Since the dawn of time, mankind has forever found new and creative ways to be truly psychotic. Brutal invasions, crushing tyrannies, and grisly torture devices - we've had it all, though they all seem so far in the past. But only in the last couple of centuries has a new terrifying breed emerged: the serial killer.
These sadistic killers have terrorized communities and brought pain and suffering through their actions, and they've never felt an ounce of regret. To put it simply, these people's brains do not work the same as ours. Don't try to imagine what it would be like to be them. It's impossible (unless you're a serial killer too).
Get ready to peer inside their twisted minds, but look out. You might find that some of these serial killers think the same way as you. That's not all bad. Just don't act on it! The Charles Manson quotes at the end of this article will send chills down your spine!
Alexander Yuryevich Pichushkin, also known as The Chessboard Killer and The Bitsa Park Maniac, is a Russian serial killer. He is believed to have killed at least 48 people, and possibly as many as 60, in southwest Moscow's Bitsa Park, where a number of the victims' bodies were found. Pichushkin committed his first known murder as a student in 1992 and stepped up his crimes in 2001. Russian media has speculated that Pichushkin was motivated, in part, by a macabre competition with another notorious Russian serial killer, Andrei Chikatilo, the 'Rostov Ripper', who was convicted in 1992 of killing 53 children and young women over a 12-year period. Pichushkin has said his aim was to kill 64 people, the number of squares on a chessboard. He later recanted this statement, saying that he would have continued killing indefinitely had he not been stopped.
He was arrested on 16 June 2006, and convicted on 24 October 2007 of 49 murders and 3 attempted murders. He asked a Russian court to add an additional 11 victims to his body count, bringing his claimed death toll to 60, and 3 surviving victims. During his trial, as with Andrei Chikatilo, Pichushkin was housed in a glass cage for his own protection. It took Judge Vladimir Usov an hour to read the verdict: life in prison with the first 15 years to be spent in solitary confinement.
Ted Bundy was an American serial killer, kidnapper, rapist, burglar, and necrophile who assaulted and murdered numerous young women and girls during the 1970s and possibly earlier. Shortly before his execution and after more than a decade of denials, he confessed to 30 homicides that he committed in seven states between 1974 and 1978. The true victim count will forever be unknown and could be much higher than the number to which Bundy confessed.
Many of Bundy's young female victims regarded him as handsome and charismatic, which were traits that he exploited to win their trust. He would typically approach them in public places, feigning injury or disability, or impersonating an authority figure, before overpowering and assaulting them at more secluded locations. He sometimes revisited his secondary crime scenes for hours at a time, grooming and performing sexual acts with the decomposing corpses until putrefaction and destruction by wild animals made further interaction impossible. He decapitated at least 12 of his victims, and for a period of time, he kept some of the severed heads as mementos in his apartment. On a few occasions, he simply broke into dwellings at night and bludgeoned his victims as they slept.
In 1975, Bundy went to jail for the first time when he was incarcerated in Utah for aggravated kidnapping and attempted criminal assault. He then became a suspect in a progressively longer list of unsolved homicides in multiple states. Facing murder charges in Colorado, he engineered two dramatic escapes and committed further assaults, including three murders, before his ultimate recapture in Florida in 1978. For the Florida homicides, he received three death sentences in two separate trials.
Bundy was executed in the electric chair at Florida State Prison on January 24, 1989. Biographer Ann Rule described him as "a sadistic sociopath who took pleasure from another human's pain and the control he had over his victims, to the point of death, and even after". He once called himself "the most cold-hearted son of a bitch you'll ever meet"; Attorney Polly Nelson-a member of his last defense team-wrote: "Ted was the very definition of heartless evil."
Bundy underwent multiple psychiatric examinations; the experts' conclusions varied. Dorothy Otnow Lewis, Professor of Psychiatry at the New York University School of Medicine and an authority on violent behavior, initially made a diagnosis of bipolar disorder, but later changed her impression more than once.
She also suggested the possibility of a multiple personality disorder, based on behaviors described in interviews and court testimony: a great-aunt witnessed an episode during which Bundy "seemed to turn into another, unrecognizable person ... [she] suddenly, inexplicably found herself afraid of her favorite nephew as they waited together at a dusk-darkened train station. He had turned into a stranger." Lewis recounted a prison official in Tallahassee describing a similar transformation: "He said, 'He became weird on me.' He did a metamorphosis, a body and facial change, and he felt there was almost an odor emitting from him. He said, 'Almost a complete change of personality ... that was the day I was afraid of him.'"
The Zodiac Killer or Zodiac was a serial killer who operated in Northern California from at least the late 1960s to the early 1970s. The killer's identity remains unknown. The Zodiac murdered victims in Benicia, Vallejo, Lake Berryessa, and San Francisco between December 1968 and October 1969. Four men and three women between the ages of 16 and 29 were targeted. The killer originated the name "Zodiac" in a series of taunting letters sent to the local Bay Area press. These letters included four cryptograms (or ciphers). Of the four cryptograms sent, only one has been definitively solved.
Suspects have been named by law enforcement and amateur investigators, but no conclusive evidence has surfaced. The San Francisco Police Department (SFPD) marked the case "inactive" in April 2004, but re-opened it at some point prior to March 2007. The case also remains open in the city of Vallejo, as well as in Napa County and Solano County. The California Department of Justice has maintained an open case file on the Zodiac murders since 1969.
Albert Fish was an American serial killer. He was also known as the Gray Man, the Werewolf of Wysteria, the Brooklyn Vampire, the Moon Maniac, and The Boogey Man. A child rapist and cannibal, he boasted that he "had children in every state", and at one time stated the number was about 100. However, it is not known whether he was referring to rapes or cannibalization, nor is it known if the statement was truthful. He was a suspect in at least five murders during his lifetime.
Fish confessed to three murders that police were able to trace to a known homicide, and he confessed to stabbing at least two other people. He was put on trial for the kidnapping and murder of Grace Budd, and was convicted and executed by electric chair. His crimes were dramatized in the 2007 film The Gray Man, starring Patrick Bauchau as Fish.
Aileen Wuornos was an American serial killer who murdered seven men in Florida between 1989 and 1990 by shooting them at point-blank range. Wuornos claimed that her victims had either raped or attempted to rape her while she was working as a sex worker, and that all of the homicides were committed in self-defense. She was convicted and sentenced to death for six of the murders and was executed by lethal injection on October 9, 2002.
