The Most Notorious Serial Killer from Each State


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The United States has the most documented serial killers in the world, with a total of 3,690 surpassing the combined count of the next 10 highest countries, according to a study by World Population Review.

California leads the nation with 1,777 serial killer victims from 1992 to 2019, followed by Texas with 984 and Florida with 933. These figures are part of a broader pattern across the United States, which has seen 12,236 victims during this period. Every state has its notorious killers, and according to the WPR study, these are the most infamous serial murderers from each state: 

Image Credit: MediaFeed; Kansas; Wikipedia; Depositphotos; Department of Corrections / Wikipedia.

Alabama: Thomas Whisenhant

Number of Victims: 4+

In October 1976, Thomas Whisenhant abducted Cheryl Lynn Payton from the store where she worked. He drove her to a secluded area and assaulted her, then shot her point-blank in the head and dragged her body into a wooded area in rural Mobile County. Little did he know that someone would spot him and inform the police.

When he was caught, he told the police everything about Payton’s murder and confessed to other murders — the deaths of Venora Hyatt and Patricia Hitt. After decades of appeals, he was finally executed by lethal injection in 2010, having spent more than 30 years on death row, longer than anyone else in Alabama at that time.

Image Credit: Alabama Department of Corrections / Wikipedia.

Alaska: Robert Hansen

Number of Victims: 17

Robert Christian Hansen, born in Estherville, Iowa, moved to Alaska in 1971, where he established himself as a baker and a respected hunter.

However, his dark side involved abducting, assaulting, and murdering more than a dozen women, whom he hunted like animals. 

In 1984, after confessing to the particularly gruesome murders of 17 women, he was sentenced to 461 years in prison. According to The New York Times, Hansen, who was dubbed “Butcher Baker,” stated that he killed women because they rejected him all his life. Hansen died in prison in 2014 at the age of 75.

Image Credit: Alaskan Police Department / Wikipedia.

Arizona: Mark Goudeau

Number of Victims: 9

Mark Goudeau, infamously known as the “Baseline Killer,” wreaked havoc in Phoenix, between 2005 and 2006. 

His crimes, which included nine murders, multiple assaults, and numerous robberies, terrorized the community and led to an intense police investigation.

Goudeau was convicted in 2007, charged with nine murders and numerous other violent crimes, and received a death sentence along with an additional 1,100 years in prison. He is still on death row.

Image Credit: Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office / Wikipedia.

Arkansas: The Phantom Killer

Number of Victims: 5

The most dramatized and talked-about serial killer in Arkansas is the Phantom Killer, also known as the Texarkana Phantom. The mysterious murderer was responsible for a series of attacks in 1946, which came to be known as the Texarkana Moonlight Murders.

 Over the span of 10 weeks, the Phantom Killer brutally attacked eight people, killing five and seriously wounding three.

The attacks created a climate of fear and panic in the small town of Texarkana — which spanned Texas and Arkansas. The Phantom Killer was never caught and his identity remains a mystery.

Image Credit: Jimmy Emerson / Flickr.

California: ‘The Zodiac Killer’

Number of Victims: 5 Confirmed

California has been home to some of the most notorious serial killers in history. The “Golden State Killer,” Joseph James DeAngelo, murdered 13 people and committed over 50 sexual assaults from 1974 to 1986. Richard Ramirez, known as the “Night Stalker,” killed 13 people between 1984 and 1985, spreading terror with his satanic rituals. Edmund Kemper, the “Co-Ed Killer,” murdered 10 people, including his mother and six young women, in the early 1970s.

However, “The Zodiac Killer” remains one of America’s most infamous and elusive serial killers. Active in the late 1960s and early 1970s, he is confirmed to have killed at least five people in Northern California. He targeted young couples in secluded areas, shooting or stabbing them. What set him apart was his habit of taunting the police and media with cryptic letters and ciphers, some of which have never been solved.

His identity is still unknown despite numerous investigations and suspects over the years.

Image Credit: Public Domain / Wikipedia.

Colorado: Scott Lee Kimball

Number of Victims: 4–10

An FBI informant turned serial killer, Scott Lee Kimball was in prison for fraud, and in 2002, he made a deal with the FBI to let him out as an informant. Once out, Kimball exploited his position and went on a killing spree between 2003 and 2004, killing his cellmate’s girlfriend, his uncle, and a 19-year-old girl. 

His eventual arrest came after a brutal car chase, which ended in his capture. Following his arrest, Kimball pleaded guilty to four charges of second-degree murder. In 2009, he was sentenced to 70 years in prison for his crimes.

Image Credit: Colorado Department of Corrections / Wikipedia.

