20 Worst Serial Killers in History & How They Were Caught

“There are two kinds of serial killers as far as I am concerned: The kind that you don’t see before they pounce on you and the kind you see and don’t expect to pounce on you.”

– Pat Brown

A serial killer can be anybody, with no restriction on gender, age, physical capacity or sexual orientation. As you read through this article you will truly understand what Mr. Brown was talking about.

1) Paul Bernardo and Karla Homolka

Paul Bernardo and Karla Homolka

This duo is responsible for at least three murders including Karla’s younger sister. Karla’s younger sister, Tammy was the first victim from whom the duo started their killing spree. It is believed that Paul was disappointed that his wife, Karla wasn’t a virgin because of which Karla offered her sister. They drugged Tammy, after which she choked on her vomit and died. Later the duo raped and killed a 14-year-old girl called Leslie Mahaffy and 15-year-old Kristen French.

The police eventually caught Paul based on his DNA that was found in several rape victims. As Paul was being questioned, Karla got a plea bargain getting away with 12 years in prison while Paul got a life sentence.

2) Wolfgang Abel and Marco Furlan

Wolfgang Abel and Marco Furlan

The duo believed they were soldiers of God, ridding the world of “Sub-Human”, i.e. homosexuals, prostitutes and drug addicts who needed to be eliminated. They burnt a drug addict alive with four Molotov cocktails. They were caught in 1984 in a jam-packed disco where they were dousing carpet and furniture with gasoline. As per the court, they were sentenced to 30 years in prison and were released on bail. Furlan fled the country and was living under a false name but was recaptured.

3) Fred and Rosemary West

Fred and Rosemary West

This couple makes to this list because of the horrendous nature of their killing track record. They assaulted and killed at least 12 women, and this included their own daughters as well. They killed their daughters when one of them opened up at school about being raped by her father. The school authorities reported it to the police. Once sufficient evidence was found, along with human bones buried neatly under their house, the sick predators were brought to light. Both were sentenced to prison and neither of them has been released. Fred killed himself within a year of being arrested and Rosemary is still in the prison.

4) Myra Hindley and Ian Brady

Myra Hindley and Ian Brady

Brace yourself, as we talk about another psychotic duo! It’s famously known as the “Moor Murders”, as the gravesites of the victims were situated at Saddleworth Moors near Manchester. This couple would not only kidnap, sexually assault and murder children (between the age of 10 and 17), they would sometimes take pictures with the dead bodies and the gravesite. They were eventually caught when Hindley’s brother-in-law witnessed Brady killing the last of his victims. Both, Hindley and Brady, got life sentences. While Hindley died, Bradly was declared criminally insane and is currently serving the remainder of his sentence at Ashworth Hospital.

5) Charlene and Gerald Gallego

Jon Venables and Robert Thompson

If you think all these cases were bad then wait till you read about Charlene. She would lure young teen girls to the couple’s van where her husband Gerald would be waiting in the van with a gun. The victim would then be tied up, raped and murdered. Later, the bodies would be dumped or buried. They did this to fulfil Gerald’s obsession of having sex slaves. This case became famous as “Sex Slave Murders”. The couple was caught when Gerald had abducted a newly engaged couple, Craig Miller and Mary Elizabeth Sowers, at gun point. Unfortunately, the victims didn’t live and were killed by three shots each. Gerald was tried for murder in California and Nevada where Charlene testified against him. He died of rectal cancer prior to his execution.

6) Jon Venables and Robert Thompson


These boys were only 10 when they committed their first cold-blooded murder. The duo decided to abduct, torture and eventually kill a two-year-old, James, who was out shopping with his mother. James’ body was later found on the rail and the boys were convicted of murder. One of the boys was released after the age of 18 and now lives under a new identity while the other returned back to jail after being released.

7) Amarjeet Sada

Amarjeet Sada

This young boy shook India to its core when his heinous crimes came to light. At the tender age of 8, he was responsible for killing three babies, all less than a year old and this included his own 8-month old sister. He was convicted of murder and will be released in 2017.

8) Catherine and Curtis Jones

Catherine and Curtis Jones

The siblings Catherine and Curtis, 12 and 13 respectively, have been one of the youngest children to be charged as adults for first-degree murder without any hearing or opportunity to testify. Both kids were staying along with their father, his girlfriend and another unnamed person. They alleged that they were being abused by this unnamed stranger. They told their father, his girlfriend and a child welfare worker about this as well. Since no one believed their allegations, they decided to take matters into their own hand and killed their father’s girlfriend.