By the age of 11, Wuornos began engaging in sexual activities in school in exchange for cigarettes, drugs, and food. She had also engaged in sexual activities with her brother. Wuornos said that her alcoholic grandfather had sexually assaulted and beaten her when she was a child. Before beating her, he would force her to strip out of her clothes. In 1970, at age 14, she became pregnant, having been raped by an accomplice of her grandfather.
Wuornos told several inconsistent stories about the killings. She claimed initially that all seven men had raped her while she was working as a prostitute but later recanted the claim of self-defense, citing robbery and a desire to leave no witnesses as the reason for murder. During an interview with filmmaker Nick Broomfield, when she thought the cameras were off, she told him that it was, in fact, self-defense, but she could not stand being on death row-where she had been for ten years at that point-and wanted to die.
Wuornos's execution took place on October 9, 2002. She died at 9:47 a.m. EDT. She declined her last meal which could have been anything under $20 and opted for a cup of coffee instead. Her last words were, "Yes, I would just like to say I'm sailing with the rock, and I'll be back, like Independence Day, with Jesus. June 6, like the movie. Big mother ship and all, I'll be back, I'll be back." She was the tenth woman in the United States and the second in Florida to be executed since the 1976 United States Supreme Court decision restoring capital punishment.
David Berkowitz known also as the Son of Sam and the .44 Caliber Killer, is an American serial killer who pleaded guilty to eight separate shooting attacks that began in New York City during the summer of 1976. The crimes were perpetrated with a .44 caliber Bulldog revolver. He killed six people and wounded seven others by July 1977. As the number of victims increased, Berkowitz eluded the biggest police manhunt in the history of New York City while leaving letters that mocked the police and promised further crimes, which were highly publicized by the press. The killing spree terrorized New Yorkers and achieved worldwide notoriety.
On the night of August 10, 1977, Berkowitz was taken into custody by New York City police homicide detectives in front of his Yonkers apartment building, and he was subsequently indicted for eight shooting incidents. He confessed to all of them, and initially claimed to have been obeying the orders of a demon, manifested in the form of a dog, "Harvey", who belonged to his neighbor "Sam." Despite his explanation, Berkowitz was found mentally competent to stand trial. He pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and was incarcerated in state prison. He subsequently admitted the dog-and-devil story was a hoax. In the course of further police investigations, Berkowitz was also implicated in many unsolved arsons in the city.
Intense coverage of the case by the media lent a kind of celebrity status to Berkowitz, and some observers noted that he seemed to enjoy it. In response, the New York State legislature enacted new legal statutes, known popularly as "Son of Sam laws", designed to keep criminals from profiting financially from the publicity created by their crimes. Despite various amendments and legal challenges, the statutes have remained law in New York, and similar laws have been enacted in several other states.
Berkowitz has been incarcerated since his arrest and is serving six consecutive life sentences. During the mid-1990s, he amended his confession to claim that he had been a member of a violent Satanic cult that orchestrated the incidents as ritual murder. He remains the only person ever charged with the shootings. Although some law enforcement authorities have questioned whether Berkowitz's claims are credible, a new investigation of the murders began in 1996, but was suspended indefinitely after inconclusive findings.
Gary Ridgway also known as the Green River Killer, is an American serial killer. He was initially convicted of 48 separate murders and is presumed to be responsible for more than 90. As part of his plea bargain, an additional conviction was added, bringing the total number of convictions to 49, making him the most prolific serial killer in U.S. history according to confirmed murders. He murdered numerous women and girls in Washington State during the 1980s and 1990s.
Most of Ridgway's victims were alleged to be sex workers and other women in vulnerable situations, including underage runaways. The press gave him his nickname after the first five victims were found in the Green River before his identity was known. He strangled the women, usually by hand but sometimes using ligatures. After strangling them, he would dump their bodies in forested and overgrown areas in King County, often returning to the dead bodies to have sexual intercourse with them. On November 30, 2001, as Ridgway was leaving the Kenworth truck factory where he worked in Renton, Washington, he was arrested for the murders of four women whose cases were linked to him through DNA evidence. As part of a plea bargain wherein he agreed to disclose the locations of still-missing women, he was spared the death penalty and received a sentence of life imprisonment without parole.
Ed Gein also known as The Butcher of Plainfield, was an American murderer and body snatcher. His crimes, committed around his hometown of Plainfield, Wisconsin, gathered widespread notoriety after authorities discovered that Gein had exhumed corpses from local graveyards and fashioned trophies and keepsakes from their bones and skin. Gein confessed to killing two women - tavern owner Mary Hogan in 1954, and a Plainfield hardware store owner, Bernice Worden in 1957.
Gein was initially found unfit to stand trial and confined to a mental health facility. In 1968, Gein was found guilty but legally insane of the murder of Worden, and was remanded to psychiatric institutions. He died at Mendota Mental Health Institute of cancer-induced liver and respiratory failure at age 77 on July 26, 1984. He is buried next to his family in the Plainfield Cemetery, in a now unmarked grave.
John Wayne Gacy was an American serial killer and rapist. He sexually assaulted, tortured and murdered at least 33 teenage boys and young men between 1972 and 1978 in Cook County, Illinois (a part of metropolitan Chicago). All of Gacy's known murders were committed inside his Norwood Park ranch house. His victims were typically induced to his address by force or deception, and all but one of his victims were murdered by either asphyxiation or strangulation with a makeshift tourniquet; his first victim was stabbed to death. Gacy buried 26 of his victims in the crawl space of his home. Three other victims were buried elsewhere on his property, while the bodies of his last four known victims were discarded in the Des Plaines River.
Convicted of 33 murders, Gacy was sentenced to death on March 13, 1980, for 12 of those killings. He spent 14 years on death row before he was executed by lethal injection at Stateville Correctional Center on May 10, 1994. Gacy became known as the "Killer Clown" because of his charitable services at fund-raising events, parades, and children's parties where he would dress as "Pogo the Clown", a character he had devised.
