American serial killer, rapist, and burglar, Richard Ramirez terrorised the people of California, primarily Los Angeles, between 1984 and 1985 before being eventually captured by the police. The brutal criminal, also known as Night Stalker, was finally found guilty of 43 charges, including 13 murders and was sentenced to death. While on a death row, he died of cancer.
Criminal and cult leader Charles Manson was the leader of the notorious Manson Family, a criminal cult that committed a series of murders in the late 1960s and early 1970s. He was arrested and imprisoned many times in his life and died in 2017 while serving his life sentence at California State Prison.
Saddam Hussein ruled Iraq as its president from 1979 to 2003. Described as one of the last of the great dictators of the 20th century, his regime caused the deaths of at least 250,000 Iraqis. Saddam was deposed in 2003 when a U.S led coalition invaded Iraq. Accused of crimes against humanity, Saddam Hussein was sentenced to death in 2006.
Christopher Scarver is a convicted murderer whose physical assault on Jesse Anderson and serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer at the Columbia Correctional Institution resulted in the death of both Anderson and Dahmer. Already sentenced to life for killing a man named Steve Lohman, Christopher Scarver received two more life sentences for killing Anderson and Dahmer.
Edmund Kemper is a serial killer, rapist and a necrophile. He was charged, convicted and sentenced to eight concurrent life sentences in 1973 for murdering ten people, including his paternal grandparents and mother. Most of his victims were female college students and hitchhikers, whom he lured into his vehicle and then killed them. He later decapitated and violated them.
Frank Abagnale’s life story inspired the film Catch Me If You Can. He was a con man, imposter and did check forgery from the age 15 to 21. He assumed the identities of an airline pilot, a physician and a lawyer, among others. He was eventually arrested and after spending few years in prison started working for the federal government.
From a brilliant mathematician and an assistant professor at University of California, Theodore Kaczynski became the notorious American criminal—Unabomber—who was responsible for mail bombs that killed three people and injured 23 in eighteen years. He was eventually caught and sentenced to life imprisonment after his anti-technology essay sent to the media was recognised by his brother.
A convicted serial killer, David Berkowitz is believed to have killed six people and wounded seven others. He eluded the police for several months before being captured. He is currently serving six consecutive life sentences in the maximum-security prison, Shawangunk Correctional Facility. He was popularized by the media under the name “Son of Sam.”
Joseph James DeAngelo is an American serial killer, rapist and burglar who carried out his crimes for many years in 1970s and 1980s and was finally captured by the police in 2018. The former police officer and auto mechanic, who was known by various names like Golden State Killer and Visalia Ransacker, was sentenced to life in prison in 2020.
English serial killer Peter Sutcliffe was dubbed the Yorkshire Ripper as he was likened to the infamous unidentified serial killer, Jack the Ripper, by the press. Convicted of killing 13 women and injuring nine other, Peter Sutcliffe was sentenced to life imprisonment. In 2000, ITV aired a crime drama miniseries based on Peter Sutcliffe's murders titled This Is Personal.
From being an infant whose both legs were amputated below knee, Oscar Pistorius went on to become a top athlete with wins in Paralympic Games and other sporting events. The South African sprinter also became the first amputee runner to compete at the Olympics Games. However, later, he was convicted for the murder of his girlfriend and is currently imprisoned.
Michael Franzese's story of being an influential member of the Colombo crime family to becoming a motivational speaker and writer inspired several works of art, including Martin Scorsese's 1990 film Goodfellas where he was played by actor Joseph Bono. In 1986, he was named in Fortune magazine's list of Fifty Most Wealthy and Powerful Mafia Bosses.
Karla Homolka raped and killed three minors along with her ex-husband Paul Bernardo. After their arrest, Bernardo was sentenced to life imprisonment, while Homolka served 12 years in prison following a plea bargain. Although she had claimed that she was an unwilling accomplice to the killings, a videotape that surfaced after the plea bargain suggested otherwise, resulting in public outrage.
Whitey Bulger was an Irish-American FBI informant and organized crime boss. His arrest and subsequent trial exposed FBI handler John Connolly who had helped Bulger in return for the latter's information about the Patriarca crime family. Bulger's life and work inspired the 2015 film Black Mass. Many fictional TV and film characters have also been inspired by Whitey Bulger.
German-Colombian drug kingpin Carlos Lehder, co-founder of the Medellín Cartel, which smuggled cocaine into the U.S., formed the Muerte a Secuestradores, to fight against the kidnappings of his cartel members. He escaped from the kidnappers but spent a 33-year sentence in the U.S., following which he was released.
