Canadian child killer Peter Woodcock due to his crimes was given intense treatment over many years, deemed safe, and given a weekend pass from the mental institution he was incarcerated under supervision. He was being supervised on the pass by Bruce Hamill, a former patient and also a murderer. Woodcock had previously convinced Hamill that an 'alien brotherhood' would solve his problems if he helped kill another Brockville inmate, Dennis Kerr. On July 13, 1991, Hamill went to a hardware store, bought a plumber's wrench, hatchet, knives, and a sleeping bag, then went to the Brockville hospital and signed out Woodcock on his first publicly escorted day pass. They lured Kerr to a secluded spot and butchered him. Hamill took a handful of over-the-counter sleeping pills and waited for the aliens to come. Woodcock then went to the town police station and confessed. He claimed that the treatment they gave at the mental institution “served only to make him more adept at manipulating others.”
2. Indiana’s most notorious serial killer Belle Gunness murdered up to 40 people. after she moved from Norway to Chicago in 1881. She killed most of her suitors and boyfriends, and her two daughters, Myrtle and Lucy. She may also have killed both of her husbands and all of her children, on different occasions. When she was about to be exposed as a killer, she burned down her home and feigned death while successfully framing the only potential witness to her crimes, who died a year later in prison. She managed to vanish with a small fortune in premarital gifts and insurance payments and was never seen again.
3. A drifter named Theodore Coneys, a.k.a. the Denver Spider-Man broke into a man’s house and hid in his tiny attic. He ended up murdering the man in 1941 and then continued to hide in the attic for months during the murder investigation, while the murdered man’s wife still lived in the house. Two police officers on a stakeout outside the house saw something move in an upstairs window. They rushed inside and up to the attic where they saw a man trying desperately to squeeze into a tiny gap. He’d been living in a tiny hole in the wall this whole time, occasionally making brief forays downstairs for food and water. He was dubbed the Spiderman for both the weird length of his fingers and for the length of time he’d spent living in his spider-hole in the attic.
4. Israel Keyes was a serial killer who had no preferred victim type and never killed in the same area twice. He had no connection to any of his victims and usually killed far from home. He planned murders long ahead of time and took extraordinary action to avoid detection. For one murder, he flew to Chicago and rented a car to get to Vermont, then used a murder kit he’d hidden two years earlier. When shopping, he kept his phone off and only paid in cash. In spite of being so ridiculously careful and methodical, in the end, he used his victim’s debit card multiple times until he was apprehended.
5. Patty Cannon was notorious for leading a gang that kidnapped free blacks and sold them back into slavery in what was known as the Reverse Underground Railroad. In 1829, she was arrested for murdering a slave owner and stealing his $15,000. Investigation revealed bodies of four blacks, including three children being discovered buried on farm property which Cannon owned in Delaware. She confessed to nearly two dozen murders of black kidnap victims and died in prison while awaiting trial.
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Canadian serial killer Robert Pickton a.k.a. ‘The Pig Farmer Killer’ confessed to murdering 49 women between 1983-2002. Vancouver PD had received a number of tips about prostitutes going to his farm and never being seen again. One time he was even arrested for attempted murder but not charged because the woman was a heroin addict. Authorities did nothing but managed to collect some physical evidence (mostly clothes) that would later connect him to two more of his victims, but only after it sat in an evidence locker for over 7 years, completely forgotten. There’s even speculation that he ground his victims up with pork that he may have sold to the public. He had massive parties at his farm all the time and most probably served the tainted meat to his guests. After he was arrested he said he was disappointed that he didn’t get to 50 women and was caught because he was “sloppy”.
7. In November 2018 Samuel Little confessed to 93 murders. This would make him the most prolific serial killer in American history. Authorities have so far confirmed at least 50 (as of 2019) murders. The real victim count might be even higher than the current confirmed numbers as the FBI is still working on other murder cases they believe are also connected to him. In the beginning, the FBI spent more than 700 hours interviewing him, but they never got him to admit his crimes. Then a Texas Ranger named James Holland did the impossible and managed to coax him to confess to 65 of his murders whilst they shared pizzas together. His photographic memory allows him to recall all his victims and it is being used to solve cold cases. He is now behind bars, wheelchair-bound, suffering from diabetes and a serious heart condition, but he has no remorse for his crimes.
