Bruce Edward Nickell

Bruce Edward Nickell

Birth
Seattle, King County, Washington, USA
Death 5 Jun 1986 (aged 52)
Seattle, King County, Washington, USA
Burial Winthrop, Okanogan County, Washington, USA
Memorial ID 6949709 · View Source
Suggest Edits

Murder victim. His death and the criminal case surrounding it was the subject of the book "Bitter Almonds" by Gregg Olsen and of an episode of the TV show "Medical Detectives" on The Learning Channel. Bruce was killed by his wife, Stella, when she gave him an Excedrin capsule laced with cyanide. The doctors, unable to find any other cause, diagnosed his death as emphesema, and Bruce was quickly buried. Not content to get away with murder, Stella wanted to collect the extra $130,000 that her husband's life insurance paid for accidental death. So, she concocted a scheme to not only claim that money but any additional money she might gain from a lawsuit against the drug company. She bought four more bottles of over-the-counter headache capsules, took them home, doctored the contents of a few capsules with cyanide, and placed the drugs back on the shelves of various supermarkets. Then, she waited for someone else to buy the capsules and die. And someone by the name of Sue Snow did just that. When investigators discovered the cyanide in Sue's capsules and immediately alerted the media to prevent other people from buying headache capsules until they could all be pulled from the shelves, Stella called the police and announced that her husband had also died after taking headache capsules. She turned the tainted medicine bottles over to the police and anticipated the extra money she was going to receive when the coroner found cyanide in the tissues he had saved from Bruce's autopsy. It was a fiendishly brilliant plan, and it would have worked perfectly, except for one little mistake Stella made. When she crushed the cyanide into powder to pour into the capsules, she used the same bowl she used to crush the algae-destroyer she used in her fish tank but neglected to wash the bowl first. When the police lab examined the cyanide in the tainted capsules, they found tiny flecks of green algae-destroyer mixed into it. Remembering Stella's fish tank from their visit to her house, police found the store where she bought her aquarium supplies. The store clerk knew her from her many purchases over the years and showed the cops the algae-destroyer she always bought. Sure enough, it contained the same ingredients the lab techs found in the green flecks mixed in with the cyanide. Stella was arrested and tried for the murder of her husband and Sue Snow. She was sentenced to ninety years in prison.

Bio by: Karen Valentine


Family Members

Parents

Sponsored by Ancestry

Advertisement

Advertisement

  • Created by: Karen Valentine
  • Added: 23 Nov 2002
  • Find A Grave Memorial 6949709
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Bruce Edward Nickell (1 Jun 1934–5 Jun 1986), Find A Grave Memorial no. 6949709, citing Sullivan Cemetery, Winthrop, Okanogan County, Washington, USA ; Maintained by Karen Valentine (contributor 20413445) .