This gentle-looking, benevolent grandfather cleverly lured children to their death, then devised recipes to eat them. This cannibal model for Hannibal Lecter is a study in criminal psychology and a true enigma. His wife thought him to be a wonderful husband and his children believed him to be a model father. What inner torments caused him to drive many spikes into his pelvis and tell people that he looked forward to his execution?
John Borowski's film about the demented child killer is an engaging piece of visual art that has raised the bar on this type of subject.
Half-mad serial murderer roamed from place to place killing families and individuals and stealing their belongings — believing he was commanded by God. He ranks as one of Europe's worst murderers.
The Railroad Killer — updated to include his trial and sentencing.
Author Katherine Ramsland interviews this queen of the true-crime book genre about her beginnings as a writer, her personal life and some of her most fascinating cases.
In the 1970s Atlanta was one of the most dangerous cities in the U.S. A series of murders of black children and teenagers began to emerge, throwing an unwelcome spotlight on the entire city. The murders, believed at that time, to be the work of a racist white group did nothing to recommend the city to tourists and new business opportunities.
Two black boys were found murdered at the end of July 1979, officially starting one of the most highly publicized murder series in history. A couple of years later, 29 black youths would be dead and a black man, Wayne Williams, who many people believe was railroaded by the government, would be imprisoned for life. Recent efforts to vindicate Williams have stalled.
Between June 14, 1962 and January 4, 1964, thirteen women in the Boston area were victims of a single serial killer or possibly several killers. In the early cases, the middle-aged and elderly women were obscenely posed, leaving a very distinct signature. Later cases were quite different, involving young women. The women of Boston were in a panic over the unsolved murders.
Eleven of these murders were popularly known as the Boston Strangler series. All of these women were murdered in their apartments, had been sexually molested, and were strangled with articles of clothing. With no signs of forced entry, the women voluntarily let the killer(s) in their homes. These were respectable women who for the most part led quiet, modest lives.
Even though nobody has ever officially been on trial as the Boston Strangler, the public believed that Albert DeSalvo, who confessed in detail to each of the eleven "official" Strangler murders, as well as two others, was the killer. However, most people who knew him personally did not believe him capable of the vicious crimes and today there is a persuasive case to be made that DeSalvo wasn't the killer after all.
For three decades, the terrifying serial killer who called himself BTK ("Bind, Torture, Kill") was uncaught. First he would cut the phone lines, and then he would get into the house somehow, waiting for his victim to come home. The killings drove Wichita's women into a frenzy, but then the murders unexplicably stopped. Police theorized that BTK could have died or have been incarcerated for some other crime or mental disease, or maybe even moved away.
Then in March, 2004, BTK sent a very convincing letter to the local newspaper, taking responsibility for the September, 1986, unsolved death of Vicki Wegerle. Included with the letter were a photocopy of Wegerle's driver's license and three photos of her body that BTK took after he killed her.
In May, BTK sent a copy of the chapter titles of David Lohr's Crime Library story on the case to a local TV station. Lohr's feature story was the only BTK case history on the Net at that time. However, BTK had changed several of the chapter titles, including one that he changed to "Will There Be More?"
And so, it began again, with BTK impatiently pointing out to police the murders of his that they missed. Finally, BTK made the mistake that culminated in his capture.
Here is the most detailed story of this case as it unfolded in 1974 and then again in 2004.
Author Paul Kidd discusses the roots of seminal serial killer movies and how Hollywood has developed the genre. He reviews his top 15 favorites.
When his marriage went downhill, this male nurse began to relieve the tensions from domestic failure, depression, alcoholism and chronic debt by injecting patients with medicines that were deadly. He was dismissed by several hospitals who suspected that he was killing patients, but employment laws in PA and NJ made hospitals liable if they gave negative comments about former employees. He confessed to murdering 35 patients, but the number may be closer to 40.
Many hardened criminals blame their crimes on their parents, but few have as clear a case as Charles Manson. His mother was an alcoholic prostitute who sold him for a pitcher of beer. In and out of reform school as a youngster, he had an IQ of 109 and became a kind of institutional politician and manipulator by age 19.