8. In 1978, Dan White shot and killed both the mayor of San Francisco and supervisor Harvey Milk in the city hall. He was charged with Voluntary Manslaughter rather than murder because his defense lawyer argued that he had eaten a lot of sugary food before the murders and was depressed. He was normally very health conscious. His prison sentence for both murders was only 5 years. This became known as the “Twinkie Defense.” Dan White was a whistleblower too. A few years earlier, he had quit the San Francisco police department after reporting another cop for beating a handcuffed suspect.
9. In November 2000, Japan passed its first anti-stalking law after a 21-year-old student was murdered by her stalker the previous year. She had been turned away multiple times by the police who denied and falsely portrayed her as a promiscuous flirt on the media. Shiori Ino was murdered following months of stalking.
10. Yale graduate William Chester Minor was an American army surgeon who became one of the largest contributors to the Oxford English Dictionary by providing usages of words from his antiquated book collection. He did this over the course of years while being committed to an insane asylum after being found not guilty by insanity for murder. He used books brought to him by the widow of the man he killed. Minor’s mental condition deteriorated with age and in 1902, due to delusions that he was being abducted nightly from his rooms and conveyed to places as far away as Istanbul, and forced to commit sexual assaults on children, he cut off his own penis using a knife he had employed in his work on the dictionary.
Serial killer Thor Christiansen was only caught because his fifth would-be victim survived a shot to the head in 1979. She recognized him months later in a bar and reported him to the police. Law enforcement then linked him with four other then-unsolved murders that had a similar MO. After his arrest, law enforcement officers realized they had investigated him as a suspect (among approximately one hundred others) in 1977. Christiansen died after being stabbed in the exercise yard at Folsom State Prison. His killer was not identified.
12. A Chinese author based some of the murders in his books on ones he had committed years earlier. Liu Yongbiao was convicted in 2018 of killing four people way back in 1994 and he was sentenced to death. In a preface to his 2010 novel titled ‘The Guilty Secret’, Liu said he was already at work on a follow-up about an author who’s committed a series of gruesome murders and evaded capture. In the end, he never wrote it, though he already had a title in mind: ‘The Beautiful Writer Who Killed.’
13. In 1999, a 20-year-old man named Paul Warner Powell in Virginia killed his 16-year-old friend, Stacie Reed, upon learning that she had a black boyfriend. He then raped her sister Kristie Reed and stabbed and slashed her neck. She however survived. Powell was sentenced to death, but the verdict was thrown out on when it couldn’t be proven that Powell attempted to rape Stacie. Believing he was now immune, he sent a taunting letter to the prosecutor, admitting the assault. It was then used to successfully re-convict him to death.
14. Paul Michael Stephani was an American serial killer, who was also known as the Weepy-Voiced Killer due to a series of telephone calls he made to police, anonymously reporting his crimes in a remorseful and high-pitched voice. He would confess to his crimes and once even said he would turn himself in, but he never did. One of his victims managed to fight him off by hitting a glass bottle on his head. He was identified as the Weepy Voiced Killer from the 911 call he made to seek medical attention for his head injury. Though he was sentenced to 58 years of incarceration, he died in prison in 1998 from cancer.
15. In 1975, a 15-year-old girl was beaten to death, with the primary suspects in the murder being Kennedy-Cousins Thomas and Michael Skakel. Although Michael Skakel was overheard in 1978 stating, “I’m going to get away with murder. I’m a Kennedy”, it was not until 2002 that he was convicted and sentenced to 20 years to life in prison.
One of Russia’s deadliest contract killers was Alexander Solonik. This Russian hitman was known for using a pistol in each hand, having killed over 43 people including 30 Russian mafia bosses, and escaping from prison three times. After leaving the contract killing business, he himself became a mob boss but was assassinated 2 years later in 1997 by another contract killer sent by the mob he previously worked for.
17. A man named Ronald L. Shanabarger was so angry with his then-girlfriend for not being there for him when his father died that he hatched a plan to marry her and conceive a child and then kill it later after the wife had bonded with it. On the father’s day in 1999, his wife Amy Shanabarger found her infant son, Tyler, face-down and dead in his crib. He was convicted of murdering his 7-month-old son.
