Given that there was a Presidential election that wrapped up back in November (mid December if you’re looking at the electoral college vote), crime prevention, punishment and prison reform should have been a hot button issue in 2016. It came up from time to time during the campaigns, but Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump spent time talking about Mexicans, Muslims, Wikileaks, the crumbling economy, and foreign policy when they weren’t busy taking potshots at each other’s character (or lack thereof).
Of course, just because these two windbags didn’t spend much time on it, that doesn’t mean that the issues of criminal justice (and of course criminal justice reform) will go away (or have gone away) for the United States. The incarceration rate is still through the metaphorical roof and many prisoners are serving sentences for nonviolent drug offenses. A polarizing issue, one of the most important arguments is whether prisons should punish or rehabilitate, and of course, whether the perpetrators of certain, particularly heinous crimes can be rehabilitated.
All too often, whether they are just deemed to have served their time, or an official determines they have changed, a terrible person gets released from prison. It happens in all countries and is not just an American problem. It can be a terrifying thought, but sexual predators, killers, other violent offenders and of course white collar criminals get released all the time. Many do learn their lesson but others don’t. Then of course, there are those who should never be released at all for their crimes are beyond despicable. Here are fifteen of those repulsive beings who have committed crimes that should have seen them rot behind bars but got released and walk free in society today.
15. Mary Bell
Some people peak early in life. This killer got her crimes out of the way before even reaching her teen years, but has been quiet ever since. Mary Bell, of Newcastle, England, was born to and raised by a prostitute, and suffered throughout her childhood, with her mother allegedly drugging her and having been forced into sex acts with men from a young age. At age 11, back in 1968, she strangled two young boys (aged three and four) to death, and mutilated one after the act.
She was originally intended to be detained indefinitely at Red Bank, the holding facility for the worst young offenders in Britain, but was released in 1980. She had a kid a few years later and in 2009 her daughter had a child, making the first member of our list of free sickos a grandmother.
14. Issei Sagawa
The smallest of any of the sickos on this list, Japanese killer and cannibal Issei Sagawa stands about five feet tall and spent much of his life sickly and weak. It is believed that his poor health caused him to seek out larger women in order to cannibalize them. Living in Tokyo during his early 20’s in the early 1970’s, Sagawa attacked a tall, beautiful, German woman in her apartment but was fought off, later to be charged with attempted r*pe. His rich parents prevented him from being thrown away by paying off the woman.
He moved to France several years later to pursue a PhD. He invited a female classmate over to look at poetry with him one night, and shot her. He then ate parts of her body over the course of the next few days. When he tried to dump her remains in a river he was found and arrested by police. He was found not fit for trial due to insanity, again partially because his wealthy parents tossed an absurd amount of money at his criminal defense.
He returned to Japan and was never punished for his crime. Sagawa has said that he considers having to look for work as a known murderer to be a punishment. He’s had a great deal of difficulty finding steady employment and call us callous, but we don’t feel bad.
13. Mitchell Johnson and Andrew Golden
In a school shooting, more often than not, the perpetrators end up dead. The most common finales are either getting shot by police or that the shooters turn the guns on themselves. If they are captured, life imprisonment is the norm, with a few death penalties having been dolled out over the years.
These two young men carried out a school shooting in Joneboro, Arkansas back in 1998, leaving five people dead and ten more injured. On the day of the massacre, they loaded up a minivan with weapons (two rifles and several pistols along with over a thousands rounds), survival gear and food and drove to the school. Golden pulled the fire alarm, luring the students and teachers outside and Johnson took the weapons to a vantage point. They killed four students and a teacher.
They were eleven and thirteen when they did this, and having been tried as juveniles, they were released at ages eighteen and twenty one. Golden hasn’t been in any serious trouble with the law since his release, but Johnson has been back in prison for drug offenses and theft, most recently being released from prison in 2015 after a theft conviction.
