Jeffrey Dahmer's Final Kill
In 1991, a 14-year-old boy, Konerak Sinthasomphone, was spotted running through the streets. The kid was injured at the hands of Jeffrey Dahmer but managed to escape. However, Dahmer told the officers the boy was his lover and that they had just had a fight. The officers returned the boy to Dahmer and escorted them both home. Dahmer ended up killing the boy and then killed four more men.
Then in July, Tracy Edwards, a 32-year-old African American man was walking the streets in handcuffs. He ended up bringing police to Dahmer's house. The officers entered the home and saw photos of body parts lying around. They quickly arrested Dahmer, who was eventually sentenced to 15 life terms. Dahmer was later killed by a fellow inmate in 1994.
Pablo Escobar Killed on the Run from Authorities
Pablo Escobar was one of the richest men in the world during the 1980s and 90s, thanks to the cocaine trade that he ran out of Colombia. His Medellin Cartel was responsible for 80% of the cocaine that made it to the United States, which left thousands dead. This led him to be a target for the United States and Colombian authorities, so he went on the run.
Escobar was finally cornered by authorities as he ran across rooftops in Medellin, and was killed in a shoot-out. After his death, the Columbian drug trade was heavily fractured.
O.J. Simpson Murder and Trial
On June 12, 1994, Nicole Brown Simpson was found murdered outside her Los Angeles home, along with her friend Ron Goldman. Her ex-husband was NFL star O.J. Simpson and was the prime suspect. Police arrested him and charged him with the two murders after sending police on a 60-mile chase through Los Angeles. He surrendered to the police in his home.
The Simpson prosecution became the "trial of the century" and drew media attention from all over the world, as the defendant famously tried on gloves that were left at the murder scene. Simpson was found not guilty after just two hours of jury deliberations.
I-95 Serial Killer Went on 8-Month Killing Spree
Gary Bowles, better known as the "I-95 Killer," murdered his first victim, John Hardy, Roberts in 1994. He went on to murder five more gay men along Interstate 95 in Maryland, Georgia, Atlanta, and Florida. He left behind a probation document at a crime scene and was even caught on surveillance cameras taking money out of the victim's account.
When he was finally caught, he was convicted of his crimes and executed by lethal injection in 2019.
Before his execution, he wrote a statement apologizing to the families and to his mother. It read in part:
“I’m sorry for all of the pain and suffering I have caused. I never wanted this to be my life. You don’t wake up one day and decide to become a serial killer.”
Murder of Latin Singer Selena
Selena was the height of her career before her murder. She was performing for 60,000 people at the Houston Astrodome. She had been nominated for a Grammy and was working on an English album. She was poised to become the next Gloria Estefan.
But everything changed in 1995. Selena made Yolanda Saldívar the manager of the Selena fan club and put her in charge of the singer's boutiques. Soon, she discovered money discrepancies and missing documents with the businesses. Over several months, Selena confronted Saldivar, but that ended in a hotel room confrontation during which he shot Selena to death.
Saldivar was convicted and received a life sentence with no parole.
The U.S. was shaken to its core with its deadliest domestic terrorism attack on April 19, 1995. The domestic terrorist, Timothy McVeigh, rented a Ryder truck that was filled with agricultural fertilizer, diesel fuel, and other chemicals. He parked the truck in front of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City and then got into a getaway car. When the bomb detonated, it destroyed the building and killed 168 people, including 19 children.
McVeigh slipped up, allowing the FBI to quickly trace the truck to the former U.S. Army soldier. From there they continued to build a case against McVeigh with all the evidence they recovered. McVeigh had traces of chemicals on his clothes and even notes about the bombing. The FBI also located two other men that were accomplices to the horrific bombing.
McVeigh was convicted and sentenced to death. He was executed in 2001.
Centennial Olympic Park Bombing
Police received a mysterious phone call telling them a bomb would detonated in 30 minutes at the Centennial Olympic Park in Atlanta. As police evacuated the park, the bomb detonated early. A woman and cameraman were killed. The cameraman was rushing to the scene, but suffered a fatal heart attack. Over 100 people were injured.
The F.B.I turned their attention to security guard Richard Jewell, who found the backpack that held the bomb. Jewell was eventually cleared of any wrongdoing, but not until his life had been ripped apart (which was portrayed in the Clint Eastwood-directed film Richard Jewell).
The bombing was unsolved until 1998, when a string of bombings, along with the Olympic Park detonations, was traced to Eric Robert Rudolph. He managed to elude police for several years but was arrested in 2003. Rudolph was convicted and sentenced to multiple life sentences.
Tupac and Biggie Murder
Tupac Shakur was an acclaimed rapper, creating hit after hit, leading to four platinum albums over the length of his career. It all changed on September 7, 1996. He was leaving the MGM Grand Hotel in Las Vegas after getting into a fight. Shakur was in the passenger seat of a vehicle when another car pulled up next to him at a red light, and the unknown vehicle fired 13 shots at Tupac. He died at the hospital on September 13.
Many believed Biggie Smalls was behind the murder, but he denied any involvement. On March 9, 1997, in a similar fashion Biggie was murdered as he waited at a red light. Many theories attempt to explain what happened to the two men.
JonBenet Ramsey Murder
The day after Christmas in 1996 is a day that many will remember forever. This was the day that JonBenet went missing and found dead in the Ramsey house. Patsy Ramsey, JonBenet's mother, called the police and reported her daughter missing and said she found a ransom note that demanded $118,000. Despite a massive search, the family discovered JonBenet's body was found in the basement.
Going against police procedure, John and Patsy were interviewed together by investigators. The parents gave inconsistent accounts of what happened that night. They have always been seen by the public as responsible for the murders. However, to this day no one has been charged with the death of JonBenet.
Gianni Versace Assassinated by Serial Killer
While it may not be the 1980s, serial killers were still active in the 90s, and on July 15, 1997, Andrew Cunanan murdered Gianni Versace on the front steps of his Miami mansion. Cunanan had already been on the FBI's Most Wanted List. He was responsible for the murder of four men: Jeffrey Trail, David Madson, Lee Miglin, and William Reese.
A nationwide manhunt was launched and authorities tracked down the killer to a houseboat that Cunanan broke into. However, Cunanan killed himself, leaving police without a motive for the murders.
SNL Legend Phil Hartman's Murder
Probably one of my favorite SNL cast members, Phil Hartman is best known for his impersonation of President Bill Clinton. Sadly, the comedian was murdered by his wife on May 28, 1999. When the police arrived at the LA home, Brynn killed herself.
Columbine High School Massacre
The Columbine school massacre is a school shooting that left a imprint on the American way of life. It all started on April 20, 1999. At approximately 11 a.m., Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris entered Columbine High School in Colorado and placed a bomb in the school cafeteria. They left and waited in their cars. When the bombs didn't explode, they went back into the school with guns and plenty of ammo and started shooting their classmates. They ended up murdering 12 students and one teacher. An hour later, they killed themselves.
The motive was never determined, but the shooting became the most deadly school shooting in history at the time. It also ignited a national conversation on gun control.
© 2022 Lawrence Lease