From then on his continuous scrapes with the law landed him in prison. His record there described Charlie as having "a tremendous drive to call attention to himself.
On March 21, 1967, Charlie was released from prison in California. He was 32 years old and more than half of his life had been spent in institutions. He protested his freedom. "Oh, no, I can't go outside there...I knew that I couldn't adjust to that world."
Charlie started to attract a group of followers, many of whom were very young women with troubled emotional lives who were rebelling against their parents and society in general.
This was the core of the Manson Family execution team who he ordered to kill pregnant actress Sharon Tate, her wealthy house guests, and the well-to-do LaBiancas.
Charlie was trying to start a race war and vet himself as a prophet of doom.
Imagine that you could earn nearly a million dollars for every year you spent in prison with the understanding that you would likely get out in the prime of your life. Would you take that $15 million deal to make a movie of your life?
Suppose you could live like royalty behind bars, in almost total control, with guests free to come and go as they pleased, cellphones, TV, gourmet food and fine wine to eat and drink. Would that make the deal worth 20 years of your life?
Sobraj is a con man, jewel thief, drug dealer and murderer, but one who lived a life of adventure and intrigue that made him a media celebrity.
Calling himself the Son of Sam, this serial killer terrorized New York City in the late 1970s. What is he doing now and will he ever get paroled?
In recent times, British authorities have prevented his 4,000-page memoir from being published, but on November 4, 2006, he sent a three-page letter from Full Sutton Prison to an editor of The Evening Standard. While in carefully printed prose he discussed the recent development, out of "consideration for the victim's family" he declined to provide the most graphic details. In it, Nilsen described his encounter with the fourteen-year-old boy whose death, he once had stated, had "changed my life as I knew it." His name was Stephen Dean Holmes and, despite his youth, Nilsen apparently met him in the Cricklewood Arms pub. That was in 1978, twenty-eight years ago. While Nilsen wrote that Stephen was the first of twelve victims, the police estimate that he actually killed at least 15. He has said he'll assist in the identification of all of his victims, but seven remain unidentified. Stephen was once in this group, because at the time of Nilsen's arrest, he had not known who the boy was. He'd been on a drunken binge during their encounter and later could not find identification papers on the body. Thus, Nilsen was not charged with this murder when tried for six others. Nilsen is England's version of the American Jeffrey Dahmer.
The pleasant British family doctor who is believe to have murdered up to 260 of his patients, making him perhaps the most prolific serial killer in history. Shipman mocked his victims and used derogatory codes for them, such as WOW — Whining Old Woman — and FTPBI — Failed To Put Brain In. He also viewed himself as the "star" of his trial.
The stench hovered over the Sacramento neighborhood like a putrid fog, sickly sweet and pungent. Everyone knew where it came from - the yard of the pale blue Victorian at 1426 F Street, where Dorothea Puente rented out rooms to elderly and infirm boarders.
No one suspected that the sweet-faced, grandmotherly lady was systematically drugging and killing her frail boarders and burying their remains in the yard she so lovingly tended. She got away with murder for years.
Considered to be a mild-mannered bachelor whose emotional development had been stunted by his domineering mother, he shocked the world when police found his vest of human skin and a cache of body parts. Gein is the model for The Silence of the Lambs' Buffalo Bill and Psycho's Norman Bates.
At age 15, this genius-level serial killer killed his grandparents. Then he killed pretty hitchhikers and ended up decapitating his mother.
They were the typical family next door, or at least they appeared to be. But 1994 witnessed the slow peeling away of the layers of secrets hidden in the ordinary house at 25 Cromwell Street, now known as the Gloucester House of Horrors. Rose was running a thriving prostitution business, bearing illegitimate, mixed race children one after another, while Fred lured young women to stay at the house. While that may have provoked scandal, police discovered that Fred & Rose turned their children and guests into sex slaves and murdered them when they tried to escape.
Scores of women murdered in the Seattle area results in the longest running homicide investigation in U.S. history. Finally DNA evidence points the finger at Gary Leon Ridgway as the Green River killer
Young psychopath obsessed with poisons grows up to be the expert St. Albans Poisoner, assisted by negligent authorities.
