Rosemary West: In a sensational English case, Rosemary and her husband, Fred West, were accused of committing multiple torture murders, including the rape and killing of their own 16-year-old daughter! In 1995, Rosemary was convicted of ten murders that took place from 1973 to 1987; Fred committed suicide in prison while awaiting trial. The murders took place at the couples’ home at 25 Cromwell Street, which the British press dubbed “the house of horrors.” Cops uncovered bodies in their garden and cellar -- of nannies, lodgers, or young women Fred had taken from bus stops. Rosemary, who worked as a prostitute, claimed she was innocent and Fred alone was responsible for the murders. She remains in prison.
Kim Saenz: A former Texas nurse with substance abuse issues was convicted in 2012 of killing five dialysis patients in 2008 by injecting them with bleach. During her trial, prosecutors proved that Saenz was a disgruntled employee who complained about patients, including some of those who died or were injured. Investigators also discovered internet searches on Saenz's computer about whether bleach could be detected in dialysis lines. Saenz, the married mother of two children, was sentenced to life in prison.
Mary Ann Cotton: The English murderess is believed to have poisoned to death 21 people by arsenic in the 1800s. Cotton’s victims included her mother, children, husbands, a friend and a boyfriend—and she profited by inheriting their estates or receiving money from life insurance policies. Cotton was convicted of the murder of her stepson after his body tested positive for arsenic. The British woman staunchly professed her innocence, claiming he died from arsenic in the wallpaper, but she was found guilty. Cotton’s 1873 hanging was botched, resulting in a slow and painful execution.
Marie Noe: In 1999, this Philadelphia woman was convicted of murdering eight of her ten children between 1949 and 1968. The deaths had been blamed on sudden infant death syndrome, but after a journalist investigated Noe’s case in 1998, she confessed she’d smothered her kids. Noe pleaded guilty to eight counts of second-degree murder and was sentenced to 20 years of probation. Her husband Arthur never believed she was guilty. "I've lived with this woman for 50 years. She wouldn’t hurt a fly," he claimed. Arthur died in 2010 of natural causes; Marie is now 85.
Aileen Wuornos:Charlize Theron won the Academy Award for playing America’s most famous female serial killer in the 2003 movie Monster. Between 1989 and 1990, Wuornos, while working as a prostitute, killed seven men in Florida for their money so that her lesbian lover, Ty Moore, wouldn’t have to work anymore. The troubled drifter confessed to shooting the men but claimed all of them had raped or attempted to rape her. Wuornos was sentenced to death; she died in 1992 by lethal injection.
Myra Hindley: From 1963 to 1965, the “Moors murders” of five children between 10 and 17, who had also been sexually assaulted, shocked England. Lovers Ian Brady and Myra Hindley were convicted and she became known as “the most evil woman in Britain.” Hindley appealed her life sentence, saying she had reformed, but died in prison at age 60 in 2002. Brady is still in a mental hospital after having been found criminally insane. In recently released prison files, the public found out Hindley had admitted she was more “culpable” than Brady because she “knew the difference between right and wrong.”
Judy Buenoano: This greedy “black widow” killed for $240,000 in insurance money and was convicted for the 1971 arsenic murder of her husband James Goodyear, the 1980 drowning killing of her son Michael Goodyear, and of the 1983 attempted firebomb murder of her fiancé John Gentry. Investigators also believed she was involved in three other murders. Before her arrest, Buenoano lived large, driving around Pensacola in a Corvette and wearing Chanel perfume. She declared Florida would never execute her-- but she died in 1998 in the electric chair.
Miyuki Ishikawa: Japan’s most prolific serial killer was a midwife working for a hospital who murdered at least 103 babies after World War II because their parents were too poor to raise them. Ishikawa let numerous infants die in her care and shook down the parents for money. In 1948, Ishikawa’s crimes were discovered after police officers investigated an abandoned bag – and found the bodies of five babies. Incredibly, she only received four years in prison. However, the case led to the legalization of abortion in Japan for economic reasons in 1949.
Belle Gunness: Born in Norway, Gunness allegedly committed more than 40 murders in the United States starting in the late 1800s. Gunness first reportedly killed her first husband and two of her children. Following her husband’s death, Gunness placed newspaper personal ads for boyfriends—who apparently flocked to her property, were robbed and murdered, and never heard from again. However, hired hand Ray Lamphere, became 300-pound Gunness’s lover; after she fired him, he burned her house down. While investigating Gunness’ death in the fire, cops found 33 bodies on her property. Lamphere was convicted of arson.
