Serial Killer: 16 Scary Serial Killer and Their Stories

famous serial killers

Serial killers are criminals who still scare people in many parts of the USA, although they are not seen much in our country. The blood-curdling murders they committed and their methods; this caused serial killers to become almost legends. Over the years, many psychological profiling studies have been conducted to understand the minds of serial killers and to uncover the motives that led to the murder. However, it is still not possible to fully understand the minds of these people. In this content, we take a closer look at our list of serial killers , where we examine 16 killers who once instilled fear in people’s hearts.

16) Carl Panzram

carl panzram the killer

  • Murders: 5 (Proven), 21 (Confessed), 100 (Suspected)

Carl Panzram is one of the most sadistic people to ever walk into the world. This serial killer, who actively committed crimes between 1899 and 1929, has signed many different crimes in addition to murder. Rape, arson and theft are just a few of Carl Panzram’s crimes other than murder.

Claiming to have sexually assaulted more than 1,000 children and young men, this monster also managed to escape from prison many times. He was most recently executed in 1930 after killing a laundry attendant at Leavenworth Prison. Awaiting his turn on death row, Carl Panzram became friends with officer Henry Lesser. Lesser was paying Panzram so he could buy cigarettes all the time.

Carl Panzram

Henry Lesser even gave Carl Panzram pen and paper to write his memoirs on. Panzram’s memoirs were later published as a book called Killer: A Journal of Murder . The opening words of Carl Panzram in this book are as follows:

I’ve killed 21 people in my life; I have committed thousands of thefts, robberies, arson and sexually assaulted thousands of men. I don’t have the slightest regret for all of this.When asked for his last words before Carl Panzram was executed, he gave an answer that was not surprising. The last words of Carl Panzram “Hurry up, Hoosier scumbag. I would have killed a dozen men while you lingered.has been.

15) David Berkowitz (Son of Sam)

son of sam serial killers

  • Murders: 6

When the calendars showed the year 1976, New York City was about to surrender itself to the criminal world. There was also an economic crisis in the city, where the streets were uncanny and all kinds of crimes were committed in the side streets. Right in the middle of this mess, someone approached the cars where people were chatting in the park and started shooting. All sorts of crime was rampant in New York, but there was no serial killer.

Until David Berkowitz, known as Son of Sam , starts shooting random people. David Berkowitz, who killed 6 people and injured 13 people until 1977, was caught a year after the first murder. In this 1 year, people were afraid to even go out, and social activities were minimized. Son of Sam, the biggest and most famous case of the USA and the world at that time, brought many speculations with it.

David Berkowitz

Because a lot of evidence emerged that David did not commit these murders alone. The two sons of David’s neighbor Sam Carr were also said to be the real Son of Sam. It was Maury Terry who uncovered this evidence and found that the murders were linked to a satanic cult. However, many institutions, especially the New York police, ignored this evidence in order not to damage their reputation.

These events were never fully resolved, although David Berkowitz confirmed his cult affiliation and other names involved in the murders. Today, David Berkowitz is still alive and serving a life sentence at the Shawangunk Correctional Facility.

14) Richard Speck

Richard Speck

  • Murders: 8

Although Richard Speck is mentioned as a serial killer in many sources, his story is a bit strange. Speck, who started drinking alcohol at the age of 13, was a teenager who spent almost every day intoxicated. Again, Speck, who has been in and out of jail since this age, did not have serious crimes. Richard Speck was mainly involved in petty thefts and forgery. As a result of these crimes, he was released on parole, usually after a few months. Until July 1966…

Speck, who was quite drunk and under the influence of drugs, was intent on robbery. For this reason, he entered a dormitory room where female nurses were staying. Gathering the 9 women living in the flat into a room with a knife in his hand, Speck tied all his victims together with a sheet. But Speck’s mind began to work differently because of the drugs and alcohol he was under the influence of. Because Speck, who was constantly in and out of jail, was determined not to leave any eyewitnesses behind.

