31The Giggling Granny
Nannie Doss a.k.a. “The Giggling Granny” was an American serial killer who between the 1920s and early 1950s murdered almost every member of her family. She killed her four husbands, two children, her two sisters, her mother, a grandson, and a mother-in-law. Nanny insisted that money played no significant role in her crimes. Despite various insurance payments, her murders were actually motivated by marital boredom, a dream of discovering the ideal husband. She was sentenced to life imprisonment. The state of Oklahoma did not pursue the death penalty due to her sex.
On May 19, 1983, Diane Downs shot her three children and drove them at 5-7 mph to the hospital. Her 7-year-old daughter was already dead when she arrived and her other 2 children were in critical condition. She’d also shot herself in the forearm. She claimed she’d been carjacked. She was sentenced to life plus 50 years in prison and her two of her children who survived were adopted by the lead prosecutor of her case.
Charles Whitman a.k.a. the Texas Tower shooter, who killed 16 and wounded 32 in the infamous 1966 Austin clock tower shootings, asked for an autopsy to be done after his death to determine what made him kill. The autopsy found a tumor pressing on his amygdala which possibly influenced his actions. He once even told his doctor that he had been having violent thoughts including “going up to the tower with a deer rifle and killing people.” The doctor just gave him Valium and sent him home. Charles knew he would occasionally lose himself in his rage so he would incessantly leave himself notes reminding him of his love for his wife and his mother. He had to constantly remind himself not to lose his temper. He did end up killing his wife and his mother, but he didn't know why he did this, according to his note. He had a burial with full military honors and his casket was draped in the American flag because he was a veteran.
James Holmes, the guy who committed the Aurora shooting during the premiere of The Dark Knight Rises in 2012, was sentenced to 13 life sentences in prison, with an additional 3,318 years for rigging his apartment with bombs and 140 counts of attempted murder. During psychiatric interviews, he revealed that during his childhood he was terrified of “nail ghosts” that would hammer on the walls at night. He would also see shadows and flickers at the corners of his eyes, which would fight each other with firearms and other weapons. He was previously rejected from the University of Iowa’s graduate neuroscience program after an interview. The program director warned colleagues about him “do not offer admission under any circumstances” and declined to elaborate on what Holmes said or did specifically during the interview.
In 1995, a book was unveiled in Mexico by an unknown author using the pseudonym “Richie”. The book painstakingly compiled the events and details of several dozen murders. It is thought to have been written by a serial killer named Alejandro Máynez. In 1998, Alejandro attempted to kill a waitress named Ana Benavides, only to find out that she herself was a serial killer as well. He found out that Ana was a devil-worshipping fanatic who had already claimed the lives of three people. She then quickly began to take an active part in Máynez’s murders.
For 18 years a Frenchman named Jean-Claude Romand convinced his family and friends that he was a successful medical doctor at the World Health Organization. Instead of working, he hid in hotels to study medicine and maps of countries he claimed to visit. He lived off the money his wife and he had made by selling an apartment, from his wife's salary, and from sums of money which were given to him by various relatives, who relied on his assurances that he was investing the money in various imaginary hedge funds and foreign ventures. When he feared that he was going to be exposed, he killed his wife, his two children, his parents, their family dog and also tried to kill his ex-mistress. Then he burned down his house.
A man named Sture Bergwall confessed to more than 30 murders and crimes such as rape and cannibalism while being incarcerated in a mental institution for personality disorders. Between 1994 and 2001, he was convicted of eight of these murders. He was labeled Sweden’s most notorious serial killer. Later it was found that he was a manipulative liar. He didn’t actually commit any of these murders. Though he had never killed anyone, he had indeed committed crimes before he was in the mental institution. He had sexually assaulted 4 young boys in 1970 and he stabbed a man 10 times in 1974. In 1990 he robbed a bank by taking the bank manager hostage before he confessed to all the murders.
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In 2008, Tim McLean was beheaded and cannibalized while riding a bus in Canada. One of the first officers on the scene later committed suicide. The perpetrator, Vince Li, spent less than 10 years in a mental hospital and was granted an absolute discharge in 2017.
Between the years of 1989–1993, Joel Rifkin killed 17 young women in New York City and Long Island, although the actual victim count is still unknown. He was only caught when he was spotted driving without a rear license plate, and police found the corpse of his last victim in the back of his truck. While in prison, he proposed the idea of a shelter for prostitutes where they would be shown pictures of murdered hookers to scare them straight. “These girls think, they can’t be touched. Well, 17 girls thought that, and now they’re dead.”
40Son of Sam
David “Son of Sam” Berkowitz terrified the public when he killed eight people with a .44 caliber Bulldog revolver in eight separate shooting attacks between 1976 and 1977 in New York City. He was finally only caught when police, following a lead from a witness, discovered that his car had received a parking ticket for parking near a fire hydrant near one of the murder scenes on the night of the murder. When he was arrested he claimed that his neighbor’s dog “Harvey” ordered him to kill people. In 2002, he sent a letter to the then New York State Governor George Pataki asking that his parole hearing be canceled stating “In all honesty, I believe that I deserve to be in prison for the rest of my life.”