Connecticut: Michael Bruce Ross

Number of Victims: 9

Growing up on a farm with abusive parents, Michael Bruce Ross had a traumatic childhood. When he was a kid, Ross strangled a chicken after his uncle’s suicide. In college, he committed his first assault as a sophomore and murdered a woman later that year.

Ross preyed on young women, often abducting them from rural areas and assaulting and strangling them. He was found guilty of murdering eight women in Connecticut and one in New York, earning the moniker “The Roadside Strangler.”

Ross was executed in 2005, becoming the first person to be executed in Connecticut in over 40 years. A decade later, the state abolished the death penalty.

Image Credit: Connecticut Department of Correction / Wikipedia.

Delaware: Steven Brian Pennell

Number of Victims: 2–5

Delaware’s most infamous and its only documented serial killer is Steven Brian Pennell, also known as the “Route 40 Killer.” Between 1987 and 1988, Pennell targeted sex workers along Route 40, using his electrician van to pick them up.

As the number of victims grew, investigators were initially stymied, with the only significant clue being blue carpet fibers found on the bodies. The breakthrough came when an undercover officer, posing as a potential victim, was picked up by Pennell and noticed the blue carpet in his van. 

Pennell was eventually found guilty of murdering two women. During his trial he was given two life sentences by the jury. However, Pennel made the unusual request to be sentenced to death, although he never confessed to the killings.  He was executed by lethal injection in 1992.

Image Credit: New Castle County Department of Public Safety / Wikipedia.

Florida: Daniel Rolling

Number of Victims: 8

Known as the “Gainesville Ripper,” Daniel Rolling terrorized Florida’s college town, Gainesville, in the early 1990s and inspired the 1996 horror film “Scream.”

 Over the course of a few days, he brutally murdered five University of Florida students, leaving a trail of fear and chaos in the college town. 

His modus operandi included breaking into the victims’ apartments, where he would  assault, mutilate, and kill them, often posing the bodies in grotesque positions to shock anyone who discovered them.

During his trial, Rolling confessed to the murders and blamed his abusive childhood and mental illness as factors in his violent behavior.

Rolling was convicted and sentenced to death for the Gainesville murders in 1994. He spent over a decade on death row before being executed by lethal injection on October 25, 2006. 

Image Credit: Public Domain / Wikipedia.

Georgia: Wayne Williams

Number of Victims: 2 confirmed, 29 suspected

On July 21, 1979, a 14-year-old boy vanished in Atlanta. Four days later, another teen went missing. Both were found dead, signaling the start of a harrowing period for the city. Over the next 22 months, 29 young African-Americans were murdered, what became known as the Atlanta Child Murders.

The investigation eventually led to Wayne Williams, a local talent scout and freelance photographer who was convicted in 1982 for the murders of two men.

While he was only formally convicted of these two murders, authorities attributed many of the child murders to him based on fiber evidence and other circumstantial connections. 

Wayne Williams remains in prison, serving two consecutive life sentences.

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Hawaii: The Honolulu Strangler

Number of Victims: 5

The utopia of Honolulu was shattered by a series of gruesome murders that terrorized the island paradise. Known as the “Honolulu Strangler,” this unidentified serial killer preyed on women between 1985 and 1986, starting what would be remembered as the first serial killings in the state.

The nightmare began in May 1985 when the body of 25-year-old Vicki Purdy was discovered near Keehi Lagoon. Over the next year, four more women — Regina Sakamoto, Denise Hughes, Louise Medeiros, and Linda Pesce — met similar fates. Each victim was found strangled and abandoned in secluded areas.

Police were never able to find the culprit, and the case remains open.

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Idaho: Thomas Creech

Number of Victims:  5 confirmed, 11–43 suspected

Thomas Eugene Creech is one of Idaho’s most infamous serial killers. Creech’s violent rampage began in the late 1960s and spanned over a decade, with his first confirmed murder in 1974. 

In 1975, Creech was convicted of two murders in Idaho where he confessed to killing at least 26 people, but only a few of these confessions were verified. 

He was sentenced to death in 1983. Today, Creech remains on death row in Idaho, where he is the longest-serving death row inmate. 

Image Credit: DepositPhotos.

Illinois: John Wayne Gacy

Number of Victims: 33

John Wayne Gacy is probably a key reason clowns are often seen as creepy. Gacy led a double life as a respected community member and a horrific serial killer. By day, he performed at children’s parties as “Pogo the Clown,” but by night, he lured young men to his home, where he subjected them to unspeakable horrors.

Between 1972 and 1978, Gacy murdered at least 33 young men and boys. His method was chilling: He would lure his victims with promises of work or other favors, then torture and strangle them. Most of his victims were buried in the crawl space of his suburban Chicago home, with others disposed of in the Des Plaines River.