Upon being sentenced, Gacy was transferred to the Menard Correctional Center in Chester, Illinois, where he remained incarcerated on death row for 14 years. Isolated in his prison cell, Gacy began to paint. The subjects Gacy painted varied, although many were of clowns, some of which depicted himself as "Pogo". Many of his paintings have been displayed at exhibitions; others have been sold at various auctions, with individual prices ranging between $200 and $20,000. Although Gacy was permitted to earn money from the sale of his paintings until 1985, he claimed his artwork was intended "to bring joy into people's lives"
On the morning of May 9, 1994, Gacy was transferred from the Menard Correctional Center to Stateville Correctional Center in Crest Hill to be executed. That afternoon, he was allowed a private picnic on the prison grounds with his family. For his last meal, Gacy ordered a bucket of Kentucky Fried Chicken, a dozen fried shrimp, french fries, fresh strawberries, and a Diet Coke. That evening, he observed prayer with a Catholic priest before being escorted to the Stateville execution chamber to receive a lethal injection. According to published reports, Gacy was a diagnosed psychopath who did not express any remorse for his crimes. His final statement to his lawyer before his execution was that killing him would not compensate for the loss of others, and that the state was murdering him. His final spoken words were "Kiss my ass."
Dennis Rader is an American serial killer who murdered ten people in Sedgwick County, Kansas between 1974 and 1991. He is also known as the BTK Killer or the BTK Strangler. "BTK" stands for "Bind, Torture, Kill", which was his infamous signature. He sent letters describing the details of the murders to police and local news outlets before his arrest. After a decade-long hiatus, Rader resumed sending letters in 2004, leading to his 2005 arrest and subsequent guilty plea. He is currently serving ten consecutive life sentences at El Dorado Correctional Facility in Kansas.
All of Rader's known crimes occurred in Kansas. He killed ten people in total and collected items from each murder scene. He also intended to kill others, notably Anna Williams, who in 1979 aged 63, escaped death by returning home much later than he expected. Rader explained during his confession that he became obsessed with Williams and was "absolutely livid" when she evaded him. He spent hours waiting at her home but became impatient and left when she did not return home from visiting friends. Two of the women Rader had stalked in the 1980s and one he had stalked in the mid-1990s filed restraining orders against him; one of them also moved away. Rader admitted in his interrogation that he had been planning to kill again. He had set a date, October 2004, and was stalking his intended victim.
Rader was arrested while driving near his home in Park City shortly after noon on February 25, 2005. An officer asked, "Mr. Rader, do you know why you're going downtown?"; Rader replied, "Oh, I have suspicions why." Wichita police, the Kansas Bureau of Investigation, the FBI, and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives agents searched Rader's home and vehicle, seizing evidence including computer equipment, a pair of black pantyhose retrieved from a shed, and a cylindrical container. The church he attended, his office at City Hall, and the main branch of the Park City library were also searched. At a press conference the next morning, Wichita Police Chief Norman Williams announced, "the bottom line: BTK is arrested."
On February 28, 2005, Rader was charged with 10 counts of first degree murder. Soon after his arrest, the Associated Press cited an anonymous source alleging Rader had confessed to other murders in addition to those with which he had been connected; the Sedgwick County district attorney denied this but refused to say whether Rader made any confessions or if investigators were looking into Rader's possible involvement in more unsolved killings. On March 5, news sources claimed to have verified by multiple sources that Rader had confessed to the 10 murders he was charged with, but no other ones.
David Alan Gore was an American serial killer who confessed to, and was convicted of, six murders in Vero Beach and Indian River County, Florida in the 1980s. Gore was executed by lethal injection in 2012, having been on Florida's death row for 28 years. Gore had an accomplice, his cousin Fred Waterfield, and the pair were dubbed the "Killing Cousins". Waterfield was convicted of two murders, and is currently serving two consecutive life sentences.
In 1976 (prior to their committing any murders), police jailed and questioned both Gore and Waterfield after Angela Hommell Austin (age 20) accused them of raping her at gunpoint. The cousins insisted the sex was consensual, and they were not charged in her case. Gore targeted at least four additional women who escaped with their lives. Gore was executed by lethal injection at 6:19 p.m. on Thursday, April 12, 2012, having exhausted all legal appeals. His last meal consisted of fried chicken, French fries, and butter pecan ice cream. As Gore lay strapped to a gurney in the death chamber, he said: "I'm sorry. I've had remorse....I'm not the man I was back then. I don't fear death."
Gary Lee Sampson is an American murderer who killed three people and was sentenced to death by a federal jury in Massachusetts, United States. During three days in 2001, Sampson killed three strangers: retiree Philip McCloskey in Marshfield, Massachusetts, college student Jonathan Rizzo in Abington, Massachusetts, and Robert Whitney in Meredith, New Hampshire. He also attempted to kill a fourth victim and stranger: William Gregory, in Vermont. Sampson killed McCloskey and Rizzo after they picked him up hitch-hiking, stabbing them to death. Shortly after that he strangled Whitney. Sampson pleaded guilty to the three killings on September 9, 2003, and was sentenced to death on December 23, 2003, by a federal jury in Massachusetts. He received the death penalty for the two Massachusetts killings, and a life sentence for the New Hampshire case.
After Sampson pleaded guilty, a federal jury decided whether he should be sentenced to death or life in prison. The defense introduced mental health experts to testify that Sampson had dyslexia as a child, had bipolar disorder, and "suffered from a significant mental impairment" during the killings. A psychiatrist called by the government testified that Sampson did not suffer from any mitigating mental impairment; he was intelligent but violent and deeply antisocial, with antisocial personality disorder. The jury of 12 unanimously returned a sentence of death. In 2011, Sampson's death sentence was thrown out due to juror misconduct, and he was scheduled for a second sentencing trial on September 16, 2015. He was again sentenced to death on January 9, 2017.
Richard Ramirez was an American serial killer, rapist, and burglar. His highly publicized home invasion crime spree terrorized the residents of the greater Los Angeles area, and later the residents of the San Francisco area, from June 1984 until August 1985. Prior to his capture, Ramirez was dubbed the "Night Stalker" by the news media.
He used a wide variety of weapons, including handguns, knives, a machete, a tire iron, and a hammer. Ramirez, who was an avowed Satanist, never expressed any remorse for his crimes. The judge who upheld his thirteen death sentences remarked that Ramirez's deeds exhibited "cruelty, callousness, and viciousness beyond any human understanding". Ramirez died of complications from B-cell lymphoma while awaiting execution on California's death row. Ramirez was born in El Paso, Texas, on February 29, 1960, the youngest of Julian and Mercedes Ramirez's five children. His father, a Mexican national and former Juarez policeman who later became a laborer on the Santa Fe railroad, was a hard-working man prone to fits of anger that often resulted in physical abuse.