Scores of women murdered in the Seattle area results in the longest running homicide investigation in U.S. history. Finally DNA evidence points the finger at Gary Leon Ridgway as the killer. His unsuspecting wife tells of their remarkable relationship.
Diabolical con artist, child murderer and serial killer, he built a terror mansion to lure female travelers to their death.
Along with psychopath sidekick Ottis Toole, he traveled the U.S. raping, robbing, killing, and mutilating men, women & children. Originally thought to have killed 360 people, some of his confessions are now discredited. Whatever number of murders he & Toole committed, these two serial killers set a new standard in depravity.
Jack the Ripper was the most famous serial killer of all time. Brutally murdering prostitutes in London's notorious Whitechapel district, he caused a panic in 1888.
Why does this long-ago killer who murdered a few prostitutes merit the attention he gets? Because Jack the Ripper represents the classic whodunit. Not only is the case an enduring unsolved mystery that professional and amateur sleuths have tried to solve for over a hundred years, but the story has a terrifying, almost supernatural quality to it. He comes from out of the fog, kills violently and quickly and disappears without a trace. Then for no apparent reason, he satisfies his blood lust with ever-increasing ferocity, culminating in the near destruction of his final victim, and then vanishes from the scene forever. The perfect ingredients for the perennial thriller.
A criminal profile by former FBI profiler Gregg McCrary and a penetrating analysis of the many suspects shed light on this legendary killer.
In post-war Britain, it certainly seemed for many that sex was something that was rarely seen and barely ever heard. Sex was a concept shrouded in secrecy. Yet society's suppression of it meant that exponents of the world's oldest profession were rarely short of customers.
Likewise, in the dimly lit back streets of England's capital city, married men were prepared to pay for the kind of services which "nice girls" such as their wives would not provide. Duke's Meadows, on the banks of the river Thames in Chiswick, West London, was one such spot, crudely nicknamed "Gobblers" Gulch' by locals in reference to the sexual practices said to be popular there. However, something considerably more sinister than the usual discarded prophylactics greeted police as they patrolled the towpath early on the morning of June 17, 1959. They stumbled across the body of a woman, sat up against a small willow tree, her blue and white striped dress torn open to reveal her breasts and some scratches on her throat. She had been strangled.
To find a dead body abandoned nearly naked in a public place was shocking even for experienced detectives, suggesting this was different to the crimes of passion, violence or avarice that police were used to. Yet despite house-to-house enquiries, interviews with prostitutes, pimps, taxi drivers, and night shift workers, no strong clues were found as to the killer's identity. As the case slowly went cold, Elizabeth Figg and the strange case of the semi-naked corpse were forgotten. It would be more than four years before anyone had cause to mention her name again.
Claiming as many as eight victims, Jack the Stripper, like BTK, after almost half a century may still be out there. Or like his namesake, Jack the Ripper, he may baffle crime buffs for many decades to come.
Young man from a normal family, as far as any family under a microscope can be designated "normal," reaches puberty and starts to fantasize about sex with dead men. As these fantasies begin to take over his conscious mind, his link with the real word begin to disintegrate. He becomes more and more alienated with his family, who cannot fathom what is going on and are powerless to help him.
He moves away, takes a low-level job far beneath his abilities, and starts to lure young minority men to his apartment where he conducts bizarre experiments on them, brutalizes and finally kills them. As if this were not enough, he then mutilates and decapitates them, has sex with their corpses and cannibalizes them.
Inevitably, he is brought to justice, and like many men who go to prison for life, he professes to find God and embrace religion before he was killed by a fellow prisoner. But does he really or is this just one more prisoner sham?
Sharon Wood, 24, left her secretarial job in Portland and entered the basement level of a parking garage to look for her car when a tall, pudgy man approached her. She later told police that she had sensed someone behind her and had tried to return to an area where she could hear other people. But then someone tapped her shoulder and she turned around. The man was holding a pistol.
In a split second, she decided to fight. She had barely a chance against him, but she believed that if she didn't struggle while someone might still hear her, she'd die that day. Instinct told her that this man had murder on his mind.
