Investigation Discovery’s ‘Deadly Women: Killer-In-Laws’ chronicles the story of a woman named Opal Collins who shot her husband and in-laws to death in a fit of rage. She voluntarily turned herself in, and said the motive behind killing them was because her in-laws were trying to break her marriage by telling her husband that she was “trying to get hold of all his money.” It is a tale of rage and jealousy in the ’50s in Hammond, Indiana. If you want to know more about Opal Collins, we’ve your back. Let’s get into it then, shall we?
Who was Opal Collins?
Ben Collins Jr. was a veteran of WW2, living in Kentucky with his father, mother, Julia M. Collins, and two sisters, Martha Ann and Mary Sue. While the 27-year-old survived the war, he suffered from a serious automobile accident during Army service in 1947 that caused him to live with paraplegia. He received an insurance payment of $10,000 for the accident that supported his family while his mom looked after him. However, Ben had another woman in his life — a local beauty named Opal.
Opal was a very attractive woman in her mid-20s, with people comparing her face to that of an angel. A whirlwind romance ensued that soon had her meeting all his family members. While Ben was smitten with her, his family did not approve of Opal, who frequented their home more than they liked. In early 1956, the Collins family moved from their Kentucky home to Hammond, Indiana, to allegedly escape from the “clingy” Opal, as per the show.
Ben had enough money to build a large home for his family, and they were living together happily. But within months, Opal showed up at their door and charmed Ben enough to take her back. As per the show, the accident had left Ben “feeling less of a man” and “having a beautiful woman by his side made him feel confident.” Within a month, the two got married, and Opal moved in with her in-laws. The show mentioned how Opal had huge fights with her in-laws, even forcing her husband to make them move out of the house.
The fights grew nastier and nastier up until a fateful day in late May 1956, when Opal finally lost all control. She took a .22 shotgun from her husband’s collection, loaded 16 rounds, and went on a killing spree. As per the show, she killed the youngest sister, 11-year-old Mary, first, then 14-year-old Martha and 48-year-old Julia, before turning on Ben, 28. Her father-in-law was the only survivor since he was not at home that day.
Is Opal Collins Dead or Alive?
Opal Collins did not run but instead turned herself in voluntarily to the police. She faced four life sentences but had to go on trial for the murder of 11-year-old Mary. She was found guilty of first-degree murder in May 1956 and sentenced to death. It was at a time when 35 of the 48 American states had the death penalty, but almost none of those executions were women.
The Governor of Indiana commuted the death penalty to a life sentence on December 10, 1956. Opal appealed against her sentence repeatedly but was dismissed every time. With almost no information available about her in public records, we believe Opal is either in her late 80s and serving prison time in a Hammond jail or has passed away by now.