Discussion:
1975 case of killer/baby-snatcher Norma Jean Armistead: Any more information?
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l***@yahoo.com
2008-04-25 04:51:08 UTC
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(I tried asking at alt.true-crime, but no luck so far.)

She kidnapped two babies from their mothers and murdered the second
mother in order to do so. Her case was turned into the 1993 TV movie
starring Kate Jackson, "Empty Cradle."

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0106808/#comment

What's puzzling it why it took so long to film it!

http://archives.zinester.com/56505/40099.html

(excerpts)

Mary Childs, 26, was an L.A. grocery store employee who had endured a
routine pregnancy until September 20, 1974. That day she entered the
Kaiser Foundation Hospital to give birth. There, she met Norma
Armistead, who took an immediate interest in her.

That evening, Norma gave Mary several drugs before she fell asleep.
When Mary awoke in the middle of the night, everything seemed wrong.
She couldn't control her limbs, couldn't focus her mind, wasn't big
anymore. Nurse Armistead and several doctors were by her side. Nurse
Armistead was telling the doctors she had visited the ward a few
minutes earlier to find Mary unconscious with a stillborn between her
legs. When the realization finally hit Mary, she was inconsolable.
Doctors informed her that her system contained massive quantities of
narcotics, none of them prescription. Mary was astonished; she had
never taken drugs. Doctors chose not to believe her; it was common for
users to deny using......

Norma had been living common law with Charles Armistead. She felt they
were drifting apart due to her inability to have a child. (She'd had a
hysterectomy in 1961.) Her job as a obstetric nurse gave her ample
opportunities to steal a live child and replace it with a child from
the morgue........

Mary, meanwhile, had her 8-month-old returned to her. She sued the
hospital and attending physicians for $24 million. She was awarded
$375,000.

(And had the authorities investigated, the following murder might have
been prevented.....)

http://laurajames.typepad.com/clews/2006/05/index.html

Excerpt (from the bottom):

Norma Jean Armistead checked herself into the Kaiser Hospital in
Hollywood, California, after claiming to have given birth at home.
Armistead, a nurse at the hospital, confused doctors by showing no
evidence of giving birth. Doctors pieced together the evidence after
Kathryn Viramontes was soon discovered at her apartment in Van Nuys
stabbed to death with her baby cut from her womb. "Authorities said
Armistead took the Viramontes infant to the hospital after the murder
and claimed to be the natural mother. However, hospital authorities
became suspicious and notified police," The Oakland Tribune reported
on December 10, 1975.

(end)

According to what few online sources there are, Armistead was
sentenced to life.

So, does anyone know if that was without chance of parole?

What REALLY interests me, though, is what the hospital's defense was
in Mary Childs' case, when she sued! Not to mention how much influence
her case had on national hospital security.

(I heard about the case in the early 1980s courtesy of Reader's Digest
- I don't remember now whether the article had a certain bias or not,
but as a 14-year-old, when I read that she'd sued, all I could think
was "that's so unfair! The hospital didn't steal the baby!" Of course,
I understand things better now. Had anyone tried to explain it to me
back then, I would probably have argued that hospitals shouldn't have
to spend hundreds of dollars and energy on employee screenings and
security when such kidnappings are so rare anyway. Sadly, one effect
of tighter hospital security these days seems to be that baby-
kidnappers are attacking in more random, unpredictable ways - at the
mother's home, for example, where results are more likely to be
deadly.)

Lenona.
Brad Ferguson
2008-04-25 09:13:47 UTC
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In article
Post by l***@yahoo.com
According to what few online sources there are, Armistead was
sentenced to life.
So, does anyone know if that was without chance of parole?
Armistead (aka Norma Jean Jackson) was sentenced to seven years to
life. She is still in prison at age 74 and parole is possible. She
has applied for, and been denied, "compassionate release," which she
sought on medical grounds.
Post by l***@yahoo.com
Mary, meanwhile, had her 8-month-old returned to her. She sued the
hospital and attending physicians for $24 million. She was awarded
$375,000.
The judge (apparently no jury heard the case) awarded $275,000 to Mary
Childs and $100,000 to the baby. Given what happened, that seems light
to me.
l***@yahoo.com
2008-04-25 22:07:49 UTC
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Post by Brad Ferguson
In article
"Mary, meanwhile, had her 8-month-old returned to her. She sued the
hospital and attending physicians for $24 million. She was awarded
$375,000."
The judge (apparently no jury heard the case) awarded $275,000 to Mary
Childs and $100,000 to the baby. Given what happened, that seems light
to me.
You know, don't you, that since we're talking maybe 1977 dollars, the
total amount was more than $1,350,000 in 2007 dollars?

Hmmm....that DOES sound light, now that I think about it.

I'm still a bit puzzled about the circumstances, though. As in, were
there ANY publicized kidnappings from hospitals before 1974 in the
U.S.? If not, on what grounds did the mother claim something should
have been done to prevent it? If there WERE kidnappings before 1974,
were the hospital's security standards really any weaker than average?
(Call it a hunch, but I also suspect the nurse had a clean record
before being employed, so they couldn't have screened her out.)

