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'Death House Landlady' was an 'anti-social psychopath', psychiatrist claims in new documentary

A new documentary explores how notorious California serial killer Dorothea Puente spent four days on the run after cops discovered seven bodies buried in the backyard of her boarding house

A new documentary explores how notorious California serial killer Dorothea Puente spent four days on the run after cops discovered seven bodies buried in the backyard of her boarding house. 

The grandmother - who was accused of murdering nine people but was convicted of killing three - never confessed to her crimes before her 2011 death behind bars. 

Back in November 1988, a tip-off about a missing man led cops to Puente's home in Sacramento before they uncovered the horrors hidden beneath the home. 

The seemingly-sweet granny, who was aged 59 at the time, leased rooms in her large Victorian house to tenants - many of whom were disabled and sick. 

According to a new documentary airing on Oxygen, titled Murders At The Boarding House, one tenant slipped investigators a note telling them that 'another boarder had seemingly vanished and that Puente had hired prisoners on furlough to dig holes in her backyard'.

Police then began digging up her backyard and found a human leg and decomposing foot. 

Puente insisted she knew nothing about the remains and asked investigators if she could meet her nephew for a coffee at a nearby motel. She then went on the run (Pictured: Investigators compile miscellaneous body parts found in the ground, 1988)

In her absence, the officers dug-up the entire garden (left) where they discovered seven bodies

However, Puente insisted she knew nothing about the remains and asked investigators if she could meet her nephew for a coffee at a nearby motel. 

Believing that she was simply a soft-spoken grandma, police lets her head out.  

Investigators continued to excavate her yard and discovered seven different dismembered bodies buried beneath the home.  

The discoveries made national news and a nationwide manhunt was launched for the unsuspecting grandmother who was able to walk out of her house in the midst of the large-scale police dig. 

Cops put together a theory that Puente had killed the tenants at her boarding house in order to claim their social security checks. 

The 59-year-old was found four days after fleeing police, but insisted she had nothing to do with the deaths of her seven tenants. 

Police also soon charged that she was also responsible for the death of an ex-boyfriend and an old business partner. 

The discoveries made national news and a nationwide manhunt was launched for the unsuspecting grandmother who was able to walk out of her house in the midst of the large-scale police dig

Several of Puente's victims are pictured. From left Dorothy Miller, 64. Benjamin Fink, 55. Betty Palmer, 78

More of Puente's victims are pictured. From left: Everson Gillmouth, 77. Vera Faye Martin, 64. James Gallop, 62

Puente was put on trial for the murders, with prosecutors demanding the death penalty.  

She plead not guilty.  

Forensic psychiatrist William Vicary, who interviewed Puente during the course of the murder investigations, speaks out in the new Oxygen documentary, theorizing why she never confessed to the crime.  

'Dorothea is a very complicated person. Based on my interviews with her, and all the information that I got from other sources, was that she had anti-social psychopathic character traits,' he states. 

He adds that she was especially concerned about keeping her up her reputation.  

'Her eyes would fill with tears, but she would never admit it,' Vicary states.

 'It was too humiliating, too shameful for her to admit responsibility for these crimes. And it was so counter to her strenuous effort all her life to be somebody who was respected, somebody important.'

Forensic psychiatrist William Vicary, who interviewed Puente during the course of the murder investigations, speaks out in the new Oxygen documentary, theorizing why she never confessed to the crime

The 59-year-old looked like an ordinary grandmother when she was arrested after a four day search in California 

During her 1992 court case , investigators revealed that Puente - who was then 63 - had been killing the tenants for money, making $4,000 a month from cashing their social security checks.

Their dismembered bodies were then placed in holes in the garden she'd paid ex-convicts to dig.

But the jury had a difficult time believe the matronly grandmother was capable of carrying out such menacing crimes.

'Executing Puente would be like executing your grandmother', one juror is reported to have said in response to the death sentence looming over the defendant at the time.

More than 130 witnesses were called to the stand by the prosecution, and eventually the devilish landlady was convicted for three of the murderers and ordered to serve back-to-back life sentences. 

Puente spent almost two decades behind bars before she died in 2011. 

She went to her grave refusing to confess to her crimes.  

Puente spent almost two decades behind bars before she died in 2011. She went to her grave refusing to confess to her crimes 

Puente is seen in a police department mugshot taken before her 2011 death

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