The total number of his victims is still not known, but it is believed that he killed as many as 45 patients at numerous hospitals that he worked at over the years. Currently serving 18 consecutive life sentences for performing what he called mercy killings via lethal injections of medication. Charles was the youngest of eight children born to the Cullen family in West Orange, New Jersey. His father, a bus driver was 58 years old when Cullen was born. He described his childhood as ‘miserable’ and attempted his first suicide at the age of nine by drinking all of the chemicals from his chemistry set. In all, Cullen attempted suicide 20 times over the course of his troubled life. His naval career was marred by bizarre behaviour until his ultimate discharge in 1984. Working at St. Barnabas Medical Centre Cullen committed his first murder in the summer of 1988. He administered a lethal does of a blood thinning drug through an elderly patient’s fluid bag. He committed 11 more murders at St. Barnabas before moving on to another hospital to avoid detection. This was the pattern he followed over the next decade. He would stay at a hospital for a period of time before moving on. In 2002, Cullen was under investigation for stealing vials of medicines and was fired. The investigation showed that Cullen was present at nearly 70% of the deaths in the unit that he worked, but the case was dropped for lack of evidence. He moved onto Somerset Medical Centre in New jersey and murdered eight more patients before the year was through. In 2003, hospital officials began to piece together evidence of Cullen’s activities. He was fired, but the investigation continued. Finally, in December of 2003, Cullen was arrested and proceeded to admit to the killings of dozens of patients.
Known as one of the most prolific female serial killers in U.S. history, is said to have killed more than 40 people, including two husbands and all of her children at various points in her life. She also killed suitors and boyfriends and dissected their bodies like a butcher, while feeding the remains to her pigs. She evaded apprehension by faking her own death by arson and was never found. Accounts of Belle Gunness’ life are a web of intentional mis-truths, misunderstandings and bad information. She was born on November 11, 1859 as the youngest of eight children, in a small town in Norway. One story tells of an eighteen year old Gunness who attended a country dance while pregnant. That night, she was attacked by a man and kicked in the abdomen, causing her to lose the child. Her attacker came from a prominent local family and was never prosecuted. Accounts of the incident say that from then on, her personality changed markedly. She came to America in 1881 and soon became ‘crazy for money’ after living her life in poverty. It is said that she killed her first husband in 1900 and collected $8,500 in insurance money. She was never charged, but one of the doctors who treated him felt that he was suffering from Strychnine poisoning. In the years that followed, four of her children died, many of which exhibited symptoms of poisoning. When her second husband died of a ‘tragic accident’ in December of 1902, suspicions began to swirl around Belle. Shortly thereafter, an adopted daughter, who was fourteen at the time of her father’s ‘accident’, disappeared. Over the years, several more suitors were lured to the family pig farm by answering ‘lonely hearts’ advertisements she had placed in the local papers. Many of them were never heard from again. Finally, in 1908, the family home burned down under suspicious means. The bodies of Gunness’ children were found inside, along with the body of a female who was believed to be Belle Gunness. The case was closed, but to this day, some are not convinced that the female body found in the ruins was that of Belle Gunness. The remains of the female found couldn’t have been taller than 5’3’, while Gunness was known to be 5’8’ tall and weighed over 180 pounds.
Known as the ‘Railroad Killer’, Resendiz was an illegal immigrant who travelled on trains throughout the country, robbing, raping and killing 24 people. He was executed by lethal injection on June 27, 2006. Because of his status as an illegal immigrant, details of this killer’s early life are unknown. In post-capture interviews, Resendiz spoke about a horrible childhood that was marred by frequent abuse because he lived in the streets of Mexico. He was taken in by another ‘street-urchin’, who continually abused him. He has been described by the F.B.I. as a ‘bungling’ crook who only evaded capture for as long as he did because of his using the U.S. railway system to move from location to location. Resendiz was a small man, standing about 5’4’, and he typically used blunt force trauma to subdue his victims. He would ride a freight train to whatever destination he felt would present an opportunity for him to commit his next series of crimes. He claims that he never really knew where he was going, and that he just got off the train wherever felt right. Once on the ground, he would scope out the surrounding area and plan his attack. His main motive appeared to be the killing of his victims, however, many of them were sexually assaulted, and most of them were robbed. He was ultimately captured at the border, just outside of El Paso, Texas without incident or altercation. Once in custody, he admitted to nine murders, and while serving on death row, he continued to admit to additional crimes as the years passed.
