Anjette Lyles was a survivor. After two husbands and a mother-in-law pre-deceased her, she continued to enthusiastically run her family restaurant. She was admired by many of the people of Macon, Georgia, for her friendly demeanor and business sense. Then the letter arrived. The author, who did not reveal his or her identity, accused Anjette of poisoning her husbands and her mother-in-law.
Join us at the quiet end for Murder on the Menu. The accusatory letter was not taken seriously until Anjette’s daughter Marcia died under similarly mysterious circumstances. An autopsy on Marcia’s body found arsenic in her system. This led to the exhumation of the three other bodies. If Anjette was indeed responsible for four murders, her conviction could make her the first white woman in Georgia to face the death penalty. This was in the 1950s, and today we’re going to take a good look at the way this investigation and the sentencing of Anjette Lyles, known in the papers as “the glamorous platinum-haired widow,” was handled.
Georgia’s Most Notorious Murderess, Wilkes, Donald E., Flagpole magazine, 12/22/1999
Lyles v. The State, Supreme Court of Georgia, 7/8/1959
Whisper to the Black Candle by Jaclyn Weldon White, 2013