Special Report

The Most Depraved Serial Killers in History

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

Jeffrey Dahmer
> Number of victims: 17
> Modus operandi: Stabbing
> Location: Milwaukee
> Time frame: 1978-1991
> Serial killer’s fate: Killed in prison

Few stories about serial killers are more lurid than Jeffrey Dahmer’s. A college dropout and aimless drifter, Dahmer seduced young men and boys, drugged them, and killed 17 of them. He performed necrophiliac acts on their bodies, dismembered them, and cooked body parts and ate them. He was caught when one of his intended victims escaped from his apartment and led police to Dahmer’s apartment, where they found photos of Dahmer’s victims. He was sentenced to 957 years in jail in 1992, but was killed in prison two years later.

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

William Bonin
> Number of victims: 21 (estimated)
> Modus operandi: Beating, stabbing
> Location: Southern California
> Time frame: 1979-1980
> Serial killer’s fate: Executed in 1996

William Bonin, known as the “Freeway Killer,” terrorized Southern California in 1979 and ’80. He killed at least 21 young men and left their bodies along the side of variouis freeways. Before he was executed by lethal injection in 1996, he corresponded with victims’ families telling them how their loved ones reacted while he was torturing them.


Andrei Chikatilo
> Number of victims: 53
> Modus operandi: Stabbing, strangulation
> Location: Soviet Union
> Time frame: 1979-1990
> Serial killer’s fate: Executed in 1994

Andrei Chikatilo had a challenging childhood, growing up in Ukraine after the famine there in the 1930s. He was a teacher but couldn’t hold a job because of claims of assaults on young children. Instead, he became a clerk for a raw-materials factory in Rostov, a job that involved extensive travel and gave him the opportunity to attack young victims. He befriended them at train stations and bus stops, lured them into forests, raped them, and mutliated them with a knife. After he was arrested for suspicious behavior in 1990, he provided details of his crimes to a psychiatrist. He was found guilty of 52 of the 53 murder charges and he was executed by firing squad in 1994.

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

Richard Ramirez
> Number of victims: 13
> Modus operandi: Stabbing, shooting
> Location: Los Angeles area
> Time frame: 1984-1985
> Serial killer’s fate: Died on death row in 2013

Called the “Night Stalker” by the media, rapist, burglar, and killer Richard Ramirez unleashed his fury on the Los Angeles area in 1984 and ’85, killing 13 people. After he was arrested, the 29-year-old Ramirez was convicted of those murders as well as five attempted murders, 11 sexual assaults, and 14 burglaries. He was sentenced to die in the gas chamber. Ramirez was unfazed by his fate: “Big deal,” he said. “Death always went with the territory. See you in Disneyland.” That didn’t happen. In 2013, while on death row, Ramirez died from cancer.

Charles Edmund Cullen
> Number of victims: 40
> Modus operandi: Poisoning
> Location: New Jersey
> Time frame: 1984-2003
> Serial killer’s fate: Serving life sentence

Charles Edmund Cullen was a nurse who worked at medical facilities in New Jersey. The so-called “Angel of Death” murdered at least 40 elderly patients – and possibly as many as 400 – over a 16-year period by overdosing them with drugs, according to law-enforcement authorities. Cullen, who tried to commit suiсide twice, was ultimately charged with only one murder and is now serving a life term without possibility of parole at New Jdrsey State Prison in Trenton.

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