Oh, and I DID get more info at alt-true-crime:

http://groups.google.com/group/alt.true-crime/browse_thread/thread/6e59fd09d8ee5260/3f425a5b280fa4c9?lnk=st&q=lenona#3f425a5b280fa4c9

One paragraph:

The 74-year-old Jackson suffers from the
effects of a stroke, heart disease, diabetes and arthritis. Hargis,
64, is dying of chronic pulmonary disease.
==================
According to this novel based on Norma Jean Jackson, she's up for
parole every one to three years.


And:

Myrtle Green>> Can you tell me what threat to public safety a seventy-
four year old, medically disabled person who could barely run -- I
have difficulties getting down here when they say get down -- I fail
to see what threat I would be to society. If they feel that I am a
threat to society, take me out of the prison system, put me in a
halfway house, put an ankle bracelet on me, check every move I make
and save themselves millions of dollars.

Sam Louie>> Norma Jean Jackson agrees. She's spent thirty of her
seventy-five years at the California Institution for Women after she
was convicted of murder.



Lenona.
Brad Ferguson
2008-04-25 22:18:45 UTC
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Post by l***@yahoo.com
Myrtle Green>> Can you tell me what threat to public safety a seventy-
four year old, medically disabled person who could barely run -- I
have difficulties getting down here when they say get down -- I fail
to see what threat I would be to society. If they feel that I am a
threat to society, take me out of the prison system, put me in a
halfway house, put an ankle bracelet on me, check every move I make
and save themselves millions of dollars.
Sam Louie>> Norma Jean Jackson agrees. She's spent thirty of her
seventy-five years at the California Institution for Women after she
was convicted of murder.
That's a false premise. It's not about the threat they pose. It's
about them being punished for what they did. They have no right to be
free.

However, I'm touched that Myrtle Green is worried about how much she's
costing the system.
r***@gmail.com
2018-11-19 06:03:08 UTC
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Where did you get this information from if you don't mind me asking because the baby boy that was cut out of the young mother that was murdered did not receive money from this tagedy
Terry del Fuego
2008-04-25 12:32:15 UTC
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Sadly, one effect of tighter hospital security these days seems
to be that baby-kidnappers are attacking in more random,
unpredictable ways - at the mother's home, for example,
where results are more likely to be deadly.
The Law of Unintended Consequences almost always wins in the end. And
it's also unlikely that reality will stop handing out reasons *not* to
reproduce any time soon.
t***@gmail.com
2015-01-30 01:44:49 UTC
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Parole granted october. 2014 with expected release in 2015. She will be 85 feb12,2015 and has served 40 years.
l***@yahoo.com
2015-01-30 02:17:22 UTC
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Post by t***@gmail.com
Parole granted october. 2014 with expected release in 2015. She will be 85 feb12,2015 and has served 40 years.
Very interesting, thank you!
l***@yahoo.com
2015-01-30 03:02:19 UTC
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Post by t***@gmail.com
Parole granted october. 2014 with expected release in 2015. She will be 85 feb12,2015 and has served 40 years.
Actually, source, please? All I can find is that she was to have been released
in 2012.


Lenona.
t***@gmail.com
2015-03-04 03:30:00 UTC
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Family
l***@yahoo.com
2015-03-05 01:32:54 UTC
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Post by t***@gmail.com
Family
Thank you.
t***@gmail.com
2015-03-14 10:01:52 UTC
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Release is to Texas to Home with no conditions
g***@gmail.com
2015-11-16 05:18:38 UTC
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Norma jean Jackson was here at Healthright 360, Walden house, in el Monte until about a month ago. She finally got approved to go to Texas to be with her family. That old broad left here without paying me back my $20 she borrowed from me.
t***@gmail.com
2015-12-11 05:49:56 UTC
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Released to half way house on monitored parole, was to go to Texas, but she is now in ICU, only kidney failed, lungs full of fluids, frontal lobe Tumor, she has been incapacitated since release. California still footing the bill abs she's full code...this comes out of a lawsuit she file so many years ago to improve medical care and handicap available sets as needed. They are unable to get her blood to clot with a huge bedsore to the bone that no antibiotic will touch...Ironic...for her to dye by bleeding out. This is a family member, all info is true as of this date 12-19-2915
t***@gmail.com
2015-12-11 05:52:54 UTC
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Released to half way house on monitored parole, was to go to Texas, but she is now in ICU, only kidney failed, lungs full of fluids, frontal lobe Tumor, she has been incapacitated since release. California still footing the bill abs she's full code...this comes out of a lawsuit she file so many years ago to improve medical care and handicap available sets as needed. They are unable to get her blood to clot with a huge bedsore to the bone that no antibiotic will touch...Ironic...for her to dye by bleeding out. This is a family member, all info is true as of this date 12-10-2015
t***@gmail.com
2015-12-11 05:54:33 UTC
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Released to half way house on monitored parole, was to go to Texas, but she is now in ICU, only kidney failed, lungs full of fluids, frontal lobe Tumor, she has been incapacitated since release. California still footing the bill abs she's full code...this comes out of a lawsuit she file so many years ago to improve medical care and handicap available sets as needed. They are unable to get her blood to clot with a huge bedsore to the bone that no antibiotic will touch...Ironic...for her to dye by bleeding out. This is a family member, all info is true as of this date 12-10-2015
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