A notorious Colombian drug lord, Pablo Escobar was the founder and leader of the infamous Medellín Cartel. His drug cartel monopolized the cocaine trade into the United States and he became one of the wealthiest criminals ever in history. Dubbed "The King of Cocaine", he left behind a controversial legacy upon his death at the age of 44.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Jack the Ripper was anl unidentified serial killer who predominantly targeted female prostitutes living and working in the ghetto of the East End of London. Since the murders were never solved, Jack the Ripper became infamous folklore in England. The murders were so cleverly done that the authorities were not even able to ascertain the killer's gender.
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.
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.
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.
Known as Angel of Death, Dr. Josef Mengele was the chief doctor of Auschwitz concentration camp and was responsible for killing thousands of Jews as well as torturing the prisoners mercilessly and conducting inhuman experiments on them. These included injecting them with chemicals and stitching twin children together. Despite his horrible crimes, the infamous Nazi doctor could never be captured.
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.
Blackbeard was a notorious English pirate who struck fear into the hearts of his opponents during the early 18th century. His life has inspired several video games, TV miniseries, and films. Tim Powers' novel On Stranger Tides houses a fictionalized version of Blackbeard; the novel was later adapted into a film titled Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
One of history’s most infamous serial killers, Harold Shipman was a British GP who is believed to have killed over 200 patients before being nabbed by the police. He was ultimately sentenced to life imprisonment for 15 murders but later committed suicide in prison. The case led to grave concerns about powers and the responsibilities of the Britain’s medical community.
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.
The Robin Hood of Australia for many and villain for others, Ned Kelly become immortal not just for his murderous confrontation with the police, but also for his reported last words “such is life”. The bushranger and outlaw remains a cult figure in Australia even a century after his execution. His sympathizers considered his as a champion of the poor.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
Ronald Kray was a British criminal involved in organized crime in the East End of London in the 1950s and 1960s. Along with his twin brother, Reggie, he ran a gang that was notorious for committing murders, armed robberies, and arson among other criminal activities. The brothers were arrested in 1968 and sentenced to life imprisonment.
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.
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.
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.
Hideki Tojo headed the Imperial Japanese Army and was the Japanese minister of war, apart from being Japan’s prime minister from 1941 to 1944. His tenure witnessed the attack on Pearl Harbor. After Japan surrendered to the Allied Powers, Tojo was convicted of war crimes and sentenced to death.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.