As a child, Ramirez sustained two serious head injuries. When he was two years old a dresser fell on top of him, causing a forehead laceration requiring 30 stitches to close. When he was five years old, he was knocked unconscious by a swing at a park, after which he experienced frequent epileptic seizures that persisted into his early teens. As a 12-year-old he was strongly influenced by his older cousin, Miguel ("Mike"), a decorated U.S. Army Green Beret combat veteran who often boasted of his gruesome exploits during the Vietnam War. He shared Polaroid photos of his victims, including Vietnamese women he had raped. In some of the photos Mike posed with the severed head of a woman he had abused.
Ramirez, or "Richie", as he was known to his family, was present on May 4, 1973, when his cousin Mike fatally shot his wife, Jessie, in the face with a .38 caliber revolver during a domestic argument. After the shooting Richie became sullen and withdrawn from his family and peers. Later that year, he moved in with his older sister, Ruth, and her husband, Roberto, an obsessive "peeping Tom" who took Richie along on his nocturnal exploits. Ramirez also began using LSD and cultivated an interest in Satanism.
At his first court appearance, Ramirez raised a hand with a pentagram drawn on it and yelled "Hail Satan". On August 3, 1988, the Los Angeles Times reported that some jail employees overheard Ramirez planning to shoot the prosecutor with a gun, which Ramirez intended to have smuggled into the courtroom. Consequently, a metal detector was installed outside the courtroom, and intensive searches were conducted on people entering. On August 14, the trial was interrupted because one of the jurors, Phyllis Singletary, did not arrive at the courtroom.
Later that day, she was found shot to death in her apartment. The jury was terrified; they could not help wondering if Ramirez had somehow directed this event from inside his prison cell, and if he could reach other jury members. However, Ramirez was not responsible for Singletary's death; she had been shot and killed by her boyfriend, who later committed suicide with the same weapon in a hotel. The alternate juror who replaced Singletary was too frightened to return to her home.
On September 20, 1989, Ramirez was convicted of all charges: 13 counts of murder, 5 attempted murders, 11 sexual assaults, and 14 burglaries. During the penalty phase of the trial, on November 7, 1989, he was sentenced to die in California's gas chamber. He stated to reporters after the death sentences, "Big deal. Death always went with the territory. See you in Disneyland." The trial cost $1.8 million, ($3.55 million in 2017 dollars) which at the time made it the most expensive in the history of California, until surpassed by the O. J. Simpson murder case in 1994.
By the time of the trial, Ramirez had fans who were writing him letters and paying him visits. Beginning in 1985, Doreen Lioy wrote him nearly 75 letters during his incarceration. In 1988, he proposed to her, and on October 3, 1996, they were married in California's San Quentin State Prison. For many years before Ramirez's death, Lioy stated that she would commit suicide when Ramirez was executed. However, Lioy and Ramirez eventually separated. By some estimates, he would have been in his early seventies before his execution was carried out, due to the lengthy California appeals process. Ramirez died of complications secondary to B-cell lymphoma, at Marin General Hospital in Greenbrae, California, on June 7, 2013. He had also been affected by "chronic substance abuse and chronic hepatitis C viral infection". At 53 years old, he had been on death row for more than 23 years.
The Moors murders were carried out by Ian Brady and Myra Hindley between July 1963 and October 1965, in and around Manchester, England. The victims were five children aged between 10 and 17-Pauline Reade, John Kilbride, Keith Bennett, Lesley Ann Downey and Edward Evans-at least four of whom were sexually assaulted. Two of the victims were discovered in graves dug on Saddleworth Moor; a third grave was discovered there in 1987, more than twenty years after Brady and Hindley's trial. The body of a fourth victim, Keith Bennett, is also suspected to be buried there, but despite repeated searches remains undiscovered.
Characterised by the press as "the most evil woman in Britain", Hindley made several appeals against her life sentence, claiming she was a reformed woman and no longer a danger to society, but was never released. She died in 2002, aged 60. Brady was declared criminally insane in 1985 and confined in the high-security Ashworth Hospital. He made it clear that he never wished to be released, and repeatedly asked to be allowed to die. He died in 2017, in Ashworth, aged 79. The murders were the result of what Malcolm MacCulloch, professor of forensic psychiatry at Cardiff University, called a "concatenation of circumstances". The trial judge, Mr Justice Fenton Atkinson, described Brady and Hindley in his closing remarks as "two sadistic killers of the utmost depravity".
Jane Toppan was an American serial killer, nicknamed "Jolly Jane". After her arrest in 1901, she confessed to 31 murders. She is quoted as saying that her ambition was "to have killed more people-helpless people-than any other man or woman who ever lived". In 1885, Toppan began training to be a nurse at Cambridge Hospital. While she was there she had a lot of friends, and was well liked. Unlike her early years, where she was described as brilliant and terrible, at the hospital she was well liked, bright and friendly, evoking the nickname 'Jolly Jane'. Once Toppan became close with the patients, she picked her favorite ones. The patients were normally elderly, and very sick. During her residency, she used her patients as guinea pigs in experiments with morphine and atropine; she would alter their prescribed dosages to see what it did to their nervous systems. However, she would spend considerable time alone with patients, making up fake charts and medicating them to drift in and out of consciousness and even getting into bed with them.
She was recommended for the prestigious Massachusetts General Hospital in 1889; there, she claimed several more victims before being fired the following year. She briefly returned to Cambridge but was soon dismissed for administering opiates recklessly. She then began a career as a private nurse and flourished despite complaints of petty theft. She began her poisoning spree in earnest in 1895 by killing her landlord, Israel Dunham and his wife. In 1899, she killed her foster sister Elizabeth with a dose of strychnine. In 1901, Toppan moved in with the elderly Alden Davis and his family in Cataumet to take care of him after the death of his wife, Mattie (whom Toppan herself had murdered). Within weeks, she killed Davis, his sister Genevieve, and two of his daughters, Minnie and Edna.