Richard Speck

That’s why the killer, who took the nurses out of the room one by one, killed all his victims one by one. He raped his most recent victim, Gloria Davy, 22, before killing him. But there was something Richard Speck miscalculated. In the apartment he entered, Speck had committed only eight murders, but the number of nurses living was nine, because one of the nurses, Corazon Amurao, had been untied and hid under the bed when Speck led his first victim out of the room.

Later, Speck was captured thanks to survivor Corazon Amurao. After Amurao escaped, he told the cops that Speck had a tattoo that read “Born To Raise Hell”. Speck, who committed suicide at the Starr Hotel, where he was staying two days after the murders, was taken to the hospital. LeRoy Smith, the doctor who treated him at this hospital, recognized Speck from his tattoo. Speck, who was caught after this point, was sentenced to 8 life sentences. Speck died of a heart attack in 1991 at the age of 49.

13) Edmund Kemper

ed kemper

  • Murders: 10

Co-ed Killer Edmund Kemper is a character who is quite sympathetic to many people, despite his horrific crimes. But Edmund Kemper is a highly intelligent villain who has chased detectives for years. Edmund Kemper’s murders began when he was just 15 years old. Kemper, whose parents divorced at an early age, moved with his mother to Montana. Edmund, who was abused by his mother and depressed, returned to California at the age of 15.

Here he killed his grandfather and grandmother. The court referred Kemper to Atascadero State Hospital on the grounds that he was paranoid schizophrenic. Edmund, who spent 6 years here, was released at the age of 21 after convincing the doctors that he was cured. Kemper, a giant 2.06 meters tall, had a very high intelligence with an IQ of 145.

edmund kemper

Edmund Kemper, who began his main murders in 1964, often targeted college women who were hitchhiking. Kemper, who raped and killed his victims, then took the dead bodies home and cut off their heads and other limbs. Kemper originally wanted to be a cop, but was denied due to his height. He hung out in police bars all the time and was friends with many of the detectives who worked on murders he committed.

After killing his mother in 1973, he confessed to a detective he knew and surrendered. Kemper, who was sentenced to seven life sentences, is now 72 and still serving his sentence at the California Medical Facility. Despite Kemper’s multiple chances of parole, he refused these opportunities, saying he was not ready to appear in public. Kemper is one of the most mild-tempered criminals you can see among serial killers.

12) Dennis Rader (BTK Killer)

dennis rader serial killers

  • Murders: 10

Dennis Rader , who was constantly making fun of the cops after him and could only be caught 34 years later, is one of the most famous names among serial killers. Dennis Rader, code-named BTK (bind, torture, kill) meaning “bind, torture, kill”, sent dozens of letters to the police and newspapers over the years when he committed his murders. In fact, he was not caught even though he called 911 from the house where he committed murder once and reported himself.

Tying up and torturing his victims had been Dennis Rader’s biggest fantasy since he was a teenager. He would constantly wear women’s underwear, tie himself up, and in this way x-ray his neighbors. Rader was described as a very calm and polite person in his daily life. He was also the head of the council of the Christ Lutheran Church. Dennis Rader, who killed 10 people from 1974 to 1991, enjoyed himself by impersonating his victims during the cooling down period.

dennis rader btk

Meanwhile, Dennis was disguising himself as his female victims, tying himself up, and wearing a female mask. He also took pictures of himself during this time, as he did with his victims. By 2004, Dennis was planning to start killing again. He began sending a series of letters to newspapers and to the police. In one of these letters, Dennis asked the police if he could be traced if he transferred his writings to a floppy disk.

The police, on the other hand, naturally replied that they could not be followed. Rader, who later sent some clues on a floppy disk, missed something. It was also a Word file he had forgotten, edited under his own name. Dennis Rader was captured in 2005 thanks to this Word file. Dennis, who was sentenced to 7 life sentences, is now 76 years old and still serving his sentence.

