Top Five Macabre Crime Scenes In Phoenix


The Phoenix area isn't all sunny days, desert blooms, and golf courses. Like any big city, it's seen its share of gruesome crimes. Many of the scenes of some of Phoenix's most notorious murders are still around today. Pay them a visit if you dare.

Winnie Ruth JuddAP

The Winnie Ruth Judd Murder House

On the night of October 16, 1931, Winnie Ruth Judd shot her two best friends with a .25 caliber handgun, cut one of them into pieces, and packed both bodies in her luggage. Two days later, she hopped a train to Los Angeles with her gruesome baggage on board. The murder was precipitated by a fight among the three women over prominent Phoenix businessman John J. "Happy Jack" Halloran.

Judd's trial became international news and she was sentenced to the state mental hospital in 1933. Not content with the life of a mental patient, Judd escaped seven times. Her last escape, in 1962, lasted seven years. She relocated to northern California, changed her name to Marian Lane, and became a live-in maid for a wealthy family. Her real identity was eventually discovered and she was taken back to Arizona where she stayed until her parole in 1971.

The rented bungalow where the murders took place still stands at 2947 N. 2nd Street in Phoenix. Although the home is currently vacant and surrounded by a chain-link fence, it was purchased in 2015 by a local attorney who plans on preserving and restoring the infamous building.

Rose-Mar College of Beauty

On the morning of November 13, 1966, beauty school students were getting ready to start their day while their first customer, a young mother, sat waiting with her two daughters. Eighteen-year-old Robert Benjamin Smith entered the salon, fired one shot into the air, and ordered the women to a back room. When one of the girls started praying, Smith shot her in the back of the head. He then shot the remaining women, killing four. Another woman was shot twice but pretended to be dead until the police showed up. The youngest daughter, a 3-month old, survived, shielded by her mother's body.

Smith did not put up any resistance when the police arrived. When asked why he did it, he answered, "I wanted to make a name for myself."

The beauty school still stands at 42 North Stapley Drive in Mesa, although the name has been changed to Nuview Cosmetology School.

DON BOLLES-/Associated Press​

The Hotel Clarendon

On June 2, 1976, Don Bolles, an investigative reporter for the Arizona Republic, went into the Hotel Clarendon to meet a source who'd promised information on some state politicians' connection to the mob. He waited in the lobby, but the source never showed. When Bolles returned to his car and keyed the ignition, a bomb blew up the vehicle. He died in the hospital 11 days later. Phoenix contractor Max Dunlap was convicted of ordering the murder. Dunlap died in prison in 2009.

The hotel is now called The Clarendon Hotel and is still in operation at 401 W. Clarendon Drive. Past the poshly remodeled veneer and upscale bistro sits a shrine of sorts. The Don Bolles Memorial Hallway contains several large-print photos and a series of pages that tell the story of what happened there.

Winfield Place Apartments

On June 29, 1978, actress Victoria Berry entered the apartment of Hogan's Heroes star Bob Crane and found him bludgeoned to death. Crane had been living in Scottsdale and performing in a run of Beginner's Luck at the Windmill Dinner Theater. An examine of Crane's extensive collection of home sex tapes lead detectives to John Henry Carpenter, an electronics sales manager who'd struck up a friendship with Crane while helping him purchase video equipment. Blood smears matching Crane's blood type were found in Carpenter's rental car, but without any other significant material evidence, the Maricopa County Attorney declined to file charges.

In 1990, the case was reopened after a Scottsdale detective re-examined the evidence and discovered a photograph of the car's interior that appeared to show a piece of brain tissue. Carpenter was arrested and charged, but his attorneys were able to secure an acquittal, citing many examples of sloppy police work, inconclusive evidence, and other potential suspects.

The Winfield Place Apartments are now condominiums, located at 7430 E Chaparral Road in Scottsdale. The murder took place in unit 132A.

Jodi AriasMatt York/AP​

Jodi Arias' Murder Scene

On June 9, 2008, Travis Alexander was found dead in the bathroom of his Mesa, Arizona, home. He'd been shot in the head, stabbed 30 times, and his throat was cut from ear to ear. Police found Alexander's camera in his washing machine and were able to recover photographs of Alexander and his ex-girlfriend-turned stalker, Jodi Arias, in various sexual poses as well as a photo of Alexander bleeding on the bathroom floor. Arias' DNA was discovered in a bloody handprint on the bathroom wall. She was convicted of the murder and sentenced to life in prison.

The home, located on East Queensborough inside a beautiful subdivision in Mesa, was foreclosed on after Alexander's death but is now home to a family who purchased it even after learning of its grisly history.

Janet Berry-Johnson has called Scottsdale home for two years. She is a Certified Public Accountant and a writer, regularly contributing to Scottsdale Moms Blog, Forbes, and BonBon Break.