Convicted in 1980, Gacy was sentenced to death and executed by lethal injection in 1994.

Image Credit: Public Domain / Wikipedia.

Indiana: Herbert Baumeister

Number of Victims: 11–23

Herbert Baumeister appeared to be a successful businessman and devoted family man in Westfield, Indiana. However, beneath this façade, Baumeister was a predator.

Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, he lured at least 11 primarily gay young men from Indianapolis to his Fox Hollow Farm estate. There, he strangled them and buried their remains on his property. 

In the mid-1990s, his wife, Julie Baumeister, allowed the police to search their home while Herbert was away. Authorities discovered human bones scattered across the estate.

Facing arrest, Baumeister fled to Canada and committed suicide in 1996.

Image Credit: Indianapolis Police Department / Wikipedia.

Iowa: Gayno Gilbert Smith

Number of Victims: 6

Gayno Gilbert Smith, a troubled ex-Marine, became one of Iowa’s most notorious killers after a horrific crime spree in 1962. Living with his relatives, the McBeth family, in Martinsburg, Iowa, Smith’s actions on May 26th shattered the small community. 

After taking the McBeth children to a dance, he returned to their home during a thunderstorm and murdered their parents, Dora and Andrew McBeth, by shooting them. When the children returned, Smith attacked them, killing Amos and Donna McBeth and wounding Patsy, who managed to escape and seek help.

Smith was arrested two days later and confessed to the McBeth murders and the earlier murder of his stepmother, Juanita Smith. He was sentenced to five consecutive life terms plus an additional 50 years. Smith died in 2005 due to complications from a heart condition. 

Image Credit: Iowa Police / Wikipedia.

Kansas: Dennis Rader

Number of Victims: 10

BTK, which stands for “Bind, Torture, Kill,” is the nickname Dennis Rader gave himself. From 1974 to 1991, Rader murdered 10 people in Wichita, Kansas. He stalked his victims, broke into their homes, bound them, tortured them, and then killed them.

Rader’s first known murders were the Otero family in January 1974, including two parents and two children. Over the next two decades, he continued his killing spree while living a double life as a family man and church leader. 

His downfall began in 2004 when he resumed sending taunting letters to the police. A floppy disk he sent was traced back to him, leading to his arrest in 2005.

Rader confessed to all 10 murders and was convicted of 10 counts of first-degree murder. He received 10 consecutive life sentences without parole.

Image Credit: Kansas Department of Corrections / Wikipedia.

Kentucky: Donald Harvey

Number of Victims: 37–87

Donald Harvey, known as the “Angel of Death,” was a nurse’s aide who was killing number of patients in Ohio and Kentucky from 1970 to 1987.  

Harvey worked in various hospitals where he poisoned patients with cyanide and arsenic, suffocated them, or administered fatal doses of medication. He claimed he was ending patients’ suffering, but according to William Whalen, his former attorney, Harvey was not a mercy killer, and “he killed because he liked to kill.” 

Harvey’s killing spree was uncovered in 1987 when an autopsy revealed cyanide in a patient. Arrested soon after, he confessed to killing 37 people, though the number could be as high as 87. Convicted, he received multiple life sentences. Harvey died in prison on March 30, 2017, after being attacked by another inmate.

Image Credit: Mugshot/ Wikipedia.

Louisiana: Derrick Todd Lee

Number of Victims: 7

Derrick Todd Lee, known as the “Baton Rouge Serial Killer,” is one of Louisiana’s most notorious murderers. Active from the late 1990s to the early 2000s, Lee was linked to the brutal deaths of at least seven women in the Baton Rouge area, although some believe the number of his victims could be higher.

Lee’s method of operation was particularly vicious. He would often stalk his victims, break into their homes, and then assault, rape, and murder them.

His DNA was found at multiple crime scenes, conclusively linking him to the murders. In 2004, he was convicted of two murders and sentenced to death. Lee died of heart disease in 2016 while on death row.

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Maine: John Joseph Joubert IV

Number of Victims: 3

When John Joubert was a kid, he witnessed his father trying to strangle his mother. At 16, he stabbed a pencil into a 6-year-old girl. Known as the “Woodford Slasher,” Joubert went on to brutally murder three boys: 11-year-old Richard Stetson in Maine, and 13-year-old Danny Joe Eberle and 12-year-old Christopher Walden in Nebraska. Joubert kidnapped, bound, and brutally murdered these boys, leaving their bodies with multiple stab wounds and bite marks.

He was caught in 1984 after a witness provided his car’s license plate number to the police. During his confession, Joubert admitted he was glad to have been caught, as he feared he would continue killing.

Joubert was executed by electric chair on July 17, 1996, in Nebraska.

