Second chances are a good opportunity to show the world that you’re not as much of a screw up as people think, but should everyone be given the benefit of the doubt? If you cheat on your partner or lie to your parents, it breaks trust, and it may be difficult for them to forgive you. There’s a good chance they will, though, if you show that you’re willing to put in the work to be a better person. For those whose offenses are more sinister, like, let’s say, beating elderly people to death or torturing children, we may need to reevaluate how the prison system measures remorse.
We’d like to think that while criminals are locked up behind bars, they’re being treated and rehabilitated. Unfortunately, many felons just learn how to be better criminals while doing their time, and by the time their release comes, they’re worse than before. Instead of getting a person thrilled about a chance at a fresh start, there’s a monster excited about being outside of those prison walls where humans can once again be preyed on. The next time you think that the most callous-hearted murderers who are imprisoned will never see the light of day again, remember the names and stories of these killers. No one is safe.
15. Graeme Burton Waited Six Months After Leaving Prison To Murder Again
There’s nothing wrong with doing a little pre-gaming before heading out to a nightclub, but Graeme Burton took things a little too far. A friend said that they watched Graeme take multiple drugs, including LSD, and down tequila shots before heading out to the Wellington nightclub in New Zealand back in 1992. Once he arrived, security wouldn’t let him in, and that enraged the inebriated man. He took out his anger and revenge on a lighting technician at the club, Neville Anderson, who happened to be standing outside. Graeme stabbed him to death. He was given a life sentence for the murder, but in 2006, he was paroled and back on the streets.
It was only a few weeks later that Graeme stocked up an arsenal of weapons that included guns, various knives, and a crossbow. For six months, he was scoring meth and beating up drug dealers, but one fateful day in January of 2007, Graeme shot and killed 26-year-old Karl Kuchenbecker, who was out hiking. This led to a shootout with police that ended with his arrest. He was once again sentenced to life without the possibility of parole for 26 years.
14. Ian McLoughlin Was Given A One-Day Release And Used His Time To Kill Again
Talk about being a repeat offender! Ian McLoughlin experienced his first stint in prison when he was sentenced to 10 years after killing 49-year-old Len Delgatty by smashing him over the head with a hammer. That was back in 1984. By 1992, he was out of jail and ready to murder again. Ian killed 55-year-old Peter Halls, and for that crime, he was put away for life — or so everyone thought. Twenty-one years later, Ian earned enough trust with his prison that he was let out on a day release. He used that opportunity to commit more crimes.
Francis Cory-Wright, 87, was enjoying his wealthy lifestyle now that he was out of prison. The convicted pedophile was once jailed for sexually abusing a little boy. He and Ian met behind bars. Ian visited Francis’s home, intending to rob him, but things took a turn when Francis screamed for help. A neighbor, Graham Buck, rushed over to help Francis but instead met the killer face-to-face. The two struggled, and Ian won the fight when he slashed Graham’s throat. He was thrown back in prison and will remain there for 40 years.
13. Andrew Dawson Was The Devil Who Named Himself The ‘Angel Of Mercy’
Another person given a life sentence who was ultimately released is a man named Andrew Dawson. In 1981, he admitted to murdering a 91-year-old man and was convicted to a life term, but officials believed that he had been rehabilitated and ready to enter society once again. That would prove to be a terrible mistake.
In July of 2010, Andrew had only been living in his apartment for just a few weeks. A neighborly thing to do would be to, maybe, introduce yourself to the people living next door, but instead, Andrew decided to kill them. John David Matthews was 66 years old when he was found stabbed to death 18 times in his apartment. Five days later, 58-year-old Paul Hancock’s dead body was found in his home in the same building. He had 22 stab wounds. Andrew became a person of interest, and when they searched his apartment, they found his journal, where he confessed to one of the murders and called himself “the Angel of Mercy.” He told police that he had gained access to his victims’ homes by pretending to need to use their washing machines. Andrew also said he had an insatiable urge to kill and showed no remorse. He was thrown back in prison for another life term.
