Juan Ignacio Blanco  


  MALE murderers

index by country

index by name   A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

  FEMALE murderers

index by country

index by name   A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z




Murderpedia has thousands of hours of work behind it. To keep creating new content, we kindly appreciate any donation you can give to help the Murderpedia project stay alive. We have many
plans and enthusiasm to keep expanding and making Murderpedia a better site, but we really
need your help for this. Thank you very much in advance.




Antoinette PELZER





Classification: Murderer
Characteristics: Homeless diagnosed with schizophrenia - Robbery attempt
Number of victims: 2
Date of murders: May 21, 2012
Date of arrest: Same day
Date of birth: 1968
Victims profile: Po Lin Wan, 80, and her daughter, Alice Mei See Leung, 47
Method of murder: Stabbing with with a 13-inch butcher knife
Location: Atlantic City, Atlantic County, New Jersey, USA
Status: Sentenced to two consecutive 40-year terms on October 24, 2013
photo gallery

Woman who fatally stabbed Atlantic City tourists handed 80-year term

By Lynda Cohen -

Thursday, October 24, 2013

MAYS LANDING — The quick and vicious attack that ended two Canadian tourists’ lives in Atlantic City last year was shown in court Thursday, just before their killer was sentenced to two consecutive 40-year terms.

Po Lin Wan, 80, and her youngest daughter, Alice Mei See Leung, traveled the world together and especially loved Atlantic City, according to two books chronicling their lives that their family presented the judge.

But as Wan and Leung walked down Pacific Avenue about 10 a.m. May 21, 2012, Antoinette Pelzer rushed up to them with a 13-inch butcher knife and began stabbing, video surveillance shows.

Leung, 47, was attacked first, as her mother tried to intervene.

“Can you imagine the state of horror, despair, pain and helplessness (the older woman was in) at that moment?” her daughter Ophelia Leung asked the judge.

Surveillance cameras at AtlantiCare Regional Medical Center, where the two women would be pronounced dead, captured the scene from two angles.

Seconds in, Officer Jacob Abbruscato pulled up in his patrol car, jumped out and rushed to stop the attack.

Pelzer showed no emotion as she watched herself on the screen. A psychiatrist report quoted in court says the woman cannot recall exactly what led her to kill the women. She has insisted it was not a robbery, though she is seen grabbing the purse of one woman.

Public defender Holly Bitters objected to the playing of the tape, but Judge Mark Sandson allowed it.

The family, who already had viewed the tape, wanted to stay in the courtroom as it played, Assistant Prosecutor Seth Levy told the judge.

Pelzer, who was diagnosed with schizophrenia at 24, was expected to plead insanity, but two psychological tests showed “she knew right from wrong,” Levy said.

“Her family didn’t fail her,” Pelzer’s mother, Gladys Pelzer, told the judge. “The system of mental illness failed her.”

But a month before the killings, Gladys Pelzer said, her daughter could not stay with her. The woman eventually left Philadelphia and had been living in Atlantic City for a few weeks “bumming change, walking the streets, eating food from garbage cans and sleeping at the train station,” according to the report read in court.

Pelzer had armed herself well, it seems. She had scissors in her bag, a nail file in her sock and the 13-inch knife she later used to end two women’s lives.

The two women had been living in Scarborough, Ontario, but were from Hong Kong, where their family still lives.

“My grandmother was the most loving person I ever knew,” Victor Au said of Wan. “She was a big part of raising me. I wish I’d had the chance to thank her for everything.”

Leung was a generous person whose optimism was so contagious that “even on a bad day, you couldn’t help but feel happy,” Au said.

Antoinette Pelzer apologized for the killings, the first sign of remorse she showed, Sandson said.

“I was real sick back then at the time,” she told him.

But Levy said hundreds of thousands of people suffer mental illness without acting in such a horrific way. He pointed to the psychiatrist report that found Pelzer knew what she was doing was wrong at the time.

Pelzer will have to serve 68 years in prison before she is eligible for parole, meaning she would have to live to be 104 years old.


Homeless woman pleads guilty in 2012 fatal stabbing of Canadian tourists

By Lynda Cohen -

August 30, 2013

The homeless woman who fatally stabbed two Canadian tourists in Atlantic City last year pleaded guilty to two counts of murder Friday.

