10 Unusual Murder Weapons

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A Brief History

On August 20, 1940, communist revolutionary Leon Trotsky was murdered in Mexico by agents of Joseph Stalin.  The murder weapon was an ice axe, not something you usually see in Mexico City!  People have been killing other people since Cain slew his own brother Abel, and they have gotten quite creative at it in the meantime.  This article lists 10 of the more unusual murder weapons or techniques employed over the years, for example, back when the author of this article was a police officer, he investigated a murder in which a son killed his father by purposely dropping an air conditioner on his head!  

Digging Deeper

10. Ice Axe, 1940.

In all fairness to Trotsky’s assassin, NKVD agent Ramon Mercader, an ice axe is a pretty mean-looking tool.  On the other hand, Trotsky did not die from the single “terrible blow on the head” until the next day, so it could have been done better.  One is left wondering, however, where does one get an ice axe in a warm place like Mexico City?

9.  Spatula, 2010.

In 2010 a Utah mom beat her 5-year-old daughter to death with a spatula, proving once again that the kitchen is the most high-risk room in a house and that just about anything in it can be used as a weapon.

8.  Umbrella Injector, 1978.

Georgi Markov, a Bulgarian dissident, was “poked” to death by communist agents on the birthday of Markov’s favorite target, Todor Zhivkov, a Bulgarian politican.  The poking was done with an umbrella that had been fitted with a penetrating tip that contained the deadly poison ricin.  As Markov walked across a bridge in London, the killer came up from behind, nudged him and kept going, never drawing attention to himself.  The weapon became known as “The Bulgarian Umbrella.”

7.  Polonium-210, 2006.

Alexander Litvinenko had been both a Russian FSB and a KGB agent, but was upset with the illegal moves by those who put Vladimir Putin in power.  Writing books and articles against the Russian government and his involvement with the Chechen separatists incurred him the wrath of Putin and his cronies.  While in exile in England, Litvinenko became sick from radiation poisoning and died.  An investigation revealed the murder weapon had been a radioactive substance called Polonium-210, apparently slipped into his tea by former KGB agents who he had met the day he fell ill. 

6.  Cell Phone, 1996.

That was one number that should have been put on the no call list!  Yahya Ayyash, master bomb maker for the Palestinian (some say terrorist) group Hamas, was assassinated by Israeli agents after a cell phone he answered blew his head off.  Talk about killing someone with their own tools!

5.  Toilet Tank Lid, 2006.

According to Neil Sedaka, breaking up is hard to do, and indeed it was for Christina Eubanks when her lover Marvin Hill used the lid of a toilet tank to bash her head in after she had threatened to expose their affair to his wife.   

4.  Nail Gun, 2009.

Chen Liu was murdered in Australia by someone who pumped 35 nails into his head using a nail gun.  Neither the nail gun nor the murderer have ever been found.  It should be noted, however, that despite movies depicting nail guns firing nails like bullets, in real life it is only upon contact that a nail gun inserts the nail forcefully into a surface.

3.  Microwave Oven, 2005.

This one is so sickening that no jokes will be made about it in this article.  China Arnold, a drunken mother in Montgomery County, Ohio, was in an argument over the paternity of her baby when she put her 1-month-old infant daughter in the microwave and cooked her to death.  China got life in prison for the crime, but somehow that does not seem enough.

2.  Xbox 360, 2013.

Feeling possessed, Darrius Johnson bashed in his girlfriend’s head with an Xbox.  Darrius considered the move justified as he felt that Monica Gooden had taken control of his spirit and that the only thing he could do to lift the curse would be to “sacrifice” her.  No word if new Xboxes will have to carry the product warning on them that they can be used to bash heads in.

1.  Baking Child in Hot Car, 2014.

Much of the news in July of 2014 involved Justin Ross Harris, a father who is currently in custody for leaving his toddler son in the car on a hot day, killing the boy.  Neither investigators nor the public are buying the claim that it was accidental as Harris’ computer showed that he had searched on the internet for how long it would take for a child to perish under such circumstances.  In addition he was “sexting” 6 girls while his son was dying.  As of publication of this article, the case has not yet been resolved.

Question for students (and subscribers): What methods of killing would you add to the list?  Please let us know in the comments section below this article.

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For another interesting event that happened on August 20, please see the History and Headlines article: “Churchill Names “The Few.”

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Historical Evidence

For more information, please see…

Simmons, Ian and Ed Traquino.  Strange deaths: More than 375 freakish fatalites.  Barnes & Noble, 2000.


About Author

Major Dan is a retired veteran of the United States Marine Corps. He served during the Cold War and has traveled to many countries around the world. Prior to his military service, he graduated from Cleveland State University, having majored in sociology. Following his military service, he worked as a police officer eventually earning the rank of captain prior to his retirement.