Dennis Nilsen was a Scottish necrophile and serial killer who killed at least 12 boys and young men between 1978 and 1983. Also known as the Muswell Hill Murderer, Nilsen committed these crimes in London, England, where he would lure his victims into his house before strangulating them to death. He was convicted in 1983 of six counts of murder.
Wareen Jeffs is the Leader of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ. He is currently in jail after being convicted of sexual assault on minors. Like his father, Warren Jeffs is also notorious for polygamy and presiding over murky affairs at his church. Born prematurely, he appeared in the FBI’s 10 Most Wanted List in 2006 following allegations of arranging marriages of underage girls.
Former salesman, Scott Peterson, is a convicted murderer who is imprisoned in San Quentin State Prison. Peterson was convicted for the murder of his seven months pregnant wife, Lacy, and unborn son, Connor. Though Lacy’s family initially thought him to be innocent, evidence gathered later proved otherwise. The case attracted tremendous media attention and even inspired numerous movies and documentaries.
A former member of the notorious Charles Manson's "Family," Patricia Krenwinkel is a criminal who has participated in multiple murders. She was part of the gang that murdered actress Sharon Tate, who was pregnant at the time of her death. Krenwinkel has been denied parole fourteen times and is currently incarcerated at the California Institution for Women.
Susan Atkins was an American murderer who was convicted for participating in eight killings, including the infamous Tate murders, carried out by members of the Manson Family. Sentenced to life imprisonment, Atkins was the longest-serving female inmate in California history at the time of her death.
Leslie Van Houten is a convicted murderer. A former member of the infamous Manson Family, Houten played a major role in the Tate-LaBianca murders of 1969. Since her highly publicized court trials, Leslie Van Houten has been portrayed in several films; she has been played by actresses like Kristen Hager, Tania Raymonde, Greer Grammer, Hannah Murray, and Victoria Pedretti.
One of America’s most notorious serial killers, Robert Hansen was called ‘The Butcher Baker’ as he owned a bakery. He is said to have killed seventeen women and raped many others in and around Anchorage, Alaska, during the 1970s and 1980s. Most of his victims were strippers and sex workers. He was sentenced to 461 years in prison in 1984.
Ugandan insurgent, Joseph Kony, is the leader of the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA), a guerrilla group. He is a self-proclaimed spokesperson of God and a spirit medium. Government entities have accused him of abducting children to make them child soldiers and sex slaves. He was indicted for war crimes and crimes against humanity in 2005 by the International Criminal Court (ICC).
A mobster and drug dealer most wanted by India, Dawood Ibrahim heads the organized crime syndicate popularluy known as D-Company. He was named No.3 on The World's 10 Most Wanted Fugitives by the FBI in 2011. He is wanted on the charges of terrorism, murder, targeted killing, extortion, and drug trafficking among other crimes.
Wayne Williams is an American serial killer currently serving life imprisonment for the murders of two men in Atlanta, Georgia. Although he is convicted of only two murders, Wayne Williams is suspected to have committed at least 23 of the 30 murders that took place in Atlanta between 1979 and 1981. His chilling story has inspired TV series and films.
Susan Smith is an American murderer who was convicted for murdering her children, Michael and Alexander, who were three-year-old and 14-month-old respectively. She falsely claimed that her kids were kidnapped by a black man before being adjudged guilty of the crime. Sentenced to life in prison, Smith is currently incarcerated at the Leath Correctional Institution in South Carolina.
Former bare knuckle boxer Charles Salvador, also known as Charles Bronson, is also a highly infamous criminal, who was once convicted for an armed robbery. Known for his violent temper, he later penned several books, one of them on fitness. He is also a talented painter and poet.
Ernesto Fonseca Carrillo is a convicted Mexican drug lord. He led a now-defunct criminal group called the Guadalajara Cartel alongside Rafael Caro Quintero and Miguel Ángel Félix Gallardo. In 1982, the Drug Enforcement Administration indicted him in a money laundering operation, but he fled back to Mexico where he was finally arrested in 1985.
Lee Boyd Malvo was involved in the Beltway sniper attacks of 2002, which killed 10 people and injured three in the Washington Metropolitan Area. He had befriended his accomplice in the act, John Allen Muhammad, as a juvenile. Malvo is currently serving multiple life sentences at a supermax prison.