Amy Archer-Gilligan: It’s believed the Connecticut nursing home proprietor murdered as many as 50 people, including two husbands. Gilligan received large insurance payouts for her husbands’ deaths, and also systematically poisoned residents of her old people’s home between 1907 and 1917 after taking their money. Suspicious relatives of the dead sparked an investigation, which uncovered bodies riddled with arsenic and strychnine. Gilligan received a life sentence for murder. In 1928, she was transferred to an insane asylum, where she died in 1962.
Jane Toppan: Toppan, a nurse, knocked off 31 patients and their relatives by poisoning them in Massachusetts; she was finally arrested in 1901. She told authorities that her ambition was “to have killed more helpless people than any woman who has ever lived.” And she nearly succeeded, setting herself up as a personal nurse and going on a killing spree. Toppan admitted getting a sexual thrill from death. However, she was found not guilty by reason of insanity and died in an asylum at age 84.
Nannie Doss: “The Giggling Granny” known for laughing about the poisoning method she used to kill, Doss murdered 11 people from the 1920s to 1954—four husbands, two children, her two sisters, her mother, a grandson, and a nephew. She confessed after an autopsy revealed her fifth husband’s body was riddled with arsenic (after Doss had tried to collect on his two life insurance policies). Doss was sentenced to life for that crime, never being charged with the others. She died of leukemia in the Oklahoma pen in 1965.
Dorothea Puente:The Sacramento, Calif. woman rented out rooms to the elderly for years; and the only thing that troubled her neighbors was a persistent stench emanating from her yard. No wonder. The unassuming looking Puente had been drugging and killing her frail renters and then burying their bodies in the garden! The jig was up in 1988 when police came by to ask about a missing man. They found boarders’ remains all over Puente’s property and also discovered she had cashed their social security checks. She got life in prison for multiple murder and died in jail in 2011, still claiming her innocence. It’s been estimated Puente killed 3-9 people.
Gwendolyn Graham: Graham, a Michigan nursing home aide, was convicted in 1989 of killing five elderly female patients and was also found guilty of conspiracy to kill another. According to testimony, Graham smothered the women to death as sexual foreplay in her lesbian relationship with co-worker Cathy Wood. Wood said she was a pawn of Graham, acting as a lookout while Graham murdered the women; their affair allegedly ended when Wood couldn’t go through with her lover’s request that she kill one herself. Wood’s ex-husband turned the couple in. In 1989, Wood plea-bargained for a reduced sentence and is eligible for parole. Graham received five life sentences.
Beverly Allitt: The English pediatric nurse murdered four children and attacked another nine (who survived) by administering large doses of insulin during a 59 day crime spree in 1991. Allitt showed signs of Münchausen syndrome by proxy, a mental disorder in which a person deliberately induces trauma to their patients to attract attention. She received 13 life sentences for murder and attempted murder.
Juana Barraza: When elderly women turned up murdered in Mexico, cops thought the killer was a man. But it turned out to be a female former professional wrestler whose ring name was “The Silent Lady.” Barraza began her killings around 1990, preying on women over 60 who lived alone. Posing as a government official, she would gain access to the victims’ houses and then murder and rob them. Authorities suspected her of 40 murders; Barraza confessed to four in 2008 and was sentenced to 759 years in prison.
Velma Barfield: Fearingher boyfriend would find out she had forged his checks to pay for her prescription drug habit, Barfield poisoned him to death in 1977. After an autopsy revealed the truth, the North Carolina woman eventually confessed to a total of six murders, including her own mother. Velma attended the funerals of her victims. “I’m sorry for the hurt that I’ve caused,” Barfield said, blaming her drug addiction for the murders before being the first woman to be executed by lethal injection in 1984.
Enriquita Marti: The prostitute, street beggar, and black magic doctor in Barcelona, Spain prostituted children and made medical potions out of their flesh and blood. In 1912, police who raided her apartment discovered children’s clothes, human bones, and a blood-stained boning knife. Marti is believed to have killed more than 12 kids. She was beaten to death by fellow prisoners while awaiting trial in 1913.
Martha Beck: Beck and her lover, Raymond Fernandez, became known as “The Lonely Hearts’ Killers” because from 1947 to 1949, they reportedly killed as many as 20 women from New York to Michigan, meeting the victims through lonely hearts’ ads. The couple’s methods included strangulation, drowning, and shooting. Although suspected of many more killings, Fernandez and Beck were only charged with one murder, of Janet Fay, a 66-year-old widow who was looking for love. Both Beck and Fernandez were convicted of the crime in a sensational trial and put to death in 1951.
