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A serial killer is defined as someone who murders at least two or three people in at least two separate events over a period of time, which includes a “cooling off” period in between the murders. Unfortunately, history is chock full of serial killer stories, and the grisly details are sad and horrifying. Here are some of the more infamous serial murderers from the pages of American history.
Gary Ridgway was also known as the Green River Killer, and over the course of 16 or so years, murdered dozens of women. His nickname was given to him by the press after his first few victims were found in the Green River in Washington State. He was convicted of 49 murders, but confessed to 71. He is currently serving a life sentence without possibility of parole in Washington State Penitentiary.
Theodore Bundy murdered at least 30 girls and young women in seven U.S. states during the 1970s. While incarcerated, he successfully escaped not once but twice. He ultimately confessed to the 30 murders, but it’s suspected that the number was actually much higher. He died in the electric chair at age 42 at a Florida prison.
John Wayne Gacy
John Wayne Gacy, also known as the Killer Clown, committed the sexual assault and murder of at least 33 boys and young men in the Chicago, Illinois area. Before his arrest, he was well-regarded by neighbors and was involved in community and politics. He also spent time dressing up like a clown to entertain children. He spent 14 years on death row before his execution by lethal injection in 1994.
Jeffrey Dahmer is best known for not only murdering teens and young men, but it also for keeping and consuming parts of their bodies. He was found to be legally sane at the time of his trial, and was convicted of 16 murders and sentenced to 16 life sentences. He was killed by a fellow inmate in 1994.
Randy Kraft was convicted of murdering 16 young men in 1989. He was known as the Freeway Killer, as many of his victims were found along a freeway. He was also known as the Scorecard Killer because authorities found an encoded list of his victims that he seemed to be keeping track of. There were 61 entries on his scorecard, so it’s suspected that his victim count was much higher. He is currently incarcerated at San Quentin State Prison.
Dean Corll, along with accomplices, raped, tortured and murdered 28 boys in what is known as the Houston Mass Murders. He recruited two young men to lure victims to his house, and one of his accomplices wound up shooting Corll to death while he attempted another murder.