M￼arie Robards was a beautiful and popular high achiever.
Her divorced parents, Steve and Beth, loved her, as did teachers and friends. Marie lived with her mum and stepdad Frank. And just before her 16th birthday Marie came home and caught Frank with another woman. While Beth forgave his infidelity, Marie couldn’t and it caused a rift in the family. So Frank decided Marie should go and stay with her dad.
‘I thought her move to Steven’s apartment would only be temporary and that Frank would soon change his mind,’ Beth said. Steven was thrilled to have his little girl back under his roof, but Marie was miserable. She wanted to go home. But after a few months Marie seemed to adjust. Her grades improved, she made new friends and her attitude towards her dad softened.‘She never talked back to Steven,’ remembers his girlfriend Sandra Hudgins. ‘In all honesty, she was what you wanted a teenager to be.’
Then, on February 18, 1993, Steven died. The cause of his death was ruled a heart attack, and that night Marie’s mum picked her up and took her home. Then, a year later, after reading Hamlet with her best friend Stacey, Marie made a tearful confession. ‘My father,’ she sobbed. ‘I poisoned him.’ Steven hadn’t had a heart attack after all – Marie had killed her dad by lacing his food with barium acetate she’d stolen from her school’s science lab.The troubled teen had placed it into the beans of his Mexican takeaway.
Prosecutors say it was almost the perfect crime. When detectives asked Marie why, the answer was as simple as it was baffling. ‘Because it was the only way I could go back home,’ she confessed. ‘I wanted to be with Mum.’
In May 1996, Marie was sentenced to 28 years in prison for murder, but was released after just seven.
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