TIMES OF UP

America’s deadliest serial killers

America's deadliest serial killers

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Spokane Police


Robert Lee Yates pleaded guilty to murdering 13 women in Spokane, Washington, killing them and dump their bodies in rural areas. 

Yates is on death row at the Washington State Penitentiary.

Chester Turner

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California Department of Corrections


The serial killers listed here are among the worst in U.S. history. Some are believed to have killed even more people than they were convicted of murdering, and the true toll may never be known.

Chester Turner was convicted of killing 14 people in Los Angeles in the 1980s and 1990s. Most of his victims were raped and strangled.

Prosecutors called Turner “one of the most prolific serial killers in the city’s history.” He is on death row. 

Ángel Maturino Reséndiz

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FBI


Ángel Maturino Reséndiz, known as “The Railroad Killer,” killed at least 15 people across the U.S. and Mexico in the 1990s.

He would jump off trains, taken illegally across the border, and kill people in their homes with rocks, a pick axe, and other blunt objects. He would often steal some of their things and sometimes rape his female victims. 

He was executed in 2006. 

Carroll Cole

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Police mugshot


Carroll Cole strangled at least 15 women and one boy in various states between 1948 and 1980.

He confessed to the killings, saying there could have been more because he was usually drunk when they occurred. 

He was executed in 1985. 

Randy Steven Kraft

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Fair use


Randy Steven Kraft, known as the “Scorecard Killer,” drugged, raped, tortured and murdered at least 16 young men between 1972 and 1983. He committed most of his murders in California. 

Kraft’s nickname came from the fact that he left a cryptic list of his victims. Investigators believed, based on this list and other evidence, that Kraft killed 67 men, but he was only convicted of 16 murders. 

He is on death row. 

Charles Ray Hatcher

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Bettendorf Iowa Police Department


Charles Ray Hatcher raped and murdered at least 16 people — mostly young men and boys — in Missouri, California, and Illinois between 1969 and 1982. 

He hanged himself in prison. 

Robert Hansen

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Alaskan Police


Robert Hansen would kidnap prostitutes and release them into the Alaskan woods to hunt them. He admitted to 17 murders, which took place between 1971 and 1983.

Hansen died in prison in 2014. 

Jeffrey Dahmer

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AP


Jeffrey Dahmer murdered, raped and dismembered 17 men and boys between 1978 and 1991.

His later murders often included acts of necrophilia and cannibalism. He also kept body parts of some of his victims in his Milwaukee apartment.

Dahmer was sentenced to life in prison, where he died in 1994 after a fellow inmate beat him to death. 

Randall Woodfield

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Fair use


Randall Woodfield, known as “The I-5 Killer,” was connected to 18 murders in Washington, Oregon, and California between 1979 and 1981, and may have had as many as 44 victims. He was known to sexually assault his female victims. 

He is serving life in prison at the Oregon State Penitentiary in Salem.

Paul John Knowles

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AP


After escaping from prison in 1974, Knowles began a murder spree that left 20 people dead across the country. 

He was eventually captured but attempted to shoot a sheriff, which led a Georgia Bureau of Investigation agent to fatally shoot Knowles. 

William Bonin

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Wally Fong/AP


William Bonin, known as the “Freeway Killer,” murdered at least 21 boys and young men in 1979 and 1980.

He enticed victims, aged 12 to 19, into his van and sexually assaulted them before killing them, usually by strangulation. 

He was executed in 1992.  

Larry Eyler

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Police mugshot


Larry Eyler was convicted of murdering a 15-year-old boy and confessed to murdering at least 21 more young men and boys between 1982 and 1984 across five states. He was violent with his victims during sex acts.

He died in 1994 of AIDS-related complications while on death row. 

Earle Nelson

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Fair use


Earle Nelson, known as “the Gorilla Man,” was convicted of murdering 22 people in the U.S. and Canada between 1926 and 1927. 

Most of his victims were landladies; Nelson would claim he wanted to rent a room and then attack. He would sometimes have sex with the bodies and stash them under the nearest bed. 

He was executed for his crimes. 

Ronald Joseph Dominique

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Alex Brandon/AP


Ronald Joseph Dominique confessed to raping and murdering at least 23 men in Louisiana over a decade starting in 1997. 

He confessed to the murders, saying he thought it would be better to kill the men he raped so that he wouldn’t get caught. 

He is serving life in prison. 

Wayne Williams

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FBI


Wayne Williams was convicted in 1982 for killing two adult men, but the Atlanta Police Department concluded Williams was responsible for at least 23 killings that terrorized the city.

In the case known as the Atlanta Child Murders, at least 28 African-American children and young adults were killed in the Atlanta area. When Williams went to jail, the murders stopped.

Williams was sentenced to life in prison but maintains his innocence. 

Juan Vallejo Corona

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California State Prison


Juan Vallejo Corona is serving life in prison for murdering 25 people in Sutter County, California, in 1971.

All of his victims were migrant farm workers who were found buried in shallow graves. 

Patrick Kearney

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The Daily Breeze


Patrick Kearney, who was also known as the “Freeway Killer,” pleaded guilty to 21 acts of murder committed in the 1970s. He admitted to seven more. He is serving life in prison. 

His pattern was to pick up young male hitchhikers or young men from gay bars and shoot them. He would usually sexually assault the bodies. 

Dean Corll

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U.S. Military


Dean Corll kidnapped, raped and tortured at least 28 teen boys in Houston, Texas in the 1970s.

The murders, known as the Houston Mass Murders, were discovered after one of Corll’s accomplices fatally shot him. The victims had all been buried in area beaches or a boat shed.

Ted Bundy

FBI Most Wanted

Mark Foley/AP


Ted Bundy was executed in 1989 for a string of murders of young women during the 1970s. He confessed to 35 murders before his execution.

He would often win over women with his good looks before taking them to secluded areas and killing them. He returned to the corpses to have sex with them and kept decapitated heads of some of his victims in his apartment. 

John Wayne Gacy Jr.

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AP


John Wayne Gacy Jr. was convicted of 33 murders and was executed in 1994.

Gacy, who sometimes performed as a clown, sexually assaulted and usually asphyxiated teenage boys and young men in the 1970s in Illinois. He buried many of his victims in the crawl space of his Chicago-area home. 

Gary Ridgway

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Getty Images


Gary Ridgway was sentenced to life in prison in 2003 after he admitted to killing 49 women in the 1980s and 1990s.

Ridgway, also known as the Green River Killer, terrorized Seattle, killing mostly prostitutes by strangling them. He would dispose of their bodies in dump sites and the Green River, sometimes returning to have sex with their corpses. 

Nearly 20 years passed before DNA evidence linked him to the crimes. He was arrested in 2001. 

Samuel Little

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CBS Los Angeles


Samuel Little was convicted in 2014 of killing three women in California in the 1980s. Four years later, the 78-year-old confessed to killing about 90 women across the country over several decades.

Police have confirmed 34 of the confessed murders so far.

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