Kristen Gilbert: A nurse in Massachusetts, Kristen Gilbert killed at least four of her patients at a veterans’ hospital from 1995-96 by injecting them with epinephrine, causing heart attacks. Coworkers first joked that Gilbert was the “Angel of Death” after noticing the high number of deaths on her watch; they later reported their concerns. Prosecutors concluded that the pretty nurse killed people to attract the attention of her lover, a hospital security guard. In 2001, she was sentenced to life in prison for three first degree murders, one second degree, and two attempted. However, in a seven-year span, 350 deaths had occurred during Gilbert’s hospital shifts.
Carol Bundy: Bundy and her boyfriend Douglas Clark were “The Sunset Strip Killers” who murdered prostitutes they picked up along L.A.’s Sunset Blvd in 1980. Clark killed the women during sex by shooting them in the back of the head while Bundy acted as his accomplice. They saved one of the heads of the women as a trophy. After they were caught in 1980, Clark was sentenced to death (and remains on death row) while Bundy got life for testifying against her boyfriend. Although Bundy only admitted to killing a young girl and a former boyfriend (whom she decapitated), she was suspected of much more. She died in prison in 2003.
Martha Charles: Charles poisoned her husband and three children in Australia in the late 1800s. Later, while working as a housekeeper, Charles’ lover’s brother died under mysterious circumstances. After the five bodies were exumed and found to contain arsenic, Charles was convicted and received a death sentence. She was hanged. Investigators believe her motive for murder was insurance money.
Faye Copeland: Copeland and her husband, Ray, were the oldest couple sentenced to death after they were convicted of killing five drifters at their Missouri farm. Incredibly, Copeland was in her 60s when she and Ray shot transients to death whom they had hired as farm hands as part of a check fraud scheme. Most disturbingly, Faye had made a quilt out of their victims’ clothing and had kept a death list of the men with black Xs next to their names. Copeland, who was apprehended in 1989, got paroled after suffering a stroke in 2002; she died in the hospital a year later. Her husband died on Death Row.
Anna Marie Hahn: German-born Hahn, known as “Arsenic Anna,” was the first female serial killer to die in the electric chair in the U.S. in 1938. She reportedly poisoned elderly German immigrant men after offering her services as a live-in nurse; Hahn always received money after the deaths. The gambling enthusiast was only convicted of killing Jacob Wagner, 73, but was suspected of several other murders.
Dana Sue Gray: The California nurse strangled (or stabbed) three elderly women to death in 1994 for their money. Gray killed one of her victims, Dora Beebe, 87, at her home after asking for directions, then stole her credit card and went on a spending spree. A fourth woman, however, survived Gray’s attack. The former nurse pled guilty to two of the murders and received a life sentence.
Charlene Gallego: Between 1978 and 1980, Gallego and her husband, Gerald Gallego, lured nine young girls and a teenage boy into their van, turned them into sex slaves, and then murdered them in Sacramento, Calif. Charlene testified against Gallego, pled guilty to murder, and received a prison sentence of sixteen years and eight months. She was released in 1997. Gerald died in 2002 while serving a death sentence. Although convicted of murder, in 2013, Charlene, back living in Sacramento, insisted to a reporter, “I did not kill any of them. I tried to stop him.”
Genene Jones:The Texas pediatric nurse allegedly killed 1-46 children by injecting them with drugs; she intended to revive them later to get attention. Many of the kids didn’t survive, however. In 1985, Jones was sentenced to 99 years in prison for murdering a 15-month-old girl and she was later convicted of injuring another child who survived. Bexar County Hospital, where Jones worked, reportedly concealed information about Jones to avoid lawsuits. The public is protesting her scheduled 2017 release for good behavior. Her prosecutor claimed Jones is responsible for 11-46 murders.
Bertha Gifford: The Missouri farm wife was apparently caring for sick neighbors and relatives—but was suspected of murdering 17 of them! In 1928, Gifford was charged with three killings of men whose bodies turned up full of arsenic. She was found not guilty by reason of insanity and died in the Missouri State Hospital mental ward in 1951.
Christine Laverne Falling: As a 17-year-old babysitter in Florida, Falling killed five children she had cared for between 1980 and 1982. She was convicted of three of the murders and given three concurrent life sentences. Falling said voices told her to suffocate the kids by placing a blanket over their faces. According to prosecutors, Falling declared of one of her victims, young Jeffrey Davis, “I was already mad that morning. I just took it out on him and just started choking him 'til he was dead."
Debra Brown: Brown and her boyfriend Alton Coleman went on a killing spree across several states in 1984, allegedly claiming eight victims. While involved in a master/slave relationship with Coleman, Brown turned accomplice, helping him rape and murder random African-American strangers. They were sentenced to death for the killings of two women. Brown sent the judge a note which read, "I killed the bitch and I don't give a damn. I had fun out of it." While Coleman was executed in 2002, Brown’s death sentence was commuted and she remains in prison.