Sharon kicked at him with her high-heeled shoes, screamed again and bit him hard. Yet he managed to slam her head on the concrete, dazing her. Fortunately another car came along, and her attacker ran off. She survived, but not long afterward another young woman did not.
Brudos is one of the most shocking serial killers ever and the subject of Ann Rule's book The Lust Killer. He abducted, tortured & mutilated young women in his garage, right under the noses of his wife and children. An analysis of the psychological factors that created this monster.
Serial killer Jerry Brudos, died March 28, 2006.
Convicted of one murder in the late 1960s Michigan college campus serial murder case, police believed that he was responsible for all of them. Collins was implicated superficially in fifteen murders, but only the first seven on the list were officially considered his
At the time, he was a 22-year-old student at Eastern Michigan University, majoring in education when he was arrested for the murder of Karen Sue Beineman. He was from Center Line, a suburb north of Detroit, where he had lived with his mother and stepfather. At six feet, he was wiry and muscular, with neatly trimmed dark brown hair and sideburns. Many people thought him handsome and easy to talk to.
Attractive or not, he had a dark side that was beginning to emerge. He had belonged to a fraternity, but had been kicked out under suspicion of theft. He had also engaged in petty burglaries for fun and kept his four motorcycles running with stolen parts. One of his professors suspected him of cheating.
In addition to being sexually very aggressive with dates, Collins also had expressed some ideologies that bordered on psychopathy. He had told a girl that if a man had to kill, he killed. If he decided it was right for him to do it, then he had to do it. The perfect crime, he told her, was when there was no guilt. Without guilt, a person could not get caught.
New DNA evidence and the conviction of Gary Earl Leiterman suggest that there were several perpetrators.
One of the most notorious serial killers, "respectable" Chicago-area businessman hires young men to work in his contracting company, then rapes and murders scores of them, burying their bodies on his properties. In prison, he became the focus of researching the psychopathic mind.
Convicted child molester with a history of assaults on children going back to his teenage years, he is nonetheless released on bond when he again molests a youngster. This time, Duncan goes big time. He steals a car, goes to Idaho where stalks an entire family. Then he breaks in, brutally murders the adults and an older child and abducts the two younger children.
When Duncan tires of molesting the abducted boy, he kills him and throws him away. By sheer luck, the abducted girl gets the attention of people in a restaurant who recognize her from Amber Alerts and capture this serial killer and rescue the terrified child.
In Sutter County, California, near the Feather River five miles north of Yuba City, a Japanese farmer named Goro Kagehiro was touring his peach orchard on May 19, 1971 when he spotted a freshly-dug hole between two trees that appeared to be the size of a man. He could not understand why someone had dug there. It turned out to be the grave of migrant workers who had been the victims of a killing spree. At least 25 men were eventually found buried in that area.
Corona provided labor to the farmers and was eventually convicted of the crimes, but evidence has surfaced that suggests a rush to judgment.
Her name was Catherine Genovese, the 28-year-old daughter of Italian-American parents. But to millions of people who read her story when it first appeared in New York Citys press, she would forever be remembered as "Kitty" Genovese. What happened to her, what happened to all of society on that dreadful night in the spring of 1964, would reverberate across the country and generate a national soul-searching that is reserved for only the most catastrophic of events. And nearly 40 years later, her name has become synonymous with a dark side of an urban character that, for many people, represents a harsh and disturbing reality of big city life.
Teenage girls are brutally bludgeoned by a phantom killer who waits for them in the dark. Levi Bellfield, a bouncer with a violent temper is finally brought to justice in the case.
Kingsbury Run cuts across the east side of Cleveland like a jagged wound, ripped into the rugged terrain as if God himself had tried to disembowel the city. At some points it is nearly sixty feet deep, a barren wasteland covered with patches of wild grass, yellowed newspapers, weeds, empty tin cans and the occasional battered hull of an old car left to rust beneath the sun. Perched upon the brink of the ravine, narrow frame houses huddle close together and keep a silent watch on the area.
Into this bleak industrial graveyard, walked the well-dressed, handsome and highly educated Eliot Ness, fresh from victories over Al Capone, playing a cat-and-mouse game with a most brilliant and diabolical serial killer.