11) Dennis Nilsen (Muswell Hill Murderer)

dennis nilsen serial killer

  • Murders: 15

Dennis Nilsen , who killed 15 men in England, is one of England’s biggest serial killers. Nilsen, who had a very troubled childhood and youth, was also struggling with the difficulties of being gay. Nilsen, who is usually alone, started to commit murders just to get rid of this loneliness.

One of the most important reasons for Nilsen’s problems is the sexual abuse she experienced as a child. Nilsen, who was not very excited and alone in her life, started killing young men in 1978. This “adventure” of Nilsen begins when she meets 14-year-old Stephen Holmes in a bar. Inviting Holmes, who was trying to drink alcohol at the bar, to his home, Nilsen thought that the young man was 17 years old.

dennis nilsen

Fearing that Holmes would abandon him after spending a night together, Nilsen strangled the sleeping youth to death. From that point on, Nilsen invited and killed 15 men in her home until 1983 and continued to hide their bodies. Until the bodies of the corpses began to emit an incredible odor.

Nilsen, who then tried to escape by burning and dismembering the bodies and flushing them down the toilet, failed. In 1983, neighbors complained to the police about clogged toilet pipes and the smell. On this complaint, Dennis Nilsen was caught and sentenced to life imprisonment. He died in 2018 while serving his sentence.

10) William Bonin (The Freeway Killer)

william bonin the highway killer

  • Murders: 14 (Proof), 21-36+ (Suspected)

William Bonin , who has an interesting place among serial killers, is a murderer who kills for “pleasure”. Bonin’s life, like many serial killers, did not start out easy. William Bonin, whose father was an alcoholic, gambler, and abuser, was placed in his grandfather’s care for a time, along with his siblings. But Bonin’s grandfather was also a child abuser and had sexually abused his mother at the time.

Thereupon, Bonin was placed in an orphanage and left the orphanage at the age of 9 to live with his family. As a matter of fact, he was caught stealing license plates when he was 10 years old. Thereupon, Bonin was placed in a juvenile prison. In his adolescence, William began to turn to other types of crime. This new crime was sexual abuse against young boys. Therefore, Bonin, who was arrested but escaped with psychological treatment, participated in the Vietnam War.

william bonin

Returning from the war with achievement medals, Bonin started working as a truck driver. At this very moment, young men who were hitchhiking on the side of the road began to attract her attention. Bonin, who took men hitchhiking by the roadside from 1979 to 1980 in his vehicle, raped and tortured them. Then he started killing and throwing the bodies on the roadside.

That’s why he was called The Freeway Killer. In 1980, Bonin was caught by the police in Hollywood. Bonin was thought to have had at least 21 unproven, although 14 murders were proven. Bonin was executed by lethal injection at the age of 49. He also became the first criminal to be executed by lethal injection in California.

9) Richard Ramírez (Night Stalker)

night stalker serial killers

  • Murders: 15+

Serial killers were once the most notorious criminals to strike fear into the hearts of American individuals. But there is such a name among serial killers; Few criminals have had such a large fan base after being caught.

Richard Ramírez, who committed horrific crimes by breaking into random homes in Los Angeles from 1984 to 1985, was nicknamed the Night Stalker for his methods. Ramírez, who committed murders regardless of ethnicity, gender, age or marital status, was a murderer that detectives had never encountered before.

night stalker

So much so that the connection between the murders committed by Richard Ramírez could only be established with the print of his shoes. Richard Ramírez, who left satanic marks at the crime scene, was considered the devil incarnated in the world. During his trial, he spoke many words about satanism and gained himself a large fan base.

Ramírez fascinated hundreds of women, especially because of his uncanny “bad boy” image and his satanic nature. Richard Ramírez, who was sentenced to death and awaited his turn on the death row, died of cancer in 2013 at the age of 53.