Antoinette Pelzer, 45, who was living in Philadelphia before somehow making it to the resort, admitted to attacking Alice Mei See Leung, 47, and her 80-year-old mother, Po Lin Wan, with a butcher knife as the two women walked along Pacific Avenue at about 10 a.m. May 21, 2012.

The mother and daughter were visiting from Scarborough, Ontario, when they were approached by Pelzer, who attempted to rob them.

She then began stabbing Leung. Pelzer turned on Wan when the older woman came to her daughter's aid, according to information previously released in court.

Officer Jacob Abbruscato, who was patrolling the area, was credited with disarming Pelzer within 13 seconds, and taking her into custody.

The victims were taken to AtlantiCare Regional Medical Center's City Campus just a half-block away. There, they both died of multiple sharp-force injuries.

Leung was struck in the suffered stab wounds to her upper body, her heart punctured, according to the autopsy. Wan was stabbed in the lower body, hand and shoulder.

Pelzer's defense had been awaiting psychological reports with the understanding that an insanity defense might be offered.

"We're definitely going to explore that option," public defender Holly Bitters told The Press of Atlantic City following a court appearance in January.

To be found not guilty by reason of insanity, it has to be proved that -- at the time of the crime -- the defendant did not know what she was doing was wrong.

At her first court appearance last year, Pelzer exhibited strange behavior and didn't appear to understand what was going on. She asked where her public defender was and seemed surprised when the judge said both women died.

"Both?" she asked.

At subsequent hearings, she seemed more cognizant. Her formerly disheveled hair was in neat braids.

"She's better than she was," Bitters said outside the courtroom in January. "It looks like she has been diagnosed with schizophrenia before."

Friday was scheduled to be a normal status hearing, but instead Pelzer pleaded guilty.

Under the plea agreement, Pelzer may be given the maximum terms allowed by law, meaning Superior Court Judge Mark Sandson could give her two consecutive life terms when she is sentenced Oct. 24.


Hearing for homeless woman accused in two A.C. killings

By Jacqueline L. Urgo -

January 11, 2013

MAYS LANDING, N.J. - A homeless Philadelphia woman charged with stabbing to death a Canadian mother and daughter visiting Atlantic City last spring pleaded not guilty when she was arraigned Wednesday in Superior Court.

Her lawyer told the judge that the woman would undergo a psychiatric evaluation before her next hearing.

Antoinette Pelzer, 44, who has been diagnosed as a paranoid schizophrenic, appeared in court handcuffed and shackled at the waist and ankles, wearing an orange jail jumpsuit, her hair neatly braided in cornrows, looking alert. But she did not utter a word during the proceeding before Judge Mark H. Sandson.

Her lawyer, Holly Bitters, waived a reading of the double-homicide charges against Pelzer before entering the not-guilty plea. With a nod, Pelzer acknowledged the presence of family - her mother, two daughters, and a grandson - when she entered and left the courtroom.

That behavior differed from her first court appearance two days after the May 21 killings, when she made strange faces, laughed, and expressed surprise when the charges read in court indicated that two women, not one, had died. At the time, the suspect appeared wild-eyed, with her hair askew, and seemed to notice only the media.

Pelzer was indicted Nov. 27 on eight counts, including two each of first-degree and felony murder. Her bail was set at $1.5 million, and she is being held at the Ann Klein Forensic Center in Trenton.

Pelzer, who attended West Philadelphia High School, was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia at age 24, her family said. She is the mother of three adult children and long struggled with homelessness.

Outside the courtroom, Gladys Pelzer, mother of the defendant, said she and the defendant's two grown daughters and a grandson had driven to Atlantic County from Philadelphia to show support. She said her daughter "was failed by the system" because it had not properly dealt with her long-term mental-health issues.

Bitters said she planned to order a psychiatric evaluation with a private physician before the next hearing, scheduled for Feb. 4.

Pelzer is charged with killing Alice Mei See Leung, 47, and her mother, Po Lin Wan, 80, both of Scarborough, Ontario, with a 12-inch butcher knife as the two women walked along Pacific Avenue near Bally's Atlantic City Casino Hotel.

