Betty Lou Beets was a black widow who murdered two husbands: Evil Lives Here investigates

Mugshot of Betty Lou Beets
Betty Lou Beets coldly and calmly murdered her fourth and fifth husband. She was executed in 2000. Pic credit: Texas Dept of Criminal Justice

This week on Evil Lives Here, the team investigates the case of a Black Widow known as Betty Lou Beets from Texas. Beets was married five times, and she murdered two of the men and attempted to kill another two.

She has been described as a sociopath and a cold-blooded killer who meticulously planned her murders. Investigators argued she killed for insurance money; however, she claimed she’d been abused by her husbands.

Beets was born in North Carolina in 1937 and first married when she was just 15 years old. Her marriage to Robert Franklin Branson was abusive, and she once attempted suicide. The pair separated in 1969.

In 1970, she married Billy Lane, and once again, this was another abusive relationship. She tried to shoot Lane after he broke her nose. He reportedly pressed charges before changing his mind and admitting he threatened her first.

In 1978 she married Ronnie Threlkold, but that relationship didn’t last long. It ended when Beets tried to run him over in her car.

A year later, she married Doyle Baker, but that didn’t last either as by 1982, she had moved onto her fifth husband, Jimmy Don Beets.

In August 1983, she reported Jimmy, a retired Dallas firefighter, as missing. Investigators discovered his boat floating in a nearby Texan lake and put his death down as an accidental drowning.

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Betty Lou Beets was turned in by her son

However, two years later, Beet’s son came forward and told law enforcement officers that he’d helped his mom bury the body. When investigators searched her home, they discovered the remains of Jimmy and those of her fourth husband, Doyle Baker. Both men had been shot multiple times in the head with the same firearm.

Beets proclaimed her innocence and accused her son of killing Jimmy and said she helped him bury the corpse to protect him. Beets’ son and daughter both admitted to helping their mother bury two of her husbands, and they testified against her at the trial.

Beets was found guilty of murder in 1985 and was put on death row. In 2000 her lawyers asked then-Texan Governor George Bush to give her a stay of execution. He returned to the state to review the case but ultimately sided in favor of execution. She killed a short time later by lethal injection.

More from Evil Lives Here

Follow the links to read about more murderous criminals profiled on Evil Lives Here.

In another very unsettling case, Judith Hawkey coerced her 10-year-old stepson, Corey Breininger, into shooting his father. Hawkey wanted to make it look like an accident so she could claim life insurance worth $500,000.

Jack Spillman, Aka the Werewolf Butcher, was convicted of murdering a mother and daughter in 1995, and a young girl in 1994 in Washington State. He got the nickname due to the ferocity with which he attacked his victims. He once told his cellmate he wanted to be the “world’s greatest serial killer,” thankfully he failed in this endeavor.

Evil Lives Here airs at 9/8c on Investigation Discovery.

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Louise Mocerino
Louise Mocerino
3 years ago

Great show. However, those were total Aligator tears from Shirley. Pah-Leeeez! Burying her mother’s 5th husband and now crying over it now? Looking at a picture of her mother? Her tears and antics are all a show for the cameras!

3 years ago

I agree with Louise! The daughter was sickening to watch. Not only did she resemble the mother with troll-like expressions but she cried victim throughout the whole show. Total trash woman, Hey, she was old enough to know better. I bet the interviewers were nauseous from that episode and watching that troll cry self-pity for an hour. It would be nice if she showered and cut her ragged witch hair.

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