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10 Real-life Crimes That Became Fictional TV Episodes


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The Black Widow
David Simon writes often about life on the streets in Baltimore, most notably for the HBO series "The Wire."
David Simon writes often about life on the streets in Baltimore, most notably for the HBO series "The Wire."
Jason Merritt/FilmMagic/Getty Images

In a few episodes of the first season of "Homicide: Life on the Street," our heroes investigate a character named Calpurnia Church, who is suspected of killing her five husbands in order to collect on insurance money. David Simon writes of the real-life case in his book that inspired the series "Homicide: A Year on the Killing Streets."

Geraldine Parrish's family believed she possessed special voodoo powers to control others. This, they claimed, was why they did her bidding and even remained silent after her murders. Parrish had taken out life insurance policies on several members of her family (as well as others) and had them name herself as the beneficiary.

Parrish, 52, was arrested in 1989 in Baltimore, Md., but not before having at least four people killed -- and likely several more, including multiple husbands. Parish hired a man in 1985 to kill his sister's boyfriend. Two years later, she had a female tenant killed and then attempted to have her own niece killed. In 1988, she married one man only to have him killed just 15 days later. Police eventually found 45 life insurance policies in her house.


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