We have all seen those stories on the news. Someone pulls off some totally horrific crime, and everyone in town is just so surprised because the guy that did it just seems so normal. Everyone just lines up to tell reporters how they had no idea at all and never suspected a thing.
This kind of thing happens with all sorts of crimes, but it is way worse, of course, when the guy that did it is a murderer. That takes the whole creepy scale up another level. We want to be able to think that we can tell when someone is totally creepy, but we can’t. The fact is, some people can kill, and kill again, and still no one in their lives will have any idea.
What follows is a list of killers that got away with their crimes for a really long time; in large part because they just seemed so darned normal. Now don’t take me the wrong way- just because someone seems normal does not mean that they are a secret serial killer. But could they be? Oh yeah, they could. But don’t take my word for it. No need for that. Here are 15 serial killers that seemed like regular guys.
15. Rodney Alcala – On A Game Show
How much did Rodney Alcala appear to be a regular guy? Well, so much so that he was a contestant on the popular dating show known as The Dating Game. Yes, that is correct. The producers of a TV show tried to set up a contestant with a serial killer. He actually won, but the woman he was supposed to go out with passed because he seemed a bit creepy. Which he was, of course, as he had already raped and murdered five women. Yeah, that’s definitely “a bit creepy.” He currently resides on death row in a California prison.
14. Philip Markoff – From The National Honor Society To Craigslist Killer
No one would have suspected Philip Markoff as being the infamous Craigslist killer. He was in medical school, was in the youth court, was a member of the National Honor Society, and was just an all around swell guy. Unfortunately, he was also meeting people, escorts and women who gave erotic massages, through Craigslist ads, and killing them and robbing them. He killed himself while in jail awaiting charges, although he did express his innocence. His fiance at the time described him as “beautiful inside and out.” Awww.
13. Dennis Nilsen – Proud Military Man
Dennis was a proud military man from England who no one would have suspected would turn out to be England’s version of Jeffrey Dahmer. He lured fifteen men back to his home over the years and killed them. He was caught when his drains clogged up because of human remains that he had flushed down the toilet. Really Dennis? That is just totally gross. Ewww. He is now serving life in prison, and is known as “The Kindly Killer.” I think we are going to have to disagree on that one, England.
12. Andrew Cunanan – Shy And Intelligent
Andrew was a charmer, there was no doubt about that. He had an IQ of 147 and was remembered by classmates as a charming and smart student. He was always a bit directionless though, and thought of as a little odd. But certainly not odd enough to end up killing five people on a cross-country binge, including one of the most famous fashion designers in the world, Gianni Versace. Little is known as to why he did any of the things he did. He killed himself while on the run.
11. Arnfinn Nesset – Well Respected Nurse
This guy was a nurse in Norway. Talk about normal- he was always a true pro in his work, and was well liked by all. There was no reason at all to think that he may have done anything odd, let alone kill a whole bunch of people. Oh, but he did. He poisoned twenty-two of his patients and was sentenced to twenty-one years in prison. Which does not seem like a whole lot of time for doing such a thing. Maybe he got a light sentence because he seemed so normal. He ended up only serving twelve years.
10. Charles Cullen – Another “Normal” Nurse!
Charles Cullen was another guy that seemed like just your average Joe. He worked at a series of hospitals in New Jersey as a nurse. So what is it about male nurses anyway? He has at least twenty-nine killings to his name, all of whom were patients at the hospitals. However, he may have committed as many as three HUNDRED murders, which would make him the most prolific serial killer in the history of America. He said he killed patients to end their suffering, but in reality most of them were not terminal cases. He is serving life without parole.
9. Cary Stayner – No One Saw It Coming
Cary Stayner’s family fell victim to an awful crime. When Cary was a kid, one of his brothers was kidnapped. The story became big news across the country and Cary and his family got a lot of press. His brother was finally released after seven years and was reunited with Cary and his family. Yay! A happy ending right? Well, it would have been if Cary didn’t end up killing four women in 1999. Cary played the victim card for quite a while, and then ended up doing something even more horrific than was done to his brother. He is currently on death row.
8. Robert Lee Yates – Military Man and Prison Guard
Robert Lee Yates was one of those guys that you trusted to do the right thing. He was in the military, then also had a job as a prison guard at a prison in Washington. Just a good ol’ All-American type of guy. He also murdered at least thirteen prostitutes. This, by the way, is not a good look for a prison guard. He is currently on death row at the same prison that he used to work at as a guard. I am not sure, but I bet that whole scene might be kind of uncomfortable for Robert.
7. Dean Corll – The Candy Man
Okay, now this one is almost too much. Dean was a truly sick dude, who killed a lot of kids back in his day. And you know what he did for a living? Well, he ran a candy factory, and was known for giving out candy to the kids. He was known as “The Candy Man,” of course, just to make this story extra unsettling. In a list of very odd and disturbed individuals, Dean Corll is very close to being at the top of the list. He and accomplices murdered dozens of teenage boys. He was killed by one of his accomplices in 1973.
6. Paul Bernardo – Charming Paul
Everyone thought that Paul Bernardo was such a cool guy. He was handsome and charming. In particular, his wife Karla thought very highly of him. So highly, in fact, that she would help him drug and sexually assault women. He didn’t stop there though- he killed a bunch of those women, too. He was caught eventually, as thankfully all of these men on this list have been. He is now doing life in a Canadian prison. His wife Karla ratted on Paul and only got twelve years. She is a free woman now.
5. Harold Shipman – English Doctor
Good old Harold Shipman seemed like a real peach. He was a Doctor in England and was considered an expert in the field of mental illness. I mean, I guess he may have been an expert in one way, since he was obviously completely and totally insane. He killed over two-hundred of his patients. Even if you are an expert in mental illness, people tend to look down on that type of thing. He was sentenced to life imprisonment and soon after hung himself in his prison cell.
4. John Wayne Gacy – The Trustworthy Salesman and Clown
Okay, okay, so this one might seem a little odd. These days if a bunch of kids go missing in an area the very first guy you would look at as a suspect would be the middle-aged guy who liked performing as a clown at children’s parties. But back then he was a successful shoe salesman who was active in his community and he was also married. So he seemed pretty darn normal. Well, news flash- he wasn’t. He murdered over thirty children and was executed for his crimes.
3. Jeffrey Dahmer – Nice, Handsome Man
So these days Dahmer is thought of as anything but normal of course. He is one of the creepiest and scariest serial killers of all time. But with that said, there was a time when he was just this kind of handsome nice guy that seemed thoughtful and supported gay rights. Although, in retrospect, maybe he just supported his own rights, to kill all sorts of men. Dahmer was truly infamous and was murdered in prison. It could not have happened to a nicer guy.
2. H.H. Holmes – Doctor
H.H. Holmes was a doctor who murdered dozens of tourists at the Chicago World Fair by luring them into a hotel that he specifically built to rob and kill people. How creepy is that? And also, I don’t know if you have been paying attention, but what is up with all the doctors and nurses on this list? Seriously? I don’t know about you but I think I am going to cancel my next check up and just take my chances. Holmes confessed to twenty-seven murders and was executed.
1. Ted Bundy – Charming and Intellectual Bundy
There is simply no one ever that could top Ted Bundy on this list. Bundy was so charming that he would often kill just by pretending that he was stranded and getting a woman to give him a ride in her car. Bundy was a law student, a delegate for Nelson Rockefeller’s presidential campaign, and to top it all off, used to work for a sexual assault crisis line. No one suspected, for quite a while anyway, that Bundy was one of the most sadistic serial killers of all time.