18. In 1906, a Moroccan serial killer named Mesfewi was sentenced to be walled up alive after he was found guilty of murdering 36 women. Their bodies were found buried beneath his shop and garden. His cries for help were heard for two days before he went silent. For some time previous to his incarceration in a living tomb, he was taken into the streets daily and given lashings.
19. Cayetano Santos Godino a.k.a “El Petiso Orejudo” (The Big-Eared Midget), was an Argentinian serial killer who terrorized Buenos Aires at the age of 16. In the early 20th century, he was responsible for the murder of four children, the attempted murder of another seven children, and seven counts of arson. At the age of 7, he was caught by police for beating small children, but he was released and sent home due to his age. However, at age 10, his parents reported him to the police for masturbation, and he was jailed for 2 months for masturbating.
20. Vlado Taneski was a Macedonian journalist/crime reporter who was also a serial killer himself. He reported on his own crimes and eventually got caught because he wrote articles on the murders with information that had not yet been released and only the killer would have known. All in all, he killed three 55+ aged women after strangling, torturing, and raping them. He was arrested in 2008 after his DNA was matched to semen found on the victims. After less than a month in prison, he was found dead in his shared prison cell. He was found drowned in a plastic bucket of water and in the absence of other evidence, his death was ruled a suicide.
The “Skin Hunters” was the media nickname given to four paramedic workers in Poland, who were convicted of murdering at least five elderly patients and selling information regarding their deaths to competing funeral homes. The price of the bribes paid to the killers was billed to the family of the deceased as an additional funeral charge. The perpetrators were apprehended in 2002. The court found out that more than 40 paramedics, doctors, nurses, and undertakers had conspired to ship seriously ill elderly patients straight to funeral parlors rather than hospitals, as a way to make quick cash in a grisly scheme that investigators have said could have been going on for almost 20 years.
22. In 1965, a radio personality in Vancouver named Rene Castellani committed to living on the top of the massive Bowmac car dealership sign until all the cars were sold. Later that same year, his wife Esther died and investigation revealed she had died a slow and painful death due to arsenic poisoning which had been administered to her over months. Forensic investigation revealed a stripe of hair growth that was arsenic-free, and it corresponded to the 9 days Rene was away, thus convicting him of her murder. He had been poisoning his wife with arsenic for months.
23. Within a month of opening her pediatric clinic, Dr. Kathleen Holland experienced six cases of children stopping breathing during their visit, one of whom died. One of her nurses Genene Jones had been administering dangerous injections to them, and was, in fact, a serial killer, unbeknownst to Dr. Holland. She is thought to be responsible for the deaths of up to 60 infants and children in her care as a licensed vocational nurse during the 1970s and 1980s. The exact number of victims remains unknown; as hospital officials allegedly misplaced and then destroyed records of Jones' activities, to prevent further litigation after Jones' first conviction
24. In 1985, serial killer Richard Ramirez (AKA ‘The Night Stalker’) attacked 22-year-old Maria Hernandez outside her home, shooting her in the face with a .22 caliber handgun after she pulled into her garage. She survived when the bullet ricocheted off the keys she held in her hands as she lifted them to protect herself. He was captured the same year trying to steal a car. The car’s owner and his neighbors chased him down and recognized him from mugshots on TV. When the police arrived, the men were beating him in the street. During his trial, one of the jurors actually fell in love with him and even sent him a cupcake with “I love you” written in icing. She still, however, gave him a guilty verdict.
25. In 1979, Albert Flick was sentenced to 25 years in prison for stabbing his wife to death while her daughter watched. He was released more than two decades later, but he was put behind bars again in 2007 for stabbing a woman with a fork and again in 2010 for assaulting a woman. Despite his record, the judge in the 2010 case cited his old age when sentencing Flick to about four years in prison, nearly half what prosecutors had recommended. After he was out of prison, in 2018, at the age of 77 Albert Flick was again convicted of the murder of another woman. He had fatally stabbed her outside a laundromat while her 11-year-old twin sons watched from a few feet away.