First off I want to say I’m SO SORRY that I haven’t been on in what.. Eight months? I’ve been having a, uh.. Shall we say rough year. But despite that I’m going to tough it out and try update this blog again a few times a week :) Thanks to all the followers that stayed through my dormant time! I am glad to say I am back, as I find this blog to be a therapeutic way for me to release everything through posting about serial killers, as weird as that sounds!
A prolific American “Bluebeard,” Cline was linked with at least nine homicides between 1930 and his arrest in 1945. Eight of his wives were dispatched after willing their earthly possessions to Cline; his single male victim was an evangelist, Rev. Ernest Jones, who made Cline the heir to $11,000 shortly before his “unexpected” death.
With practice, Cline polished his murder technique to perfection. Insisting on a lavish honeymoon, he would check into a stylish hotel, there persuading his bride to drink a glass of buttermilk laced with powerful sedatives. As she lost consciousness, the house physician would be summoned, told that Mrs. Cline was suffering “another heart attack.” Hours later, when a second dose of drugs proved fatal, doctors were inclined to issue death certificates citing ‘heart failure’ as the proximate cause.
In May 1944, Cline married a Chicago widow, Delora Krebs, and promptly set off for the West Coast. Delora’s annuity checks were always promptly cashed, but relatives had trouble reaching her by telephone; Cline habitually put them off with tales of illness, shopping errands, previous engagements. When a wire arrived from Portland, Oregon, reporting her death, family members pressed for an investigation, uncovering Cline’s criminal activities in a dozen states.
Cremation of his late, lamented wives saved Cline from prosecution on a murder charge, but he was jailed for forgery in San Francisco. Delora’s annuity checks came back to haunt him, and testimony from two surviving poison victims persuaded the court that a maximum sentence was justified. Sentenced to 126 years, Cline died in Folsom Prison, of a heart attack, on August 5, 1948.
A Florida native, born in 1946, Knowles logged his first arrest at age 19, spending roughly six months of each year thereafter in jail, on various convictions for burglary and auto theft. He was serving time in Raiford when he began corresponding with California divorcee Angela Covic, and she visited the prison long enough to accept his proposal of marriage, shelling out money for lawyers to win his release. Parole came through in May 1974, and Knowles flew directly to San Francisco for the nuptials, but Covic had changed her mind, warned off by a psychic who foresaw the entry of a new, dangerous man in her life. The night she dumped him, Knowles allegedly went out and killed three people on the streets of San Francisco, but his claim has not been verified.
Back home in Jacksonville, Knowles was jailed after a bar fight, but he picked a lock and escaped on July 26, 1974. That night, he invaded the home of 65-year-old Alice Curtis, leaving her bound and gagged as he ransacked her house for money, finally taking off in her car. She choked to death on the gag, but Knowles hung around town for a few days, using her vehicle, until police connected him with the crime and his picture began turning up on TV. Preparing to drop the hot car on a quiet residential street, he spied 11-year-old Lillian Anderson and her seven-year-old sister Mylette, recognizing them as friends of his mother. Convinced the girls had seen him and would notify police, he kidnapped both of them and dumped their strangled bodies in a swamp outside of town.
The next day, in Atlantic Beach, Florida, Knowles broke into the home of Marjorie Howe, strangling her with a nylon stocking and stealing her television set. His next victim was a teenage “Jane Doe” hitchhiker, raped and strangled for sport as he drifted aimlessly, working his way north. On August 23, he invaded the home of Kathie Pierce, at Musella, strangling her with a telephone cord while her three-year-old son looked on, leaving the child unharmed.