12. Aleksandr Rubel
While most school shooters end up dead after their crime, most serial killers who get caught are imprisoned until they breathe their last. Not Estonia’s Aleksandr Rubel however. Born in 1980 (on Christmas…you just can’t think this stuff up), he committed his crimes in 1997 and 1998, mostly targeting people weaker than himself including a physically disabled man, and a fifteen year old girl.
His murders ranged from strangling to stabbing and a throat slitting. For his crimes, he was tried and convicted as a minor and served EIGHT YEARS for SIX MURDERS. He was released in 2006 and is believed to live in Ukraine now.
11. Wolfgang Abel and Marco Furlan
Wolfgang Abel and Marco Furlan of Germany and Italy respectively, committed an undetermined number of murders in the 1970’s and 1980’s throughout Italy. While many other members of this list have mental issues, these two guys were/are just neo-Nazis who wanted to purge the world of those they considered “sub-human” (this may qualify as some kind of mental deficiency in and of itself).
Their criminal history together is widely considered to have started back in 1977 when they burned a drug addict alive with Molotov cocktails. They targeted drug addicts, homosexuals, a couple of hookers and priests, killing them in ways we can call “creative”. They burned a couple of their victims, killed two priests by bashing their skulls in with hammers, and stabbed a couple of their gay victims. They were both convicted and sentenced to twenty seven years, but got out in 2009 and 2013 respectively.
10. Mika Muranen
Finnish former-soldier Mika Muranen shot and killed two neighbors and mailman back in the mid 1990’s following a fight with those neighbors. He came home from his military barracks with a stolen rifle, stopped off at his home to get his crossbow and killed his neighbors with it. He then shot the mailman with the rifle, and fired upon other houses in the neighborhood.
He was chased into the woods, and exchanged fire with police (during which his dog was killed) before being captured. He was sentenced to life in prison but was released in 2011 after just over fifteen years in the slammer.
9. Louis Van Schoor
If you think that the United States has a big “race issue” going on, take a very quick trip to South Africa to see the real deal. Louis Van Schoor was a security guard who protected several businesses in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s and is believed to have shot over one hundred people (mostly black or of mixed race); killing over thirty of them. While he has claimed that his shootings were all against would-be burglars or vandals, and were therefore within the confines of his work, he was convicted of several of these murders and served twelve years in prison.
8. Nikita Bergenstrom
This Finnish killer has gone by a few names, including Juha Valjakkala and Nikita Fouganthine. Back in the late 1980’s after being released from prison (he was a criminal from a young age), he and his girlfriend stole a bicycle and then killed the owner and his two parents when they pursued. He was given a life sentence for the murders, and escaped from prison multiple times.
Despite having killed three people, Bergenstrom was paroled in 2008 but violated the conditions of his parole and was tossed back in the slammer. He’s been in and out of prison since and most recently got thrown back in late in 2015 after having escaped and living low for two years. While technically not free these days, who knows when this maniac will be on the street next. Despite what he’s done, all the successful escapes are impressive; either that or the prisons in Scandinavia are easier to get out of than a crowded Starbucks.
7. Arnfinn Nesset
This list is primarily populated by violent, nasty people who kill in disgusting ways, but Arnfinn Nesset is one of Norway’s most notorious killers, and used drugs. He was educated in nursing, and became a manager of a nursing home. He first started working in the field in the late 1970’s and by 1981, people started to notice the frequent deaths at the home. Nesset was found to have injected many of the clients at the home with a powerful muscle relaxant suxamethonium chloride. He was convicted of killing over twenty of these patients, but it is widely believed that his actual count is above 130.
For these murders, he was sentenced to over 20 years in prison but got out after twelve due to good behavior. Nobody knows where he has lived since being freed, and Norwegian authorities believe he has changed his name.
6. Karla Homolka
In the early 1990’s, Canada was rocked by a series of violent murders that involved severe sexual assault and torture. These acts were carried out by Karla Homolka and her then-husband Paul Bernardo. Bernardo had committed many r*pes before the two met and got married, but they fed off each other during their relationship and ended up killing two young women together along with Karla’s younger sister.
