American Criminals

America, a country known for its tall skyscrapers, redwood forests, amazing beaches, sun-bleached hillsides and larger than life cities, has attracted tourists in thousands, thanks to its geographic mainstays. Then there is this influential lot of rich, famous, and powerful Americans and its king-sized attractions that has made the country even more tempting to the world outside. But under all the fun and beauty, lurks a doomed, depressing side of America. That is right! America has been home to some of history's classic lawbreakers, infamous crooks, and criminals who have time and again pushed America into headlines and for all the wrong reasons. Discover all about some of America's most infamous criminals in this section. We trail down the feats and deeds of some of America's most wanted criminals in the trivia, timeline, and interesting facts presented in the biographies below.

This ranking is based on an algorithm that combines various factors, including the votes of our users and search trends on the internet.

Rank the Most Wicked American Criminals

 1 
Ted Bundy
(Serial Killer)

Ted Bundy
197
Birthdate: November 24, 1946
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Burlington
Died: January 24, 1989

Ted Bundy was an American serial killer who kidnapped, raped and murdered a number of women and girls during the mid and late 1970s. He ultimately confessed to his crimes and was sentenced to death by electric chair. Later, the life of one of the most notorious criminals of the late 20th century inspired a number of books and movies.

 2 
Richard Ramirez
(Serial Killer)

Richard Ramirez
140
Birthdate: February 29, 1960
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: El Paso, Texas, United States
Died: June 7, 2013

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. 

 3 
Al Capone
(Gangster - Co-founder & Boss of the 'Chicago Outfit')

Al Capone
40
Birthdate: January 17, 1899
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Brooklyn, New York, United States
Died: January 25, 1947

Al Capone, also known by the nickname Scarface, was one of the most notorious American gangsters who controlled the organised crime in Chicago between 1925 and 1931. He was known for violence and cruelty in eliminating rival gang members, the most infamous incident being the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre. His life inspired numerous books and films.

 4 
Zodiac Killer
(Serial killer)

Zodiac Killer
58
Birthdate: 0000 AD
Birthplace: United States of America

Zodiac Killer was an the unidentified American serial killer who spread terror in the northern California from late 1960s to early 1970s. In his letters to police and press, he claimed to have killed 37 people, out of which five were confirmed. Though he was never caught, his case inspired numerous books, films and television series including Clint Eastwood’s classic Dirty Harry.

 5 
Jeffrey Dahmer
(American Serial Killer and Sex Offender)

Jeffrey Dahmer
154
Birthdate: May 21, 1960
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Milwaukee, Wisconsin, United States
Died: November 28, 1994

One of the most notorious serial killers ever convicted in America, Jeffrey Dahmer terrorized the Milwaukee region in the 1980s. He targeted young men and boys, who he would lure to his house on some pretext before torturing and killing them. Finally arrested and imprisoned in the early 1990s, he was killed by a fellow inmate in 1994.

 6 
John Wayne Gacy
(Serial Killer & Sex Offender)

John Wayne Gacy
128
Birthdate: March 17, 1942
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Chicago, Illinois, United States
Died: May 10, 1994

John Wayne Gacy was a sex offender and a serial killer. He assaulted, raped and murdered at least 33 boys and young men in 1960s and 1970s. He tortured and killed all his victims inside his ranch house near Norridge, a village in Norwood Park. He was given death sentence in March 1980 and was executed in May 1994.

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 7 
Ed Gein
(Murderer, Suspected Serial Killer & Body Snatcher)

Ed Gein
39
Birthdate: August 27, 1906
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: La Crosse County, Wisconsin, United States
Died: July 26, 1984

Popularly known as the Butcher of Plainfield, Ed Gein was a murderer and body snatcher. His spine-chilling life insane acts like exhuming corpses and making keepsakes and trophies from their skin and bones, inspired films like The Silence of the Lambs, The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, and Psycho.

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 8 
Charles Manson
(Led the Manson Family, a Cult Based in California)

Charles Manson
73
Birthdate: November 12, 1934
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Cincinnati, Ohio, United States
Died: November 19, 2017

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.