Surveillance video of the attack, which lasted about 13 seconds, shows Pelzer running across the street outside the casino. Pelzer tries to take Leung's purse and stabs Leung repeatedly when Leung does not let go of the bag. Pelzer is then shown stabbing Wan as she tries to intervene on her daughter's behalf.

Leung, who had driven to Atlantic City with her mother from their home near Toronto, was an accounting manager in a Canadian iron-mines company and played the yangqin, a hammered dulcimer, with the Toronto Chinese Orchestra.


Accused killer struggled with homelessness, mental illness, family says

By Darran Simon -

May 25, 2012

When Antoinette Pelzer was on her medication, family members said, she was funny, would laugh at anything, and was a stickler for cleanliness.

"When she doesn't have her medication, she is a different person," said Ellen Slaughter, 22, of Philadelphia, the youngest of the 44-year-old Pelzer's three children.

While Pelzer was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia at 24 and struggled with homelessness, she wasn't violent, family said, unable to reconcile their image of her with that of the frenzied attacker who allegedly stabbed two Canadian tourists to death Monday in Atlantic City.

The victims were identified on Wednesday as Po Lin Wan, 80, and her daughter Alice Mei See Leung, 47, both of Scarborough, Ontario. A spokeswoman for the Atlantic County Prosecutor's Office said authorities managed to contact at least one relative in Hong Kong, but couldn't say whether other family was notified. The spokeswoman also declined to say whether Wan and Leung had family in Canada, or how, and when they arrived in Atlantic City.

Her family "is very, very sorry for the family that lost their family," said Slaughter's older sister Justine, 27, of Philadelphia.

Ellen Slaughter said she last spoke to her mother in early April, finding her in a Philadelphia shelter. Justine Slaughter said she had not spoken to her in about a year.

While little was known Wednesday about the two victims, a clearer picture emerged of Pelzer, who was being held on $1.5 million bail in the Atlantic County Jail on murder and weapons charges.

She stabbed the two Canadian tourists with a 12-inch butcher knife outside the Bally's Atlantic City Casino Hotel during a robbery, authorities said.

In interviews, relatives said she was a teenage mother, who could barely read and write, who only had one job in her life - working at a Wendy's while in middle school - and she could never hold onto her disability checks.

She shuffled in and out of shelters in Philadelphia and Cleveland, where she had other family, they said. She lived in a Northeast apartment with the help of one program at one point, but months ago slept in the Gallery and on the streets.

Family members said they believe Pelzer was not on her medication when she allegedly attacked the tourists.

"She didn't have any money; she was homeless. She definitely wasn't taking her medication," said Justine Slaughter.

When she doesn't take her medication, Ellen Slaughter said, "she's hearing things, it's just crazy."

Tobi King, a cousin, said Pelzer grew up in North Philadelphia and attended West Philadelphia High School but did not finish.

Pelzer's mother, Gladys, said she enrolled Pelzer in Job Corps, a training program that helps young people develop a career and earn a high school diploma or GED, but at 17, she became pregnant with Justine.

She would later have a son, Angelo Slaughter, now 24, and then Ellen. The three share the same father.

A single mother with three children, Pelzer would later marry another man, Justine said.

Justine said her mother could just about sign her name, write her children's names, and likely read street signs only because she knew them.

Around Memorial Day in 1991, signs of schizophrenia started to emerge.

"She stood up and started hollering and screaming in front of everybody," said Gladys Pelzer. "She said, 'Look over in the yard, the . . . Mafia is holding my mother hostage.' "

Then the children were taken in by their grandmother on their biological father's side, Justine recalled.

"I don't think she was stable enough to take care of us," Justine said of her mother.

But Pelzer saw them on weekends and holidays, she said.

"She still did Christmas with us. She still did dinner on Easter and Thanksgiving. She brought us school clothes for the beginning of the school year," Justine said.

But family members also recall that Pelzer would "just get up and go," as Ellen put it.

"Wherever her mind tells her to go, she gets up and goes," said Nadine King, 57, Gladys Pelzer's sister.

Once, Pelzer made it to California, Las Vegas, and Florida, taking her young son with her.