Homolka and Bernardo’s prosecutors made a deal for her to have a lesser sentence in return for her testifying against her husband. She received twelve years in prison and has, since her release, had a couple of kids and gotten married. She lives in suburban Quebec, Canada, and has had a pretty normal life. Good for her, right? She’s complained about a lack of privacy a few times; it’s funny when some people try to play the victim.
5. Charlene Gallego
Charlene and Gerald Gallego did some of the same stuff as Karla Homolka and Paul Bernardo but on a larger scale (more victims) in Sacramento, California. Their spree spanned about two years from 1978 until 1980. They were arrested late in 1980. Gerald was a truly sick person, while Charlene most definitely enabled his behavior. They kidnapped ten people and killed them after sexually assaulting them. Gerald carried out most of the sexual misconduct and the killings, but Charlene usually did the driving and most of the luring of their victims.
Gerald was sentenced to the death penalty but died in of cancer before he could be put to death. Charlene was sentenced but testified against Gerald so she only spent just under seventeen years behind bars. She has been free since 1997 and has apparently dedicated her life to charity work, and feels remorse for her part in the murders. Skepticism about that last statement may be warranted.
4. Lainz Angels of Death
These four ladies took what Arnfinn Nesset did and put their own disgusting spin on it. They all worked as Nurse’s aids in Lainz (part of Vienna, Austria). Waltraud Wagner, Maria Gruber, Irine Leidolf, and Stephanija Mayer killed 49 elderly and in some cases, disabled people. These killings took place between 1983 and 1989, and involved several methods of killing, including forced drug overdoses and drowning, many of which were difficult to trace back to the four. The first to discover that she enjoyed the power that came with the act of killing was Wagner, but they all ended up doing time in prison. Mayer and Gruber were released in the early 2000’s, but Wagner and Leidolf were released back in 2008, much to the dismay of the families of their victims and communities.
3. Genene Jones
Now 66 years old, Texan Genene Jones has not been released from prison just yet, but we included her because if she makes it to 2018 she will be released. Another nurse, between 1977 and 1982 she used substances to cause medical emergencies for babies and children with the hope of being able to save her victims, for which she would seem the hero. More often than not however, the child would die before her “heroism” could take place.
Only two of her killings were ever confirmed but she is believed to be responsible for dozens. Most of the kids died of cardiac arrest from being injected with a powerful muscle paralyzing drug, succinylcholine.
2. Nikolai Dzhumagaliev
One of the most notorious killers from the former Soviet Union is Kazakhstan’s Nikolai Dzhumagaliev. His nickname “Metal Fang” came from the fact that he has a literal set of sharpened metal teeth; his originals were knocked out earlier in his life. In early 1979, he committed his first murder, hunting and killing a woman in a rural area, carved her up, and consumed her flesh. In that year he killed six more times. He was captured that year after shooting a friend and was determined to suffer from schizophrenia. He was released a year later and killed at least two more people. He was caught once again and although found not guilty due to insanity, spent most of the 1980’s in a mental hospital. He broke out in 1989 and lived free for two years before being captured once again.
1. Pedro Lopez
Lives don’t get much more thoroughly messed up than Pedro Alonso Lopez. Nicknamed “The Monster of the Andes”, the Colombian killer and r*pist was kicked out of his family home before age ten (apparently for touching his younger sister). He ran to Bogota, was abducted by a man who beat and r*ped him, and was abused later by a school teacher. He turned to a life of crime, was convicted and spent time in jail (during which he claimed to have killed many people) and was released a far more sadistic maniac than he was previous to his incarceration.
Throughout the 1970’s, he killed over a hundred people; mostly young girls between nine and twelve, and primarily in Peru. He has hinted that his number is much higher, above 300, but the exact number may well never be known. The murders took place in multiple countries and if we include an accusation from 2002, several decades. He was thrown in prison in 1980 in Ecuador, serving fourteen years and then being released and sent back to Colombia. While there he was sent to a mental institution, and just a few years later, determined to be sane and released. Like we said, he has been accused of another murder in 2002, but he has been on the run since.