Janie Lou Gibbs

Janie Lou Gibbs

Janie Lou Gibbs
Birth name: Janie Lou Gibbs
Born: 1933
Georgia (U.S. state)
Number of victims: five
Span of killings: 1966–1967
Country: United States
State(s): Georgia
Date apprehended: 1967

Janie Lou Gibbs (born 1933) was a serial killer from Cordele, Georgia, who killed her three sons, a grandson, and her husband, by poisoning them with arsenic in 1966 and 1967.


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Gibbs’ husband of 20 years, Charles Clayton Gibbs, 40, died January 21, 1966. Her son, Melvin W. Gibbs, 16, died January 23, 1967, followed by her younger son, Marvin H. Gibbs, 13, on August 23, 1967. She inherited $31,000 from their deaths and tithed 10 percent to her church.

The deaths had previously been attributed to liver disease, but she was eventually arrested Christmas Eve 1967 after her oldest son, Roger, 19, died in the same fashion as his father, two brothers, and infant son.


Despite the unusual coincidences of so many deaths in such a short period of time, she blocked insurance adjusters’ requests for autopsies. Although insurance adjusters were suspicious, most of Gibbs’ neighbors and friends from church could not believe that the 35-year-old grandmother who ran a day-care center could be a serial killer.

However, Gibbs’ daughter-in-law demanded autopsies of her husband and child. The autopsies found fatal levels of arsenic in both bodies. The court ordered the rest of her family exhumed and each was found to have been murdered.

She admitted killing her family, but did not give a motive. In February 1968 she was found to be guilty and received five life sentences.

Gibbs, who in later years suffered from Parkinson’s disease, was released April 1999 on a medical reprieve into the custody of her brother and sister-in-law after being denied parole more than 17 times. She remains on parole and is required to check in once per year due to her deteriorating condition. She uses a wheelchair and lives in a nursing home in Douglasville, Georgia.


  • “Janie Gibbs” Mind of a Killer (DVD) Kozel Multimedia, 1998.
  • “Judged Insane in Poisonings,” The Associated Press, February 8, 1968.
  • “Woman Charged in Death of Kin” The Associated Press, January 28, 1968.

External links

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