This article is part of CleverJourneys ongoing series exploring American history from a perspective that burrows deep into criminal profiles, the penal system, victim’s stories, crime prevention, forensic science, law enforcement and our justice system.
Perhaps these evil individuals were the most sick serial killers of modern times.
Also known as the Son of Sam, David Berkowitz performed a series of shootings in 1976. Using a .44 Bulldog revolver, Berkowitz shot 6 people and wounded 7 more. During his spree, he sent numerous letters to the police and press taunting them.
Kemper was known as “The Co-ed Killer” for the brutal murders he carried out in the 1970’s. After murdering his grandparents when he was 15, Kemper killed and dismembered 6 female hitchhikers. He then murdered his mother and a friend of hers before turning himself in.
Larry Bittaker and Roy Norris
These two men were known as ‘The Tool Box Killers’. Between the two of them, they murdered 5 young women in 1979 across California. The two killers would lure their victims to their van before raping and torturing them with tools.
Ian Brady and Myra Hindley
Between 1963 and 1965, Northern England’s Ian Brady and Myra Hindley killed 5 children, aged between 10 and 17 years old. Their victims were sexually assaulted before being murdered. Three were discovered in graves on Saddleworth Moor, the last victims were discovered within their home.
Kenneth Bianchi and Angelo Bueno
These two men, both cousins, were known as The Hillside Stranglers. Between late 1977 and early 1978, the two men kidnapped, raped, and killed 10 women, aged 12 to 28 years old. Each one was strangled in the hills above Los Angeles.
Shawcross was known as the Genesee River Killer. His first murder was in 1972, when he sexually assaulted and murdered a 10-year-old boy. He then raped and killed an eight-year-old girl. He was released from prison in 1988 after serving 14 years. He then killed 12 female prostitutes, aged 22 to 29 years old, before being captured once more.
Between 1984 and 1985, Richard Ramirez terrorized Los Angeles. He became known as the Night Stalker, and broke into the homes of his victims to shoot, stab, and rape and mutilate them. His victims ranged from a 9-year-old girl to a married couple in their late sixties. He smeared pentagrams on the walls of each crime scene.
Dahmer is one of the most well-known serial killers of all time. In Milwaukee, Dahmer was convicted of raping, murdering, and dismembering 17 men and boys between 1978 and 1991. Upon dismembering the bodies, Dahmer would then devour pieces of them. He was beaten to death by an inmate at Columbia Correctional Institution just two years into his sentence.
Gary Ridgway was arrested in 2001 for 4 separate murders, but later confessed to killing at least 70 women in Washington within the 1980’s and 1990’s. He ultimately avoided the death sentence by leading police to his dumpsite for the bodies, five of which were within the Green River. He was convicted of 49 murders.
Dr. Harold Shipman
Dr. Harold Fredrick Shipman was an English doctor at one point in his life, then he became responsible for around 250 murders. He was respected within his community, but raised concerns when the death rate in the area became too high. He would inject fatal drugs into his patients, causing their deaths, then forge their wills to inherit massive amounts of money from his victims.
Bundy is one of the most prolific serial killers in the 20th century. He kidnapped and raped young women and girls in the 1970’s. He ended up decapitating at least 12 of his victims, keeping their heads in his apartment as a sort of trophy. He escaped from police and court houses on two separate occasions.
Charles Ng and Leonard Lake
Charles Ng and Leonard Lake together raped, tortured, and murdered anywhere between 11 and 25 victims in Calaveras County, California. The two were discovered when police searched Lake’s ranch, finding human remains within.
John Wayne Gacy
John Wayne Gacy sexually assaulted and killed 33 teenage boys and young men throughout Chicago between 1972 and 1978. He lured his victims to his own home with the promise of work or money before he strangled them with a tourniquet. He buried 26 of the bodies in the crawl space below his own house.
Tommy Lynn Sells
Sells claimed to have killed at least 70 people, and is considered one of the most dangerous men in Texas. ‘The Coast to Coast Killer” was convicted of numerous murders between 1985 and 1999, including the stabbing of a 13-year-old girl a total of sixteen times. He broke into the bedroom of a 10-year-old, stabbed her and left her for dead, and then was captured. The young girl survived, thankfully. He was executed at Huntsville prison in 2014.
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