The Original Night Stalker (ONS), originally the East Area Rapist (EAR) (during opening three year rape spree in eastern suburbs of Sacramento), are media epithets for an unidentified serial killer and serial rapist who committed 50 rapes in Northern California during the mid-1970s and murdered twelve people in Southern California from 1979 through 1986. Other monikers include the EAR/ONS, the Diamond Knot Killer, and the Golden State Killer.
The crimes initially centered on the then unincorporated areas of Carmichael, Citrus Heights and Rancho Cordova, all east of Sacramento, where at least fifty women were raped between June 18, 1976, and July 5, 1979. In 2001, several of the Northern California rapes were linked by DNA to murders in Southern California. All of the DNA-linked assaults occurred in Contra Costa County but the distinctive modus operandi (MO) of the rapist makes it very likely the same man was also responsible for the attacks in the Sacramento area. His last crime, the only one after 1981, took place in 1986.
The Original Night Stalker has never been apprehended. Several suspects have been cleared through DNA, alibi, or other investigative means and methods. On June 15, 2016, the FBI and local law enforcement agencies held a news conference to announce a nationwide effort and a US$50,000 reward for his capture. They plan to erect electronic billboards nationwide and other forms of exposure for the push.
Edmund Kemper is an American serial killer. He committed the murder of ten people, including his paternal grandparents and mother. He regularly engaged in necrophilia and claimed to have consumed the flesh of at least one of his victims, but later retracted this confession. Born in California, Kemper had a disturbed childhood. He moved to Montana with his abusive mother at a young age before returning to California, where he murdered his paternal grandparents when he was 15. He was subsequently diagnosed by court psychiatrists as suffering from paranoid schizophrenia and sentenced to the Atascadero State Hospital as a criminally insane juvenile.
Released at the age of 21 after convincing psychiatrists he was rehabilitated, Kemper was regarded as non-threatening by his victims. He targeted young female hitchhikers during his killing spree, luring them into his vehicle and driving them to secluded areas where he would murder them before taking their corpses back to his home to be decapitated, dismembered and violated. He then murdered his mother and one of her friends before turning himself in to the authorities. Found sane and guilty at his trial in 1973, he requested the death penalty for his crimes. However, capital punishment was temporarily suspended in California and he instead received eight life sentences. Since then, Kemper has been incarcerated in the California Medical Facility. Kemper is known for his large stature and high intelligence, standing 6 feet 9 inches (2.06 m) tall, weighing over 250 pounds (113 kg) and having a reported IQ of 145, features that left his victims with little chance to overcome him.
On August 27, 1964, Kemper's grandmother, Maude Matilda Hughey Kemper (1897-1964), was sitting at the kitchen table when she and Kemper had an argument. Enraged by the argument, Kemper stormed off and grabbed the .22 caliber rifle which his grandfather had given him for hunting. He then returned to the kitchen and, when Maude told him not to shoot any birds, fatally shot her in the head before firing twice more into her back. Some accounts allege that Maude Kemper additionally suffered multiple post-mortem stab wounds with a kitchen knife. He then dragged her body out of the kitchen and into her bedroom. When Kemper's grandfather, Edmund Emil Kemper (1892-1964), came home from grocery shopping, Kemper went outside and fatally shot him in the driveway. He was unsure of what to do next and so phoned his mother, who urged him to contact the local police. Kemper then called the police and waited for them to take him into custody.
When questioned by authorities, Kemper said that he "just wanted to see what it felt like to kill Grandma," and that he killed his grandfather so that he would not have to find out that his wife was dead. Psychiatrist Donald Lunde, who interviewed Kemper at length during adulthood, wrote that with these murders, "In his way, [Kemper] had avenged the rejection of both his father and his mother." Kemper's crimes were deemed incomprehensible for a 15-year-old to commit, and court psychiatrists diagnosed him as suffering from paranoid schizophrenia before sending him to the criminally insane unit of the Atascadero State Hospital. He was later released.
Between May 1972 and April 1973, Kemper embarked on a murder spree that started with two college students and ended with the murders of his mother and her best friend. He would pick up female students who were hitchhiking and take them to isolated areas where he would shoot, stab, smother or strangle them. He would then take their lifeless bodies back to his home where he would perform irrumatio on their severed heads, have sex with their corpses, and then dissect and dismember them.
During this 11-month spree, he killed five female college students, one high school student, his mother and his mother's best friend. Kemper has stated in interviews that he would often go hunting for victims after his mother's outbursts towards him, and that she would not introduce him to women attending the university where she worked. He recalled: "She would say, 'You're just like your father. You don't deserve to get to know them'." Psychiatrists, and Kemper himself, have espoused the belief that the young women were surrogates for his ultimate target, his mother, and that the humiliating acts he committed with his mother's corpse support this hypothesis.
Carl Panzram was an American serial killer, rapist, arsonist, and burglar. In prison confessions and his autobiography, he claimed to have committed 21 murders, most of which could not be corroborated, and over 1,000 sodomies of boys and men. After a series of imprisonments and escapes, he was executed in 1930 for the murder of a prison employee at Leavenworth Federal Penitentiary.
Born in East Grand Forks, Minnesota, the son of East Prussian immigrants Johann "John" and Matilda Panzram, Carl was raised on his family's farm with five siblings. Carl Panzram felt odd from a young age, by age five or six he was a liar and thief and claimed to become meaner the older he grew. In 1899 Panzram was in Juvinile Court on a charge of being drunk and disorderly; in 1903 Panzram was in County Jail for being drunk and incorrigible; In 1903, at the age of 11, he stole some cake, apples, and a revolver from a neighbor's home.
Soon after, his parents sent him to the Minnesota State Training School October 11, 1903. While there, he was repeatedly beaten, tortured, and raped by staff members in what attendees dubbed "The Painting House", because children would leave "painted" with bruises and blood. Panzram hated this place of torture so much that he decided to burn it down, and did so without detection. In late 1905, Panzram was released from the school. By his teens, he was an alcoholic and was repeatedly in trouble with the authorities, often for burglary and theft. He ran away from home at the age of 14 in January 1906 to become a hobo on the rails . He often traveled via train cars; he later claimed that on one train he was gang raped by a group of hobos.