12. Timothy Buss Is The Child Killer Who Should Never Roam The Streets Again
Little Christopher Meyer had a smile that could light up a room, but his life was snuffed out by Timothy Buss, a killer who was paroled out of prison in 1993. Timothy was previously serving a 25-year sentence that began in 1981, but someone, somewhere, thought that he was no longer a threat to society.
The community of Bradley, Illinois was shaken to its core when five-year-old Tara Huffman was sexually abused and murdered. The girl’s loved ones thought that Timothy would at least stay in prison for his entire term, but 12 years later, he was free to kill again. This time, 10-year-old Christopher from Walla Walla, Washington was his victim of choice. The boy was stabbed over 50 times, sexually mutilated, and buried in a shallow grave in a local park. Timothy was initially sentenced to death, but it was later commuted to life in prison.
11. Kenneth McDuff Was A Cruel Murderer Who Tortured His Victims
Robert Brand, 17, his 16-year-old girlfriend, Edna Sullivan, and his 15-year-old cousin, Mark Sullivan, were just three teens hanging out late at night in the parking lot of a baseball field. They weren’t trying to get into any trouble, but unfortunately for them, trouble came knocking in 1966.
Kenneth McDuff and his friend Roy Dale Green were driving around town because Kenneth said he wanted a girl. The pair saw the teens standing next to a car, and, when Kenneth saw Edna, he immediately knew she was whom he wanted. The teenagers were forced into the trunk of their car and taken to a field where Robert and Mark were shot. Edna was repeatedly raped by Kenneth and Roy before Kenneth choked her with a broomstick and dumped her body in nearby bushes. Kenneth was given three life sentences, but his lawyers fought the good fight and got him paroled in 1989. Police say it only took three days for him to begin killing again. Sarafina Parker, Brenda Thompson, Regenia DeAnne Moore, Cynthia Renee Gonzalez, Colleen Reed, Valencia Joshua, and Melissa Northrup were all future victims of Kenneth. Many were prostitutes; some were gruesomely tortured. Kenneth died by lethal injection in 1998.
10. Arthur Bomar’s Final Crime Landed Him On Death Row
Road rage turned into murder after Arthur Bomar got into an argument with a man over a parking space. He was jailed for 11 years and paroled in 1990, promising to never kill again. Let’s just say he lied.
Months after his release, Arthur was arrested for yanking a woman from her car and assaulting her. A few years later, he got into a fight outside of a bar and was convicted of assault. Those crimes were violations of his parole, but the parole board let Arthur slip between the cracks. By the time 1996 rolled around, Arthur’s bad behavior was worsening. That year, a 22-year-old lacrosse player named Aimee Willard went missing on her way home after hanging out with friends. When police found her car on the side of the road, the door was open, it was still running, and the lights were still on. Her body was found 17 miles away. She was raped and with a tire iron beaten to death. Evidence, including DNA, matched Arthur’s, and he was convicted of her murder. He currently sits on Pennsylvania’s death row.
9. Howard Allen Robbed And Killed Three Elderly Women
In many cultures, the elderly are cared for and protected by their families and communities, but Howard Allen has little concern for those who’ve lived out long lives. Opal Cooper made it to the ripe age of 85 years old in 1974 when Howard Allen broke into her house to rob her. Instead of just running off with her valuables, Howard beat her to death. He was convicted of manslaughter and was thrown in prison with a sentence of 2 to 21 years. Howard was paroled in 1984, and, for three years, he seemed to be on his best behavior. In 1987, he had the devilish itch to go back to his bad boy ways, and, in that year alone, he was tied to 12 robberies and assaults — all against the elderly. In May, he attacked a 73-year-old who survived her injuries. Two days later, he beat an 87-year-old to death. That June, he robbed the house of an elderly man and then set his home on fire. A month after that, a 73-year-old woman was murdered in her home. Howard killed her with knives and a toaster. The following year, Howard received 88 years for the assaults and was sentenced to death row for the last murder.
