Special Report

The Most Brutal Female Criminals in History

Source: 161690867@N06 / Flickr

16. Juana Barraza (1957- )
> Crime: Murder
> Country: Mexico

Juana Barraza is a former professional wrestler who killed between 42 and 48 elderly women. She gained access to their homes, murdered them, and then stole their money. Mexican authorities were at first convinced that the serial killer was a male who wore women’s clothes. Barraza was arrested in 2006 and tried in 2008, with the prosecution claiming that she had been responsible for as many as 40 deaths. She was sentenced to 759 years in prison but because sentences imposed in Mexican courts are usually served concurrently, she will serve no more than 60.

Source: txking / iStock via Getty Images

17. Karla Leanne Homolka (1970- )
> Crime: Murder
> Country: Canada

Karla Homolka was jailed in 1993 along with her then-husband Paul Bernardo over the killings of three teens, including her younger sister, Tammy, in Canada. The victims were raped and tortured, and one was dismembered, over a three-year period beginning in 1990. As the result of a plea bargain, Homolka was convicted only of manslaughter and was released in 2005 after serving a 12-year sentence. Her former husband received a life sentence in 1995.

Source: chameleonseye / iStock via Getty Images

18. Klara Mauerova (1975- )
> Crime: Torture, child abuse
> Country: Czechia

Klara Mauerova, a Czech woman, belonged to a religious cannibal cult. She and her sister beat the children – two adopted boys – with belts, put cigarettes out on them, sexually abused them, forced them to cut themselves with knives, and cut one boy’s skin and forced him to eat it. They kept the boys locked up in dog cages, forcing them to sleep in their own excrement. Mauerova was sentenced to nine years in prison in 2008.

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

19. Leonarda Cianciulli (1894-1970)
> Crime: Murder, cannibalism
> Country: Italy

Leonarda Cianciulli, who operated a soap shop, was a serial killer and cannibal infamous for turning her victims’ bodies into soaps and teacakes. She became pregnant 17 times in her life, but lost three pregnancies to miscarriage, and 10 of the children she bore died before they became adults. She was very protective of her surviving children, however, and when her eldest son went into the army in WWII, she thought she could protect him through human sacrifice. Arrested and tried in 1946, she was found guilty of murdering three women and was sentenced to 30 years in prison and three years in a criminal asylum.

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

20. Ma Barker (1873-1935)
> Crime: Robbery, murder
> Country: U.S.

Ma Barker led the Barker Gang, which included her two sons, in the 1930s. They committed numerous robberies, murders, and kidnappings in Missouri, Oklahoma, and Kansas. She was killed at a house she was renting in Florida in 1935 by the FBI in what became the longest FBI shoot-out in history.

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