On September 3, Knowles met businessman William Bates at a tavern in Lima, Ohio, sharing a few drinks before he strangled Bates and dumped his body in some nearby woods, where it would be discovered in October. Stealing money, credit cards, and Bates’s car, Knowles made his way to Sacramento, back through Utah, pausing at Ely, Nevada, long enough to murder campers Emmett and Lois Johnson on September 18.
Three days later, passing through Sequin, Texas, he spotted a female motorist stranded at roadside and stopped “to help,” raping her before he strangled her to death and dragged her body through a tangled barbed wire fence. On September 23, he met beautician Ann Dawson in Birmingham and instantly caught her fancy; they traveled together, at her expense, until Knowles tired of the game and killed her September 29. Her body has never been found.
Knowles drifted on through Oklahoma, Missouri, Iowa and Minnesota, apparently keeping his nose clean, leaving no bodies behind. By October 19, he needed a “fix,” and he found it in Woodford, Virginia, barging into the home of 53-year-old Doris Hovey, shooting her dead with her own husband’s rifle, then wiping his prints from the gun and placing it beside her body. Afterward, police would find no signs of sex or robbery to offer them a motive in the case.
Still driving Bates’s stolen car, Knowles picked up two hitchers in Key West, planning to kill them both, but his scheme went awry when a policeman stopped him for traffic violations. The careless officer let Knowles go with a warning, but the experience had shaken him. Dropping his passengers off in Miami, Knowles phoned his lawyer for advice. Rejecting a suggestion of surrender, he met the attorney long enough to hand over a taped confession, then slipped out of town before police were informed of his presence.
On November 6, in Macon, Georgia, Knowles befriended Carswell Carr and was invited home to spend the night. Over drinks, he stabbed Carr to death and then strangled Carr’s 15-year-old daughter, failing in his attempt to have sex with her corpse. In the wake of his flight from Macon, Knowles was also suspected in the November 2 murder of hitchhiker Edward Hilliard, found in some nearby woods, and his companion Debbie Griffin (still, among the missing).
Bar-hopping in Atlanta on November 8, Knowles met British journalist Sandy Fawkes, impressing her with his “gaunt good looks.” They spent the night together, Knowles unable to perform in bed, and he failed repeatedly at sex over the next two days, suggesting possible impotence with a willing companion. They separated on November 10, but Knowles picked up one of Sandy’s friends, Susan MacKenzie, the next day, demanding sex at gunpoint. She escaped and notified police, but when patrolmen tried to stop him, Knowles brandished a sawed-off shotgun and made his escape.
In West Palm Beach, he invaded the home of invalid Beverly Mabee, abducting her sister and stealing their car, dropping his hostage off in Fort Pierce, Florida, the following night. A police officer recognized the stolen car next morning and pulled Knowles over, but Knowles was faster on the draw. Taking the officer hostage, he drove away in the patrol car, using its siren to stop motorist James Meyer, switching cars a second time. Burdened with two prisoners now, Knowles handcuffed both men to a tree in Pulaski County, Georgia, and shot each one in the head at close range. A short time later, Knowles tried to crash through a police roadblock, losing control of his car and smashing into a tree. A chaotic foot chase ensued, with Knowles pursued by dogs and helicopters, finally cornered by an armed civilian on November 17. In custody, he claimed 35 murders, but only 18 could be verified. On November 18, while being transferred to maximum security, Knowles made a grab for the sheriff’s revolver, and FBI agent Ron Angel shot him dead in his tracks.
On May 23, 1918, an Italian grocer named Joseph Maggio and his wife were butchered, while sleeping in their apartment above the Maggio grocery store. Upon investigation, the police discovered that a panel in the rear door had been chiseled out, providing a way in for the killer. The murder weapon, an axe, was found in the apartment, still coated with the Maggio’s blood. Nothing in the house had been stolen, including jewelry and money that were almost in plain sight. The only clue that was discovered was a message that had been written in chalk near the victim’s home. It read: “Mrs. Joseph Maggio will sit up tonight. Just write Mrs. Toney”. Almost exactly a month after the Maggio murder came a second crime. Louis Bossumer, a grocer who lived behind his store with his common-law wife, Annie Harriet Lowe, was discovered by neighbors one morning, lying in a pool of blood. The Axeman murdered a total of eight people before the killings stopped. There was no evidence to link the only suspect, Joseph Mumfre, to the crimes. The crime was never solved.
