Nurses Who Killed: Jane Toppan

Known by the nickname “Jolly Jane,” the killer nurse Jane Toppan confessed to 33 murders in 1901. She would inject patients with lethal doses of morphine, then climb into bed with them and hold them until they died. Toppan was found not guilty by reason of insanity, and spent the rest of her life in a mental institution instead of prison.

Toppan stated that it was sexually thrilling to take people to the brink of death, bring them back, and then kill them. Perhaps even more disturbing was her stated goal in life: “to have killed more people – helpless people – than any other man or woman who ever lived.” She may not have reached her goal, but she was dubbed the “greatest criminal of modern times” by the Clinton Morning Age in 1902.