Did you know about these politicians?
It will come as a shock to no one that politicians can be guilty of being a little on the untrustworthy side. You don’t have enough digits on your hands and toes on your feet to count the number of stories you have heard about politicians being caught in a lie, misusing campaign funds, committing adultery, or caught doing some underhanded or nefarious deeds.
As we have seen since the 2020 election, many politicians are more than happy to fan the flames of election fraud to ensure they maintain their grip on power at any cost. However, some politicians in the world took that grip on power and put a murder weapon in it. Here we are going to look at 10 politicians who would do anything to stay on top, even if that meant putting someone else in the ground.
1. Colin Thatcher
Our hockey-loving, maple syrup-eating neighbors to the north have certainly earned their reputation as unwaveringly polite people. However, not all Canadians are created equal as Liberal politician Colin Thatcher proved back in 1975. That year Thatcher would become a Member of Parliament in Saskatchewan after winning the provincial riding of Thunder Creek but he would quickly show his stripes when support for the Liberal Party waned.
Just two years after winning his seat, Thatcher would jump ship to the Conservative Party. A move that left his wife, JoAnn Wilson, particularly unimpressed with his lack of loyalty and commitment. Thatcher would soon double down on lacking both when he started having several extramarital affairs. Inevitably, the couple would get divorced in 1980, with Wilson not only being awarded custody of two of their three children but also pocketing a then record-breaking divorce settlement of $1,000,000.
To say Thatcher took any of this in his stride would be a massive understatement. On January 17, 1983, after some public disputes with Premier Grant Devine, Thatcher would resign as Minister of Energy citing family and financial reasons. Just four days later, Wilson was found beaten and shot to death in the garage of her Regina home.
Two years prior on May 17, 1981, someone had shot her in the shoulder with a high-powered rifle hospitalizing her for about three weeks but no one was ever charged with that crime. This time, however, not only did they finish the job but Thatcher was arrested for the murder of his ex-wife, found guilty of first-degree murder, and sentenced to life imprisonment with no eligibility for parole for 25 years.
2. Byron Looper
Looper was a man dedicated to the political game, so much so that he even legally changed his middle name from “Anthony” to “Low Tax.” He began his political career as a Democrat when he unsuccessfully ran for the Georgia House of Representatives in 1988. He would repeat that failure in 1994 when he again ran for a seat in the House of Representatives, but this time in Tennessee and as a Republican.
A decade later in 1998, Looper would seek Republican nominations for both Tennessee’s 6th congressional district and the Tennessee State Senate. Although he failed to gain the Congressional House nomination, when it came to the state Senate nomination, he was unopposed. This would lead to him coming face to face with his opponent, incumbent Democratic State Senator, and career politician, Tommy Burks.
Burks had represented Putnam County in the state legislature for 28 years and in that time he had successfully won four two-year terms in the Tennessee House of Representatives and five four-year terms in the Tennessee State Senate. So he was a seriously difficult opponent for Looper, who had just been indicted on 14 counts of official misconduct, theft of services, and official oppression for theft, misuse of county property, and misuse of county employees. The only way Looper was going to win this election was if something happened to Burks, and it most certainly did.
On the morning of October 19, 1998, Burks was found at his farm slumped over the steering wheel of his pickup truck, and a single bullet wound above his left eye. Farmhand, Wesley Rex, said that he had seen a black car driven by a man in sunglasses and black gloves pass by the farm several times that morning. Although he managed to get a good look at the driver he was, at first, unable to identify him. That would all change when he saw Byron Looper on television.
It wouldn’t be until August 2000, that Looper would be convicted of first-degree murder after his long-time friend and United States Marine Corps recruiter Joe Bond would testify that Looper had spoken at length about how he had eliminated his rival. He would be sentenced to life in prison without chance of parole. He would not complete his sentence because, on June 26, 2013, he was found in his cell, dead of a drug overdose after he had assaulted a pregnant female counselor two hours earlier.
3. Anand Sen Yadav
In 2007, when Kumari Mayawati was sworn in as the Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh in India stating that the rule of law would be her number one priority, people would be forgiven for not letting out a huge belly laugh. Why? Because when she was elected, at least 10 people in her 19-person cabinet had pending criminal cases involving a laundry list of crimes ranging from criminal conspiracy and intimidation to attempted murder. One of these politicians was Anand Sen Yadav.
Sen Yadav entered the Indian political arena back in 2002 when he successfully won an election in Milkipur, a constituency of the Uttar Pradesh Legislative Assembly covering the city of Milkipur in the Faizabad district of Uttar Pradesh. After winning he found himself in a political environment where candidates with criminal records won 206 out of 403 seats, meaning that more criminals were elected than regular politicians.