8. Paul Brumfitt Was Deemed To Have A “Psychopathic Disorder”
Couples in relationships are bound to get into a fight where they say or do something they regret, but Paul Brumfitt absolutely let his anger get the best of him. In 1975, when he was 24, Paul was dating a 16-year-old girl, and after the two got into a heated argument, Paul went off the rails. In the next week, Paul would go on to beat a 59-year-old shopkeeper to death and strangle a 40-year-old bus driver. In 1980, he was convicted and sentenced to three life terms, but in 1994, he was paroled and given a second chance at freedom. He blew it.
Paul’s reintroduction to society took a murderous turn when, in 1999, he, in his home, killed Marcella Ann Davis, a 19-year-old single mother and prostitute. He tried to get rid of the body by setting her on fire in a scrapyard. Weeks later, he raped another prostitute twice at knifepoint. Paul was once again sent to prison for life. Hopefully, this time, he’ll stay there.
7. Jimmy Lee Gray Did Unspeakably Horrific Things To A Toddler
Teenage relationships can be volatile, but they aren’t supposed to end in murder. When Jimmy Lee Gray was just 18 years old in 1968, he killed his 16-year-old girlfriend by slitting her throat. For his heinous crime, Jimmy was supposed to spend 20 years in prison, but just six years later, he was paroled. Those who thought Jimmy had used his time behind bars to change his life for the better obviously didn’t know the man well.
Jimmy managed to keep his nose clean, so to speak, that is, until he saw three-year-old toddler Deressa Jean Seales. The sick, twisted man kidnapped the little girl and then took her to the woods where he did unspeakable things to her. He raped her. He sodomized her. Then, he attempted to drown her in a creek. As he walked away, he heard her making noises in the water as she was face down, trying to breathe. That’s when he turned around and finished the job by stomping on the back of her neck, breaking it. Jimmy’s death would be a torturous and painful one, too. While he was in the gas chamber, his executioner was drunk and botched the procedure. His head wasn’t secured, so as he took in the toxic gas, he began thrashing around. Jimmy repeatedly banged his head against an iron pole connected to his chair until he lost consciousness.
6. Timothy McKinney’s Out-Of-Control Anger Almost Took Another Life
Police officer Don Williams was working a night job as a security guard at Crumpy’s Comedy Club in Memphis, Tennessee. On Christmas Day evening in 1997, Williams was working his shift when he got into an altercation with Timothy McKinney. The verbal argument turned deadly after Timothy left the club, went to his girlfriend’s house to get his gun, and returned to shoot and kill the officer.
Timothy tried his best to convince a jury that he wasn’t the one who had pulled the trigger, but his pleas fell on deaf ears. He was sentenced to death, but his new attorneys were able to get him a new trial because his initial defense counsel was thought to be ineffective. He went through two retrials where both juries were hung, so Timothy eventually pleaded guilty and was sentenced to time served. He was back on the streets in 2013. Timothy was only on the streets for a little over a year when he was involved in another deadly shooting. While arguing with a man, Timothy pulled out a gun and opened fire. He didn’t shoot his intended victim but instead hit a 14-year-old boy nearby. He was convicted of attempted second-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison. Timothy didn’t technically kill again, but he came awfully close.
5. David Edward Maust Killed Five Teenagers And Brutally Assaulted Others
Serial killer David Edward Maust had an affinity for young boys. From an early age, his family could tell there was something a little off about David, and, at the age of nine, he was institutionalized and later sent to a children’s home. As a young adult, he got a job but was later fired after crashing the company truck. He tried going home to mom, but she didn’t want him in her house because she feared him. She instead took him to an Army recruiter. David was stationed overseas in Germany when he killed a 13-year-old boy in 1974. He said it was an accident and was sentenced to four years. When the time came around for David to be released in 1977, he asked to stay in jail, but they let him go. Two years later, he stabbed a friend, but that friend survived the attack.
In 1981, David wanted to find a boy who, years prior, molested him at the children’s home he once lived in. He couldn’t find him but did come across 15-year-old Donald Jones and drowned him. Months later, he stabbed a 14-year-old boy. David was once again in jail, and in 1999, he was somehow deemed fit to be released. He would go on to kill three more teens by 2003, encasing them in concrete and wrapping them in plastic. In 2006, he committed suicide by hanging himself in his cell with a bed sheet.
