Throughout history, there have been individuals who committed heinous acts of violence. However, some individuals stand out as particularly sadistic and evil in their actions. The following list highlights ten such individuals, many of whom were serial killers, whose crimes are difficult to understand and comprehend.
Israel Keyes was a prolific serial killer and was truly terrifying. While everyone on this list is horrible, Israel Keyes is pretty scary, because he just killed at random. These kills were so random, he left "kill kits" all across the United States, from Anchorage, Alaska all the way to the East Coast. He had these nearby for whenever and whoever he chose crossed his path.
It's not clear how many of these murders he committed and many missing reports are still open and could potentially be connected to him. Keyes told investigators he admired other serial killers like Ted Bundy and the Butcher Baker. He even said "I probably know every single serial killer that's ever been written about, it's kind of a hobby of mine."
Israel's reign of terror came to an end in March 2012, when he was finally arrested. He was scheduled to stand trial for his horrific crimes, but he took his own life. Investigators discovered a note and drawing of 11 skulls, which led authorities to believe this may be the numbers of victims he had. True Crime podcaster Josh Hallmark is looking for a possible connection between Keyes and the disappearance of Indiana University student Lauren Spierer.
Richard Chase: The Vampire of Sacramento
It is believed that Richard Chase took the lives of six people within a single month between 1977 and 1978. That's a lot of murders in a short period of time. Before his crimes, Richard's life was already full of terrible stories and horrific acts that had him spending time in mental health institutions before his crime spree started.
Chase was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia. After going through treatment and beginning medication, he was deemed to no longer be a threat to society. He was released into his mother's care. This is where things take a turn for the worse.
Instead of taking care of Richard, his mother instead weaned him off of his medication and got him all set up with his own apartment. When he moved into the apartment he had roommates. But, they eventually all moved out (one can only wonder why) and he was left all alone. This is when he started killing animals and eating them raw, sometimes mixing the organs with Coca-Cola in a blender and then drinking it. After this, he would go on his killing spree.
His crimes only ended when he was startled by a visitor at the home of his final victim. He fled the crime scene but was quickly caught and then stood trial. His defense team attempted to get Chase spared the death sentence. However, all attempts failed. Before he could be executed, Richard passed away after taking too many of his prescribed medications.
Charles' story begins shortly after he moved to the United States on a student visa. He dropped out after his first semester and soon was involved in a hit-and-run accident. He attempted to avoid prosecution by enlisting in the U.S. Marine Corps using false documents that claimed his birthplace was within the United States. Military police arrested him for stealing weapons but managed to escape custody.
He went back toward North Carolina and ended up meeting Leonard Lake. Charles ended up serving a bit of time, but it was only 18 months, and then he quickly got back with Leonard. This is when the two started their deadly crime spree together.
The pair is believed to have taken the lives of somewhere between 11 to 25 people. Leonard was eventually caught and brought in for questioning, but sneakily ingested a cyanide pill that he had hidden in his jacket. Charles ended up standing trial and was convicted for 11 killings and is still on death row at San Quentin.
Rodney Alcala: The Dating Game Killer
Rodney Alcala is one of California's deadly nightmares. He was eventually convicted and sentenced to death for five killings, which he committed in California from 1977 to 1979. He was then sentenced to another 25 years to life after pleading guilty to two other killings in New York in 1971 and 1977. Rodney managed to get away with many of his crimes for a while because he wasn't at the top of the list of suspects.
Rodney is often referred to as the Dating Game Killer because of his appearance on the Dating Game show. What we now know about him is absolutely horrifying.
Nobody really knows how many victims Rodney Alcala had. It is thought that it could be much higher than the number that he was convicted for. He passed away in prison at the age of 77.
[Side note: Rodney won the game show he was on, but the episode's bachelorette refused to go on a date with him because she found him too creepy.]
In the early years of Scott Erskine's life, Scott began to commit very violent crimes against others that nobody can talk about. When he was 17, he spent four years in prison for one of his crimes. However, after serving four years he was paroled but then went back to committing crimes.