In his autobiography, Panzram wrote that he was "rage personified" and that he would often rape men whom he had robbed. He was noted for his large stature and great physical strength-due to years of hard labor at Leavenworth and other prisons - which aided him in overpowering most men he encountered. He also engaged in vandalism and arson. By his own admission, one of the few times he did not engage in criminal activities was when he was employed as a strikebreaker against union employees. On one occasion, he tried to sign aboard as a ship's steward on an Army transport vessel, but was discharged when he reported to work intoxicated.
Winter, 1910 Panzram alleged in his 1929 autobiography that after serving a short sentence at Rusk Texas, he claimed to have gone to Juarez, Mexico to try to enlist in the Federal Mexican Army; he then left on a train for Del Rio, Texas and got off in a small town 50 to 100 miles east of El Paso, Texas where about a mile south of that town he alleged to have abducted, assaulted, kicked and strangled a man and then stole $35.00 from the victim
In light of his extensive criminal record, he received a 25-years-to-life sentence. Upon arriving at Leavenworth Federal Penitentiary, he warned the warden, "I'll kill the first man that bothers me", and was given a solitary job in the prison laundry room. On June 20, 1929, he beat the Prison laundry foreman Robert Warnke to death with an iron bar, and was sentenced to death.He refused to allow any appeals of his sentence. In response to offers from death penalty opponents and human rights activists to intervene, he wrote, "The only thanks you and your kind will ever get from me for your efforts on my behalf is that I wish you all had one neck and that I had my hands on it."
Joel Rifkin is an American serial killer. In 1994 he was sentenced to 203 years in prison for the murders of nine women between 1989-93. He is believed to have killed up to 17 victims between 1989-93 in New York City and in Long Island, New York. Although he often hired sex workers in Brooklyn and Manhattan, he lived in East Meadow, a suburban town on Long Island.
He is also suspected to be responsible for some victims whose remains were found in March and April 2011, previously attributed to the Gilgo Beach Killer. In an April 2011 prison interview with Newsday, Rifkin denied having anything to do with the (at the time) recently discovered remains. Experts and victims' rights advocates, however, believe that those denials have no value. During his trial Rifkin was represented by Mineola, New York-based attorney John Lawrence. He was found guilty of nine counts of second-degree murder in 1994 and sentenced to 203 years to life in prison. His first possible parole date is February 26, 2197.
Karla Homolka known now as Leanne Teale, is a Canadian serial killer who, with her first husband Paul Bernardo, raped and murdered at least three minors. She attracted worldwide media attention when she was convicted of manslaughter following a plea bargain in the 1991 and 1992 rape-murders of two Ontario teenage girls, Leslie Mahaffy and Kristen French, as well as the rape and death of her sister Tammy.
Homolka and Bernardo were arrested in 1993. In 1995, Bernardo was convicted of the two teenagers' murders and received life in prison and a dangerous offender designation, the full maximum sentence allowed in Canada. During the 1993 investigation, Homolka stated to investigators that Bernardo had abused her and that she had been an unwilling accomplice to the murders. As a result, she struck a deal with prosecutors for a reduced prison sentence of 12 years in exchange for a guilty plea to the charge of manslaughter. Homolka scored 5/40 on the Psychopathy Checklist, in contrast to Bernardo's 35/40. However, videotapes of the crimes surfaced after the plea bargain and demonstrated that she was a more active participant than she had claimed. As a result, the deal that she had struck with prosecutors was dubbed in the Canadian press the "Deal with the Devil". Public outrage about Homolka's plea deal continued until her high-profile release from prison in 2005. In May 2017, it was reported that Homolka has been volunteering at her children's elementary school in Notre-Dame-de-Grâce, a Montreal neighbourhood.
Herman Webster Mudgett, better known as Dr. Henry Howard Holmes or more commonly known as H. H. Holmes, was an American serial killer of the 19th century. While he confessed to 27 murders, only nine could be plausibly confirmed and several of the people whom he claimed to have murdered were still alive. He is commonly said to have killed as many as 200, though this figure is only traceable to 1940s pulp magazines. Many victims were said to have been killed in a mixed-use building which he owned, located about 3 miles (4.8 km) west of the 1893 World's Fair: Columbian Exposition, supposedly called the World's Fair Hotel (informally called "The Murder Hotel"), though evidence suggests that the hotel portion was never truly open for business.
Besides being a serial killer, Holmes was also a con artist and a bigamist, the subject of more than 50 lawsuits in Chicago alone. Many now-common stories of his crimes sprang from fictional accounts that later authors took for fact; however, in a 2017 biography, Adam Selzer wrote that Holmes' story is "effectively a new American tall tale - and, like all the best tall tales, it sprang from a kernel of truth".
H. H. Holmes was executed on May 7, 1896, nine days before his 35th birthday, for the murder of his friend and accomplice Benjamin Pitezel. During his trial for the murder of Pitezel, H. H. Holmes confessed to numerous other killings.
On May 7, 1896, Holmes was hanged at Moyamensing Prison, also known as the Philadelphia County Prison, for the murder of Pitezel. Until the moment of his death, Holmes remained calm and amiable, showing very few signs of fear, anxiety or depression.Despite this, he asked for his coffin to be contained in cement and buried 10 feet deep, because he was concerned grave robbers would steal his body and use it for dissection. Holmes' neck did not snap; he instead was strangled to death slowly, twitching for over 15 minutes before being pronounced dead 20 minutes after the trap had been sprung.
On December 19, 1996, Joe Metheny, 41, who authorities say preyed on women with drug or alcohol problems, was charged with killing three women. Metheny was first arrested for the slaying of a 26-year-old woman whom authorities said he met at the Borderline Bar and Restaurant in Arbutus, a Baltimore suburb. The decomposed body of the woman, Kimberly Spicer, was found under a trailer less than 10 feet from Metheny's own at the Joseph Stein and Son pallet company.
Metheny was also charged in the killing of Toni Ingrassia, a 28-year-old woman whose body was found in 1994 near Interstate 95, a short distance from the company. She had been stabbed and strangled. The third charge concerns a decapitated body of an unidentified woman. Police were also looking for the remains of a fourth victim, a man, after Metheny allegedly confessed killing him.
Lee Boyd Malvo is a convicted murderer who, along with John Allen Muhammad, committed murders in connection with the Beltway sniper attacks in the Washington Metropolitan Area over a three-week period in October 2002. Currently, he is serving multiple life sentences at Red Onion State Prison in Virginia, a supermax prison. Muhammad was executed in 2009. Although the two men's actions were classified by the media as psychopathy attributable to serial killer characteristics, researchers have debated whether or not their psychopathy meets this classification or that of spree killing. In 2012, Malvo claimed that he was sexually abused by Muhammad.
