Morbid Fact Du Jour For January 5, 2018

Today’s Unremorseful Yet Truly Morbid Fact!

Fourteen-year-old Alice Richards was sick of her cheerful and vibrant twin sister Sally. The fraternal twins had argued earlier in the day over the use of the family telephone. Alice became furious when she was physically restrained by her sixteen-year-old brother Edgar. She threatened to shoot Sally with a gun, a threat serious enough to thirteen-year-old brother Robert, who hid the family’s .22 caliber rifle. Horseplay, arguments and yelling isn’t unusual in large families like the Richards’, and after a few hours all seemed forgotten so Robert put the rifle back in its usual place.

Later that Saturday, March 19, 1950, Alice went to the neighbor’s home where Sally was babysitting and stayed with her until the adults came back, around 2 a.m. Back at home, Sally fell asleep quickly, but Alice laid in bed still fuming. She crept around the house and got the rifle, put it to Sally’s head, and fired the weapon.  

Morose Alice and Smiling Sally

Alice coldly walked to the family telephone, the very telephone they had earlier fought over, and called the Fresno Police. She told the dispatcher there had been a murder at 4721 Harvey Avenue. Her mother, Mary, woke up when she heard Alice talking to the police. Mary told the dispatcher she thought her daughter had a nightmare and that she’ll check to see if anything was wrong. She came back on the telephone hysterically telling the dispatcher that her daughter Sally was bleeding.

The grieving parents.

Alice immediately told stunned Fresno police officers she had shot her twin sister. When the officers asked her why, Alice replied, “I hated her because she was always stupid and loud and acted like a nut.”

In custody, Alice showed no remorse about murdering her sister. The bobbed-nose Alice resembled the early Barbie dolls by Mattel. When she was brought into juvenile court, she smiled at photographers and people in the seats, but shunned her mother. She acted like she did not have a care in the world. When the court offered her the chance to attend Sally’s funeral mass and burial, she refused. [I can’t say I blame her. That could be *awkward*. – DeSpair] She assumed she would be put in a mental hospital, and eventually executed.

Sally’s Funeral

After hearing psychiatrists, juvenile authorities and attorneys report on the case, Fresno County Juvenile Court Judge Arthur C. Shepard ruled the blue-eyed, blonde sophomore would be committed to a state hospital for an undetermined amount of time.  

Smiling Alice on her way to court

“I don’t feel bad because my sister is dead, but I feel bad for my folks. This’ll hurt them. I’d kill Sally again if I had the chance.” – Alice Richards.

Culled from: California’s Deadliest Women: Dangerous Dames and Murderous Momsby David Kulczyk


More About Alice

This article, from the March 20, 1950 Tucson Daily Citizen, had some additional details in it so I thought I’d share it in full:

Girl Kills Twin Because of Hate

Fresno, Calif., Mar. 20. (U.P.) — Pretty 14-year-old Alice Richards said today she wasn’t sorry she killed her identical twin sister Sally [I don’t think they were identical twins – DeSpair] whom she had “hated” since the sixth grade. “I’m not sorry she is dead,” she told Deputy Dist. Atty. Dan B. Eymann. “I’d do the same thing over again, but I didn’t like to hurt my parents and family.”

The grief stricken parents, Mr. and Mrs. Edgard V. Richards, said they would stand behind Alice when she is arraigned on first degree murder charges for firing a .22 caliber rifle bullet into the head of her sleeping sister early yesterday. The girl will not face a death penalty because of her youth.

The twins were sophomores at a parochial high school.

“She was stupid and noisy and acted like a nut in school,” Alice told Eymann. “She aggravated me for a long time.”

“I thought about killing her several times in the past, but I never had the guts.”

“I killed her because I hated her,” she told Eymann. “I hated her for a long, long time, ever since the sixth grade.”

Eymann said no boy friend was involved, nor were there any “big issues” between the sisters.

“The embarrassment at school possibly caused her a great deal of shame,” Eymann said. “As a result, the hatred was built up. Jealousy could possibly be a motive because of Sally’s popularity.”

The girl’s mother learned of the bizarre slaying when she awoke to hear Alice dial the sheriff’s office on an extension telephone in the parents’ bedroom and say: 

“There has been a murder.”

Snatching the telephone from Alice’s hand, her mother said, “Don’t get too hasty, the girl walks in her sleep once in a while, she’s having a nightmare now.”

She hung up. But in a few minutes she called back. “It’s true,” she said in a voice shaking with tension. “Come right away.”

Eymann said after Alice’ arraignment she will probably be certified to juvenile court and then bound over to superior court for trial.

In addition she will undergo a psychiatric examination. He said she was a “morose,” introverted person, as contrasted to the sparkling personality of her sister.

The girls’ father visited her in juvenile detention home and told her, “I don’t know why you did it, but we will do what we can for you.”

Her mother was at a loss to explain why Alice should have felt slighted or jealous of Sally.

“I never noticed any particular bitterness between them,” she said. “They would quarrel among themselves, like children in any other family, but when someone would gang up on any one of them, they would stick together.”

The Richards have six children ranging in age from one to 17.

Alice told authorities she determined to do away with her sister Saturday after the two got into a quarrel over the telephone. During its height Alice yelled.

“i’m going to kill you sometime!”

Her brother, Bobbie, 13, became alarmed. He slipped into his room, took a .22 rifle out of the closet and hid it under his mattress. Later he replaced it, deciding that since it was unloaded it could do no harm.

That night, Sally went down the street to baby-sit. Alice joined her later.

“We just sat and read,” Alice said, “Then when we came home, I waited until I heard her sleeping when we were in bed.”

Alice said she got up in the dark and went to the closet where she knew the .22 rifle was kept, along with two other rifles. Then she went to the bathroom where she found some bullets in a box littered with lipsticks and hairpins.  She slipped a bullet into the chamber and returned to the bedroom. 

Oh, one additional detail I found from an August 8, 1950 newspaper.  Apparently, Alice escaped for a night away from her mental hospital.  Cheeky bugger!


  1. I’d be interested to know what became of Sour Alice if and when she was released.
    Poor Sally; she just wanted to have a good time in school, hollering and cracking her gum and laughing like a hyena and putting her thumb over the water fountain spout to squirt people walking past.

  2. At some point, Alice must’ve been released. Sally Elise Richard is on, and so is Alice Elizabeth Richard Schoenenberger, who died in 2014 (and is buried in Alaska–so she married/moved very far away, probably to escape the stigma). But when she was released, or if she had kids, etc., I haven’t been able to find.

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