In 1993, Scott invited a woman who was waiting for the bus into his home and held her hostage for several days. He ended up letting her go but was quickly arrested and received a sentence of 70 years in prison. He was then forced to submit DNA to a database. In March 2001, his DNA was matched to the unsolved killings of Jonathan Sellers and Charlie Keever.
A jury eventually sentenced Scott to death and was later transferred to San Quentin. Scott did die on death row, but it wasn't due to his scheduled execution. Scott died a few years ago after contracting COVID-19.
Tommy Lynn Sells
Tommy Lynn Sells is an American serial killer, responsible for 22 confirmed deaths. However, authorities know that there are more. I watched an interview Tommy Sells did and what creeped me out is the way you can tell that he committed these crimes because he just wanted to and enjoyed it.
Tommy Sells was caught because an incredible woman, Fabienne Witherspoon, survived his attack in the most incredible way was able to go on and give a good description of him. Not only did she save her own life, but who knows how many others. In the end, Tommy and his crimes were deemed so horrific that he received a death sentence.
While in jail, he said there wasn't a day that went by that he didn't think about "the one that got away." Tommy Sells was eventually executed on April 3, 2014.
Gary Ridgeway: "Green River Killer"
This sadistic serial killer earned the nickname the "Green River Killer," and his many crimes took place between 1982 to potentially as recent as 2001. He was eventually convicted of 49 murders but confessed to 71 murders. If his confession is true, he became the second most prolific serial killer in America, in terms of confirmed killings. Most of his victims were sex workers or women in other vulnerable circumstances. DNA profiling in 2001 connected him to four of his crimes.
From there he was spared the death penalty in exchange for the locations of all the missing women. Gary took the deal and was sentenced to life without parole. At 73-years-old, Gary remains in prison.
Chester Turner is an American serial killer who was convicted of taking the lives of 11 women in the Los Angeles area. On June 19, 2014 he was convicted of four more that they were able to tie back to him. Prosecutors painted him as one of the most prolific serial killers in the city's history. If you know Los Angeles' history, that is not something to take lightly. Chester's DNA sample is what ended up leading authorities to solve these other horrific crimes that he had committed.
Chester was sentenced to death at his first trial. Then in 2014, he received a second death sentence.
Albert Fish is one of the oldest killers on this list, but that doesn't mean his crimes were any less horrific than anyone else. He was given the name the Brooklyn Vampire, the Moon Maniac and even the Boogeyman. Albert was a terrible man who did extremely awful things.
Albert Fish was eventually arrested, tried, and convicted for killing and eating three people. However, the horror was not over. Albert claimed to have killed closer to 100 people. He claimed that he had killed in every state. This deranged man sent a letter to the mother of one of his victims, telling her the details of his crimes.
Quincy Allen is a man who went on a crime spree between July and August 2002, murdering four people. His crime spree was inspired during the time he served in prison for stealing a vehicle. It was here that a fellow inmate had recruited others and told Quincy he could get him a job as a mafia hitman.
After he was released, he decided to buy a shotgun, so he could start practicing. Quincy started off his horrific crime spree on July 7, 2002 by attempting to kill a 51-year-old homeless man who was asleep at the time. This man was able to survive the attack. He continued his crime spree until he was arrested on August 14, 2002.
Quincy was given a death sentence and remains on death row awaiting execution. In 2009, Quincy along with another inmate planned an attack on a correctional officer at the prison they both were incarcerated. In the end the guards had to use rubber bullets to subdue the pair.
The correctional officer survived the attack, but had to find another job as the attack caused the officer to suffer from PTSD. Prosecutors dropped all charges related to this attack because they believed there was no point in trying someone who was already on death row. Quincy and the other inmates were stripped of all their privileges, which included outside recreation visitation, phone use, and canteen items. Quincy was set to be executed on January 8, 2010. However, there was a stay of execution. As of July 26, 2022, Quincy's death sentence was overturned.
© 2022 Lawrence Lease