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5 love triangles that ended in murder

A bloodied hand of a body lying on the ground

The term ‘crime of passion’ refers to a crime committed in the ‘heat of the moment’. When a significant other has an affair or is involved in a love triangle, emotions run high. However, for some people, this can lead to brutal acts of murder.

Here are five cases where love has turned deadly.

1. Devon Guzman

In June 2002, the body of 19-year-old Devon Guzman was discovered in the back seat of her car. Initially, it looked like Devon had taken her own life, but the authorities quickly established that this was a murder investigation.

Devon lived with her girlfriend, Keary Renner, in Forks Township, Pennsylvania. The pair were friends with Michelle Hetzel, who was married to Brandon Bloss. Behind her husband’s back, Hetzel was in a relationship with Devon, and they had even gone on holiday, where they discussed getting married.

However, on 14th June 2002, Devon and Hetzel argued over Devon living with Keary. When Devon returned home, she had a physical fight with her girlfriend over Hetzel. Devon then went to Hetzel’s home, but she never returned.

There are conflicting motives for the murder. Hetzel’s lawyer claimed that Bloss was angered by the amount of time his wife spent with the victim. Whereas Devon’s lawyer placed the blame on Hetzel and claimed she was jealous after being rejected.

In 2001, Hetzel and Bloss were sentenced to life in prison.

2. Avis Banks

Carla Hughes had ambitions of becoming a teacher and landed her dream job as a 7th-grade language arts teacher at the Chastain Middle School in Mississippi.

It was at the school where she met fellow teacher and basketball coach Keyon Pittman. The pair embarked on a romantic relationship, but Keyon had a pregnant fiancée, Avis Banks, at home.

On the night of 29th November 2006, Keyon discovered his fiancée’s body in the garage at their home in Ridgeland, Mississippi. She had sustained gunshot and knife wounds, and her unborn child had also died.

When questioned by the police, Hughes denied having a sexual relationship with Keyon and denied having access to firearms. However, her cousin claimed that she had borrowed one of his firearms, which she returned empty.

In October 2009, Hughes was found guilty of capital murder. She could have received the death penalty but was instead sentenced to life in prison.

3. Melissa James

Deemed as a power couple, Craig Titus and Kelly Ryan were seen as minor celebrities on the fitness scene, with Titus winning several bodybuilding titles. It was at a fitness competition where the couple met Melissa James.

Melissa dreamt of opening her own dance studio, and after years of dedication and hard work, her dream came true. However, a bad business deal left her dance studio in peril, and she needed money fast. At the competition, Titus and Ryan persuaded Melissa to move out to Las Vegas where she could earn money.

Behind all the glitz and glamour of the couple’s lifestyle, there were rumours of infidelity and drug-fueled parties. Melissa started to spend more and more time with the couple, even working as their assistant for a period. It was reported that she had an affair with Titus, resulting in Ryan becoming jealous.

In December 2005, Melissa's body was discovered in a burnt-out car. She had been tasered and strangled, and high levels of morphine were later found in her body.

Titus was convicted of second-degree murder, kidnap and arson, while Ryan pled guilty to arson and took an Alford plea to battery with a deadly weapon.

4. Adrianne Jones

The future looked bright for teenage couple Diane Zamora and David Graham. Zamora was an honours student who had enrolled at the Naval Academy, whilst Graham was a star athlete who earned a place at the Air Force Academy.

What looked like a smitten teenage couple was instead a relationship clouded by obsession and jealousy. After a track meet in 1995, Graham claimed he had given a lift home to Adrianne Jones, a fellow athlete, and that the pair ended up having sex.

Feeling guilty, Graham told Zamora of his infidelity. She responded by instructing him to kill Adrianne or she would take her own life.

On 4th December 1995, Graham lured Adrianne on a date. As they were driving, Zamora, who was hiding, jumped up and attacked Adrianne. After a struggle, Adrianne broke free and ran for her life. She was eventually chased down by Graham, who shot her several times.

Zamora and Graham were both sentenced to life in prison.

5. Becky Klein

In March 2007, Nicole Abusharif frantically called the police to report her girlfriend, Becky Klein, missing. The following day, Becky’s body was discovered bound and gagged in the boot of her Ford Mustang.

Several days later, Abusharif was arrested for her girlfriend’s murder. It was discovered that in the months leading to Becky’s death, Abusharif had been secretly dating another woman, Rose Sodaro, whom she met on social media. Rose was told various lies by Abusharif, which included her father being a firefighter during the 9/11 terrorist attacks and how she had liver cancer.

The motive was believed to be financial gain, as Abusharif would have gained Becky’s $400,000 life insurance payout. She was sentenced to 50 years in prison.