The Beltway sniper attacks turned out to be the last of a series of shootings across the United States connected to these individuals which began on the West Coast. Muhammad had befriended the juvenile Malvo and enlisted him in the attacks. According to Craig Cooley, one of Malvo's defense attorneys, Malvo believed Muhammad when he told him that the $10 million ransom sought from the US government to stop the sniper killings would be used to establish a Utopian society for one hundred and forty homeless black children on a Canadian compound.
Jeffrey Dahmer also known as the Milwaukee Cannibal, was an American serial killer and sex offender, who committed the rape, murder, and dismemberment of 17 men and boys between 1978 and 1991. Many of his later murders involved necrophilia, cannibalism, and the permanent preservation of body parts-typically all or part of the skeleton
Although diagnosed with borderline personality disorder, schizotypal personality disorder, and a psychotic disorder, Dahmer was found to be legally sane at his trial. Convicted of 15 of the 16 murders he had committed in Wisconsin, Dahmer was sentenced to 15 terms of life imprisonment on February 15, 1992. He was later sentenced to a 16th term of life imprisonment for an additional homicide committed in Ohio in 1978. On November 28, 1994, Dahmer was beaten to death by Christopher Scarver, a fellow inmate at the Columbia Correctional Institution.
Beginning in the early hours of July 23, 1991, Dahmer was questioned by Detective Patrick Kennedy as to the murders he had committed and the evidence found at his apartment. Over the following two weeks, Kennedy and, later, Detective Patrick Murphy conducted numerous interviews with Dahmer which, when combined, totalled over 60 hours. Dahmer waived his right to have a lawyer present throughout his interrogations, adding he wished to confess all as he had "created this horror and it only makes sense I do everything to put an end to it." He readily admitted to having murdered 16 young men in Wisconsin since 1987, with one further victim-Steven Hicks-killed in Ohio back in 1978.
Most of the victims had been rendered unconscious prior to their murder, although some had died as a result of having acid or boiling water injected into their brain. (As he had no memory of the murder of Tuomi, he was unsure whether he was unconscious when beaten to death, although he did concede it was possible that his viewing the exposed chest of Steven Tuomi while in a drunken stupor may have led him to unsuccessfully attempt to tear Tuomi's heart from his chest.) Almost all the murders Dahmer committed after moving into the Oxford Apartments had involved a ritual of posing the victims' bodies in suggestive positions-typically with the chest thrust outwards-prior to dismemberment.
He readily admitted to performing necrophilia with several of his victims' bodies, including performing sexual acts with their viscera as he dismembered their bodies in his bathtub. Having noted that much of the blood pooled inside his victims' chest after death, Dahmer first removed their internal organs, then suspended the torso so the blood drained into his bathtub, before dicing any organs he did not wish to retain and paring the flesh from the body.
The bones he wished to dispose of were pulverized or acidified, with Soilex and bleach solutions used to aid in the preservation of the skeletons and skulls he wished to keep. In addition, he confessed to having consumed the hearts, livers, biceps, and portions of thighs of several victims killed within the previous year.
Describing the increase in his rate of killing in the two months prior to his arrest, he stated he had been "completely swept along" with his compulsion to kill, adding: "It was an incessant and never-ending desire to be with someone at whatever cost. Someone good looking, really nice looking. It just filled my thoughts all day long." When asked as to why he had preserved a total of seven skulls and the entire skeletons of two victims, Dahmer stated he had been in the process of constructing a private altar of victims' skulls which he had intended to adorn upon the black table located in his living room and upon which he had photographed the bodies of many of his victims.
This display of skulls was to be adorned at each side with the complete skeletons of Ernest Miller and Oliver Lacy. The four severed heads found in his kitchen were to be removed of all flesh and used in this altar, as was the skull of at least one future victim. Incense sticks were to be placed at each end of the black table, above which Dahmer intended to place a large blue lamp with extending blue globe lights.
The entire construction was to be placed before a window covered with a black, opaque shower curtain, in front of which Dahmer intended to sit in a black leather chair. When asked in a November 18, 1991 interview who the altar was dedicated to, Dahmer replied: "Myself ... It was a place where I could feel at home." He further described his intended altar as a "place for meditation," from where he believed he could draw a sense of power, adding: "If this [his arrest] had happened six months later, that's what they would have found."
On the morning of November 28, 1994, Dahmer left his cell to conduct his assigned work detail. Accompanying him were two fellow inmates: Jesse Anderson and Christopher Scarver. The trio was left unsupervised in the showers of the prison gym for approximately 20 minutes. At approximately 8:10 a.m. Dahmer was discovered on the floor of the bathrooms of the gym suffering from extreme head and facial wounds; he had been severely bludgeoned about the head and face with a 20-inch (51 cm) metal bar. His head had also been repeatedly struck against the wall in the assault. Although Dahmer was still alive and was rushed to a nearby hospital, he was pronounced dead one hour later.
Mary Bell is an English woman who, as a child aged 10-11 in 1968, strangled to death two toddlers in Scotswood, an inner-city suburb in the West End district of Newcastle upon Tyne. She was convicted in December 1968 of the manslaughter of Martin Brown (aged 4) and Brian Howe (aged 3). Since her release from prison in 1980, she has lived under a series of pseudonyms. Her identity has been protected by a court order, which has also been extended to protect the identity of her daughter. In 1998, Bell collaborated with Gitta Sereny on an account of her life, in which she details the abuse she suffered as a child at the hands of her mother - a prostitute - and her mother's clients.
In 1980, Bell, aged 23, was released from Askham Grange open prison after having served 12 years and was granted anonymity (including a new name), allowing her to start a new life. Four years later she had a daughter, born on 25 May 1984. Bell's daughter did not know of her mother's past until Bell's location was discovered by reporters in 1998 and she and her mother had to leave their house with bed sheets over their heads.
Peter Kurten was a German serial killer known as both The Vampire of Dusseldorf and the Dusseldorf Monster, who committed a series of murders and sexual assaults between February and November 1929 in the city of Dusseldorf. In the years prior to these assaults and murders, Kurten had amassed a lengthy criminal record for offenses including arson and attempted murder. He also confessed to the 1913 murders of a 9-year-old girl in Mulheim am Rhein, and a 17-year-old girl in Loscheckes.
