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The Top 32 Most Terrifying Serial Killers

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Dec. 4 2015, Updated 12:37 p.m. ET

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From Jeffrey Dahmer to Charles Manson, we've got a look at the 32 most sinister serial killers for you, right here on RadarOnline.com.

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From Jeffrey Dahmer to Charles Manson, we've got a look at the 32 most sinister serial killers for you, right here on RadarOnline.com.

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The Sunset Strip Killers: Douglas Clark and Carol Bundy: Clark and Bundy, his live-in girlfriend, plotted to get prostitutes on L.A.’s Sunset Blvd. whom Clark killed during sex by shooting them in the back of the head. 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 they were only convicted of two murders, they were suspected of many more.

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The Monster Killer: Yang Xinhai: The most prolific serial killer ever in China, Yang admitted to murdering 65 people from 1999 to 2003. Yang used every means at his disposal to kill his victims in their houses, using axes, hammers and shovels to do the evil deed. Yang was executed in 2004.

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The Casanova Killer: Paul Knowles: In just four months in 1974, Knowles killed 18 people (and the actual body count may be higher). The charming and persuasive Florida man was indiscriminate, murdering men, women and children in several states. The only blessing for the victims’ relatives was that Knowles was shot and killed by an FBI agent while attempting to escape in December 1974.

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The Trash Bag Killer: Patrick Wayne Kearney: From 1975-77, homosexual men were being murdered, their bodies dumped along California highways and usually wrapped in trash bags. Kearney, who had a 180 IQ, was finally caught and confessed to 32 murders, in which he’d pick up young male hitch-hikers or young men from gay bars and shoot them to death. He was convicted of 21 murders and sentenced to life in exchange for his confession.

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The Angel Of Death: Charles Edmund Cullen: The former nurse confessed to murdering 40 mostly elderly patients in New Jersey from 1984 to 2003. But like many serial killers, he probably killed even more. Cullen played God by poisoning his patients to death with unprescribed medication or failing to administer the correct drugs. Cullen frequently lost jobs in hospitals due to suspicious behavior but simply moved on and got hired at other facilities, leaving dead patients in his wake. He claimed to want to relieve people’s suffering, however, many of the patients weren’t terminal. Cullen is in prison for life.

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DeSalvoThe Butcher of Rostov: Andrei Chikatilo: The Soviet serial killer sexually assaulted, murdered, and mutilated at least 52 women and children between 1978 and 1990 in Russia. In 1992, Chikatilo was convicted and sentenced to death; he was executed by firing squad in 1994. The seemingly mild-mannered schoolteacher confessed to the crimes and explained, “When I used my knife, it brought psychological relief. I know I have to be destroyed. I was a mistake of nature.”

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BTK Killer: Dennis Rader: The man who killed ten people around the Kansas area from 1974-1991 with the motto “Bind, Torture, Kill” (BTK) wrote about his crimes in weird letters to the media and police. But the case went cold for years until Rader started sending letters again in 2004, leading to his arrest. The innocuous looking dogcatcher stunned America in 2005 by making a graphic confession in court, admitting he committed the murders as part of a “sexual fantasy” and sharing gruesome details. Rader is serving ten consecutive life sentences.

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CHARLES NG

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Charles Ng and Leonard Lake: The two men raped, tortured and murdered 11 to 25 people at Lake’s ranch in the early ‘80s in Calaveras County, California. They were only caught by chance when Ng was seen shoplifting a vise the men intended to use in their torture games. After Lake killed himself upon being questioned in 1985, a police investigation revealed a grisly soundproof chamber at his ranch and videos of him and Ng raping and torturing their victims. Ng went on the run but was extradited from Canada and then convicted for some of the murders, getting a death sentence. He now lives on Death Row

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CHILD MURDERS

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The Beast: Luis Garavito: In 1999, this Colombian rapist and serial killer admitted murdering 147 boys. Although only 139 killings were proven, that has made him the most prolific serial killer in history, and the true number of Garvito’s victims could exceed 300. Garvito preyed on impoverished Colombian boys from ages 8 to 16, whom he offered gifts and money before attacking them. In prison, the killer drew maps of where the bodies could be located. Incredibly, Garvito got just 30 years in prison, the maximum penalty then allowed in Columbia—and could be released in 22. However, in 2006, the Columbian judicial system began working to find ways to extend Garvito’s sentence.