4. Steven Pratt Was Free For Two Days Before He Killed His Mother
Don’t let that sad face shedding those tears fool you. Steve Pratt is a killer, and one of his victims was his own mother. As a teenager, Pratt was close to his neighbor, Michael Anderson, whom he looked up to as a father figure. One day in 1984 when Steven was 15-years-old, the teen was hanging out with friends in the hallway of his apartment building, smoking marijuana. Michael peeked out of his apartment and told the group to take their fun somewhere else, but instead of leaving, Steven taunted him with a marijuana pipe. Michael tried to grab it, and as he tried wrestling it out of Steven’s hands, he hit the boy in his face. Steven left, but that didn’t mean the fight was over. He returned hours later, knocked on Michael’s door, and shot him dead. Steven was tried as an adult and served 30 years in prison before he was released. His family had a welcome home party for him and were excited to have him back in the fold, especially his mother. The killer was only free for two days when he got into an argument with his mom and beat her to death. He later cried to a judge that he was guilty and didn’t want a trial. He was sentenced to another 25 years in prison.
3. John Lawrence Miller Was Surprisingly Released From Prison After Killing A 22-Month-Old
Another teenage killer on our list is John Lawrence Miller who, at 15-years-old, got his first taste of taking someone’s life. His parents sent him to a reform school, but when he had a day off to go home for a visit, he snuck out in the evening and went looking for trouble. In 1957, John heartlessly beat 22-month-old Laura Wetzel, a neighbor, to death while she was sleeping in her crib. He said he wanted to know what it felt like to kill someone and claimed he was sorry. He was tossed in jail and sentenced to life, but after 17 years, the State of California thought he was recovered from his wicked ways. He returned to his parents’ house in Long Beach, California, and things were pretty rocky from the start. Two months after being let out of prison, the police received a call from one of the Millers’ neighbors. John’s father, barely clinging to life, told the neighbor that his son had shot him and his wife. The couple died before police arrived. Michael was immediately arrested, and in 1976, was once again sentenced to life. He’s remained in prison ever since.
2. Psychiatrists Called Him A “Schizoid Psychopath,” But He Was Paroled Anyway
If this face is a familiar one, it’s likely because you’ve probably seen one of his many features or interviews on television. Arthur Shawcross looks like he’s just a white beard away from being Santa’s double, but don’t be mistaken; this man is a villain.
Arthur was sexually aroused by starting fires, so when he and his second wife moved to New York City, he developed a penchant for arson. He eventually got pinched for these crimes and was given five years, but after 22 months, he was released. That’s when his crimes turned violent. Arthur raped and killed a 10-year-old boy in 1972, and months later, he did the same to an eight-year-old girl. He was arrested the following month but was able to plea to a lesser charge if he would tell detectives where he had dumped the boy’s body. You’d think prison officials would want Arthur to serve out his 25-year sentence in full, but instead, they claimed he was no longer a danger to society and set him free after 12 years in 1987. His second string of murders started the following year until 1989. Arthur murdered an additional 12 women, mostly prostitutes, and even mutilated one. He also claimed he had indulged in cannibalism. He was sentenced to life without the possibility of parole. In 2008, he died of a heart attack while in prison.
1. Dwaine Little Raised Big Suspicions After Being Paroled
Convicted of raping and murdering a 16-year-old girl in 1964, Dwaine Little received a life sentence in 1966. However, the state of Oregon granted him parole in 1974. In Fall of that same year, the Cowden family — Richard; his wife Belinda; and their two small children, 5-year-old David and 5-month-old Melissa — disappeared from their campsite. For seven months, no one knew what had happened to them until their skeletal remains were found miles from where they were last seen on the day they had disappeared. An elderly couple gave an accurate description of Dwaine’s truck and said the bed was full of people. Dwaine became a suspect after he was spotted pumping gas close to the crime scene. He never confessed nor was charged with these murders. He was, however, convicted of raping and attempting to murder another woman. This obviously violated his parole, and for that, he was put back in an Oregon prison for the rest of his life. The Cowden Family Murders remain an unsolved open case.