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Maryland: Joseph Roy Metheny

Number of Victims: 5–13

“The words I’m sorry’ will never come out, for they would be a lie.” That’s what Joe “The Cannibal” Metheny said in court after sharing the sickening details of his murder spree that horrified America.

Metheny was not a run-of-the-mill serial killer — he was a deranged, soulless predator who did things that would make your stomach turn. His spree began in the mid-1990s when he lured his victims to his trailer, brutally murdered them, dismembered their bodies, stored the flesh, and then mixed it with pork to sell as burgers at a roadside stand. 

In 1996, a potential victim, Rita Kemper, escaped and alerted the police. Initially sentenced to death, his sentence was later reduced to life imprisonment. Throughout his trial, Metheny displayed no remorse, instead taking pride, if not bragging about the atrocities that he committed.

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Massachusetts: The Boston Strangler

Number of Victims: 13

Thirteen women were murdered in their own homes in Boston between 1962 and 1964. There were no signs of forced entry, leading police to believe that each victim let the killer in voluntarily.  

The killer become known as the “Boston Strangler,” even though some of the victims were stabbed. 

Police arrested Albert DeSalvo for unrelated crimes, leading to his confession. Despite his detailed confessions, doubts persisted due to the lack of direct evidence. In 2013, DNA evidence confirmed his involvement in the murder of Mary Sullivan, the last known victim.

DeSalvo received a life sentence and was killed by another inmate in 1973.

Image Credit: Boston Public Library / Creative Commons.

Michigan: Benjamin Atkins

Number of Victims: 11

In the early 1990s, Detroit was in a state of constant fear as young women kept disappearing. Benjamin Atkins, the “Woodward Corridor Killer,” terrorized the city. 

Atkins’ murder spree began in December 1991 and lasted until August 1992. During this period, he brutally assaulted and strangled 11 women, primarily targeting sex workers. Atkins lured his victims to abandoned buildings along the Woodward Corridor, leaving their bodies to be discovered in various states of decay.

Arrested in August 1992, Atkins confessed to the murders, was convicted, and sentenced to 11 life terms without parole. He died in prison in 1997, from an HIV-related illness. 

Image Credit: Michigan Department of Corrections / Wikipedia.

Minnesota: Paul Michael Stephani

Number of Victims: 3

“Will you find me? I just stabbed somebody with an ice pick. I can’t stop myself. I keep killing somebody.” The police in Minnesota kept receiving calls like this, eventually dubbing the caller the “Weepy-Voiced Killer.”

Paul Michael Stephani’s murder spree in the early 1980s terrified Minnesota. He began his attacks on New Year’s Eve 1980, killing Karen Potack in St. Paul. He went on to murder Kimberly Compton in 1981 and Barbara Simons in 1982. Stephani lured women by offering rides, then brutally attacked them with a tire iron or ice pick.

In 1982, he attacked Denise Williams, who managed to escape and identify him. The weepy-voiced calls he made to the police matched his voice, leading to his arrest. Convicted of multiple murders, Stephani was sentenced to 40 years in prison. He died of cancer on June 12, 1998.

Image Credit: Minneapolis PD.

Mississippi: Glen Edward Rogers

Number of Victims: 3–6

Dubbed the “Cross Country Killer,” Glen Edward Rogers began his murder spree on Sept. 28, 1995, the same day Sandra Gallagher, a 33-year-old mother of three, won $1,200 in the lottery. They met at McRed’s bar in Van Nuys, California The next day, her car was found abandoned with her burned body inside.

After this murder, Rogers fled to Mississippi, Louisiana, and Florida, killing a woman in each state. He was captured in Kentucky after a high-speed chase near his family’s cabin. Rogers was sentenced to death in both Florida and California. He remains on death row. 

Image Credit: Public Domain / Wikipedia.

Missouri: Charles Ray Hatcher

Number of Victims: 16

In 1978, the body of 4-year-old Eric Christgen was found on the banks of the Missouri River, showing signs of abuse and suffocation. Initially, another man was wrongfully convicted for this crime, but in 1982, Charles Ray Hatcher, a notorious serial killer, confessed to Christgen’s murder while trying to check himself into a state hospital. This confession led to the revelation of his involvement in at least 16 murders, dating back to 1969.

Hatcher was convicted of multiple killings, including the murder of 11-year-old Michelle Steele in 1982. Despite requesting the death penalty, he was sentenced to life in prison. 

Four days later, he hanged himself in his cell.

Image Credit: Bettendorf Iowa Police Department / Wikipedia.

Montana: Wayne Nance

Number of Victims: 6

Wayne Nance, also known as the “Missoula Mauler,” terrorized Montana during the 1970s and 1980s.