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Wayne Williams

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The Atlanta Child Killer: Wayne Williams: The city of Atlanta was terrified when a serial killer who murdered 29 children, mostly boys, was on the loose from 1979 to 1981. Prosecutors tried and convicted music promoter Williams of killing two adult men in 1982. Although the Atlanta police announced Williams was also responsible for at least 23 of the child murders, he’s never been charged, leading many to question his guilt. However, the apparently related murders of young blacks in Atlanta ceased once Williams was behind bars.

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LEONARD LAKE

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Charles Ng and Leonard Lake: The two men raped, tortured and murdered 11 to 25 people at Lake’s ranch in the early ‘80s in Calaveras County, California. They were only caught by chance when Ng was seen shoplifting a vise the men intended to use in their torture games. After Lake killed himself upon being questioned in 1985, a police investigation revealed a grisly soundproof chamber at his ranch and videos of him and Ng raping and torturing their victims. Ng went on the run but was extradited from Canada and then convicted for some of the murders, getting a death sentence. He now lives on Death Row

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BONIN

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The Freeway Killer: William Bonin: Bonin raped, tortured and murdered at least 21 boys and young men between 1979 and 1980, mostly dumping their bodies along freeways in southern California. He was convicted of 14 of the killings and in 1996, was executed via lethal injection. Shockingly, during his time in prison, he corresponded with many of his victims’ survivors. Bonin told the mother of one of the men her son had been his favorite victim, because “he was such a screamer.”

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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.

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JUAN CORONA

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Juan Corona: The Mexican American was a religious married father of four who organized gangs of fruit ranch workers in California’s Sacramento Valley in the 1970s. Then male bodies started being found in shallow graves around the area. Eventually, Corona was convicted of the murders of 25 itinerant laborers and in 1973 received 25 life sentences. Barely surviving being stabbed in prison, Corona won a new trial in 1982, but it resulted in the same outcome. A Mexican consular official who had visited Corona in prison testified that he had confessed to him.

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VELMA BARFIELD

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Velma Barfield: Fearing her 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, Barfield 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.

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Crime U.S. Murder Hillside Strangler

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The Hillside Strangler: Kenneth Bianchi and Angelo Buono: The Hillside Strangler turned out to be two cousins who teamed up for the torture murders of ten women and young girls from late 1977 to early 1978 in the Los Angeles hills. Bianchi and Buono (who operated an upholstery business), pretended to be undercover cops to lure their victims. Most were raped, strangled, and then carefully washed by the two sadists who enjoyed outsmarting the cops. In 1979, Bianchi was caught after killing two co-eds in Bellingham, Washington. Both got life sentences. Buono died of a heart attack in prison in 2002.

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Kraft Jury Recommends Death 1989

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The Scorecard Killer: Randy Kraft: Between 1972 and 1983, Kraft raped, tortured and murdered at least 16 young men, mostly in California. And authorities believe he could be responsible for 51 more killings. Kraft was convicted in 1989 and sentenced to death; he’s now on death row in San Quentin. Like William Bonin, Kraft has been called the Freeway Killer because he dumped victims' bodies near freeways; but he’s also known as the Scorecard Killer because he kept a coded list prosecutors believe referred to his victims.

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Raymond Fernandez and Martha Beck

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The Lonely Hearts Killers: Raymond Fernandez and Martha Beck: From 1947 to 1949, the lovers 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. They were finally caught and arrested after the double murders of a young mother and her child, aged 2. Fernandez and Beck were found guilty in a sensational trial and put to death in 1951.

