing her and Sylvia in the care of Gertrude Baniszewski; stating all her parents had done was trust Gertrude’s promise to actually care for them until their return to Indiana with the traveling carnival.

I see a light: Hope. I feel a breeze: Strength. I hear a song: Relief. Let them through, for they are the welcome ones! –Poem inscribed upon the granite memorial formally dedicated to Sylvia Likens’ life and legacy in Willard Park, Indianapolis.

The house at 3850 East New York Street in which Likens was tortured and murdered stood vacant for many years after her death and the arrest of her tormentors. The property gradually became dilapidated. Although discussions were held in relation to the possibility of purchasing and rehabilitating the house, and converting the property into a women’s shelter, the necessary funds to complete this project were never raised. The house itself was demolished on April 23, 2009. The site where 3850 East New York Street once stood is now a church parking lot.

In June 2001, a six-foot-tall (1.8 m) granite memorial was formally dedicated to Sylvia Likens’ life and legacy in Willard Park, Washington Street, Indianapolis. This dedication was attended by several hundred people, including members of the Likens family. The memorial itself is inscribed with these words: “This memorial is in memory of a young child who died a tragic death. As a result, laws changed and awareness increased. This is a commitment to our children, that the Indianapolis Police Department is working to make this a safe city for our children.”

media

Film

The 2007 film An American Crime is directly based upon the life and murder of Sylvia Likens. Directed by Tommy O’Haver and distributed by First Look Studios, the movie casts Ellen Page as Sylvia Likens and Catherine Keener as Gertrude Baniszewski.

is directly based upon the life and murder of Sylvia Likens. Directed by Tommy O’Haver and distributed by First Look Studios, the movie casts Ellen Page as Sylvia Likens and Catherine Keener as Gertrude Baniszewski. The Girl Next Door is loosely based upon the murder of Sylvia Likens. Released in 2007 and starring Blanche Baker, The Girl Next Door is largely inspired by a 1989 novel penned by author Jack Ketchum.

Books

Dean, John (1999). The Indiana Torture Slaying: Sylvia Likens’ Ordeal and Death . Kentucky: Borf Books. ISBN 0-960-48947-9.

Dean, John (2008). House of Evil: The Indiana Torture Slaying . United States of America: St. Martin’s Paperbacks. ISBN 978-0-312-94699-9.

Millett, Kate (1991). The Basement: Meditations on a Human Sacrifice. New York: Simon & Schuster. ISBN 978-0-671-72358-3.

TV

The Investigation Discovery channel commissioned a documentary focusing upon the abuse and murder of Sylvia Likens as part of its true-life crime documentary series Deadly Women. This 45-minute documentary, titled “Born Bad”, was first broadcast on November 30, 2009.

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