Serial killers are a fascinating group of people. They kill different types of victims, live in different parts of the world, and have unique motivations for killing. In this article, we will explore some of the most infamous serial killers in history.
These are the people who have been featured on America’s Most Wanted and FBI’s most wanted list. Read on to find out more about their story and why they became so notorious.
1. The Zodiac Killer
Robert Hansen claimed he was the elusive Zodiac killer. He has been in prison since 1975 and was convicted in 1976 for murders committed in California. His current whereabouts are unknown.
2. BTK Killer
For most of his life,“BTK” carried out gruesome murders with a three pronged intention: To kill, torture, and scare. The notorious serial killer murdered 10 people, all in Wichita, Kansas between 1974 and 1990.
The accused, Dennis Rader, murdered the victims by luring them into his home with promises of drugs or money. Over the course of three decades, he left gifts and letters in each of his victims’ homes. He then bound the victims, raped them, strangled them, and buried them in rural areas in and around the town. Afterward, he used the letters and gifts to taunt the police, family, and neighbors.
However, the BTK killer left no clues behind, and it wasn’t until 2005 that his gruesome murders became public.
3. Aileen Wuornos
Aileen Wuornos (b. January 22, 1972, Peoria, Illinois) was one of the most notorious serial killers in America.
She is often described as “the epitome of evil.” She was known for the brutality of her crimes. In 1989, Wuornos shot and killed six men. The bodies were found in two separate dumps in Florida. She claimed the men were her “sex partners,” which got her charged with six counts of murder.
Prosecutors brought an insanity defense, but Wuornos was found guilty and sentenced to death. She had been scheduled to be executed in 2002 but escaped due to a technicality. She died of natural causes at the age of 46 on February 19, 2002.
4. Ted Bundy
Ted Bundy was one of the most notorious serial killers in America’s history. He was so called because of the systematic method he used to commit his murders. He would break into his victims’ homes to kill them, by strangling them with their own belt or chains. He also often stole the victim’s belongings. Although there is no known verified photograph of Ted Bundy, he looks like the model above.
When he was arrested, Ted Bundy escaped from prison three times and when he was caught, he killed three more women.
5. John Wayne Gacy
John Wayne Gacy killed 33 boys and young men between 1972 and 1978. Most of these murders took place at his house in Chicago. This man was known as the “Killer Clown” due to his profession as a party clown. He used a number of disguises to lure his victims including a policeman, a priest, a Roman Catholic priest, a private investigator and a male prostitute.
Gacy was arrested in 1978. He was convicted and sentenced to death. Although his sentence was carried out in May 1994, he was murdered in prison by fellow prisoners. Most people do not know this, but Gacy also provided tissues for cannibals in South America.
6. Richard Ramirez
Many serial killers have a bad childhood but Richard Ramirez was an outcast at home as well. Richard’s parents had a very difficult relationship, as both were alcoholics and his father suffered from epilepsy. Richard grew up in a tough neighborhood and got into a lot of fights as a child. Ramirez was later arrested for two brutal murders: he raped and killed a 7-year-old girl and later stabbed a man to death.
Despite his horrifying crimes, Richard Ramirez was only convicted of two murders. Unfortunately, he was found guilty of committing the murders in 1984, before the public became well-acquainted with violent crimes in the 1980’s. During the trial, his three victims were brought to the court to show how easy it is to kill someone.
7. Dennis Rader
Dennis Arthur Rader, also known as the BTK killer, was born in Louisville, Kentucky on January 24, 1945. He was the first to use the letters “BTK” (Bellicose Tormentor) to identify and attack his victims. Rader was arrested and charged with killing 10 women and a teenage girl in the Kansas City, Kansas area between 1974 and 1991. BTK terrorized the area, but police were finally able to make an arrest.
BTK was sentenced to 10 consecutive life sentences without the possibility of parole and was also placed on the FBI’s 10 most wanted list for a period of 5 years.
At the age of 53, Rader’s oldest child committed suicide, and his wife was later found murdered in her bed. Rader was arrested in 2005 and had been in prison since.
8. Kenneth Bianchi and Angelo Buono Jr.
Kenneth Bianchi is the ultimate American success story. Born in Brooklyn, New York, Bianchi’s father, a successful restaurateur, sent the poor child to live with his grandparents when he was a child. His grandfather had nothing but contempt for him. Bianchi found refuge in the streets of the city, breaking into stores and restaurants. He managed to live off the stolen goods for nearly two years, before he was caught and imprisoned.
Upon his release from prison in 1986, he went to Germany, where he met and married a German woman named Helga. When she became pregnant, they returned to the United States where they settled in California. They moved to Reno where they had two children and lived there for over a year before they were caught for failing to renew their visa.
9. The Yorkshire Ripper
Many people first learned about Alan Turing in 1986, when he was awarded the Turing Award, one of the most prestigious awards in the computer industry. Turing is widely considered to be one of the founders of modern computing. He was one of the brains behind the invention of the world’s first general purpose computer, ENIAC.
Turing was the man responsible for the breaking of the German Enigma Code during World War II. He was so adept at breaking the code, that he would crack it in about a month and a half. His greatest contribution to the war was in 1943, when he came up with a method to allow code breakers to reverse the results of previous computations. It’s estimated that it shortened the war by about two years.
10. David Berkowitz
In the late 1970s, David Berkowitz, who later became known as the Son of Sam, terrorized New York City by randomly shooting at strangers from a car. He killed six people and wounded seven more over a five-month period.
After shooting a man in front of his home, Berkowitz drove away with him, pretending that he was a victim. After dropping off the man, he proceeded to the apartment of his next victim, shooting her dead and fleeing the scene with her car. He also shot at a woman who was walking across a street, then abandoned her in traffic.
When law enforcement officials caught up with Berkowitz in 1975, they approached him as he was hiding behind a tree. They shot him five times and injured him.