Tales from the Dark Side…of Love: Five Real-Life Tales of Love Gone Wrong

Today, February comes to a close, which means another Valentine’s Day has come and gone.  Hopefully you didn’t spend too much time crying into the Fannie Mae sampler you bought for yourself.  But if you did, it’s okay; there’s always next year.  

In observance of amour gone wrong, I spent this month sharing Dark Love Stories from movies, music and books and even a few of my own personal tales of romance gone south.    

To finish out February, I wanted to share some real life tales of love gone wrong that resonated with me.  I either found a little bit of inspiration in these stories for my work or was just captivated by what transpired between the players. 

Regardless, they all make me sad.

Here are Five Real Life Tales from the Dark Side: Real Life Tales of Love Gone Wrong:

1.     Scott and Laci Peterson
By now, the sad, sordid tale of what happened between Scott and Laci Peterson is stamped on our collective conscience; an eight months pregnant Laci disappeared from her Modesto, Calif. home.  Her badly decomposed body was found in the San Francisco Bay five months later.  Scott initially played the role of the devoted, grieving husband, but as the layers of his life were peeled back, a sociopath lay at the core.  Scott had tired of being married to Laci and wanted to live the carefree life of a bachelor (even managing to find himself a girlfriend during Laci’s disappearance.)  Instead of divorcing his wife, he murdered her and their unborn son.  Scott was found guilty of first-degree murder and sentenced to death.

I wrote the first draft of “Live and Let Die,” during the height of the Peterson case.  Though the stories don’t have any similarities, it definitely provided some inspiration.

2.     Mark and Lori Hacking
Deception is very often at the heart of the dark side of love.  I’ve always thought of this as one of those tales about how sometimes you really don’t know anything about the one you’re with. 

Mark and Lori were the epitome of a young couple in love with the world on a string.  She had a good job with Wells Fargo and was pregnant with her first child and husband Mark had just graduated from the University of Utah, with medical school acceptances at George Washington University and the University of North Carolina.

Except it was all a big lie.  Mark never attended college, much less been accepted to two medical schools (he even went so far as to pose for pictures in a fake cap and gown).  Lori had discovered Mark’s elaborate lies and when confronted, he snapped and shot her in the head.  He pled guilty to first degree murder and received a sentence of six years to life.

3.     Diane Zamora and David Graham
I had a high school boyfriend cheat on me and I have to say, my first instinct was to kill him, not the girl (don’t worry…if anyone ever did kill him, it wasn’t me).  I’ve never understood why women direct all their venom on the other woman and not their husband/boyfriend.  In my forthcoming suspense novel, “Sweet Little Lies,” I turn this idea on its head and have the wife kill the cheating husband.

High school sweethearts Diane and David had their whole lives ahead of them; they were both headed for careers in the military, having been accepted to the Naval Academy and Air Force Academy, respectively.   As is usually the case with these things, all was not as it seemed, as David had cheated on Diane with another girl.  Diane’s solution was that Adrianne Jones had to murdered.  Diane and David clubbed and shot this poor girl, then went to church for absolution.  Diane spilled the beans during a chat with her new Naval Academy chums, who turned her in.  Diane and David were both convicted of capital murder and sentenced to life in prison.

4.     Ted and Generosa Ammon
I’ve probably watched this TV movie based on the brutal murder of financier, Ted Ammon, a dozen times and each time, I’m riveted.  Ted and Generosa fall in love and marry, but Ted soon realizes his wife is just a tad bit unstable (okay, a lot unstable).  They divorce and she basically makes his life a living hell by trying to keep their children from him and plundering his considerable fortune with her outrageous demands (the least of which was shacking up in a posh Manhattan hotel with her electrician lover, Daniel Pelosi, while forcing Ted to foot the bill).  Ted was found murdered in his Hamptons home, Generosa died of breast cancer and Daniel was found guilty of murdering Ted. 

5.     Drew Peterson and his wives
I don’t know how much of a “Love Gone Wrong” this is, since I have to wonder if Drew Peterson is even capable of love.  I live in Chicago, so the disappearance of Drew’s fourth wife, Stacy, was major news here for a long time.  Stacy went missing in 2007 and the general consensus is he murdered her.  During the course of the investigation, it was discovered there may have been more than meets the eye in the drowning death of his third wife, Kathleen Savio.  He was convicted and sentenced to 38 years in prison. 

Stacy’s never been found.
Photo: ABC News


  1. I seriously believe Scott did not murder his wife. So he lied and cheat, big deal. Doesn't make him a murderer. No evidence against him at all. Don't forget about the other pregnant woman found the same way as Laci and in the same area!

    1. I recently watched the 10 part-A&E series about the Peterson case and definitely learned some new information about the investigation that I didn't previously know, which I admit gave me a bit of pause (including the other pregnant woman found under similar circumstances). His half-sister, Anne Bird, wrote a book a few years ago and her theory was that Scott drowned Laci in their pool (hence why there was no physical evidence.).

      More than anything, I mourn for Laci and Connor and the families. Terrible tragedy for everyone.


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