9) Pomeroy


This boy is the youngest person in Massachusetts to be convicted of a first-degree murder. He was accused of attacking young kids for no reason. Later, a four-year-old boy was found mutilated and a young girl had also gone missing. The body of the girl was found in his mother’s shop in the ash pit. He was sent to prison and lived there until his death in 1932.

10) Delfina and Maria Gonzales

Delfina and Maria Gonzales

These sisters have a whopping record of 91 killings! Under the pretext of recruiting maids, they actually recruited women for prostitution. The victims were forced to use drugs like cocaine and heroin. Once the victim was of no use to them, the sisters would kill them off. The remains of 11 men, 80 women, and several foetuses were found by the police on the sister’s property. Both the sisters were sentenced to 40 years in prison. Delfina died in prison while Maria managed to finish her sentence.

11) Henry Lucas and Ottis Toole 

Henry Lucas and Ottis Toole

These two are believed to have murdered between 5 and 600 people. Both of them were arrested on separate charges. Ottis was charged with arson and Lucas for weapons. After the arrest, the duo confessed to their heinous crimes, which helped recover 46 missing people and solve the case of 430 murders. They were awarded death sentence, which was later reduced to life. Both of them are no more.

12) Faye and Ray Copeland

Faye and Ray Copeland

They’re the oldest couple sentenced to die for killing at least 5 people. Ray was 76 and Faye was 69 at the time of their sentence. Their style of killing was a single bullet to the head. Eventually, they were caught when a drifter informed the police of human remains in the couple’s property.

13) Christian Michael Longo

Christian Michael Longo

Christian was wanted in connection with the murder of his wife, Mary Jane and their three children. He had strangled his wife and their 2-year-old daughter, crammed their bodies in a suitcase and dumped them off at the docks of Newport. He drowned his other 2 children and tossed them in the Alsea Bay. He is currently incarcerated at Oregon State Penitentiary. The movie, True Story, starring James Franco is based on this case.

14) Aileen Wuornos

Aileen Wuorno

Aileen had got into prostitution at a very young age and she killed seven men. During her trial, she claimed that the killing of her victims was an act of self-defence against those who tried to rape her or attempted to rape her. In October 2002, she was sentenced to death by lethal injection on account of 6 of the murders. This case was also made into a movie called Monsters.

15) John Bunting

John Bunting

He was the ring leader of the famous “Snowtown Murders”, also known as the bodied-in-barrel murders. Bunting led a group of killers by making them believe that the victims were homosexuals, paedophiles, or weak. He was sentenced to 11 consecutive terms without parole.

16) Ivan Milat

Ivan Milat

Ivan loved spending time with his victims before killing them. While roasting marshmallows with his backpacker victims, he would stab them to death. The police knew it was the work of a serial killer because of the consistency in the M.O. He is serving 7 consecutive sentences along with 18 years without parole in a maximum security prison.

17) Jeffery Dahmer

Jeffer Dahmer

Also known as the Milwaukee Cannibal, Dahmer was not only a serial killer but a sex offender as well. His victims were both boys and men. A total of 17 men and boys were raped, murdered and dismembered. He was later caught when one of his victims managed to escape. He was sentenced to 16 years of life imprisonment. He was later beaten to death by a fellow inmate at the Columbia Correctional Institution.

18) Cindy Collier and Shirly Wolf

Cindy Collier and Shirly Wolf

These teen girls wanted to know what it’s like to murder somebody and for that reason, they brutally stabbed an old lady. Once the girls were caught, they confessed to the crime and were sentenced to maximum imprisonment up to the age of 25.

19) Eric Smith

Eric Smith

As a child, Eric was bullied a lot for his looks. One day he decided to vent out his frustration on a four-year-old victim. Eric dropped a large rock on the child’s head and sodomized him with a stick. In 1994, he was convicted of second-degree murder and was sentenced to a minimum of nine years to life in prison. Currently, Eric is incarcerated at Collins Correctional Facility.

20) Edmund Kemper

Edmund Kemper

Also known as the ‘Co-ed Butcher’, Edmund was sentenced to criminally insane juvenile for murdering his paternal grandparents. He was later released at the age of 21 and after being released, he targeted female hitchhikers. He’d lure them to his van and murder them before taking their corpse home to violate and desecrate further. Before turning himself over to the authorities, he murdered his mother and her friend. He was declared sane and guilty, thereby sentencing him to eight life imprisonments.

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