Incensed by the horrific crimes of killer pedophile Joseph Edward Duncan III, he poses as FBI agent to gain access to house with three sex offenders, killing two of them for revenge. Are offender registries really protecting the public from monsters like Duncan?
On December 30, 2006, the complete and partial skulls of nineteen people four women, eleven girls and four boys - were discovered on the property of an upscale home in Nithari, a suburb of New Delhi, precipitating a search for more remains. It was obvious at once that the police were dealing with a serial killer, but investigators would soon learn that they in fact had two suspects, possibly three.
Profiler and star of I, Detective, explodes 10 myths about serial killers.
It was a daring thing to do, but writer and director Joel Bender made a true-crime drama based on the infamous story of Paul Bernardo and Karla Homolka. Karla was quite controversial when released in Canada in 2006, and some groups even tried to block it. They were unsuccessful. Now it's available on DVD.
The film adopts Karla's point of view throughout, and if you believe the performance you'll regard Karla as the prototypical battered wife and compliant accomplice. This can get annoying for anyone familiar with the facts, but in the end it's made clear that her story is pretty much a self-serving "reorganization" of what happened: she never apologized to victims' families, never expressed public remorse, and seemed as narcissistic upon her release as she'd ever been.
"The Monster of the Andes" murdered some 300 or more little girls as he roamed the poor neighborhoods of Ecuador, Colombia and Peru. He boasts now that he is the "Man of the Century," that no one will ever forget.
Former FBI profiler Gregg McCrary analyzes the behavior, personality, and motives of the notorious Zodiac serial killer who has remained unidentified for decades. The man who called himself the Zodiac was organized, intelligent and meticulous. He constantly changed his method of operating and openly admitted that murder was sport for him. Clearly, the killer wanted credit for them.
Look for behavioral clues in this high-profile whodunit with two separate investigative threads.
Although skeptics decry the use of psychics, police departments have been calling on them for more than a century when all else fails.
Known as the Night Stalker, he worships Satan and longs to sit next to him in Hell. His series of horrifying crimes in the suburbs of Los Angeles and San Francisco were meant to show Satan that he is just as evil as Jack the Ripper.
Incredibly, this fiend was the darling of many groupies who found his rebelliousness irresistible. Now on death row in California, he has married one of them.
Judy Dykton decided to get some early morning studying done for a neurology exam. She heard a sound like an animal crying outside. Ignoring it, she decided to do some laundry before hitting the books. Once more she heard something. This time she thought it sounded like a child crying out. She pulled open the blinds and saw a woman across the street at 2319, perched on a ledge. Judy pushed open the window and heard Cora's tearful cry. "Oh, my God, they are all dead!"
Reporter Joe Cummings went up to the second floor, looked down the hall and turned right. It was still dark, the sun had begun to rise. He walked down the hall. To his right, he saw bodies of the nurses inside the bedroom, their skin a sickly ochre. A little further down the hall, he saw another bedroom with three more bodies and said. "Oh my God." That made seven upstairs and one downstairs. Eight in total.
Now charged with 30 of 69 missing women. His wild parties included his victims, but in the most grotesque manner. Updated
After they linked three murders, Major Fetisov organized a task force of 10 men to start an aggressive full-time investigation. He intended to get to the heart of this and stop this maniac from preying on any more female citizens. Among those he recruited was Viktor Burakov, 37. He was the best man they had for the analysis of physical evidence like fingerprints, footprints, and other manifestations at a crime scene, and he was an expert in both police science and the martial arts. Known for his diligence, he was invited aboard the Division of Especially Serious crimes in January 1983. Little did anyone realize then just how diligent he would prove to be and would have to be.
Burakov then embarked on a cat-and-mouse game with Russia's worst serial killer. Once he suspected Andrei Chikatilo, a former teacher, he placed him in a cell with a gifted informant, hoping that Chikatilo would slip up. By law, he could only hold him for 10 days. On the 9th day, he tried something daring: he brought in a brilliant psychiatrist.
Whether created out of boredom, therapy, or greed, violent offenders find a ready market for their drawings, paintings, poetry & song.
