Juan Ignacio Blanco  


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Classification: Murderer
Characteristics: Poisoner - Parricide
Number of victims: 3
Date of murders: 1980 - 1981
Date of birth: 1946
Victims profile:  His father, his mother-in-law, and his wife's grandmother
Method of murder: Poison (arsenic)
Location: Illinois, USA
Status: Executed by lethal injection in Illinois on September 20, 1995

Charles Albanese was represented at trial by an attorney who had never tried a capital case before, and who, according to a former attorney who represented Albanese in his appeals, failed to properly investigate or present exculpatory evidence at trial, namely that the state laboratory which carried out tests which helped to convict him was unreliable.


Illinois Executes Man Who Killed 3 For Inheritance

The New York Times

September 21, 1995

A man was executed by injection early today for murdering his father and two other relatives with arsenic-laced food in an effort to gain inheritances and take over the family business.

Charles Albanese, 58, had no final words other than a "thank you" to the prison warden moments before being put to death.

Mr. Albanese issued a statement on Tuesday in which he said he was not guilty. The justice system, he said, "covered up the facts of who really killed the people I loved and who really gained from their deaths and my conviction."

Mr. Albanese was convicted in 1982 of murdering his father, Michael, his mother-in-law, Marion Mueller, and his wife's grandmother, Mary Lambert. He also was convicted of attempted murder in the arsenic poisoning of his brother.

Mrs. Lambert and Mrs. Mueller died in August 1980 within days of having dinner with Mr. Albanese. The authorities attributed the deaths to natural causes until Michael Albanese's death from acute arsenic poisoning nine months later.

Investigators discovered Mr. Albanese had purchased two pounds of arsenic. Prosecutors said Mr. Albanese was after $72,000 in inheritances and control of the family's lucrative trophy business, the Allied Die Casting Corporation.

On Tuesday night the Supreme Court rejected Mr. Albanese's petition for a stay of execution. Earlier in the day, the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit turned down the appeal. Gov. Jim Edgar rejected his petition for clemency.


Junk Food Is Bad For You

March 9, 2005

Mary Lambert, 89, and her daughter, Marion Mueller, 69, lived in Leisure Village, a retirement community 50 miles outside of Chicago until August 3, 1980. Marion's daughter, Virginia and her husband Charles Albanese were constant companions to the retired pair. The couple frequently invited them to their Spring Grove home. That August evening, a Sunday dinner at the Albanese home went very wrong for Mary.

She began vomiting and died suddenly. But at age 89, death isn't unusual. Twelve days later, Marion also died from the same symptoms. Though no one suspected foul play, the community residents at Leisure Village and Charles rallied for further investigation. All were satisfied with the news that the deaths seemed a terrible coincidence.

It was nine months later that a coroner found evidence of arsenic in blood serum from Mike Albanese, Sr., 69, Charles' father. He had died abruptly while his namesake, Mike Jr. had been ill as well, but was alive and confined to a wheelchair. Arsenic was also in Jr.'s blood.

The family-owned business, Allied Die Casting Corporation was checked. The company didn't use arsenic. With his father dead and his brother in a wheelchair, Charles had free rein at the company. Virginia consented to the exhumation of her mother and grandmother. Their bodies contained 370 times the normal amount of arsenic!

Many of the medical staff that attended the women were questioned. They stated Virginia and Charles were frequent visitors and often brought cookies and donuts.

Police turned their attention to Charles. He had been married three times. His two previous unions ended in divorce. He was a devoted family man with a sprawling home. Though never convicted of a serious crime, he did have a record.

In 1965, while employed as a car salesman, he was arrested for armed robbery. He had stolen $160 from a suburban home. When he joined the family business, he changed his ways. With his father gone, he split the company's profits with his mother and brother. He had even talked Mary into changing her will to leave everything to Marion, cutting off her son, Francis. Since both women were dead, everything went to Virginia. He acquired $150,000 in cash and a $95,000 home from their deaths. He had sold their house.

Nine months after the deaths of Virginia's mother and grandmother, the Albanese men shared a coffee break. After the men ate the cookies and donuts, father and son became violently ill. After a few more coffee breaks, Mike Sr. died May 16, 1981. His brother ended up in the hospital, unable to walk. Mike Sr. had an estate worth half a million dollars.

With both of them out of the way, he would get everything; the estates, their personal fortunes and the family business. Police questioned the company's suppliers and customers, looking for any way that Charles would come in contact with arsenic. They knew they had their man.

The company sold scrap zinc to a firm in Elkhorn, Wisconsin. Joe Reichel, the manager, told investigators Charles complained of pests around his home. Reichel suggested arsenic. Charles bought two pounds. They now had their proof. Charles, back home, was planning a Jamaican getaway with his wife and mother. Police believed he was going to kill his mother on the trip. Fortunately, they made it in time. He was charged with three counts of murder and one of attempted murder.

In May 1982, he stood trial for the murders of his father and his wife's grandmother. He was found guilty and sentenced to death. In November 1982, he was found guilty of his mother-in-law's murder and was sentenced to death again.



MO: Poisoned father, mother-in-law, and grandmother to inherit family business.

DISPOSITION: Condemned, 1982; executed Sept. 20, 1995.



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