8) Jeffrey Dahmer (Milwaukee Cannibal)

jeffrey dahmer serial killers

  • Murders: 17

Still of interest to those interested in criminal psychology, Jeffrey Dahmer is one of the most interesting serial killers. Dahmer was not content with only murder, but also committed crimes of necrophilia, cannibalism and torture. Contrary to what comes to mind when it comes to serial killers, Dahmer had a normal childhood. His family was together, their situation was good, and he was happy. But towards the age of 15, some problems began to appear in Jeffrey Dahmer’s personality.

Increasingly withdrawn and never socializing, Dahmer also started to drink heavily. Alcoholism caused Dahmer to start being kicked out of everywhere he attended. Dahmer, who was first expelled from the university for not attending classes, then joined the army and was expelled from there for being an alcoholic. On his way to Florida, Dahmer started working at a hospital there, but was fired again for his alcoholism.

jeffrey dahmer

In 1986, he was arrested for masturbating in front of a boy. Meanwhile, Dahmer was committing his gruesome murders. Because Jeffrey Dahmer started committing murder in 1978. Dahmer, who often invited gay African-American men to spend time at his home, raped them after killing them, ate the parts he liked, and kept the skulls or genitals of his victims as souvenirs.

These murders amounted to one person per week in 1991. Jeffrey Dahmer was captured thanks to his latest victim, Tracy Edwards. Edwards, who managed to escape from Dahmer’s house before he was killed, ensured the capture of Jeffrey Dahmer with the cops he came across on the road. Dahmer, who committed 17 murders and was tried for 15 murders, was sentenced to 957 years in prison. However, in the second year of his sentence, he was shot in the head with an iron bar and killed in prison.

7) Paul John Knowles (The Casanova Killer)

the casanova killer

  • Murders: 20 (Proven), 35+ (Suspected)

Paul John Knowles, known as The Casanova Killer , managed to commit 35 murders in a short time. Although Knowles committed 35 murders, he could only be associated with 20 of these murders. Paul John Knowles, who had a very good appearance, was nicknamed the Casanova Killer for this reason. Knowles, who spent his youth in foster families, was convicted in Florida State Penitentiary when he was 19 years old.

While Knowles was in prison, it is not known how he began to correspond with a woman named Angelina Covic. Later, when Angelina visited him, he proposed to her and she answered yes. Angelina helped Knowles get out of jail. Released from prison in early 1974, Knowles traveled directly to California to be with Angelica. But he broke up with Angelica Knowles after a fortuneteller warned him about the dangerous man who had entered her life.

Paul John Knowles

Back in Florida, Knowles got into a bar fight and stabbed the bartender. Detained, Knowles escaped custody by unlocking the jail cell. Knowles’ murders also began the night he escaped from custody. Knowles, who fled in July 1974, committed 35 murders before he was caught in November. Knowles, who was last detected for the stolen vehicle, managed to escape again by taking a police officer hostage.

But this time his escape did not last long. He was caught in the woods, from which he fled after he was wounded in the leg during the chase. Knowles, who confessed to having committed 35 murders, died before all the murders could be attributed to him. Because while being taken to the crime scene where he killed police officer Charles Eugene Campbell, he tried to escape again in the police car. Knowles was shot and killed by detective Ronnie Angel as a result. Because of this, Knowles had an ending that we don’t see very often among serial killers.

6) Ted Bundy

ted bundy seri katiller

  • Murders: 20 (Proven), 30 (Confessed)

Ted Bundy is undoubtedly one of the first names that come to mind when serial killers are mentioned. Ted Bundy, who has been the subject of countless documentaries, movies and books, is also one of the most educated and social serial killers ever. Bundy, who confessed to killing 30 people between 1974 and 1978, had fought for his own case for a long time before his confession and denied everything.

The reason why this war took so long was that he was also a lawyer. It is also said that the definition of serial killer was first put forward for Ted Bundy. In fact, Ted Bundy, who had a fairly normal childhood, was a sociable and good-looking young man. He always had girlfriends, had many friends, and was a well-known amateur politician, albeit on a small scale.

ted bundy

Ted Bundy had a growing morbid misogyny. These feelings start in Washington and extend to many states and cities; It led to an estimated more than 30 murders. Thanks to his generally good looks, Bundy was able to approach women and actually kill them without kidnapping or using force.