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 9 
Aileen Wuornos
(Serial killer)

Aileen Wuornos
98
Birthdate: February 29, 1956
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Rochester, Michigan, United States
Died: October 9, 2002

Sexually and physically assaulted by her own grandfather during her childhood and teenage years, Aileen Wuornos took to prostitution to support herself. From becoming pregnant at age 14 to engaging in sexual activities in exchange for drugs, Aileen's early life played a major role in turning her into a serial killer. Her story eventually became quite famous in popular culture.

 10 
H. H. Holmes
(Serial Killer)

H. H. Holmes
42
Birthdate: May 16, 1861
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Gilmanton, New Hampshire, United States
Died: May 7, 1896
American serial killer H.H. Holmes was sentenced to death for the murder of his accomplice Benjamin Pitezel but confessed to 27 murders and might have killed almost 200 people. He had set up a hotel, later known as the Murder Castle, specifically for this purpose. He inspired a bestselling book.
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 11 
Bonnie Parker
(Bank Robber)

Bonnie Parker
34
Birthdate: October 1, 1910
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Rowena, Texas, United States
Died: May 23, 1934

Best known as part of the legendary criminal couple Bonnie and Clyde, Bonnie Parker was infamous for her bank robberies with her partner Clyde Chestnut Barrow. They apparently murdered several policemen, too. Their crimes were romanticized in many movies including a 1967 film starring Faye Dunaway as Bonnie.

 12 

Dennis Rader (BTK Killer)
53
Birthdate: March 9, 1945
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Pittsburg, Kansas, United States
Dennis Rader, better known as BTK, an abbreviated form of “blind, torture, kill,” is an American serial killer. He murdered 10 people and then sent letters to the police and the media, explaining his crimes. Following a 10-year hiatus, he began sending letters again, leading to his arrest and conviction.
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 13 
Jesse James
(Outlaw, Bank and Train Robber)

Jesse James
22
Birthdate: September 5, 1847
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Kearney, Missouri, United States
Died: April 3, 1882
Jesse James was an outlaw from Missouri, who robbed trains, stagecoaches, and banks. He was also a guerrilla and led the James–Younger Gang. Along with his brother Frank, he joined pro-Confederate “bushwhackers” during the American Civil War. James became a legendary Wild West figure after his death.

 14 

Billy the Kid
26
Birthdate: November 17, 1859
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Manhattan
Died: July 14, 1881

Billy the Kid was a gunfighter of the American Old West whose notoriety grew when he escaped from jail after killing two sheriff's deputies. He remains one of the most notorious personalities of the American Old West, whose life has been often dramatized in popular culture. His story has inspired over 50 films, including Billy the Kid, and The Outlaw.

 15 
Edmund Kemper
(Serial Killer)

Edmund Kemper
44
Birthdate: December 18, 1948
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Burbank, California

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.

 16 
John Dillinger
(Robber, Gangster)

John Dillinger
26
Birthdate: June 22, 1903
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Indianapolis, Indiana, United States
Died: July 22, 1934

A gangster of the Great Depression era, John Dillinger led a group known as the "Dillinger Gang". His gang was accused of robbing 24 banks and four police stations. He was a master evader and escaped the police’s attempts to capture him many times. He was finally shot to death by the authorities in 1934.

 17 
Gary Ridgway
(Serial Killer)

Gary Ridgway
46
Birthdate: February 18, 1949
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Salt Lake City, Utah, United States
Nicknamed “the Green River Killer,” Gary Ridgway is a serial killer convicted of killing 49 women by driving them to remote locations, strangling them, and then disposing of their bodies in the Green River. DNA technology helped the police nab him. He had served in the Vietnam War earlier.

 18 
Lucky Luciano
(Gangster)

Lucky Luciano
19
Birthdate: November 24, 1897
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Lercara Friddi, Italy
Died: January 26, 1962

An Italian-born gangster, Lucky Luciano is regarded as the father of modern organized crime in the US; he served as the first boss of the Genovese crime family. He also played a key role in the rise of the National Crime Syndicate. His life and style inspired several films, television series, and books. His eponymous biopic was released in 1973.

