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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Issei Sagawa is a Japanese murderer, necrophile, and cannibal. He garnered international attention when he murdered, mutilated, cannibalized, and raped Renée Hartevelt's corpse for several days in Paris in 1981. Although he was arrested, Sagawa was released two years later after being found legally insane. Issei Sagawa has been the subject of many documentary films.
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.
A Gulf War veteran, Timothy McVeigh made headlines after carrying out the Oklahoma City bombing that killed 168 people. He defended his actions saying that he wanted to inspire a revolution against what he considered a tyrannical government. The bombing remains the most malignant act of domestic terrorism in American history. He was executed by lethal injection in 2001.
Alfred Jodl was a German colonel-general who played an important role throughout World War II by serving as Chief of the Operations Staff of a German Armed Forces High Command called the Oberkommando der Wehrmacht. After the war, Jodl was tried at the Nuremberg trials and was found guilty on charges, such as crimes against humanity and war crimes.
Best known as the villain Dirty Den from the BBC soap EastEnders, Leslie Grantham initially worked as a soldier with the Royal Fusiliers of the British Army. Convicted of the murder of a cab driver in Germany, he spent a decade in prison. He later attempted suicide as aftermath of a sex scandal.
Steelworker Leon Czołgosz was an anarchist who assassinated President William McKinley. He shot McKinley twice from point-blank range on September 6, 1901, and the president died of his wounds on September 14. Czołgosz was eventually convicted and executed for his crime. He was the main character in the musical Assassins.
Nathuram Godse was an Indian man who gained notoriety for assassinating Mahatma Gandhi, a popular figure in India's successful campaign for independence from British rule. He was an advocate of Hindu nationalism and opposed many of Gandhi’s political views. He shot Gandhi thrice at point-blank range on 30 January 1948. Godse was later executed for this crime.
Maxim Martsinkevich was a Russian media personality, nationalist activist, and vlogger. He is credited with co-founding the Restruct movement, which among many objectives, aimed at propagating neo-nazi views among youth. Martsinkevich was indicted on multiple occasions for inciting ethnic or racial hatred. In 2020, Maxim Martsinkevich was found dead under mysterious circumstances.
Mark David Chapman gained notoriety after murdering popular English singer-songwriter, John Lennon, of Beatles. A fan of the Beatles, Chapman said he was frustrated with Lennon's public statements and lifestyle. He even admitted that he contemplated murdering Paul McCartney, Ronald Reagan, and Johnny Carson. His story formed the bases of films like Chapter 27 and The Killing of John Lennon.
Italian anarchist Luigi Lucheni was initially part of the Italian army. He later became determined to kill a member of the elite class and zeroed in on Empress Elisabeth of Austria. He stabbed Elisabeth with a file and was sentenced to life imprisonment, but was eventually found hanged in his cell.
Levi Bellfield is an English sex offender, serial killer, rapist, burglar, and kidnapper. He was sentenced to life imprisonment in 2008 after he was found guilty of the murders of Amélie Delagrange and Marsha McDonnell. Levi Bellfield is currently imprisoned at HM Prison Frankland. The investigation that led to Levi Bellfield's arrest was dramatized in a TV drama titled Manhunt.
Al-Qaeda terrorist and Islamic preacher Anwar al-Awlaki, initially a university lecturer, had been involved in a number of terrorist attack plots, including one in which they had planned to blow up a Detroit-bound airplane. American-born Yemeni Awlaki died in a drone strike ordered by Barack Obama in 2011.