Described by Karl Berg (de) as "the king of the sexual perverts," Kurten was found guilty of nine counts of murder and seven counts of attempted murder for which he was sentenced to death by beheading in April 1931. He was subsequently executed in July 1931. Kurten became known as The Vampire of Dusseldorf as he occasionally made attempts to drink the blood from his victims' wounds, and the Dusseldorf Monster both because the majority of his murders were committed in and around the city of Dusseldorf, and the savagery he inflicted upon his victims' bodies.
John Haigh commonly known as the Acid Bath Murderer, was an English serial killer. He was convicted for the murder of six people, although he claimed to have killed nine. He battered or shot his victims to death and used concentrated sulphuric acid to destroy their corpses before forging papers so he could sell the victims' possessions and collect substantial sums of money.
During the investigation, it became apparent that Haigh was using the acid to destroy victims' bodies because he misunderstood the meaning of the term corpus delicti, and mistakenly believed that, if the bodies could not be found, a murder conviction would not be possible. Despite the absence of his victims' bodies, there was sufficient scientific evidence for him to be convicted for the murders and subsequently executed.
Charles Manson was an American criminal and cult leader. In the late 1960s, he formed what became known as the Manson Family, a quasi-commune in California. Manson's followers committed a series of nine murders at four locations in July and August 1969. In 1971 he was convicted of first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit murder for the deaths of seven people, all of which were carried out at his instruction by members of the group. Manson was also convicted of first-degree murder for two other deaths.
At the time the Manson Family began to form, Manson was an unemployed ex-convict who had spent half of his life in correctional institutions for a variety of offenses. Before the murders, he was a singer-songwriter on the fringe of the Los Angeles music industry, chiefly through a chance association with Dennis Wilson, drummer and founding member of the Beach Boys. Manson believed in what he called "Helter Skelter", a term he took from the Beatles' song of the same name to describe an impending apocalyptic race war. He believed the murders would help precipitate that war.
From the beginning of his notoriety, a pop culture arose around him in which he ultimately became an emblem of insanity, violence and the macabre. After Manson was charged with the crimes of which he was later convicted, recordings of songs written and performed by him were released commercially, starting with Lie: The Love and Terror Cult (1970). Various musicians have covered some of his songs. Manson was originally sentenced to death, but his sentence was commuted to life with the possibility of parole after California invalidated the state's death penalty statute in 1972. He served out his life sentence at California State Prison in Corcoran and died at age 83 on November 19, 2017.
In the late 1960s, Manson attracted a quasi-communal cult based in California that was later dubbed the "Manson Family". The group was involved in the murder of Gary Hinman in July 1969, then gained national notoriety after the murder of actress Sharon Tate and four others in her home on August 9, 1969, and Leno and Rosemary LaBianca the next day. The Tate-LaBianca Murders were executed by Tex Watson and three other members of the Family, acting under the specific instructions of Manson. Family members were also responsible for other assaults, thefts, crimes, and the attempted assassination of United States President Gerald Ford in Sacramento
Manson was admitted to state prison from Los Angeles County on April 22, 1971, for seven counts of first-degree murder and one count of conspiracy to commit murder for the deaths of Abigail Ann Folger, Wojciech Frykowski, Steven Earl Parent, Sharon Tate Polanski, Jay Sebring and Leno and Rosemary LaBianca. He was sentenced to death. When the death penalty was ruled unconstitutional in 1972, he was resentenced to life with the possibility of parole. His original death sentence was modified to life on February 2, 1977.
In the 1980s, Manson gave four interviews. The first, recorded at California Medical Facility and aired June 13, 1981, was by Tom Snyder for NBC's The Tomorrow Show. The second, recorded at San Quentin State Prison and aired March 7, 1986, was by Charlie Rose for CBS News Nightwatch; it won the national news Emmy Award for "Best Interview" in 1987. The third, with Geraldo Rivera in 1988, was part of that journalist's prime-time special on Satanism. At least as early as the Snyder interview, Manson's forehead bore a swastika, in the spot where the X carved during his trial had been.
On April 11, 2012, Manson was denied release at his 12th parole hearing, which he did not attend. Since his March 27, 1997 parole hearing, Manson refused to attend any of his future hearings. The panel at that hearing noted that Manson had a "history of controlling behavior" and "mental health issues" including schizophrenia and paranoid delusional disorder, and was too great a danger to be released. The panel also noted that Manson had received 108 rules violation reports, had no indication of remorse, no insight into the causative factors of the crimes, lacked understanding of the magnitude of the crimes, had an exceptional, callous disregard for human suffering and had no parole plans. It was determined that Manson would not be reconsidered for parole for another 15 years (i.e. not before 2027, at which time he would have been 92 years old
On September 25, 1984, Manson was imprisoned in the California Medical Facility at Vacaville when a fellow inmate, Jan Holmstrom, poured paint thinner on him and set him on fire, causing second- and third-degree burns on over 20 percent of his body. Holmstrom explained that Manson had objected to his Hare Krishna chants and verbally threatened him.
In 2009, a Los Angeles DJ and songwriter named Matthew Roberts released correspondence and other evidence indicating that he may have been biologically fathered by Manson. Roberts' biological mother claims to have been a member of the Manson Family who left in mid-1967 after being raped by Manson; she returned to her parents' home to complete the pregnancy, gave birth on March 22, 1968, and subsequently put Roberts up for adoption. Manson himself stated that he "could" be the father, acknowledging the biological mother and a sexual relationship with her during 1967; this was nearly two years before the Family began its murderous phase.
In 2014, it was announced that Manson was engaged to 26-year-old Afton Elaine "Star" Burton while he was still in prison, and it was also announced that he had obtained a marriage license on November 7. Burton had been visiting Manson in prison for at least nine years, and she maintained several websites that proclaimed his innocence. The wedding license expired on February 5, 2015, without a marriage ceremony taking place. It was later reported that, according to journalist Daniel Simone, the wedding was cancelled after it was discovered that Burton only wanted to marry Manson so she and a friend, Craig "Gray Wolf" Hammond, could use his corpse as a tourist attraction after his death.