 19 
Frank Abagnale
(Impostor, Fraudster)

Frank Abagnale
36
Birthdate: April 27, 1948
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Bronxville, New York, United States

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.

 20 
Christopher Scarver
(Serial Killer)

Christopher Scarver
38
Birthdate: July 6, 1969
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Milwaukee, Wisconsin

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.

 21 
Richard Wershe Jr.
(FBI Informant, Drug Dealer)

Richard Wershe Jr.
7
Birthdate: July 18, 1969
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Michigan
Richard Wershe Jr. became the youngest FBI informant when he was around 14 to 16 years of age. He had started selling cocaine as a teenager and was arrested at 17. He was sentenced to life but was granted parole later. He inspired the 2018 movie White Boy Rick.

 22 
Andrew Cunanan
(FBI Ten Most Wanted Fugitive)

Andrew Cunanan
46
Birthdate: August 31, 1969
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: National City, California, United States
Died: July 23, 1997

Andrew Cunanan was an American spree killer who killed five people, including world-renowned fashion designer Gianni Versace and business tycoon Lee Miglin, during a three-month period. The motive behind the killings remains unknown as he killed himself shortly after the murders. His story has inspired several films and TV series, including the 1998 movie The Versace Murder.

 23 
David Berkowitz
(Serial Killer)

David Berkowitz
55
Birthdate: June 1, 1953
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Brooklyn, New York, U.S.

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.”

 24 
Lee Harvey Oswald
(U.S. Marine Veteran Who Assassinated John F. Kennedy)

Lee Harvey Oswald
24
Birthdate: October 18, 1939
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: New Orleans, Louisiana, U.S.
Died: November 24, 1963

Lee Harvey Oswald was arrested for killing Dallas police officer J. D. Tippit. Further investigation suggested that he had murdered US President John F. Kennedy about 45 minutes before murdering Tippit. Though he denied the accusations, he was charged with the murder of Kennedy. While in police custody, Oswald was shot dead by Jack Ruby, a nightclub owner.

 25 
Jordan Belfort
(Author of 'The Wolf of Wall Street')

Jordan Belfort
30
Birthdate: July 9, 1962
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: The Bronx, New York, United States
The former stock broker, who was convicted for stock-market manipulation and cheating several investors, Jordan Belfort spent 22 months in prison before he was released and altered his way of living. Using his life experiences, he became a motivational speaker and also authored two memoirs, one of which, The Wolf of Wall Street, was adapted into an award winning film.

 26 
Joseph James DeAngelo
(Serial Killer)

Joseph James DeAngelo
33
Birthdate: November 8, 1945
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Bath, New York, United States

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.

 27 
Bugsy Siegel
(Mobster)

Bugsy Siegel
7
Birthdate: February 28, 1906
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Brooklyn, New York, United States
Died: June 20, 1947

Notorious mobster Bugsy Siegel held significant influence within the Italian-American Mafia and was regarded as a “celebrity gangster.” Good-looking and charismatic, he was an enigmatic figure. He played a key role in the development of the Las Vegas Strip. Noted for his prowess with guns, he met a grisly end when he was shot dead in 1947.

 28 
James Earl Ray
(Assassin)

James Earl Ray
20
Birthdate: March 10, 1928
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Alton, Illinois, United States
Died: April 23, 1998

James Earl Ray was charged with assassinating Martin Luther King, Jr. in Memphis on April 4, 1968 and was convicted and sentenced to 99 years in prison in 1969. He served 29 years of his sentence before he died at the age of 70 from problems related to kidney disease and liver failure caused by hepatitis C.

 29 
John Gotti
(Boss of the Gambino Crime Family)

John Gotti
24
Birthdate: October 27, 1940
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Bronx, New York, United States
Died: June 10, 2002

John Gotti was the boss of the Gambino crime family, described as America's most powerful crime syndicate. It made millions per year from criminal activities like racketeering, loan sharking, drug trafficking, prostitution, extortion, pornography and illegal gambling. The FBI convicted him in 1992 and he was sentenced to life in prison without parole and later died of throat cancer.

