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.
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.
13William Chester Minor
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.
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.’
16Paul Warner Powell
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.
17Paul Michael Stephani
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.
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.
20Ronald L. Shanabarger
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.