Velma Barfield’s Life and Murders

Velma Barfield

Margie Velma Bullard was born Oct 29, 1932 in South carolina. She was raised near Fayetteville, North Carolina. It has been reported that her father was an abusive man and that her mother did not intervene when he would abuse Velma. In 1949 she married Thomas Burke to escape the abuse at home. The couple went on to have 2 children. It was said the family was very happy until Velm had a hysterectomy and developed back pain. After that, her behavior changed and she developed a drug addiction.

Burke began to drink to cope with the change in Velma. This led to bitter arguments between the two. On the night of April 4, 1969, after Burke had passed out, Velma took the children and left. By the time they returned, the house was burned down and Burke was dead.

Velma then married widower Jennings Barfield in 1970. Less than a year later, Jennings passed away from heart complications. Then in 1974, Velma’s mother fell suddenly ill. She made a full recovery and just a few short months later, around Christmas, SHe fell suddenly ill again with the same symptoms. She passed away in the hospital this time.

By 1975, Velma was convicted of 7 counts of writing bad checks. She was sentenced to 6 months in prison but only served 3 months.

In 1976, after getting out of prison, she started working for an elderly couple taking care of them. They were Mongomery and Dollie Edwards. By January 1977, Montgomery Fell ill and passed. Just a month after her husband passed, Dollie fell ill with the same symptoms that Velma’s mother had and passed shortly after. Velma would later confess to Dollie’s murder.

In 1978, Velma took another job as a caretaker. This was for 76 year old Record Lee who had broken her leg. Record’s husband, John Henry soon fell ill with severe stomach pains and chest pains. He passed soon after. Velma would also later confess to his murder.

Yet another victim was Rowland Stuart Taylor. He was Velma’s boyfriend and relative of Dollie Edwards. Velma poisoned him with a mix of arsenic based rat poison and tea and beer. She did this as she feared he had caught on to the fact that she was forging checks on his account. Rowland died in February of 1978 while Velma “nursed him back to health”. When the autopsy was done, it was found that he had arsenic in his system.

After she was arrested, they exhumed Jennings Barfield’s body and found that he also had traces of arsenic in his system. Velma denied having killed him. Though she admitted to killing her mother, Dollie Edwards, and John Henry Lee, she was only tried and convicted of killing Rowland Taylor.

She was sentenced to death and held at a prison in North Carolina as the only female death row inmate at the time. Velma Barfield was executed November 2, 1984. The statement she released before she was executed was “I know that everybody has gone through a lot of pain, all the families connected, and I am sorry, and I want to thank everybody who have been supporting me all these six years.”



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