Bundy, who accepted the offer of journalists who wanted to interview him after trying every possible way and still receiving the death penalty, confessed to 30 murders he committed while talking about himself as a third person. Legally, only 20 murders could be associated with him. When the murders thought to have been committed by Ted Bundy are taken into account, the death toll approaches 100.

5) Dean Corll (The Pied Piper)

dean corll

  • Murders: 28+

Dean Corll , nicknamed the Pied Piper, is considered one of the worst serial killers in US history. This murderer, who murdered boys between the ages of 13 and 18, is responsible for the deaths of over 38 children. Also nicknamed Candyman, Corll grew up working in the candy store his mother and stepfather opened. Corll also happened to sugar brands that later grew into factories.

Corll was known for giving out candies to poor children, and it was at this time that he got the nickname Candyman. Corll, who later joined the army, was expelled for having homosexual tendencies. After returning from the army, Corll, who continued the candy business, was questioned many times because of his interest in boys.

dean corll

Dean Corll, who closed the factory when things got worse, started working as an electrician and met David Brooks during this period. Dean Corll, who committed his first murder with David Brooks, later met David’s friend Elmer Wayne.

This group had begun to commit murder as a trio. In the group, Dean committed the murders, Elmer found the victims, and David helped with the murders in exchange for drugs. Dean Corll’s death is rather strange. Bringing girls to Corll’s house to spend time with, Elmer Wayne later finds himself a victim of Corll’s. Elmer Wayne, who killed Dean in order to save his friends and himself, brought all the events to light by surrendering to the police.

4) John Wayne Gacy (Killer Clown)

john wayne gacy katil palyaço

  • Murders: 33+

Known as the Killer Clown , John Wayne Gacy is one of the most notorious serial killers of the 1970s. Gacy, a clown with the stage name Pogo the Clown, was entertaining children in hospitals for a charity. As we’ve seen from many serial killers, Gacy would lure young men and young children into his home under the pretext of having fun, telling his victims he’d put on a magic show. Binding the hands of his victims in this way, Gacy would first rape them and then kill his victims, usually by strangulation.

Gacy committed all of his murders in the farmhouse he owned after his divorce from his second wife. After his capture, 27 bodies were found buried in Gacy’s basement. Described as a very helpful and good-natured person by his surroundings, Gacy was a person who was a KFC manager for a while and was at a good point in his career. Nobody knew the dark side of Gacy, who suffered from psychological distress due to a blow to the head when he was 11 years old. This aspect of Gacy began to emerge later.

john wayne gacy seri katiller

Gacy first sexually assaulted a 15-year-old boy while living in Iowa. He was paroled after spending 18 months in prison. Returning to Chicago, Gacy started volunteering as a clown and started his company, where he worked as a part-time contractor. It was during this period that Gacy began his rapes and murders. Actively murdered from 1972 to 1978, Gacy murdered over 33 young men.

At a pharmacy where he last went for architectural renovation, he caught a glimpse of a 15-year-old employee named Robert Piest. Insinuating that he could get him a job where he could make more money, Gacy lured Piest to his home that way and killed himself that same night. This event led to Gacy’s capture. Because Robert Piest left saying that he would meet with an employer and never came back. The owner of the pharmacy, Phil Torf, managed to direct the police to Gacy. Gacy, who was acting suspiciously, was caught by police chief Joseph Kozenczak after a series of investigations and search warrants. The Killer Clown, awaiting his turn in Death Row, was executed by lethal injection in 1994.

3) Gary Ridgway (The Green River Killer)

gary ridgway seri katiller

  • Murders: 49 (Proven), 71 (Confessed)

Gary Ridgway , one of the most notorious killers in the history of US serial killers, committed dozens of murders from 1982 to 2001. Ridgway often killed prostitutes or young women who had to run away from home and live on the streets. In addition, this notorious murderer had intercourse with the bodies of the women he had killed.