 30 
Anne Bonny
(Pirate)

Anne Bonny
12
Birthdate: March 8, 1697
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Cork, Ireland
Died: March 31, 1721

Irish pirate Anne Bonny is considered one of the most famous female pirates of all time. She operated in the Caribbean in the early 18th century. As a teenager, she became the partner and lover of the notorious English pirate captain Calico Jack Rackham. She was captured in 1720 when she was pregnant. Her fate remains unknown. 

 31 
Rodney Alcala
(Serial Killer)

Rodney Alcala
32
Birthdate: August 23, 1943
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: San Antonio, Texas, United States
Died: July 24, 2021
Rodney Alcala received a death sentence for five murders in the 1970s, and 25 years for two more murders. Known as “The Dating Game Killer” for his appearance on the show The Dating Game in the middle of the murders, Alcala also collected explicit photos of his victims.

 32 
Joe Exotic
(Former Operator of G.W. Zoo)

Joe Exotic
35
Birthdate: March 5, 1963
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Garden City, Kansas, United States

 33 
Henry Hill
(Mobster)

Henry Hill
23
Birthdate: June 11, 1943
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Brooklyn, New York, United States
Died: June 12, 2012
Henry Hill was a mobster from New York’s Lucchese crime family, who later testified against his former associates. His life inspired the book Wiseguy: Life in a Mafia Family and the film Goodfellas. He was associated with crimes such as gambling, drug trafficking, and high-profile robberies at the JFK Airport.

 34 
Jack Ruby
(Assassin of of Lee Harvey Oswald)

Jack Ruby
11
Birthdate: April 25, 1911
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Chicago, Illinois, United States
Died: January 3, 1967

Jack Ruby was a Dallas nightclub owner who shot Lee Harvey Oswald, the alleged assassin of the 35th US President, John F Kennedy. Jack Ruby was charged with first-degree murder. He died of cancer in January 1967 in a hospital just after The Texas Court of Appeals had reversed his death sentence and was slated to grant him a new trial.

 35 
Frank Costello
(Crime Boss)

Frank Costello
1
Birthdate: January 26, 1891
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Cassano allo Ionio, Italy
Died: February 18, 1973

Frank Costello was an Italian-American kingpin of the famous Luciano crime family. After serving as a trusted consigliere for the Luciano crime family under Lucky Luciano, Costello became acting boss in 1937 when underboss Genovese fled to Italy, while Luciano was imprisoned. However, he retired in 1957 to avoid an altercation with Genovese, who wanted to rule the crime family.

 36 
Albert Fish
(Serial Killer)

Albert Fish
42
Birthdate: May 19, 1870
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Washington, D.C., United States
Died: January 16, 1936

Albert Fish was an American cannibal, child rapist, and serial killer. Fish confessed to three murders out of the five murders for which he was suspected. However, he claimed to have victimized about 100 people and boasted of having children in every state. His crimes and the subsequent execution by electric chair were dramatized in the film The Gray Man.

 37 
Dean Corll
(Serial Killer)

Dean Corll
26
Birthdate: December 24, 1939
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Fort Wayne, Indiana, United States
Died: August 8, 1973
Dean Corll, also known as the “Candy Man” and the “Pied Piper,” was a serial killer who, along with accomplices David Brooks and Elmer Henley, was responsible for the grisly Houston Mass Murders. The group kidnapped, assaulted, and strangulated or shot at least 28 young men and boys. 

 38 
D. B. Cooper
(Former Criminal known for Hijacking a Boeing 727 and parachuting from the plane mid-flight before disappearing)

D. B. Cooper
7
Birthdate: 0000 AD
Birthplace: United States

D. B. Cooper is a media epithet for an unidentified man, who in 1971 hijacked a Boeing aircraft for four parachutes and $200,000. On receiving the ransom, he released the passengers; but forced the pilot to fly towards Mexico City, jumping off the plane with the $200,000 somewhere between Seattle and Reno. Nothing has been found about him since then.

