When people think of serial killers, many people think of individuals such as Ted Bundy, who taught women not to trust or help strangers when alone, Jack the Ripper, who strangled women in London, Amelia Dyer, a British woman who murdered infants in her care as the head of an infant placement service, and John Wayne Gacy, who is best known for killing young boys and the famous photograph of him dressed as a clown. Most people would like to imagine that, with the advent of DNA testing and improved communications between agencies, these serial killers with high victim counts would be a thing of the past. Unfortunately serial killers are still a very real threat to society. Since the late 1990’s there have been a number of serial killers with a rising number of victims.
Anthony Sowell has been in the news recently for having killed at least 11 women and hiding the bodies at his Cleveland Ohio home between 2005 and 2009. The crimes were only uncovered when a potential 12th victim escaped and went to police. The police went to Sowell’s home and discovered two bodies. A further search of the home and property revealed human remains of 11 women. He is currently awaiting trial for his crimes.
Ronald Dominique terrorized the Louisiana Bayou area for 10 years starting in the mid 1990’s. He killed at least 8 young men in heinous fashion. Dominique pled guilty to eight counts of murder in 2008 and received 8 terms of life in prison to be served consecutively.
Robert William Pickton is a well known Canadian serial killer who disposed of his victims’ bodies on his pig farm. For nearly 20 years until his capture in 2002, Pickton killed at least 26 women and used his on-premise slaughterhouse to get rid of at least some of the bodies. He was convicted of six counts of second degree murder and will be eligible for parole in 25 years.
Charles Cullen, a nurse who spent most of his career in New Jersey, is believed to have killed 40 people during his nursing career, which lasted until 2003. He deemed these killings as mercy killings as he claimed he was just trying to end the patients’ suffering. Family members of the victims vehemently deny that the patients would have wanted to die. Cullen will die in prison since he will not be eligible for parole for almost 400 years.
Yang Xinhai was a modern day killer in Henan, China. He killed 67 people starting in the year 2000 until his capture in late 2003. He was sentenced and executed in February of 2004. He committed terrifying crimes, including wiping out entire families, for no other reason than his desire to kill people.
Harold Shipman was doctor in the town of Hyde in Greater Manchester, United Kingdom. Believed to have caused at least 200 deaths over two decades, this modern serial killer used diamorphine on ill patients and then would falsify the death certificates. His activities, occurring between 1975 and 1998, only stopped when authorities discovered a forged will and a patient that had the drug in her system. Harold Shipman took his own life while serving the first two years of his life prison term.
Charles Montaldo “Anthony Edward Sowell”, About.com
“US Serial Killer Ronald Dominique Sentenced to Eight Life Terms for Raping and Killing Young Men”, Sky News
“Recent Murder Robert William Pickton”, Prime Time Crime
“Killer Nurse gets 11 Life Sentences”, Cnn.com
“Man Faces Death after Killing 67”, China Daily
Stephen Adams “Harold Shipman Thought he was ‘Boring’, Letters Show”, Telegraph.co.UK
“Harold Shipman”, WordIQ