Ridgway, who had a very troubled childhood and youth, got married immediately after high school. After marriage, he joined the Vietnam War. Ridgway, who participated in the hot conflicts in the war, had been with numerous prostitutes during his duty and there was no sexual disease he had not caught. Ridgway, who divorced his wife as soon as he returned from the war, took on a religious identity with his second wife and was a missionary from door to door.

gary ridgway

Ridgway, who became a fanatical devotee, continued to be with prostitutes despite being married. Because prostitutes were kind of Ridgway’s fetish, and he was obsessed with these women. Ridgway’s obsession later began to degenerate into murder and necrophilia. Ridgway, who killed dozens of prostitutes he took in his truck and took to desolate areas, was also repeatedly having intercourse with the bodies of the people he later killed.

Gary Ridgway, who was caught with DNA tests within the technical means in 2001, confessed to killing about 71 women in the Green River area. Gary Ridgway, now 72, is serving a life sentence at the Washington State Penitentiary.

2) Luis Garavito (The Beast)

luis garavito seri katiller

  • Murders: 138 (Proven), 140 (Confessed), 172 (Suspected)

Luis Garavito is one of the first names that come to mind when serial killers are mentioned. Because he is known as one of the world’s most notorious pedophiles and serial killers. Born and raised in Colombia, Luis Garavito was abused by his father as a child and sexually abused as a teenager. From his youth, Garavito showed signs of psychosis, paranoia, and depression. In the 1970s, it began to move into the ranks of more severe mental illness.

Garavito’s sexual assaults and murders also started during this period. An alcoholic as well as mentally ill, Garavito began attacking children aged 8 to 16. Often targeting poor children and street children, Garavito began hunting down children wandering alone in the countryside.

luis garavito

By offering the children gifts and money, Garavito persuaded them to take small walks. During these marches, he raped and tortured children by pulling them to secluded spots. This child was later found with their bodies dismembered. Captured in 1999, Garavito was on trial for 138 proven murders.

The map showing the victims that Garavito drew during the interrogation indicated that he had committed nearly 300 murders. Garavito was initially sentenced to 1,853 years in prison. However, this sentence was reduced to 40 years due to Colombian laws. After collaborating with the police in finding the bodies, Garavito’s sentence was reduced to 22 years. This terrible beast, now 64 years old, will be released in 2023.

1) Harold Shipman (Dr. Death)

harold shipman seri katiller

  • Murders: 236 (Proof)

The killer with the highest number of victims on our serial killer list is Harold Shipman , known as Dr Death . Harold Shipman, who deliberately killed nearly 250 patients he treated from 1975 to 1998, is one of the most murdered serial killers to date.

Harold Shipman first changed the records of his patients, giving them serious illnesses. Later, he killed his patients by injecting diamorphine, or heroin. Shipman himself was addicted to heavy painkillers. He was caught because he prescribed a large amount of a drug called Pethidine and was hospitalized for a long time in the rehabilitation center.

harold shipman

Leaving the rehabilitation center, Shipman began working at Donneybrook Medical Centre. He served here for 20 years and committed his murders in this hospital. In 1998, morgue attendant Linda Reynolds began to suspect the death rates of Shipman’s patients, but police couldn’t find enough evidence.

The death of Shipman’s latest victim, Kathleen Grundy, led to her arrest. Convicted in 2000, Harold Shipman was convicted of just 15 murders. Shipman’s 236 murders have been proven. However, the physical evidence could not be presented to the court, as the vast majority of the victims were cremated. Sentenced to life in prison, Shipman committed suicide by hanging himself in his cell in 2004.

Other content that might interest you after our list of serial killers:

The Italian Mafia: The Bloody Face of History and the Mafia Bosses

Famous Names Diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder and Their Stories

Origin and Meaning of the Middle Finger Sign

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