A grim fascination with serial killers has created a robust "murderabilia" market. Many millions are spent each year not on serial killer movies and books, but on everything from paintings and other artwork created by serial killers to tacky souvenirs, coloring books, games and joke gifts. Some women are so attracted that they become serial killer groupies and even wives. A close look at why we are so fascinated by serial murder.
Hollywood draws most often from well-known serial killers, mostly American, to fashion their tales of terror and horror. A look at the major movies that have been made about serial killers and ones that are being made now.
It's commonly believed that serial killers cannot stop, because their compulsion is so strong that they're literally addicted to murder. In addition, they feel no remorse so they have no reason to refrain from indulging their hunger for blood - or else they're just plain psychotic.
However, there have been cases of men who have stopped themselves from killing again by going to the police to confess. Some actually express remorse, and might indicate that they'd been on drugs or were in some other state of diminished mental capacity during their crimes. They might also have come to the realization that, try as they might, they cannot stop themselves.
The most frightening of serial killers: a handsome, educated psychopathic law student who stalked and murdered dozens of young college women who looked very much like a young woman who broke off her relationship with him.
Bundy was a very adept and glib con artist who faked a broken arm in a sling to convince young women to help him carry his textbooks to his car. Once there, he battered them with a baseball bat and carried them off for ghoulish rituals.
Interview with the serial killer expert, Dr. Keppel, who took Ted Bundy's confession.
Dr. Robert Keppel, expert on the Ted Bundy and Green River cases, explains the lessons learned for future police investigations.
Well-known author explains why serial killers have to kill, using his extensive knowledge of Ted Bundy
An excerpt from Michaud's book that delves into the twisted psyche of one of the most terrifying serial killers.
While the many movies in this series are fiction, they are based loosely on a real serial killer that wore a mask of human skin and was a grave robber. The real serial killer, who was also the model for the Hitchcock movie classic Psycho, lived alone in a farmhouse. Inside police found all kinds of body parts, including a box of female genitalia, a heart in a frying pan, a box of cut-off noses, the sawed-off crania from several skulls, death masks peeled off dead females, a skin vest with female breasts and genitals, and a female scalp with black hair. They wondered just how many women he had killed.
The men responsible for one of the most shocking terrorist attacks within America - the Oklahoma City bombing. Update of the Nichols' trial.
Edda Kane went out on August 19 in 1979 to hike the trails in a park at the foot of Mount Tamalpais, also known as "the Sleeping Lady," which overlooked San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge. But she did not return home that day. Found the next day, Edda was dead. She'd been attacked from behind and had a bullet wound on the back of her skull...
Profile of famous veteran chief and investigator examines his accomplishments, his theories, and his most famous cases, including a real story that inspired the Hannibal Lector escape scene in the Silence of the Lambs.
"It was an urge. ... A strong urge, and the longer I let it go the stronger it got, to where I was taking risks to go out and kill people risks that normally, according to my little rules of operation, I wouldn't take because they could lead to arrest." —Edmund Kemper.
Where does this urge come from, and why is so powerful? If we all experienced this urge, would we be able to resist? Is it genetic, hormonal, biological, or cultural conditioning? Do serial killers have any control over their desires?
We all experience rage and inappropriate sexual instincts, yet we have some sort of internal cage that keeps our inner monsters locked up. Call it morality or social programming, these internal blockades have long since been trampled down in the psychopathic killer. Not only have they let loose the monster within, they are virtual slaves to its beastly appetites. What sets them apart?
The notorious and very bizarre serial killer who called himself The Zodiac remains one of the world's great unsolved cases. In Oct., 1966, a girl was viciously murdered in Riverside, California when she permitted a man to help start the car that he had intentionally disabled when she was in her school library.
This homicide began a ghoulish series of murders that panicked the people of the San Francisco area. For years the Zodiac taunted the police with weird ciphers, phone calls, insulting and cryptic messages.
Even though police investigated over 2,500 potential suspects, the case was never solved. There were a few suspects that stood out, but the forensic technology of the times was not advanced enough to nail any one of them conclusively.