In 1984, Donna Pounds, a librarian, was found dead in her home. She had been tied up and shot with a rifle. Despite suspicion, Nance remained a free man due to lack of evidence. Over the years, several other murders and disappearances were linked to Nance, including the deaths of Marcella “Marci” Bachmann and Devonna Nelson.

Nance’s reign of terror came to an end in 1986 when he attempted to kill Doug and Kris Wells. Nance had planned to rob and murder the couple, but Doug Wells managed to overpower him. During the struggle, Nance was shot and killed by Doug in self-defense.

After his death, investigations connected Nance to several unsolved cases through forensic evidence and witness accounts.

Image Credit: Missoula County Sheriff’s Office.

Nebraska: Charles Raymond Starkweather

Number of Victims: 11

Charles Starkweather claimed the lives of 11 people across Nebraska and Wyoming in a span of one month between December 1957 and January 1958.

Starkweather’s violent rampage began with the murder of a gas station attendant, Robert Colvert, in Lincoln, Nebraska. His 14-year-old girlfriend, Caril Ann Fugate, accompanied him during his deadly journey. The couple’s spree escalated when they killed Fugate’s family, including her mother, stepfather, and two-year-old half-sister. From there, Starkweather and Fugate murdered friends, strangers, and anyone unfortunate enough to cross their path.

The duo’s killing spree came to an end after a high-speed chase in Wyoming, where Starkweather was captured. Fugate claimed she was a hostage, but she was convicted as an accomplice, becoming the youngest female in the country’s history to have been tried and convicted of first-degree murder. Starkweather was sentenced to death and executed in 1959, while Fugate served 17 years in prison. 

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Nevada: Carroll Cole

Number of Victims: 16–35

Carroll Cole had a pattern similar to many serial killers on this list. He targeted vulnerable women, often sex workers, met them in bars, and strangled them after assaulting them. He also evaded capture for years, and when he was eventually caught, he blamed his rampage across the country on his mother.

From 1947 to 1980, Cole stalked bars in Nevada, Texas, and Wyoming, hunting women across who reminded him of his abusive mother.

In 1980, Las Vegas police arrested him after a suspicious incident aroused their curiosity. Once in custody, Cole confessed to at least 14 murders, revealing details of his cross-country spree. Sentenced to death, Cole met his end by lethal injection in 1985 in Nevada.

Image Credit: Nevada Department of Prisons / Wikipedia.

New Hampshire: Terry Peder Rasmussen

Number of Victims: 6–12

In November 1985, two brothers discovered a barrel in Bear Brook State Park containing the remains of a woman and a child. Fifteen years later, another barrel was found with the remains of two more young girls.

In 2002, a man named Curtis Kimball was arrested in California for the murder of his girlfriend, Eunsoon Jun. What was strange is that DNA tests linked this person to the Bear Brook victims. Curtis Kimball was actually Terry Rasmussen, a monstrous serial killer who had been using a lengthy list of aliases to evade the law for decades. He infiltrated families and destroyed lives in both California and New Hampshire.

 Rasmussen, dubbed “The Chameleon Killer,” died in prison in 2010.

Image Credit: Public Domain / Wikipedia.

New Jersey: Richard Francis Cottingham

Number of Victims: 11—19

Dubbed the “Torso Killer,” Richard Cottingham terrorized New York and New Jersey from the late 1960s to the early 1980s. 

His horrific crimes involved torturing and dismembering his victims. In May 1980, a hotel maid in New York City discovered two decapitated bodies. Days later, the police found him with a handcuffed, severely beaten woman in a New Jersey motel.

Cottingham was convicted in 1981 and 1984 for multiple murders, earning him life sentences. While in prison, he confessed to additional killings, bringing his known victim count to at least 11.

“The number of women he killed and assaulted has to be one of the highest of any serial killer.” Ann Grieco, a retired chief of detectives with the Bergen County prosecutor’s office in New Jersey, told People.

Cottingham remains behind bars, serving life sentences for his monstrous deeds.

Image Credit: Public Domain / Wikipedia.

New Mexico: David Parker Ray

Number of Victims:   3 confirmed; up to 60–100

David Parker Ray bought a trailer in a remote town in the middle of the desert. This might seem ordinary, except he used it as a torture chamber, which he dubbed the “Toy Box,” where he allegedly would assault and murder up to 60 women. He became known as the “Toy Box Killer,” a sadistic serial murderer who terrorized Truth or Consequences, New Mexico, from the mid-1990s until his arrest in 1999.

On March 22, 1999, one of his victims, Cynthia Vigil, managed to escape. Ray was never convicted of murder, as no bodies were definitively linked to him. However, he was sentenced to 224 years in prison for kidnapping and torture but died of a heart attack in 2002.