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Edmund Emil Kemper

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The Co-Ed Killer: Ed Kemper: Kemper murdered his grandparents when he was 15 and things only got worse from there. In the early ‘70s, the imposing 6’9” criminal murdered and dismembered six female hitchhikers in Santa Cruz, California, having sex with some of the bodies. He later murdered his mother by hitting her with a hammer and strangled to death one of her friends. Kemper turned himself in and got life in prison.

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Nannie Doss

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The Giggling Granny: Nannie Doss: 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. Doss was sentenced to life for that crime, never being charged with the others. She died of leukemia in the Oklahoma pen in 1965.

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Christopher Wilder

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Christopher Wilder: The photographer abducted, raped and murdered at least eight women during a six-week cross-country spree across America in 1984. During his rampage, Wilder photographed 16-year-old Tina Marie Risico before kindapping and assaulting her. Later, Risico turned into his accomplice, helping him abduct Dawnette Wilt, 16. Although he stabbed Wilt in the New York woods, she miraculously survived. Wilder committed suicide as the police closed in on him in New Hampshire in April 1984.

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Testifies in Hillside case

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The Hillside Strangler: Kenneth Bianchi and Angelo Buono: The Hillside Strangler turned out to be two cousins who teamed up for the torture murders of ten women and young girls from late 1977 to early 1978 in the Los Angeles hills. Bianchi and Buono (who operated an upholstery business), pretended to be undercover cops to lure their victims. Most were raped, strangled, and then carefully washed by the two sadists who enjoyed outsmarting the cops. In 1979, Bianchi was caught after killing two co-eds in Bellingham, Washington. Both got life sentences. Buono died of a heart attack in prison in 2002

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JOHN WAYNE GACY’s MUG SHOT

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Killer Clown: John Wayne Gacy: Amongst serial killers, John Wayne Gacy will never be forgotten because in addition to murdering an unbelievable 33 teenage boys and young men (at least) from 1972-78, he was known for dressing up as a clown! Gacy enjoyed playing “Pogo the clown” in visits to children’s hospitals. What people didn’t know then was that the Chicago man was luring men to his home and murdering them, with all but one victim being asphyxiated or strangled. Gacy buried most of the bodies in the crawl space of his house. Gacy was sentenced to death in 1980 and executed by lethal injection in 1994. His clown self portraits have become collector’s items.

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Mass Murderer Richard Ramirez After Being Captured by Police

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The Night Stalker: Richard Ramirez: Ramirez sent shock waves through Los Angeles and San Francisco from April 1984 to August 1985 by randomly breaking into people’s homes to rape, rob and kill them. Because he committed the crimes in the evenings, Ramirez was known as the “Night Stalker.” The killer was finally caught and beaten by an angry mob in East Los Angeles. Ramirez, a Satanist with a pentagram drawn on his hand, appeared crazy in the courtroom; he was convicted of 13 murders and other charges in 1989 and then sentenced to death. He died this June in prison of cancer at age 53.

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Sniper suspect John Allen Muhammad enter

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John Allen Muhammad and Lee Boyd Malvo: The nation was on tenterhooks for three weeks in 2002 when a rash of mysterious shootings took place in Washington, D.C., Maryland, and Virginia, killing ten people and injuring three. Finally, cops caught John Allen Muhammad and his companion, Lee Boyd Malvo, 17, in a 1990 Chevrolet Caprice sedan, and the public learned they were behind the sniper attacks. In 2003, Muhammad was sentenced to death and he was executed in 2009 by lethal injection. Malvo—who recently claimed Muhammad sexually abused him--was sentenced to six consecutive life sentences without the possibility of parole.

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Sniper Suspect Decides Not To Represent Himself

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John Allen Muhammad and Lee Boyd Malvo: The nation was on tenterhooks for three weeks in 2002 when a rash of mysterious shootings took place in Washington, D.C., Maryland, and Virginia, killing ten people and injuring three. Finally, cops caught John Allen Muhammad and his companion, Lee Boyd Malvo, 17, in a 1990 Chevrolet Caprice sedan, and the public learned they were behind the sniper attacks. In 2003, Muhammad was sentenced to death and he was executed in 2009 by lethal injection. Malvo—who recently claimed Muhammad sexually abused him--was sentenced to six consecutive life sentences without the possibility of parole.

