'Til Death Do Them Part: A Husband Pushed Off a Cliff, a Wife Drowns and Other Newlywed Homicides

They expected wedded bliss when they swapped 'I do's' — but instead the newlyweds in these high-profile cases were allegedly targeted by the very people who vowed to cherish them

01 of 09

Estranged Husband Opens Fire in Wife's Special Education Classroom

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Cedric Anderson/Facebook

Karen Smith (left) and Cedric Anderson (right), both 53, had only been married for two months when she packed her bags and moved out of their house in Riverside, California, in March. Her mom told PEOPLE she "decided she needed to get away from him."

A month later, on April 10, Anderson went to his estranged wife's school, where she taught special education, and opened fire in her classroom — fatally shooting her and striking two students standing behind her. He then killed himself. One of the students, an 8-year-old boy named Jonathan Martinez, died after being rushed to the hospital. The surviving student was a 9-year-old boy.

"Who murders a teacher in front of students who are now traumatized for life?" one acquaintance of Anderson's told PEOPLE. "It was a cold, calculated decision to create as much pain as possible. He knew exactly what he was doing."

02 of 09

Cleveland Woman Schemes with Daughter's Boyfriend, Others in Husband's Murder-for-Hire

Killer Uloma Walker-Curry and victim William WalkerCredit: AP; Cleveland.com
AP; Cleveland.com

Facing financial difficulties, 45-year-old Uloma Curry-Walker (left) launched a scheme involving her 17-year-old daughter, her daughter's boyfriend and two other young men to kill her husband of four months, "well-respected" Cleveland firefighter William Walker (right). Prosecutors said she wanted Walker's $100,000 life insurance policy and had him fatally shot four times in their driveway in November 2013.

But the plan went awry: Walker hadn't changed the name of the beneficiary on his policy from his ex-wife, so Curry-Walker did not receive the money. Then the four others involved in the murder, including her daughter, pleaded guilty and testified against her. On July 8, she was convicted of aggravated murder and other charges. (Her attorney has disputed the prosecution's theory of the crime and said they will appeal.)

She faces life in prison without parole.

03 of 09

Florida Woman Hired Undercover Cop to Kill Her Husband

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In June, 34-year-old Dalia Dippolito (left) was convicted for the second time of hiring a Florida undercover cop posing as a hit man in order to kill her then-husband, Michael Dippolito (right), in 2009 so she could get his money and the deed to his home. The couple had been married for six months.

Dippolito was actually tried three times in the case: She was convicted in 2011 and sentenced to 20 years in prison, but that verdict was tossed on appeal and a second trial, in December 2016, ended in a hung jury. A third jury took less than two hours to convict her of solicitation to commit first-degree murder with a firearm. (Her attorneys have said they will again appeal.)

At her most recent trial, Dippolito's attorneys argued she never wanted her husband killed, and they blasted the local police for involving a production crew from the TV series COPS, which aired an episode about the case. She claimed in a 2015 interview with ABC News that — in a bid for fame — she was only acting when she tried to hire a killer.

In a statement after her June conviction, Dippolito's would-be victim said he was happy to see "justice was served once again."

04 of 09

Miami Man Kills New Bride, 21, for the $1M Life Insurance

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After pressuring Wendy Trapaga (right) into a quickie courtroom wedding and to sign off on a $1 million insurance policy, Michel Escoto (left), then 42, tried to kill his 21-year-old bride just days after their nuptials to collect on her death. Authorities said that, unable to drown her in Miami motel hot tub, Escoto strangled Trapaga and beat her to death with a tire iron outside a warehouse later that night. In 2014, he was convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison.

At that court hearing, in 2014, Trapaga's mother addressed him directly, reportedly saying through tears, "You destroyed my life. Many of you have daughters and sons and they will give you kisses this Mother's Day. I will have to go to put flowers on my daughter's tomb. She didn't deserve this."

05 of 09

New Bride Pushes Husband Off a Cliff in National Park

Killer Jordan Linn Graham and victim Cody JohnsonCredit: Instagram
Instagram

Just eight days into her marriage to 25-year-old Cody Johnson (right), Jordan Linn Graham (left), then 22, pushed him face-first off a cliff in Montana's Glacier National Park in July 2013. Before she sent him over the edge, Graham and Johnson had gotten into a heated argument, with her telling him she wasn't happy in their marriage.