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New York: Joel Rifkin

Number of Victims: 9–17

Joel Rifkin, one of New York’s most notorious serial killers, terrorized the city from 1989 to 1993. He brutally murdered at least 17 women, most of whom were sex workers, and discarded their bodies in various locations around New York and New Jersey.

On June 28, 1993, Rifkin was pulled over by police for a missing license plate. The officers discovered a decomposing body in the trunk of his car.

Under interrogation, Rifkin confessed to numerous murders, providing chilling details of his crimes. He was convicted of nine counts of second-degree murder and sentenced to 203 years to life in prison

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North Carolina: Henry Louis Wallace

Number of Victims: 11

Between 1992 and 1994, 11 young black women in Charlotte, North Carolina, were assaulted and murdered, and they all shared one thing in common — they all knew Henry Louis Wallace. These women were either friends with Wallace’s girlfriend or colleagues of his, and his name was found in all of their phone books. He was seen at some of their funerals.

Today, Henry Louis Wallace remains on death row at Central Prison in Raleigh, North Carolina, awaiting execution. 

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North Dakota: Eugene Butler

Number of Victims: 6

In the early 1900s, Eugene Butler was a seemingly ordinary farmer from Niagara, North Dakota. He was an eccentric and lived a reclusive life. Around 1906, he began riding on horseback at nighttime, screaming at the top of his lungs and terrifying other residents. Eventually, he was declared mentally ill and died in an asylum. 

In 1915, a year after Butler’s death, workers excavating his former home discovered a hidden cellar containing the skeletal remains of six young men. 

Investigations suggested that Butler had lured these men to his farm, where he brutally murdered them and hid their bodies. The exact motives behind his killings remain unclear, but his actions left a lasting scar on the town of Niagara. 

Image Credit: Andrew Filer / Wikimedia Commons.

Ohio: Shawn Michael Grate

Number of Victims: 5

On September 13, 2016, Ashland police received a 911 call from a distressed woman who said she’d been kidnapped and her abductor was asleep, mere feet away. When the police managed to locate the apartment, they found a hoarder’s nest filled with garbage and decomposing bodies. 

Shawn Grate was arrested on the spot and later confessed to killing five women. Grate was found guilty and was sentenced to death in 2018. He is currently on death row.

Image Credit: Ashland County Sheriff’s Office / Wikipedia.

Oklahoma: Roger Dale Stafford

Number of Victims: 9–34

In the late 1970s, Oklahoma was shaken by a series of brutal murders orchestrated by Roger Dale Stafford.

Stafford’s most notorious act occurred on July 16, 1978, when he, his wife, Verna, and his brother Harold, brutally murdered six employees at the Sirloin Stockade restaurant in Oklahoma City during a robbery. Just days earlier, they had killed an Air Force sergeant and his family after offering them help with a broken-down vehicle.

Stafford was apprehended after a tip from his wife, who had turned against him. He was convicted of nine counts of first-degree murder.

Sentenced to death, Stafford spent years on death row before being executed by lethal injection on July 1, 1995. 

Image Credit: Oklahoma County Sheriff’s Office / Wikipedia.

Oregon: Randall Woodfield

Number of Victims: 12+

Randall Woodfield, a former NFL draft pick, used his charm to mask his deadly intentions, targeting women along Interstate 5, which gave him the moniker the “I-5 Killer.” 

Starting in 1980, Woodfield committed a spree of robberies, assaults, and murders across Oregon, Washington, and California. 

In February 1981, a composite sketch and tips led to his arrest. Evidence linked him to at least 12 murders and numerous assaults. Convicted in 1981, Woodfield received a life sentence plus 165 years. 

Woodfield remains in prison at the Oregon State Penitentiary.

Image Credit: Marion County Sheriff’s Office / Wikipedia.

Pennsylvania: Harvey Robinson

Number of Victims: 3

Harvey Robinson killed three women and injured two by the age of 18, making him one of the youngest serial killers in U.S. history. Robinson targeted women in their homes, attacking and murdering them. In 1993, a failed murder attempt allowed a victim to escape and contact the police, leading to Robinson’s capture. 

In 1994, Robinson was convicted and sentenced to death for his crimes. He is still on a death row.

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Rhode Island: Craig Price

Number of Victims: 4

Craig Price, from Warwick, Rhode Island, started killing before he was old enough to drive — even younger than Harvey Robinson. By the age of 15, he had killed four people, becoming the youngest serial killers in U.S. history.

In 1987, at just 13, Price broke into Rebecca Spencer’s home and stabbed her to death. Two years later, in 1989, he brutally murdered his neighbors, Joan Heaton, and her two daughters, Melissa and Jennifer.

