What Was Serial Killer Velma Barfield's Motive For Murder?
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Velma Barfield had a difficult childhood and dealt with a number of tragedies throughout her lifetime. While her past does not excuse her crimes, it does provide some insight into the person she became. According to Radford University, Barfield was born on October 29, 1932. She was the second oldest of nine children. Her family lived on a tobacco farm without electricity, running water, or indoor plumbing. The family also did not have an outhouse, so they had to use chamber pots or go in the woods.

Although she enjoyed school, Barfield took on a lot of the responsibilities for running the household and was often forced to leave school early or not attend at all. In addition to keeping the home clean, she was responsible for hand washing and mending the family’s clothing. Barfield was also prohibited from participating in after-school activities, as it would not allow her enough time to complete her chores.

Throughout her childhood, Barfield witnessed her father abusing her mother. However, when she was 13, he began abusing her as well. According to Radford University, Barfield’s father sexually abused her at least one time during her teenage years. In 1949, at the age of 17, Barfield married Thomas Burke. Two years later, she gave birth to the first of her two children. She had a hysterectomy at the age of 30 due to medical issues that caused heavy bleeding.

If you or anyone you know has been a victim of sexual assault, help is available. Visit the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network website or contact RAINN’s National Helpline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673).

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