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These 10 Top US Serial Killers Will Give You Nightmares

Serial killers are creepy, dangerous, and unpredictable. But, it is a fact that everyone (well at least most of them) loves to read about them and what they did. It is necessary to read about them as most of the serial killers, psychopaths, etc. have few things in common – they can’t feel empathy, they (most probably) had a rough childhood, knowing these would help you gauge people better. So, let us start with our top US serial killers list.

Clementine Barnabet

Clementine Barnabet is thought to be born in 1894 in Louisiana. Her parents were Raymond Barnabet and Nina Porter. She murdered the victim’s whole family, not just a person. She used an ax to butcher the victims, and she cut their head off.

Her first murder took place in 1911. Suspicion was on Raymond Barnabet, but when the murders continued, the focus shifted to Clementine. Finally, she admitted to murder 35 people.

She told that she was connected to the Church of Sacrifice, and some priestess advised her of killing people to get some supernatural powers. She started killing to see if it was true or not.

At 18, she was sentenced to life imprisonment in 1912. In 1913, she tried to escape the prison but was caught. In 1923, she was released, and no one knows her whereabouts from then. She is the only woman to come in the top US serial killers list.

Samuel Little

Samuel Little By Wise County Police – Public Domain, Link

Infamously called the most prolific serial killer in the history of the US, he is also known as ‘The Choke and Stroke Killer.’ He started violating the law from a very young age. By the time he turned 35 years, he had got into jail 26 times!

He was charged for the murder of three women but was acquitted by the court. He was a light to a heavyweight fighter. He used his skills to knock out women (his victims) in one punch and strangle them, which made the murders look like accidents.

 He was arrested on 5 September 2012. He was trialed for the murders in 2014. The confession came in 2018, which shocked the entire country. He confessed that he murdered 93 women, most of them being drug addicts or sex workers. FBI has verified 50 of them. He is by far one of the most dangerous and notorious top US serial killers to date.

Gary Ridgway

top us serial killers
Gary Ridgway Public Domain, Link

He is famously known as the Green River Killer. He had sexual attraction and hatred towards his mother. His marriages (3) ended in divorce.

He was a religious person but had an attraction towards sex workers and used their services whenever he could. From the 1980s to the 1990s, he is thought to have murdered 71 women, most of them being sex workers.

Before murdering his victims, he had sex with them. After minutes of intercourse, he would strangle them to death. He disposed of the bodies near the Green River and other places. He left the nude bodies out in the open.

Sometimes, he returned and had sex with them. Though his IQ was around 80, he was so cunning that he passed the polygraph test. He wrote a letter about the ‘Green River Man’ to the police and still was not caught.

He was finally arrested in 2001 when his DNA connected him to all the 49 murders. He received the life sentence of life imprisonment.

Donald Harvey

Donald Harvey By Ohio Department of Corrections – Ohio Department of Corrections, Link

He was an orderly (an attendant responsible for the non-medical and general care of the patients). He used several methods to kill patients like giving arsenic, cyanide, insulin, injecting hepatitis/HIV into the bloodstream, turning off the ventilators, etc. He killed the victims in the 1970s and the 1980s.

He claimed himself to be an ‘Angel of Death’ and told that he ended the sufferings of the people. He mostly killed cardiac patients, and his preferred method of killing was to give either cyanide or arsenic to patients via injections or food. He targeted his neighbors and his lover, as well.

He hid the crimes for 17 years. He was finally arrested in 1987 when an autopsy of John Powell showed the presence of high amounts of cyanide in his body. This raised suspicions and an anchor of WCPO-TV, Pat Minarcin, unearthed a minimum of 24 murders done by Harvey.

He was given life imprisonment in 1987. He was found severely beaten in his cell on 30 March 2017, and he died on 3 May 2017.