Price was arrested shortly after the Heaton murders and quickly confessed. While he is still in prison for other crimes, he has not been sentenced for those crimes as he was a minor at the time.

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South Carolina: Donald Henry Gaskins

Number of Victims: 13–100

Dubbed the “Meanest Man in America,” Donald Henry Gaskins was a notorious serial killer from South Carolina. Starting in the 1950s, he killed at least 13 people, though he claimed to have murdered as many as 100.

Gaskins’ violence began early and escalated from assaults to murder. By the 1970s, he was targeting hitchhikers and acquaintances, using his charm to lure them before torturing and killing them.

In 1975, he was arrested for murdering an associate, which led to the discovery of his other crimes. Convicted and sentenced to death, Gaskins didn’t stop killing even in prison, he murdered a fellow inmate on death row.

Gaskins was executed in 1991.

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South Dakota: William Kunnecke

Number of Victims: 3

William Kunnecke was one of South Dakota’s most enigmatic serial killers. Originating from Germany, Kunnecke moved to the U.S. in 1884 and eventually settled in Mountain Home, Idaho. There, he managed a farm with his wife, Regina. 

Suspicions arose when farmhands, including Regina’s nephew Koeninger, mysteriously disappeared. In 1900, another suspicious death occurred when sheep owner Litzman was found dead, leading to further suspicion of Kunnecke. Fleeing various accusations, he resurfaced in Spearfish, South Dakota, and continued his dubious activities, including stealing sheep and allegedly murdering farmers Charles Rohrbecker and Andrew Demler. 

Kunnecke was finally arrested but escaped prison multiple times. His last sighting was in 1919, after which he vanished.

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Tennessee: Paul Dennis Reid

Number of Victims: 7

Paul Dennis Reid wanted to be a country singer, so he moved to Nashville in the early ’90s. When that did not pan out as he planned, he took a job as a dishwasher at a fast-food restaurant. After being fired in 1994, he turned to violence.

Between February and April 1997, Reid robbed and killed seven employees at fast-food restaurants in Tennessee. He started at Captain D’s in Nashville, murdering two workers, and continued at a McDonald’s and a Baskin-Robbins.

Reid was captured in June 1997 and convicted of multiple murders. He was sentenced to death and remained on death row until he died from pneumonia in 2013.

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Texas: Genene Jones

Number of Victims: 2 confirmed; 60 suspected

One morning in October 1981, after finishing her overnight nursing shift in the pediatric ICU at Bexar County Hospital in San Antonio, a nurse informed her boss that too many babies were dying during the 3-to-11 evening shift under the care of a single nurse: Genene Jones. Between May and December 1981, an internal inquiry found that 10 infants had died after sudden and unexplained complications, with Jones present during each passing.

After leaving Bexar County Hospital under suspicion but without concrete evidence of her crimes, Jones found work at a pediatric clinic in Kerrville. There, seven children suffered medical emergencies within a month, and one of them, 15-month-old Chelsea Ann McClellan, died. The doctor in the office discovered two puncture marks in a bottle of succinylcholine in the drug storage, a powerful paralytic that only Jones and the doctor had access to.

In 1983, Jones was arrested and charged with poisoning six children and the murder of Chelsea Ann McClellan. She was convicted and received a 99-year prison sentence.

In 2017, new charges were brought against her for additional murders, leading to a life sentence. Genene Jones is currently incarcerated

Image Credit: Texas Department of Criminal Justice / Wikipedia.

Utah: Arthur Gary Bishop

Number of Victims: 5

Arthur Gary Bishop is one reason parents warn their children not to take candy from strangers. In the early 1980s, he terrorized Salt Lake City by luring young boys with treats and then killing them.

From 1979 to 1983, five boys went missing. In July 1983, a tip led police to suspect Bishop. They found evidence linking him to the abductions, and a witness saw him with one of the boys.

During questioning, Bishop confessed to the murders, explaining how he lured, molested, and killed his victims. He showed the police where he had hidden the bodies.

Bishop was convicted of multiple murders and sentenced to death. He was executed by lethal injection on June 10, 1988. 

Image Credit: Salt Lake County Sheriff’s Office / Wikipedia.

Vermont: Ted Bundy

Number of Victims: 30+

Ted Bundy told John Henry Browne, his attorney at the time, that when he was in junior high school, he would put white mice into little corral and figure out which ones he would kill. It was the same with women. 

Ted Bundy is arguably the most famous serial killer in history. While he murdered mostly in Washington, Oregon, Utah, Colorado, and Florida, he was born in Vermont.

Bundy used his charm and good looks to lure young women to their deaths. His killing spree began in the 1970s, targeting women by pretending to be injured or in need of help. Once he gained their trust, he would abduct, assault, and murder them. His methods were brutal, and he sometimes revisited the bodies of his victims.

