American Murderers

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When you think of America, you think of bluegrass and beaches, staggering natural beauty and colossal skyscrapers, restaurant loving cities and big open skies. But did you know that America also lays claims to some of world's most spine-chilling, cold-blooded, grotesque killers, dangerous enough to have movies made on them. That is right! Call them mental, disturbed or plain evil, these murderers have skillfully committed most horrifying acts of killing, gross enough to send shivers down one’s spine. They are the epitome of sadism and notoriety. From the “Alligator Man” Joe Ball who killed as many as 20 women to Jeffrey Dahmer, another America’s most sinister serial killer, the history of America is tainted by the blood of many slayed victims. Explore the different, darker, lesser known side of the otherwise warm and welcoming USA in our murderers section where we explore the biographies, timeline, trivia and facts on some of the most shockingly, inhumane murderers to ever walk on the sand and streets of America.
Rank the Most Wicked American Murderers
 1 
Ted Bundy
(Serial Killer)
Ted Bundy
316
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 
Jeffrey Dahmer
(American Serial Killer and Sex Offender)
Jeffrey Dahmer
255
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.

 3 
Richard Ramirez
(Serial Killer)
Richard Ramirez
247
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. 

 4 
Zodiac Killer
(Serial killer)
Zodiac Killer
109
Birthplace: United States

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 
John Wayne Gacy
(Serial Killer & Sex Offender)
John Wayne Gacy
207
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.

 6 
Ed Gein
(Murderer, Suspected Serial Killer & Body Snatcher)
Ed Gein
90
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.

 7 
Billy the Kid
59
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.

 8 
Bonnie Parker
(Bank Robber)
Bonnie Parker
62
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.

 9 
Charles Manson
(Led the Manson Family, a Cult Based in California)
Charles Manson
128
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.

 10 
Christopher Scarver
(Serial Killer)
Christopher Scarver
97
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.

 11 
Joseph James DeAngelo
(Serial Killer)
Joseph James DeAngelo
64
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.

 12 
Lee Harvey Oswald
(U.S. Marine Veteran Who Assassinated John F. Kennedy)
Lee Harvey Oswald
47
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.

 13 
John Wilkes Booth
(American Stage Actor Who Assassinated United States President Abraham Lincoln)
John Wilkes Booth
42
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.
 14 
Jack Ruby
(American Nightclub Owner Who Murdered Lee Harvey Oswald)
Jack Ruby
14
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.

 15 
Patricia Krenwinkel
(American Convicted Murderer and Member of the Manson Family)
Patricia Krenwinkel
10
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.

 16 
Darlie Routier
(Murderer)
Darlie Routier
22
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.
 17 
Diane Downs
(American Criminal Who Murdererd Her Daughter and Attempted to Murder Her Other Two Children)
Diane Downs
14
Birthdate: August 7, 1955
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Phoenix, Arizona, United States
Diane Downs killed her own daughter in 1983. She also tried killing her other children and then made up a story about how a man had tried carjacking her and had shot her children. She was sentenced to life plus 50 years but is eligible for parole at age 65. 
 18 
Leslie Van Houten
(American Convicted Murderer and Member of the Manson Family)
Leslie Van Houten
17
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.

 19 
Richard Speck
(Murderer)
Richard Speck
12
Birthdate: December 6, 1941
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Kirkwood, Illinois, United States
Died: December 5, 1991
Richard Speck sent shockwaves across Chicago when he killed eight student nurses in the Jeffery Manor neighborhood, in 1966. He strangled or stabbed all his victims, also raping one, while a ninth lady escaped by hiding. Speck was sentenced to death, but his sentence was later commuted to 400-1200 years. 
 20 
Susan Smith
(Murderer)
Susan Smith
34
Birthdate: September 26, 1971
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Union, South Carolina

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.

 21 
John Gotti
(American Gangster and Boss of the 'Gambino Crime Family')
John Gotti
41
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.

 22 
Whitey Bulger
(Crime Boss)
Whitey Bulger
16
Birthdate: September 3, 1929
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Boston, Massachusetts, United States
Died: October 30, 2018

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.

 23 
Scott Peterson
(Murderer)
Scott Peterson
30
Birthdate: October 24, 1972
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: San Diego, California

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.

 24 
James Earl Ray
(Assassin)
James Earl Ray
35
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.

 25 
Susan Atkins
(American Murderer and Member of Charles Manson's Crime Family)
Susan Atkins
38
Birthdate: May 7, 1948
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: San Gabriel, California, United States
Died: September 24, 2009

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. 

