Julie Van Orden

Julie Van Orden – the woman who murdered former Evansville, Indiana Mayor Russell Lloyd Sr.


Van Orden had a history as a “constant complainer” according to city police and had claimed harassment from officials inspecting her home.

On March 18, 1980, Van Orden had thrown a brick at a city inspector’s vehicle windshield when he came to inspect an addition to her house. Apparently there was no inside plumbing in the house and there were many complaints from neighbors regarding the premises. This caused many disputes and complaints from Van Orden and her mother, who she lived with.

The following morning,March 19, 1980,  Van Orden, believing Lloyd was still the mayor (his term had actually expired in January of that year), arrived at his home at 3204 Washington Ave.  Van Order and Lloyd had a brief argument while Lloyd was still in his pajamas inside of his house. Van Orden pulled a revolver out and shot Lloyd inside of his house in the kitchen. Four bullets struck Lloyd in his head, neck, and shoulders.

Van Orden fled and Lloyd was taken to the hospital, where a brain scan indicated brain death.

Doctors announced “there is no hope” shortly before turning off Lloyd’s medical ventilator.

Van Orden was arrested hours later.

At her trial, her attorneys insisted she was too mentally ill to understand her actions.  Van Orden was found guilty of murder and sentenced to 40 years in prison in 1982.


Van Orden served 20 years of her prison sentence and became eligible for early release in 2000. However, only days before she was to be set free, a judge ordered her to be committted into a mental hospital until she was safe to be released.

She was released from Logansport in March 2001 to South Lake Group Home in Merrillville. She lived independently for three years after that, but was readmitted to South Lake in 2004, and then readmitted to Logansport in 2005.

At Logansport, she had moved to the hospital’s minimal transitional unit where people with 30 days or less in their sentences are held. It was there that she demonstrated why she should not be released.

Police said Van Orden reportedly took two knives from a drawer and attacked a 26-year-old hospital worker. Reports indicated that she stabbed him in an “ice-pick motion.” He suffered 13 stab wounds, none life threatening. And, she bit him so hard it caused one of her teeth to loosen.

The employee said she told him, “I’m going to kill you.”

On June 30, 2009, she was ordered to serve an additional 50 years for that crime and was deemed mentally ill.

Adopted Son

In 1993 an Oregon man by the name of David Knight, 31 years of age, ended his search long search to find his real birth mother.

Knight, of Bend, Ore., was born in San Mateo, Calif., and adopted as an infant by Haynie and Britomarte Knight. His adoptive mother, Britomarte, agreed long ago to help him find his biological mother. And even after he learned of her notorious past, he wanted to know more.

He visited Van Orden who was confined in the Indiana Women’s Prison in Indianapolis.

Knight said he felt a need to express his sorrow and apologies to Lloyd’s family for his birth mother’s actions. He went to the home of Genna Lloyd, the mayor’s widow, but left when he found no one home.

Knight has since said he will not contact any of former the former mayor’s family.


Medical staff at the Indiana Women’s Prison found Van Orden unresponsive at approximately 1:10 p.m. on June 27th 2014,  and she was pronounced dead at 1:38 p.m. She was in the facility’s health care unit at the time of her death.

Authorities say foul play is not suspected and that her death appears to be of natural causes.



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