Another time, Ellen said she wired her mother $80 to take a bus ride back from Cleveland.

"When I woke up the next morning and I went to her room, she was gone, clothes and all," Gladys Pelzer said of one occasion.

In 2008, Pelzer left the apartment where she lived with Justine and Justine's family and babysat her four grandchildren.

Around October last year, according to King, Pelzer left a Cleveland shelter to return to Philadelphia when her mother told her to live with her at Opportunity Towers, a senior-housing complex, but was not allowed to stay there.

Pelzer then stayed at a shelter in North Philadelphia until New Year's Eve, King said. She likely went to Atlantic City some time after that, she said.

Around that time, according to King, Pelzer designated her mother to receive her disability checks and send her the money.

The two, King and Gladys Pelzer, offered differing accounts of whether the younger Pelzer regularly received the money from her mother, with King suggesting she didn't.

"Mind you, she's in the street, she needs to eat, she has no place to go," King said.

Gladys Pelzer said she did give her daughter a weekly allowance, but they argued when she didn't give her all the money at once.

"She was homeless on her own accord," Gladys Pelzer said. "It wasn't like nobody didn't care about her."


Odd behavior at A.C. double-slaying hearing

Daily News Staff & Wire Reports

May 24, 2012

ANTOINETTE Pelzer’s reactions ran the gamut from laughs to frowns during her court hearing Tuesday about a gory rampage in the heart of Atlantic City in which she allegedly stabbed two Canadian tourists to death with a 12-inch butcher knife after attempting to rob one of them.

Relatives of the 44-year-old Pelzer, accused of repeatedly plunging a knife into the two women, ages 80 and 47, in broad daylight Monday morning at Michigan and Pacific avenues, said that she has struggled with mental illness.

During Tuesday’s hearing, Pelzer reportedly asked where her lawyer was and burst out laughing when Superior Court Judge Michael Donio asked if she had applied for a public defender.

“I done trying to find out where my public defender’s at,” she said. “Whatever you call it, whatever. I don’t know.”

From the criminal complaint against Pelzer, Donio read the macabre details of the bloodbath, including allegations that Pelzer stabbed one of the women and attempted to steal her pocketbook.

“When the victim would not relinquish, the suspect stabbed her additional times,” the complaint said.

The other woman then reportedly stepped in, attempting to stop the attack, and was stabbed several times throughout her lower body, hands and shoulder.

Prosecutors were unable to say which woman had been attacked first.

Police Officer Jacob Abbruscato stumbled upon the scene and was able to subdue Pelzer after drawing his gun. Both victims died at nearby AtlantiCare Regional Medical Center.

Pelzer’s aunt, Nadine King, said that Pelzer had been living in a shelter in Ohio until December, when her mother moved her back to Philadelphia. King said that Pelzer had been homeless since the beginning of the year.

King blamed the attack on Pelzer’s mental illness.

Gladys Pelzer, the suspect’s mother, told 6ABC that her daughter, a mother of three, had attempted to rob the tourists, who have not yet been publicly identified, for cigarette money.

“I feel sorry about the people she hurt all because she wanted a cigarette,” she said. “That’s what this was all about.”

Pelzer is facing charges of two counts of murder, unlawful possession of a weapon, possession of a weapon for unlawful purpose and robbery. Donio set her bail at $1.5 million cash.

The murders were the latest in a handful of attacks on tourists over the last few years. Two years to the day before Monday’s attack, Martin Caballero was kidnapped from the Trump Taj Mahal parking garage and murdered. In that slaying, Craig Arno was convicted and his accomplice, Jessica Kisby, pleaded guilty. In September, Sunil Rattu, 28, and a 24-year-old woman he was with were carjacked in the Taj Mahal parking garage and Rattu was shot dead. Three men are awaiting trial in that attack.

Atlantic County Prosecutor Ted Housel told a Canadian broadcaster after Tuesday’s hearing that the killings could have happened anywhere.

“It could have happened in Philadelphia. It could have happened in Las Vegas,” he said. “Don’t think this is something negatively special about Atlantic City that doesn’t exist anywhere else.”


