Name: Hilma Marie Witte
Aliases: Hilma Marie Crist, Marie Witte
Born: April 20, 1948 – Pittsburgh
Claim to Infamy: Not only did Hilma Marie coerce her two impressionable teenage sons to murder for her, but the victims were their close family members. Then, as if that weren’t macabre enough, she convinced the boys- as well as her own mother – and a young associate to assist in the grisly disposal of the second victim’s body.
The horror began in Beverly Shores on September 1, 1981. Hilma wanted to be a widow who would inherit her husband’s estate rather than a working single mother, and she got her wish. At her behest, elder son Eric shot his abusive father, Paul, as he slept.
After what everyone – including police – believed to have been an unfortunate firearm accident, Paul’s stepmother Elaine generously welcomed the remaining family members into her nearby Trail Creek home. Unfortunately for Elaine, Hilma Marie wasn’t content for long and soon set her sights on the elderly woman’s life savings. When Eric refused to kill for her again, Hilma convinced her younger son, Butch, to do the dirty work. 16-year-old Butch killed his grandmother with a crossbow in January of 1984. Hilma decided it would be unwise to attempt to persuade police that the family had suffered a second deadly accident and that they should dismember the body instead. Using various instruments – including a hammer, chisel, deep fat fryer, saw, and microwave – the family then dismembered Elaine and disposed of her body in various ghastly ways.
Current Status: Both Eric and Butch pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter and were released early in 1996 due to good behavior. Butch has since passed away, but Eric has expressed great remorse for his crimes.
Hilma’s mother, Margaret “Marcie” O’Donnell was sentenced to 6 years. She, too, died after serving time for her crimes.
Hilma Marie Witte was convicted of two counts of murder, conspiracy to murder, and attempt to murder. She is currently serving time in the Indiana Women’s Prison. According to the Department of Correction, her earliest possible release date is April 2027.