According to investigators, she initially said she last saw Johnson — whom friends said had a passion for cars and always made "the best of any situation" — when he drove away from their home alone. She reported finding his dead body a few days later. But she entered a guilty plea to second-degree murder in December 2013 and was sentenced in 2014 to 30 years in prison.

06 of 09

Husband Pushed Out of High-Rise to His Death by Pregnant Wife

Killer Amber Hilberling and victim Joshua HilberlingCredit: Facebook

On June 7, 2011, Amber Hilberling (right), then 19 and seven months pregnant, pushed her husband of 11 months, 23-year-old Joshua Hilberling (left), through a glass window in their Tulsa, Oklahoma, apartment. He fell 17 stories to his death.

Though Hilberling later said she felt threatened by her Air Force veteran husband and acted in self-defense, authorities were not convinced by her claims and argued that there were no signs of struggle in the apartment. Hilberling was found guilty of second-degree murder in 2013 and sentenced to 25 years in prison. In October 2016, she hung herself in her prison cell at age 25.

After her suicide, Joshua's parents reportedly reacted on Facebook, writing, "We know how it feels to lose a child. I wouldn't wish that on anyone. It's something no parent should have to experience. Condolences to those who loved her."

07 of 09

TV Contestant Murders Spouse and Disfigures Her Body

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Reality TV contestant Ryan Jenkins (left), 32, married 28-year-old swimsuit model and aspiring Realtor Jasmine Fiore (right) in a Las Vegas strip club in March 2009, just two days after they met. But their whirlwind relationship quickly turned violent — and then deadly. On Aug. 15, 2009, Fiore's nude body was found horrifically disfigured and stuffed in a suitcase in a dumpster in a Los Angeles suburb. Her fingers had been cut off down to the second knuckle and her teeth had been removed, one by one. Authorities said it was an effort to make it hard to identify her.

Police hunted for Jenkins, who became an international fugitive suspected of fleeing to native Canada. Days later, on Aug. 20, police issued a warrant for Jenkins' arrest and charged him with first-degree murder in the death of his wife. On Aug. 24, he was found dead of an apparent suicide in motel in a remote part of British Columbia, his motive forever elusive, though jealousy may have played a role.

"She [Fiore] loved being a girl, and she loved life," one friend and former coworker told PEOPLE in 2009. "In the end she got fooled by a sick person."

08 of 09

Newlywed Fatally Shoots Husband 10 Times During Heated Fight

Killer Colleen McKernan and Victim Rob McKernanCredit: Ohio Prisons, Handout

During an alcohol-laced argument in December 2014, 26-year-old Colleen McKernan (left), shot her 29-year-old newlywed husband, Rob McKernan (right), 10 times in their Ohio home. She claimed she killed him in self-defense, after a turbulent and abusive eight months of marriage. Two juries had deadlocked over the question of whether or not she acted intentionally as prosecutors and the defense described conflicting versions of the relationship and who was really the aggressor the night of the killing.

In March, to avoid a third trial, Colleen pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of voluntary manslaughter and was sentenced to seven years in prison: four years for voluntary manslaughter and three years for a firearm specification. She is eligible for early release after serving three and a half years.

"There's no amount of time they could have gave her — 500 years — it won't bring our son back," Rob's mother told the Canton Repository after the guilty plea.

"We know where Rob is," she said. "He's in the arms of God."

09 of 09

Ala. Woman Dies While Scuba-Diving on Honeymoon and Husband Pleads to Manslaughter

Gabe and Tina WatsonCredit: AP

While on her 2003 honeymoon in Australia, 26-year-old Tina Watson (right) drowned on a scuba-diving excursion at the Great Barrier Reef — and authorities alleged that her new husband, Gabe Watson (left), had killed her by turning off her oxygen supply in hopes of collecting insurance money and valuables.

Watson, who was nicknamed "the Honeymoon Killer" by some news outlets, pleaded guilty to manslaughter in 2009 and served 18 months, a development that shocked and angered Tina's family. Australian authorities then agreed to release Watson to the United States to face charges in his home state of Alabama after prosecutors there said they would seek life in prison in lieu of the death penalty.

But he was acquitted of murder in 2012. The judge reportedly said at the time, "The evidence is sorely lacking that it was an intentional act. The only way to convict him of intentional murder is to speculate. Nobody knows exactly what happened in the water. I'm sure we'll never know."

* With ADAM CARLSON and CHRISTINE PELISEK

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