 39 
Larry Hoover
(Criminal)

Larry Hoover
36
Birthdate: November 25, 1950
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Jackson, Mississippi, United States
Gang leader Larry Hoover, also known as King Larry, established the Chicago street gang known as the Gangster Disciples. He later named the gang Growth and Development and focused on community service. He is currently in prison, serving six life sentences, including one for a murder committed in 1973. 

 40 
John Wilkes Booth
(Assassin of President Abraham Lincoln)

John Wilkes Booth
34
Birthdate: May 10, 1838
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Bel Air, Maryland, United States
Died: April 26, 1865
John Wilkes Booth was a stage actor belonging to the Maryland-based Booth theatrical family. He was a Confederate supporter and disagreed with President Abraham Lincoln. He thus shot and killed Lincoln in April 1865. Though Booth fled, he was tracked down and killed in Virginia 12 days later.

 41 
David Parker Ray
(Serial Rapist, Serial Killer)

David Parker Ray
27
Birthdate: November 6, 1939
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Belen, New Mexico
Died: May 28, 2002
David Parker Ray was said to have killed 60 women from Arizona and New Mexico. He earned the nickname “Toy-Box Killer” for using a sound-proof truck full of items of sexual torture, which he named his “toy box.” Though convicted of kidnapping and torture, he escaped a murder conviction.

 42 
Michael Franzese
(Crime Boss)

Michael Franzese
13
Birthdate: May 27, 1951
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Brooklyn, New York, United States

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.

 43 
Carlo Gambino
(Crime Boss)

Carlo Gambino
4
Birthdate: August 24, 1902
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Palermo, Italy
Died: October 15, 1976

Carlo Gambino was an Italian-American kingpin of the famous Gambino crime family. He took over the Commission of the Mafia after the incarceration of Vito Genovese in 1959. Although he was involved in organized crime for more than five decades, he was imprisoned for only 22 months for a tax evasion charge. Carlo Gambino is often portrayed in crime films.

 44 
Ted Kaczynski
(Unabomber)

Ted Kaczynski
60
Birthdate: May 22, 1942
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Chicago, Illinois, United States

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.

 45 
Ross Ulbricht
(Drug Trafficker)

Ross Ulbricht
15
Birthdate: March 27, 1984
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Austin, Texas
Ross Ulbricht, or "Dread Pirate Roberts,” created the dark market site Silk Road, which let people make anonymous drug deals, using bitcoins. He was eventually convicted of a number of crimes, including hacking and money laundering, and was sentenced to a double life imprisonment plus 40 years without parole.

 46 
Delphine LaLaurie
(Serial killer)

Delphine LaLaurie
14
Birthdate: March 19, 1780
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: New Orleans, Louisiana, United States
Died: December 7, 1849
Delphine LaLaurie, also known as Marie Delphine Macarty or Madame Blanque, was a socialite from New Orleans who tortured and killed countless slaves in her Royal Street mansion. Her crimes were discovered after a fire at her mansion. An outraged mob subsequently destroyed the house, while she left New Orleans.

 47 
Patricia Krenwinkel
(Murderer, Member of Manson Crime Family)

Patricia Krenwinkel
7
Birthdate: December 3, 1947
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Los Angeles, California, United States

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.

 48 

Leslie Van Houten
10
Birthdate: August 23, 1949
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Altadena, California, United States

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.

 49 
Butch Cassidy
(Train and bank robber)

Butch Cassidy
9
Birthdate: April 13, 1866
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Beaver, Utah, United States
Died: November 7, 1908

Train and bank robber Butch Cassidy was the leader of a gang of criminal outlaws known as the "Wild Bunch" in the Old West. The son of ranchers, he ran away from home as a teenager and became involved in a life of crime. He started with minor criminal offenses and eventually became a much-feared robber.

 50 
Darlie Routier
(Murderer)

Darlie Routier
11
Birthdate: January 4, 1970
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Altoona, Pennsylvania, United States
Darlie Routier was convicted of stabbing her 5-year-old son Damon to death in 1996 and sentenced to death by lethal injection. She was also charged with killing her other son, 6-year-old Devon, but not tried for it. Following multiple appeals by her, fresh DNA tests were ordered and are pending.