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Green River Killer Faces Families Of Victims

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The Green River Killer: Gary Leon Ridgway: Although other American serial killers have received more notoriety, Ridgway is the most prolific in U.S. history, convicted of 49 murders of women and girls during the 1980s and ‘90s in Washington State. The trucker, who was arrested in 2001, also confessed to many more. Most of his victims, whom he strangled, were runaways or alleged prostitutes. Ridgway got his nickname because he dumped some bodies in the Green River. After disposing of women’s dead bodies in secluded forest areas, Ridgway would often return to have sex with them. Ridgway is serving life in prison after making a deal to avoid the death penalty if he revealed the location of the missing.

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Suspected serial killer Jeffrey L. Dahmer enters t

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Cannibal Killer: Jeffrey Dahmer: One of the most famous serial killers of all time, Dahmer was known as the Cannibal Killer because he feasted on his victims! In a spree between 1978 and 1991, Dahmer raped, murdered and dismembered 17 men and boys in the Milwaukee area. Dahmer saved body parts and even ate them. He told NBC’s Stone Phillips in an interview that cannibalism gave him a sexual thrill. The convicted killer received 16 life sentences but in 1994, he was beaten to death by a fellow prison inmate.

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Boston Strangler

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The Boston Strangler: Albert DeSalvo: Although many doubted the late DeSalvo was the Boston Strangler, recent DNA tests definitively linked him to the death of a 19-year-old woman who is believed to be the serial killer's last victim. DeSalvo initially admitted killing her and 10 other women in the Boston area between 1962 and 1964, but recanted in 1973, the year he died in prison where he was serving a life sentence for other crimes. DeSalvo was never brought to trial for the strangling deaths. Most of the victims were found with their own nylons wrapped around their necks and tied with a bow

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USA, Circa 1971, American cult leader and mass murderer Charles Manson is shown in these three pictures demonstrating how he has changed his appearance during his trial for the Tate-La Bianca murders in Los Angeles in 1969

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Charles Manson: Manson became one of the most notorious serial killers of all time by ordering his hippie followers, including young women, to kill for him. The Manson family butchered to death pregnant actress Sharon Tate (the wife of film director Roman Polanski), coffee heiress Abigail Folger, Wojciech Frykowski, hairstylist Jay Sebring, and Steven Parent at the Tate/Polanski hillside Los Angeles home in August 1969. The day after that gruesome crime, the Manson family, under Charlie’s orders, struck again, killing supermarket executive Leo LaBianca and his wife Rosemary in their L.A. home. Manson and his follows were convicted of the killings in 1971; prosecutors proved Manson’s bizarre motive was to cause a race war through the crimes. Other deaths have also been attributed to Manson. While Manson got the death penalty, it was overturned and now 78, he’s serving a life sentence.

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Ted Bundy

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Ted Bundy: The serial killer finally confessed before his execution to murdering 30 young women and girls in seven states from 1974-1978. Handsome Bundy tricked his victims by pretending to be injured and requesting help—and later viciously attacking them. After killing the women, he often had sex with their corpses and kept their severed heads as mementos. Bundy escaped from jail twice but was finally recaptured in Florida in 1978. He received three death sentences in two separate trials for his Florida murders and died in the electric chair in 1989.

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David Berkowitz, “Son of Sam” self-portrait from a coin-oper

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Son of Sam: David Berkowitz: Berkowitz, better known as Son of Sam, is an infamous 1970s New York serial killer who murdered six people and wounded several others, mostly shooting the victims as they sat in parked cars. Although Berkowitz’s body count was low by future serial killer standards, he was memorable for terrorizing an entire city and writing bizarre letters to the police and the media about his crimes. Berkowitz believed the dog of his neighbor, Sam, was possessed by a demon ordering him to kill. After his arrest in 1977, Berkowitz confessed and was sentenced to 25 years to life in prison for each of his six murders.

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