The Donna Yaklich story is on Evil Stepmothers tonight on Investigation Discovery. While most of America is spending time with their lovable mothers during Mother’s Day, Investigation Discovery is bringing you the cases of the most evil and diabolical stepmothers of all time.
ID viewers can enjoy a marathon of Evil Stepmothers episodes, which will include a new episode based on the Yaklich story titled “Nanny Nightmare.” More than 30 years ago, Dennis Yaklich, Donna’s husband, was shot to death in his home in Avondale, Colorado. The two men who killed him were hired by Donna Yaklich, investigators say. Donna spent almost 20 years in prison before she was finally released. Her case inspired a movie in 1994 called Cries Unheard: The Donna Yaklich Story, according to the Denver Channel.
On Evil Stepmothers: Bloody Body in the Snow
Dennis Yaklich, 39, was gunned down in the driveway of his home on a snowy morning two weeks before Christmas in December of 1985. The shooting, which occurred around 1:00 a.m., was execution style. Police detectives didn’t have a suspect.
It was believed that Dennis Yaklich, a narcotics detective, was killed by someone connected to the drug underworld. No real leads ever developed from that theory. However, the murder case was given new life after a tip led police to two males–Edward Greenwell, 25, and Charles Greenwell, 16, The Pueblo Chieftan reported.
The tip turned out to be a major lead. They were arrested and charged with murder. But there was one more piece to the puzzle. The guys had killed the former cop for 29-year-old Donna Yaklich, who claimed her steroid-taking husband was abusive and that she feared for her life. Donna Yaklich’s case made headlines due to the salaciousness of the case.
To Donna’s supporters, the allegation that Dennis Yaklich was an abusive man had legs since it was believed that he might have murdered or had a hand in the death of his first wife, Barbara. According to Donna, Barbara died on Valentine’s Day in 1977. Her death, which was thought to be related to an overdose, was later determined to be suspicious. Behind The Blue Wall gives more detail.
“The force, made up of some of Colorado’s most highly respected detectives, concluded that the original investigation was so botched that there is no way to determine how Barbara Yaklich died more than 29 years ago, beyond that it was a suspicious death. Pathologists stated that Barbara Yaklich’s liver was ripped apart and quickly filled her abdomen with more than two liters of blood. Investigators have concluded that the tear was caused by blunt force trauma, consistent with punches and knee drops to the upper abdomen. Two medical examiners involved in the review said they believed Yaklich was a homicide victim, but the group concluded in a report released Friday that the case was so poorly documented that they could not conduct a murder investigation.”
Donna Yaklich said that her husband often threatened her and even once told her that he would kill her and make it look like an accidental death, just as he had done to his first wife.
Evil Stepmothers’ slant is that she was a horrible stepmom who mistreated Dennis Yaklich’s children. The 1994 movie depicted Donna Yaklich in a more sympathetic light.
After a mistrial and later an acquittal of first-degree murder, Donna Yaklich was finally convicted for conspiracy and sentenced to 40 years in a Colorado correctional facility. When she left prison in 2005, she spent time in a halfway house, and then an apartment, where she attempted to rebuild her life and re-acclimate to society. Both Edward Greenwell and Charles Greenwell are also out of prison, according to My Life of Crime.
Investigation Discovery’s Evil Stepmothers airs tonight at 10/9 p.m. Central. Read about the case of evil stepmother Veronica Dunnachie.
[Featured Image by Ed Andrieski/AP Images]