 26 
Johnny Ringo
(American Old West outlaw)
Johnny Ringo
5
Birthdate: May 3, 1850
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Greens Fork, Indiana, United States
Died: July 13, 1882
 27 
John List
(American Mass Murderer)
John List
12
Birthdate: September 17, 1925
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Bay City, Michigan, United States
Died: March 21, 2008
John List murdered his mother, wife, and three children at their house in New Jersey in 1971. He then relocated to Denver, as Bob Clark, became an accountant, remarried, and even joined a Lutheran congregation. He was arrested and convicted through an America's Most Wanted episode, after 18 years.
 28 
John Wesley Hardin
(Gunfighter)
John Wesley Hardin
9
Birthdate: May 26, 1853
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Bonham, Texas, United States
Died: August 19, 1895
 29 
Gypsy Rose Blanchard
(Masterminded Her Own Mother’s Murder)
Gypsy Rose Blanchard
52
Birthdate: July 27, 1991
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Golden Meadow, Louisiana, United States
Gypsy Rose Blanchard came in the public eye after she teamed up with her boyfriend, Nicholas Godejohn, to murder her mother, Dee Dee Blanchard. Dee Dee was suffering from Munchausen syndrome, which made her create an illusion that Gypsy suffered from several chronic illnesses, whereas Gypsy was a normal child.
 30 
James Burke
(Mobster)
James Burke
10
Birthdate: July 5, 1931
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: New York, New York, United States
Died: April 13, 1996
 31 
Albert Anastasia
(One of the Founders of the Modern American Mafia and Co-founder of 'Murder, Inc' Crime Group)
Albert Anastasia
10
Birthdate: February 26, 1902
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Parghelia, Italy
Died: October 25, 1957
Italian-American mobster Umberto "Albert" Anastasia, or Anastasio, co-founded the American Mafia and later co-established Murder, Inc. Nicknamed The One-Man Army, he later became the boss of the Gambino crime family and also began controlling the New York waterfront. He was killed on the orders of Carlo Gambino and Vito Genovese.
 32 
Stanley Williams
15
Birthdate: December 29, 1953
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Shreveport, Louisiana, United States
Died: December 13, 2005
 33 
Vincent Gigante
13
Birthdate: March 29, 1928
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: New York, New York, United States
Died: December 19, 2005
 34 
Robert Stroud
(US Convicted Killer Who Became an Ornithologist and an Author in Prison)
Robert Stroud
2
Birthdate: January 8, 1890
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Seattle, Washington, USA
Died: November 21, 1963
 35 
Karla Faye Tucker
(American Convicted Murderer)
Karla Faye Tucker
6
Birthdate: November 18, 1959
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Houston, Texas, United States
Died: February 3, 1998

Karla Faye Tucker was a convicted criminal who killed two people with a pickaxe during a burglary. She committed the crime with a few accomplices in 1983. She was convicted of murder the following year and sentenced to death. She was executed by lethal injection in 1998. She was the first woman to be executed in US since1984. 

 36 
Drew Peterson
(Police Officer)
Drew Peterson
5
Birthdate: January 5, 1954
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Bolingbrook, Illinois, United States
 37 
Tommy Lynn Sells
(Serial Killer)
Tommy Lynn Sells
12
Birthdate: June 28, 1964
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Oakland, California, United States
Died: April 3, 2014
 38 
Assata Shakur
(American Political Activist and Member of the Black Liberation Army Who Was Convicted in the First-Degree Murder)
Assata Shakur
31
Birthdate: July 14, 1947
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: New York, New York, United States

Assata Shakur is a former member of the revolutionary organization 'Black Liberation Army'. Sentenced to life for murder, Shakur escaped from the 'Edna Mahan Correctional Facility for Women' and was eventually granted political asylum in Cuba. She is the first woman to be added to FBI's Most Wanted Terrorists list. Her life inspired the documentary film Eyes of the Rainbow.

 39 
Leonard Peltier
(Activist)
Leonard Peltier
5
Birthdate: September 12, 1944
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Anishinabe (Chippewa) Turtle Mountain Reservation, North Dakota, USA
 40 
William Heirens
(Serial Killer)
William Heirens
7
Birthdate: November 15, 1928
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Evanston, Illinois
Died: March 5, 2012
 41 
Joseph Massino
(Criminal)
Joseph Massino
2
Birthdate: January 10, 1943
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: New York City, USA
 42 
Caril Ann Fugate
8
Birthdate: July 30, 1943
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Lincoln, Nebraska, United States
 43 
Martha Beck
(Serial Killer)
Martha Beck
11
Birthdate: May 6, 1920
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Milton, Florida, United States
Died: March 8, 1951
 44 
Tex Watson
(Murderer)
Tex Watson
11
Birthdate: December 2, 1945
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Farmersville, Texas, United States
 45 
Barry Sadler
(Soldier)
Barry Sadler
2
Birthdate: November 1, 1940
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Carlsbad, New Mexico, USA
Died: November 5, 1989
 46 
Cleveland Torso Murderer
9
Birthplace: United States
 47 
Jovan Belcher
(American Football Player)
Jovan Belcher
4
Birthdate: July 24, 1987
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: West Babylon, Long Island, New York, USA
Died: December 1, 2012
 48 
Joseph Lyle Menéndez
(American brothers who were convicted in 1996 for the murders of their parents)
Joseph Lyle Menéndez
12
Birthdate: January 10, 1968
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: New York, United States
 49 
Sara Jane Moore
(Woman Who Attempted to Assassinate US President Gerald Ford)
Sara Jane Moore
10
Birthdate: February 15, 1930
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Charleston, West Virginia, United States
 50 
Joey Merlino
(Crime boss)
Joey Merlino
1
Birthdate: March 16, 1962
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States