As the son of Member of Parliament Mitra Sen Yadav, who at the time was being investigated in a human trafficking scam, Sen Yadav would follow in his father’s footsteps when he fought the 2007 Uttar Pradesh state assembly elections and take it to a whole new level. While he was trying to win that election he was hampered by one small thing. He was currently in jail facing a litany of charges ranging from extortion to murder.
Unbelievably he would go on to win the election and was appointed Minister of State for food processing in Mayawati’s cabinet. He could not attend his swearing-in ceremony due to the whole murder investigation with a court ruling that he could not leave the prison as he was facing significant criminal charges. He would quickly resign from his ministerial position after Mayawati opened her investigation into him.
He would eventually be convicted and sentenced to life in prison for the 2007 kidnapping and murder of Faizabad’s law student Shashi when her father accused him of the crime. Despite the court concluding that he and two others were involved in the crime, he would be later released as there was insufficient evidence to prove his guilt. No sooner had he been released he fought and won a Bikapur assembly by-election in 2016.
4. Clive Derby-Lewis
If wanting to assassinate your political opponent wasn’t bad enough, doing it to start a bloody and violent race war that would inevitably lead to more death and mayhem adds a few extra layers of depravity to your crimes. That is exactly what motivated South African politician Clive Derby-Lewis in 1993 when he set his sights on Communist Party leader Chris Hani.
Derby-Lewis, who was a founder member of the Conservative Party in 1982, was deeply opposed to the end of apartheid white minority rule after the release and political rise of Nelson Mandela and the African National Congress (ANC). While Hani was leading the Communist Party, he was also chief of staff of uMkhonto we Sizwe, the paramilitary wing of the ANC founded by Mandela after the South African Police opened fire on a crowd of protestors in the township of Sharpeville, injuring 180 people and killing 69.
On 10 April 1993, in the racially mixed suburb of Boksburg, Hani was exiting his car when he was approached by Janusz Waluś, a Polish immigrant and sympathizer of the Conservative opposition, who called out his name before opening fire, shooting him in the chest and head. Thankfully, a vigilant neighbor managed to write down the registration of the car fleeing the scene, which resulted in Waluś’s capture.
It was quickly established that Derby-Lewis, who was serving as the Shadow Minister for Economic Affairs for the Conservative Party of South Africa at the time, was involved in the murder as he had given Waluś a modified Z88 9 mm pistol to commit the crime. On October 1993, Derby-Lewis was convicted of conspiracy to murder and sentenced to death for his role in the assassination. However, he would not pay for this crime with his life as just two later the death penalty was abolished in South Africa.
He would eventually admit his involvement in the murder of Chris Hani, saying that his actions were motivated “in defense of my people, who were threatened with a Communist take-over.” He was repeatedly denied parole after he began applying in 2010, but would eventually be released from prison in June 2015 after serving 22 years, due to terminal lung cancer. He would die just over a year later.
5. Alberto Santofimio
In the 1980s, Colombia had a big enough problem with the drug cartels killing each other and anyone who happened to get in the way, Pablo Escobar’s Medellín Cartel being one of terrifying note, but murder wasn’t just taking place on the streets. It was happening in Colombia’s halls of power too, and it would take 16 years for these crimes to be exposed with the testimony of one of Pablo Escobar’s assassins.
Alberto Santofimio boasted a successful political career as he had served as a senator, Minister of Justice and was a two-time presidential candidate. In his first presidential runs in 1982, Santofimio was almost certain to win the presidency but for some reason decided to step back and let his boss, Alfonso López Michelsen who had been president from 1974 to 1978, run for reelection.
By the 1990s, investigators began looking more closely at Santofimio’s involvement with illegal campaign funds from prominent companies while he was serving as head of the Liberal Party in Tolima Department. Illicit money would be used to support the campaign for the presidency of Colombia Ernesto Samper.
Another candidate vying for the presidency was the journalist, former Colombian Ambassador to Italy, and Minister of Education, Luis Galán. Galán was a fierce and vocal opponent of the drug cartels and Pablo Escobar in particular. When Escobar tried to become a member of the Colombian House of Representatives, he publicly called for him to be extradited to the United States to pay for his crimes.
On 18 August 1989, while Galán was comfortably leading in the polls, he was gunned down by Escobar assassins during a campaign rally in the town of Soacha, Cundinamarca. Initially cleared of having any involvement in the murder, it would be in 2005 when the truth would finally come to light. Jhon Jairo Velásquez, a hired assassin of Pablo Escobar’s also known as “Popeye,” would testify that Santofimio was indeed involved.
Due to this confession and after new evidence surfaced, Santofimio was found guilty in 2007 and sentenced to 24 years in prison. This decision was briefly overturned by a panel of 3 Supreme State Court Justices in 2008 and Santofimio was set free. However, the Colombian Supreme Court would overrule this decision and send him back to jail in 2011 where he would be implicated in the murder of two more victims, Julio Cesar Peñaloza and Santiago Cuervo, who died alongside Galán.
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