True Crime Thriller, The Meaning of Malice, Details Story of Dallas Socialite Long Suspected of Serial Murder; Presents New Evidence

DALLAS, March 7, 2024 /PRNewswire/ — The Meaning of Malice examines the life and crimes of Sandra Bridewell—a beguiling Dallas socialite in the seventies and early eighties who happened to be author John Leake’s neighbor. Sandra’s first husband was a prominent dentist who was found shot to death in their Dallas home in 1975. The Dallas County Medical Examiner ruled his death a suicide. Bridewell’s second husband, Robert Weeks Bridewell, developed the Mansion on Turtle Creek—the first property of Rosewood Hotels and Resorts. Shortly after Mr. Bridewell died of lymphoma in 1982, his treating physician’s wife was found shot to death in her car at Dallas Love Field a few hours after giving Sandra a ride to the airport. The medical examiner ruled the woman’s death a suicide. Three years later, Sandra’s third husband was found shot to death in his car in which he was last seen driving to meet her. The medical examiner ruled his death a homicide and Sandra became the prime suspect but was never arrested.

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In 1987, Sandra Bridewell was the subject of a D Magazine feature titled “The Black Widow” that suggested she had indeed murdered her third husband—as well as her first husband and the wife of the prominent cancer doctor who had treated Mr. Bridewell.

Author John Leake grew up in Highland Park, down the street from Sandra Bridewell, and often visited her at her home to socialize with one of her children. With the assistance of former Los Angeles County criminalist Lynne Herold and former FBI forensic psychologist, Gregg McCrary, he analyzed the three gunshot deaths reported in the 1987 D Magazine feature.

“The first two deaths, which happened in 1975 and 1982, were erroneously ruled suicides by the Dallas County Medical Examiner,” Leake explains. “Dallas police photos of the death scenes display physical evidence that both were homicides staged to look like suicides. The third death was correctly ruled a homicide. Sandra Bridewell was the last known contact of all three decedents, and she had a motive for killing all three. I believe the Dallas County District Attorney should reopen these cases and consider the evidence I present in my book.”

Leake began his multi-year investigation in 2007, when Sandra Bridewell was arrested (and later pled guilty) for aggravated identity theft. Assuming the guise of a Christian missionary, she ingratiated herself with an elderly lady in Southport, North Carolina (near Cape Fear) to steal the unsuspecting victim’s identity and to plunder her financial assets. Leake visited Bridewell in pretrial detention and began documenting her life and wanderings. NBC News Dateline “Tangled Web”) and A&E (“The Black Widow: A Web of Suspicion”) produced documentaries on Sandra’s story at the time of her 2007 arrest, but these productions raised more questions than they answered.

The Meaning of Malice is available on Amazon.

Leake was recently interviewed in a major in-studio podcast: True Crime Author John Leake: On the Trail of a Suspected Black Widow Serial Killer

About the Author: John Leake’s first book, Entering Hades: The Double Life of a Serial Killer was a New York Times Sunday Book Review “Editors’ Choice,” a Men’s Vogue “Best Book of 2007,” and the inspiration of The Infernal Comedy, starring John Malkovich. His investigative work has been the subject of numerous television documentaries. The Meaning of Malice is his fourth book. For more information visit: Author John Leake


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