Woman frowns and laughs while being charged with stabbing two women to death in Atlantic City

May 23, 2012

A woman made unusual facial expressions as she was being charged in the stabbing deaths of two Canadian tourists near an Atlantic City casino.

Antoinette Pelzer, 44, laughed, frowned, grimaced and repeatedly asked where her lawyer was on Tuesday as she was charged with murdering the women, ages 47 and 80.

Pelzer stabbed the women on Monday morning as they were walking in an area where most of the city's casinos have their entrances and parking garages, authorities said. Pelzer's aunt said she has long suffered from mental illness.

Superior Court Judge Michael Donio read from a criminal complaint that said Pelzer stabbed the 80-year-old woman and tried to steal her pocketbook.

'When the victim would not relinquish, the suspect stabbed her additional times,' he said, reading from the complaint.

The judge said the older woman was stabbed in different parts of her body with a 12-inch butcher knife, and that the younger woman, 47, was stabbed in her lower body, hands and shoulder when she tried to help.

Autopsies showed the older woman died from being knifed in the heart, while the 47-year-old woman bled to death.

The victims are not being identified until relatives can be notified.

Judge Donio had difficulty getting the defendant to focus and respond to his questions.

Pelzer laughed out loud when the judge asked her whether she had applied for a public defender.

'I done trying to find out where my public defender's at,' she said. 'Whatever you call it, whatever. I don't know.'

As the judge read parts of the criminal complaint charging her with murder and robbery, Pelzer silently shook her head 'no.' At other times, she made odd faces, frowned and narrowed her eyes while looking at the judge and the prosecutor.

Public defender Eric Shenkus said his office had not yet received an application to represent Pelzer but predicted it would begin representing her shortly.

Donio set her bail at $1.5 million.

Monday's killings took place in the heart of Atlantic City's new tourist district, a state-designated jurisdiction encompassing the casinos, boardwalk and shopping districts. The district is the centerpiece of Gov. Chris Christie's efforts to make the nation's third-largest gambling market clean and safe, and thereby more attracting to tourists.

Authorities say Pelzer approached the women on the sidewalk on Pacific Avenue, across the street from Bally's Atlantic City and a half-block from the hospital trauma center where they were pronounced dead.

A police officer on patrol intervened when he spotted the attack, subduing Pelzer at gunpoint.

Pelzer had been living in an Ohio shelter until December, when her mother brought her back to Philadelphia, said Pelzer's aunt Nadine King, also of Philadelphia.

Pelzer has long suffered from schizophrenia and had been homeless since January, said King, who said she had seen her niece out 'begging for money.'

She did not know how long she had been in Atlantic City, which has long been a magnet for the homeless, some of whom are bused there by welfare agencies from other counties and cities.

King said her niece, a mother of three, did not have a criminal record. She blamed her mental illness for what happened.

Gladys Pelzer, the suspect's mother, told WPVI-TV in Philadelphia that the stabbings apparently occurred while her daughter was trying to get money to buy cigarettes.

'I feel sorry about the people she hurt all because she wanted a cigarette. That's what this was all about,' she told the TV station.

In addition to murder, she is charged with assault and weapons charges.

The killings marked the third and fourth homicides involving visitors to Atlantic City in the past two years.

Exactly two years before the women were attacked, a casino patron from northern New Jersey was carjacked inside the Taj Mahal casino parking garage and later killed. A man convicted in that case is to be sentenced on Thursday.

In September, another casino patron, also from northern New Jersey, was carjacked from the same garage and later fatally shot. Three young men are awaiting trial in that case.

Jack Allton, a Bally's customer from Jacobus, Pa., said the attack left him shaken but that he and his wife, Peg, will continue to come to the resort he has been visiting for nearly 60 years.

'It's not a positive thing for Atlantic City's image, is it?' he said. 'But people who come down here all the time know there's crime here and there always has been. It's a real tragedy, but it happens.'

Atlantic County Prosecutor Ted Housel voiced similar sentiments after the court hearing. In response to a question from a Canadian broadcaster, Housel said the killings could have happened anywhere.

'It could have happened in Philadelphia. It could have happened in Las Vegas,' he said. 'Don't think this is something negatively special about Atlantic City that doesn't exist anywhere else. There's actually crime in Canada too, I hear.'


home last updates contact