John Wayne Gacy

top us serial killers
John Gayne Gacy Public Domain, Link

He performed as ‘‘Patches the Clown’ or ‘Pogo the Clown’ for charitable events at children’s hospitals. He had a normal life with his wife and children except for his abusive father and an uncle who sexually molested him during his adolescence.

He murdered 33 boys and young men from 1967 to 1978. Most of the boys were runaways. He hid 26 bodies in the crawl space under the property and called the space as ‘unlicensed funeral parlor.’

He was brought to trial in 1980, and he was executed on 10 May 1994. His last meal was French fries, dozen fried shrimp, a bucket of KFC, and a pound of strawberries.

Ted Bundy

top us serial killers
Ted Bundy By  / State Archives of Florida, Florida Memory, Public Domain, Link

No list of top US serial killers would be complete without the mention of Ted Bundy. He was handsome, charming and evil! He killed more than 30 women in the 1970s.

He started behaving differently from a very young age. He placed the knives on the bed where his aunt slept when he was a small boy. He was interested in crime magazines that showed gruesome photos of injured women.

He chose blunt trauma and strangulation as his preferred choice of killing women. He had extensive knowledge of the law, which he took undue advantage of in his murders. He killed his victims in an extensive geographical area, which made the work of investigators challenging to catch him. Most of his victims were college students.

He was sentenced to death by electrocution on 24 January 1989.

Felipe Espinosa

He was a Mexican-American serial killer. There is no particular reason why he and his brother started the killing spree. Still, it is thought that the American army was after them for some robbery case.

He and his brother, Vivian, started killing people in the present-day Colorado area. The first victim of the brothers’ was in May 1863. In the same year, they killed 25 more people.

Felipe sent a letter to the Governor demanding 5000 acres of land to him and his followers. He stated that if not given, he would kill 600 gringos (foreigners for Portuguese and Spanish people living in Latin America).

The matter went to the US army, and Tom Tobin was the one who took charge. In just days, he found the duo, and the army killed them in a gunfight in 1863. The estimated victim toll is 32.

Ronald Dominique

He started killing in 1997. He targeted gay men in the gay bars around Lousinia’s Bayou Blue area. He offered them money for sex, and if anyone refused, he would force himself on them.

He was arrested in 2006 for a charge of murdering 8 gay men. He confessed that he killed 23 men. Police suspected that the number of victims to be more than 23.

He informed police that he killed those men because he feared that they might complain to the police against him. He is undoubtedly one of the craziest top US serial killers!

William Bonin

 He is known as ‘The Freeway Killer.’ He had a disturbing childhood, but what is surprising is the fact that he served in the US airforce and risked his life to save a fellow airman. He received a medal for his gallantry.

Coming to his serial killer ways, he used freeway systems to lure his victims and later to dispose of their bodies. In the 70s and 80s, he killed a minimum of 21 people.

He tortured his victims (men) by using ice picks, coat hangers and sometimes tried to remove testicles when the victim was alive. Once satisfied with the torture, he strangulated them with their T-shirts.

He spent 14 years in jail and then later was executed by lethal injection in 1996.

Patrick Kearney

He is also called ‘The Freeway Killer.’ He targeted young boys. He picked the boys at freeway stations or gay bars. He was aversive of the idea of inflicting pain on a live person, so he killed his victim by shooting him in the temple with a Derringer .22 pistol.

He then took the corpse to a secluded place and had sex with it. Later, he would beat the corpse in a way to get back to his bullies at school. He was particular about cleaning up after the crime. He used to cut the corpse into several pieces and disposed them at multiple freeway stations and industrial areas.

He was caught when his lover, David Hill, gave Patrick’s address to a man for hook-up. The man shared the address with his family before going to Patrick’s. When the man didn’t return, his worried family reported to the police, and the rest is history.  

He confessed to killing 35 men. He was given 21 life sentences. He is to remain in jail for the rest of his life.

Did you enjoy our top US serial killers list? If yes, and you want to know more about such serial killers (yes, there are many other top US serial killers), just comment us below.

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