true crime

TRUE CRIME: America's "black widow", the woman who had 10 husbands and 'killed two'.

Jill Coit was the marrying kind.

All up, she was married 11 times to 10 different men. The “Black Widow” was known to marry any man she slept with and once allegedly said, I sleep with them, I marry them, okay? I could just sleep with them.”

Coit had a way of seducing men and keeping them under her spell until she decided she no longer had any use for them. Then she would throw the men away, without a second thought, and move onto her next target.

Like John Meehan, the protagonist in the world’s most popular podcast – Dirty John – Coit left a trail of confused victims of in her wake.

“If you were to meet her and talk to her, you’d think she’s just the greatest person you ever met,” one ex-husband, Carl Steely, told the LA Times. “Why would all these people marry her if she weren’t that way?”

The former model was born in Louisiana on June 11, 1943. She spent the next 15 years in the Pelican State enjoying a typical American childhood. When she was 15 years old Coit, who was then known as Jill Lonita Billiot, decided to move to Indiana to live with her grandparents. There, it’s said, the boys were attracted to her Louisianian accent and her Southern good looks.

Not long after enrolling in her new high school in Indiana, Coit met a classmate named Larry Eugene Ihnen. Soon she was infatuated with him and by the time she was 17, Coit had dropped out of school to marry her high school sweetheart.

The "Black Widow" is now serving a life sentence with no possibility of parole in Denver Women's Correctional Facility. Image via Colorado Police Department.

One year later, the couple divorced and Coit moved back to Indiana to complete her high school education.

After graduating from high school, Coit enrolled in Northwestern State University where she met her second husband, Steven Moore. The couple married in 1964 before welcoming a baby boy into the world one year later.

Shortly after the birth of her first son, Coit separated from her second husband.


She then moved onto her next target.

The single mum met William Clark Coit III during a night out in the French Quarter. Soon after meeting the wealthy businessman, Coit filed for divorce from Moore. However, before the divorce from Moore was finalised, Jill married William Clark. Coit adopted her son and nine months into their marriage, Jill gave birth to a second boy.

The Coit family then relocated to Texas. William Clark Coit travelled a lot for work and while he was away it's alleged that his new wife had affairs with numerous men. Coit eventually confronted his wife, accusing her of only marrying him for his money, and the couple separated. The couple divorced.

They promptly remarried.

On March 8, 1972, Jill Coit filed for divorce (again) and on March 29, 1972, she reported that her husband had been murdered. William Clark Coit had been shot in the back twice. Although police suspected Coit for the murder, they never had enough evidence to charge her.

Although she never answered questions about her husband's untimely death, she decided to keep his last name.

Coit then moved to California and convinced a wealthy man who was in his 90s at the time to "adopt her". When he passed away a year later she inherited a large part of his estate.

Coit would go on to marry and divorce another four men before she met her eighth husband, Gerry Boggs, a hardware store owner who was one of the wealthiest men in Colorado.


Boggs would go on to marry Coit - his first marriage at the age of 50 - after she faked a pregnancy scare.

However, Boggs' family immediately had their suspicions about the woman he was so infatuated with. His brother Doug thought Coit was too interested in Boggs' finances, so he hired a private detective to look into her. The PI told Doug that Coit was a fraud, she had been married eight times before, she had several aliases, and she had been involved in several finance and insurance scams.

Armed with that knowledge, Boggs annulled their marriage. Coit then sued Boggs over the ownership of a bed and breakfast they co-owned during their relationship.

In 1992, Coit married Roy Carroll before divorcing him and marrying Michael Backus - her 10th and final husband.

One week out from Boggs and Coit's civil case regarding the bed and breakfast, Gerry Boggs was found shot and beaten to death in his Colorado home.

Coit and her then-boyfriend, Michael Backus, were arrested and eventually convicted for the murder of Boggs.

According to The New York Times, Coit had convinced Backus to help her murder Boggs, using a disguise which included a stick-on moustache. They broke into Boggs home and Coit murdered her ex-husband using a 22-calibre pistol and a stun gun. Backus assisted with the murder.

Coit then told her son, Seth Coit, what she had done and he reported her to the police.


Her son testified that Coit had been plotting the murder for months and once it was done she called him and said, "Hey Baby, it's over and it's messy."

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The "Black Widow" is now serving a life sentence with no possibility of parole in Denver Women's Correctional Facility. Backus is also serving a life sentence for his part in the crime.

"She picked the wrong town, she picked the wrong man, and she picked the wrong family," Doug Boggs reportedly said after the verdict.

"Gerry knew the only way it could be stopped was by giving his life.''

But even being behind bars wasn't enough to stop Coit from seeking out a new victim. In May 1998, Coit posted an online personal ad which read "Want U.S. Citizenship? Marry an inmate."

Thankfully, the United States Department of Immigration shut down the ad before Coit had any takers.

Like John Meehan, Jill Coit was eventually exposed for the manipulative, con artist that she is. But unlike Meehan, she's had to pay for her crimes.

No one knows why the "Black Widow" spent years manipulating and using the men who fell under her spell, but the now 74-year-old will spend the rest of her days - alone - behind bars.

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