posted on Jul, 10 2009 @ 07:32 PM
Baniszewski sent Richard Hobbs to call the police from a nearby payphone. When they arrived, she handed them a letter she had forced Sylvia to write a
few days previously, addressed to her parents. This letter stated that she had agreed to have sex with a group of boys in exchange for money, they
dragged her away in their car, beat her up, burned her multiple times, and carved the inscription into her skin. Before the police left, however,
Jenny Likens approached them, saying: "Get me out of here and I'll tell you everything."
During the highly-publicized trial, Baniszewski denied responsibility for the death, pleading not guilty by reason of insanity. She claimed that she
was too distracted by her ill health and depression to control her children. Attorneys for the young people on trial (Paula and John Baniszewski,
Richard Hobbs, and Coy Hubbard) claimed that they had been pressured by Baniszewski. When Marie Baniszewski, Gertrude's eleven-year-old daughter, was
called to the stand as a witness for the defense, she broke down and admitted that she had been forced to heat the needle with which Hobbs carved
Sylvia Likens' skin and that she had seen her mother beating and forcing Sylvia into the basement. In his closing statement, Baniszewski's lawyer
said: "I condemn her for being a murderess... but I say she's not responsible because she's not all here!" and tapped his head.
On May 19, 1966, Gertrude Baniszewski was convicted of first-degree murder, but was spared the death penalty and sentenced to life in prison. Her
daughter Paula, who had given birth to a daughter named Gertrude during the trial, was convicted of second-degree murder and also given a life term.
Richard Hobbs, Coy Hubbard, and John Baniszewski were convicted of manslaughter and sentenced to 2-to-21-year terms.
The boys would spend two years in prison. In 1971, Paula and Gertrude Baniszewski were granted another trial. Paula pleaded guilty to voluntary
manslaughter and was released two years later. Gertrude Baniszewski, however, was again convicted of first-degree murder. She came up for parole in
1985, and despite a public outcry and petitions against her release, the parole board took her good behavior in prison into account, and she was set
Gertrude Baniszewski changed her name to Nadine van Fossan and moved to Iowa, where she died of lung cancer on June 16, 1990. When Jenny Likens, who
was then married and living in Beech Grove, Indiana, saw her obituary in the newspaper, she clipped it out and mailed it to her mother with the note:
"Some good news. Damn old Gertrude died. Ha ha ha! I am happy about that." Jenny Likens Wade died of a heart attack on June 23, 2004 at the age
of 54. The house at 3850 East New York Street that Sylvia Likens was tortured and murdered in stood vacant and run-down for much of the 44 years since
the murder, and was finally demolished on April 23, 2009. It is planned for the property to become a church parking lot.
After the Jonesboro school massacre, John Baniszewski, now known as John Blake, gave a statement claiming that young criminals were not beyond help
and describing how he had managed to turn his life around.