Bundy was first arrested in 1975 in Utah for kidnapping but managed to escape custody twice before being recaptured. His final arrest came in Florida in 1978 after a vicious attack on a sorority house at Florida State University, where he killed two women and injured several others.

He confessed to 30 murders, though the true number is believed to be higher. Bundy was convicted of multiple counts of murder, sentenced to death, and eventually executed.

Image Credit: Public Domain / Wikipedia.

Virginia: Alfredo Rolando Prieto

Number of Victims: 9

It was not long after Alfredo Rolando Prieto, originally from El Salvador, moved to the U.S. in the 1980s that he went on a murderous spree.

In 1990, he was convicted of assaulting and murdering a 15-year-old girl in California and sentenced to death. DNA evidence later linked him to multiple unsolved murders in Virginia, including the 1988 killings of Rachel Raver and Warren Fulton III.

Extradited to Virginia in 2008, Prieto was convicted of these additional murders and received multiple death sentences. He was executed by lethal injection on October 1, 2015. 

Image Credit: Public Domain / Wikipedia.

Washington: Gary Leon Ridgway

Number of Victims: 49–90

For nearly two decades, the “Green River Killer” haunted the Pacific Northwest, leaving a trail of disappearances and deaths. 

Despite a massive investigative effort, his identity remained unknown through the 1980s and ’90s, as dozens of women vanished from Seattle’s streets, only to be found in wooded areas.

In late 2001, advances in DNA techniques led to the arrest of Gary Ridgway, a commercial truck painter, identifying him from 1,300 suspects. 

However, in the 1980s, the Washington State Patrol Crime Laboratory failed to analyze microscopic paint spheres on the clothing of Ridgway’s first victim and seven others. This industrial spray paint linked him to the murders and could have been detected decades earlier.

Ridgway eventually confessed to 48 murders, avoiding the death penalty by leading detectives to more bodies.

Image Credit: Public Domain / Wikipedia.

West Virginia: Harry Powers

Number of Victims: 5

Harry Powers, born Herman F. Drenth in the Netherlands, became one of America’s most notorious serial killers. Moving to the U.S. in 1910, he eventually settled in Moundsville, West Virginia, and adopted the name Harry F. Powers.

Using personal ads, Powers lured lonely women with promises of love. In 1931, he lured Asta Eicher and her three children to his home in Quiet Dell, West Virginia, where he murdered them. He also killed Dorothy Lemke from Massachusetts, using similar tactics.

Police discovered his crimes after investigating Eicher’s disappearance. They found bodies buried on his property and evidence of a torture chamber. Powers was arrested in August 1931 and confessed to the killings.

His trial in December 1931 was swift, and he was sentenced to death. Harry Powers was executed by hanging on March 18, 1932

Image Credit: Public Domain / Wikipedia.

Wisconsin: Jeffrey Dahmer

Number of Victims: 17

Three decades have gone by since the “Milwaukee Cannibal” was killed by a fellow inmate while serving 15 life sentences for his heinous crimes, and he still haunts the nation. 

Jeffrey Lionel Dahmer murdered 17 young men and boys between 1978 and 1991. He lured victims with promises of money or companionship, then drugged, strangled, and dismembered them, often engaging in necrophilia and cannibalism.

Dahmer’s horrific spree ended on July 22, 1991, when a would-be victim escaped and alerted police. Inside his apartment, authorities found gruesome evidence, including photographs of dismembered bodies and human remains.

He confessed to the murders and was sentenced to 15 consecutive life terms. On November 28, 1994, Dahmer was killed by a fellow inmate in prison. His case has inspired numerous documentaries, including the most recent Netflix series, “Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story,”

Image Credit: Public Domain / Wikipedia.

Wyoming: Rodney Alcala

Number of Victims: 8+

In 1978, Rodney Alcala appeared on The Dating Game, introduced by the host as a “successful photographer who got his start when his father found him in the darkroom at the age of 13, fully developed.” He charmed the bachelorette, Cheryl Bradshaw, but she sensed something was off and refused to go out with him.

What no one knew was that Alcala was a serial killer in the midst of a rampage. He had already murdered at least two women in California and previously served time for the brutal rape of an 8-year-old girl.

By the time of his 1979 arrest, Alcala had killed at least seven women, though the true number is believed to be much higher. He toyed with his victims, torturing them before finally killing them.

Convicted in 1980, 1986, and again in 2010 for multiple murders, Alcala was sentenced to death. 

Alcala died of natural causes on July 24, 2021, while on death row in California.

This article was produced and syndicated by MediaFeed.

Image Credit: Public Domain / Wikipedia.

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