13 Well Know Serial Killers of all Time

Crime Dramas have been interesting to me for as long as I can remember, especially serial killers.  What makes them commit such heinous crimes?

#1 John Wayne Gacy – “The Clown Killer”

John Wayne Gacy, known as "The Killer Clown", raped, tortured, and murdered at least 33 boys and men between the years 1972-78 in Chicago, IL. He was discovered by the police to have 29 bodies hidden in the crawl space of his house, and admitted to having killed more men, which he disposed of in the river. He was executed by lethal injection in 1994.

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#2 Ted Bundy

Ted Bundy embarked on a five-year killing spree in 1974 that would not end until his capture in 1979. Bundy confessed to 30 murders on his arrest, though authorities believe the actual death toll is somewhere around 100. He was executed by electrocution in 1989.

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#3 Gary Ridgeway – “The Green River Killer”

Over the course of nearly 20 years, Gary Ridgway, known as "The Green River Killer", terrorized the areas surrounding the Green River in Washington's King County where he would lure, kill, and dispose of at least 49 victims before his capture in 2001. While the number of confirmed deaths numbers 49, Ridgway confessed to killing as many as 71 women in his interviews after capture. He is currently serving 480 years in a Washington prison without the possibility of parole.

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#4 Edmund Kemper – “Co-Ed Killer”

Edmund Kemper, known as the "Co-Ed Killer", claimed 10 victims before surrendering to police in 1973. Kemper was confined to a juvenile facility after killing his grandparents at age 15, and carried on with his killings after being released. In 1972-73, Kemper killed his mother and a friend as well as six female college students who he mutilated and had sex with after their deaths. Kemper is currently serving a life sentence in the general population in a California jail.

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#5 Dennis Rader – “BTK Killer”

Known as the "BTK Killer" (blind, torture, kill), Dennis Rader was charged with the murders of 10 people in Kansas including four members of a neighboring family and several other he stalked and became obsessed with between the years of 1971-94. In 2004, Rader began communicating with police, even going so far as to send them information on a floppy disk that would eventually be traced back to his residence. Rader was apprehended and charged with the murders and is currently serving ten consecutive life sentences in a Kansas jail.

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#6 David Berkowitz – “Son of Sam”

David Berkowitz, the "Son of Sam" killer, claimed to be tormented by demons who spoke to him in the form of howling dogs in the neighborhood he lived. In 1976, Berkowitz claimed the first of his six victims, all of whom were shot without provocation, and would not stop until his arrest in 1977. He received a 365 year sentence for his actions.

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#7 Jane Toppan aka Honora Kelley

Jane Toppan once said that it was her greatest wish that she'd have killed more people than any man or woman who ever existed. While she didn't quite reach her goal, Toppan's 31 murder victims in 1885-1901 earned her a place in serial killer history. She killed patients when she worked as a nurse, poisoned her landlords, and murdered her foster sister. When she was discovered in 1901, she was found not guilty by reason of insanity and spent the rest of her life in an insane asylum in Massachusetts. She died in 1938 at age 81.

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#8 Dean Corll – “The Candy Man”

Dean Corll was never caught in his lifetime for the kidnapping, rape, torture, and murder of at least 28 boys in the early 70s. Corll, aka "The Candy Man," was killed in 1973 by an accomplice while committing the rape of his final victim. Only then were his crimes revealed. Since he was killed, his true number of victims is still unknown, although he may have had a connection to many other missing boys.

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#9 Patrick Kearney – “The Trash Bag Murderer”

Patrick Kearney, "The Trash Bag Killer," murdered between 21 and 43 young men. He'd pick his victims up from gay bars or as hitchhikers before raping and murdering them. He killed from 1965 until he was caught in 1977. He was sentenced to life in prison in California. 

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#10 William Bonin – “The Freeway Killer”

William Bonin, aka "The Freeway Killer," kidnapped, raped, tortured, and murdered at least 21 young men and boys. Bonin dumped many of the bodies on the side of the freeway in Southern California. He was discovered in 1980 after his year-long crime spree and sentenced to death. He died by lethal injection in 1996.

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#11 Kenneth Bianchi – “The Hillside Strangler”

Best known as the Hillside Strangler, Kenneth Bianchi killed at least 12 women in the Washington area. He is also suspected of being the killer in the Alphabet Murders. Bianchi and his cousin Angelo Buono Jr. sexually abused their victims before strangling them. He is currently serving his life sentence.

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#12 Earle Nelson – “The Dark Strangler”

In 1926-27, "The Dark Strangler" Earle Nelson murdered at least 22 women, most of whom were his landladies. Nelson would rent a room from a single woman before strangling her to death. Nelson was also a reported necrophiliac. He was caught in 1927 and executed the next year via hanging. 

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#13 Jeffrey Dahmer

Jeffrey Dahmer has the reputation as one of the most heinous serial killers in U.S. history for his 1978-1991 murders. Dahmer raped, murdered, and dismembered the bodies of at least 17 young male victims. He was arrested in 1991 and sentenced to life in prison. Dahmer was murdered in prison by a fellow inmate in 1995.

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