Theodore Robert ‘Ted’ Bundy (November 24, 1946 – January 24, 1989) is one of the most infamous serial killers in U.S. history. Bundy raped and murdered scores of young women across the United States between 1974 and 1978. After more than a decade of vigorous denials, Bundy eventually confessed to 30 murders, although the actual total of victims remains unknown. Typically, Bundy would rape then murder his victims by bludgeoning, and sometimes by strangulation. He also engaged in necrophilia.
He would approach a potential victim in a public place, even in daylight or in a crowd, as when he abducted Ott and Naslund at Lake Sammamish or when he kidnapped Leach from her school. Bundy had various ways of gaining a victim’s trust. Sometimes, he would feign injury, wearing his arm in a sling or wearing a fake cast, as in the murders of Hawkins, Rancourt, Ott, Naslund, and Cunningham. At other times Bundy would impersonate an authority figure; he pretended to be a policeman when approaching Carol DaRonch. The day before he killed Kimberly Leach, Bundy approached another young Florida girl pretending to be “Richard Burton, Fire Department,” but left hurriedly after her older brother arrived.
After luring a victim to his car, Bundy would hit her in the head with a crowbar he had placed underneath his Volkswagen or hidden inside it. Every recovered skull, except for that of Kimberly Leach, showed signs of blunt force trauma. Bundy often would drink alcohol prior to finding a victim.
On death row, Bundy admitted to decapitating at least a dozen of his victims with a hacksaw. He kept the severed heads later found on Taylor Mountain in his room or apartment for some time before finally disposing of them. Bundy also confessed to visiting his victims’ bodies over and over again at the Taylor Mountain body dump site. He stated that he would lie with them for hours, applying makeup to their corpses and having sex with their decomposing bodies until putrefaction forced him to abandon the remains.
Despite having five court-appointed lawyers, he insisted on acting as his own attorney and even cross-examined witnesses, including the police officer who had discovered Margaret Bowman’s body. The Judge, when passing sentence said:
“It is ordered that you be put to death by a current of electricity, that current be passed through your body until you are dead. Take care of yourself, young man. I say that to you sincerely; take care of yourself, please. It is an utter tragedy for this court to see such a total waste of humanity as I’ve experienced in this courtroom. You’re an intelligent young man. You’d have made a good lawyer, and I would have loved to have you practice in front of me, but you went another way, partner. Take care of yourself. I don’t feel any animosity toward you. I want you to know that. Once again, take care of yourself.”
Bundy was executed in the Electric Chair at 7:06 a.m. local time on January 24, 1989. His last words were “I’d like you to give my love to my family and friends.”
Morales brutally raped and murdered 17-year-old Terri Winchell on 8 January, 1981. Winchell was involved in a love triangle with one of Morales’s cousins and another man. Morales’s cousin, Richard Ortega, asked Morales to murder Winchell in order that Ortega could have exclusive sexual relations with the third man. Morales is reported to have responded, “Sure, I’ll do it. Can I rape her, too?”
He did just that. He stalked Winchell, attacked her from behind on the side of a deserted highway, punching and kicking her all over, then attempting to strangle her with his belt. She managed to put up sufficient resistance until he produced a claw hammer from his pants and smashed her over the head until she collapsed. He then dragged her across the pavement into a vineyard, raped her while she was unconscious, and stabbed her four times in the chest with a steak knife. She died on the spot.
Morales’s execution date is currently postponed indefinitely, because a California judge ruled that death penalties must be carried out by a medical professional. The State Supreme Court ruled that this was impossible because medical professionals are prohibited, via the Hippocratic Oath, from performing executions. This is why executions are, for the most part, currently on hold in California, regardless of the savagery of the crimes.