Serial killers are people who commit several murders using a predictable pattern. For example, Charles Albright, the infamous “eyeball killer,” would remove the eyeballs from his victims. Dennis Rader, “BTK killer,” bound and tortured his victims; hence the nickname “BTK” which stands for “bind, torture, kill.” H.H. Holmes, America’s first serial killer, trapped his (mostly female) victims in soundproof rooms and relentlessly tortured them. Despicable and frightening, they’re the worst among us.
They’re especially dangerous because their crimes lack a discernable motive. They have urges to kill, which is to say, they kill to fulfill a psychological need, such as a thrill kill or to satisfy a sexual desire. They aren’t motivated by revenge, lust, or greed. So, how can they be rehabilitated? It’s believable that a man who kills his cheating spouse won’t be motivated to kill again after exacting his revenge and serving his time, but are we to believe a serial killer won’t strike again? They’re simply too deranged to fit in with regular people, yet the following 15 serial killers are free.
These murdering individuals either got off on a technicality, escaped, were released for good behavior, or police just never had sufficient evidence to arrest them. They walk among us, and that means they’re free to kill again. That’s a chilling thought, and what’s even more chilling is that some of these serial murderers have gone on to have families. This includes children and even grandchildren. Perhaps they’re truly rehabilitated, but who’s to say that they’re not still harboring darkness and a longing to repeat their crimes? And, they’d be free to do so as they are unwatched in society and living with the same rights and freedoms as you and me.
15. The Lainz Angels Of Death – In Austria
According to police documents, “The Lainz Angels of Death” could be responsible for hundreds of murders although they only confessed to killing 49 people. The four women (Waltraud Wagner, Maria Gruber, Irene Leidolf, and Stephanija Meyer) were nurses at Lainz General Hospital. They worked in Pavilion V, which was the ward for “difficult cases,” a ward for those patients who required extra care because they were mentally ill or disruptive. Waltraud killed her first patient in an assisted suicide, but her next victims didn’t ask for death; they were murdered. Waltraud recruited the other three women, and the four set about killing patients who annoyed them. They injected their patients with morphine, insulin, and tranquilizers or drowned them by holding their noses and forcing water down their throats. The women admitted to enjoying their murderous rampage and killing for the simple thrill of it. Although the hospital was aware there was a killer in their midst, they were unable to identify who exactly was eliminating patients. It wasn’t until the women were overheard bragging about the murders in a bar that they were identified and arrested. As of 2008, all four women have been released and are living under assumed names.
14. Louis Van Schoor – The Apartheid Killer Lives In South Africa
Sometimes called the “apartheid killer,” Louis Van School shot at least 100 black people over the course of three years. When asked exactly how many people he had shot, Louis couldn’t say. “I never kept count,” he said. When told it was probably 100 or more, he said, “I can’t argue with that.” The racist man targeted black people, believing them to be criminals and undeserving of his mercy. He evaded justice for so long because he pretended to be acting on the right side of the law, having shot the people while protecting white-owned businesses. “I was doing my job,” Louis said. “I was paid to protect property. I never apologized for what I did.” And, he still hasn’t despite killing 39 people, some of whom weren’t even trespassing, Louis only served 12 years in prison. He remains unrepentant for his crimes to this day and lives in East London, a seaside town in South Africa.
13. Wolfgang Abel And Marco Furlan – The Last Of The Nazis
In a killing spree that spanned seven years, Wolfgang Abel and Marco Furlan killed at least seven individuals. Their victims included several homosexual men and at least three priests. The men left calling cards with their victims, leaflets that featured Nazi eagles and swastikas under the word “Ludwig.” Each of the leaflets contained a message. Some read, “We are the last of the Nazis.” Others said, “Death comes to those who betray the true god.” The men were extremely prejudiced against gay men, especially gay priests. They were eventually apprehended by police and sentenced to 30 years in prison but did not serve their entire terms. In their defense, the men claimed to be innocent of these crimes; they said police were using them as scapegoats to end an ongoing and sensational investigation. Coincidentally, the Nazi-inspired murders ended after the men were investigated, so it’s likely they were guilty of the crimes they were convicted of. After 27 years of imprisonment, both men were released in 2009. It’s said they still reside somewhere in Italy, but their exact whereabouts are unknown.
12. Nikolai Dzhumagaliev – “Metal Fang”
Nikolai Dzhumagaliev shocked citizens of the Soviet Union when he embarked on a violent killing spree. He killed 7 people between 1979 and 1980, but it’s estimated he has as many as ten victims. He was a meticulous serial killer. He admitted to hunting his victims and told police that he drank one of his victims’ blood. Because his teeth are made of metal, he was nicknamed “Metal Fang.” After he choked and stabbed his victims, he cut out parts of their bodies. He told investigators that he cut out his first victim’s ovaries and took strips of flesh from her breasts. “I melted the fat to fry with, and some parts I pickled,” he said. “I saved the meat for myself; I never served it to anyone else. Twice, I grilled the heart and the kidneys… The meat of this woman took me a month to eat.” Despite his shocking confession to cannibalism, Metal Fang never received life without parole. He was eventually released from prison and is a free man today.
11. Karla Homolka – In Quebec
If you’re curious about Karla Homolka, you can watch the movie Karla based on the events of her real life. Laura Prepon (That 70s Show and Orange is the New Black) plays Karla, and it’s a disturbing look at the serial murders that disturbed suburbia to its core. Karla and her former husband, Paul Bernardo, are terrible and vicious Canadian serial killers, yet Karla, the green-eyed blonde-haired suburban housewife was released in 2005 after only service 12 years for manslaughter. Karla and Paul raped and murdered at least three underage victims. This includes Karla’s own sister, Tammy. Karla and Paul enjoyed drugging Tammy and then raping her after the drugs put her out. Tammy died of an overdose, and her death kickstarted a violent rape-and-murder spree. After their arrest, the papers called them “The Ken & Barbie killers.” To save herself from a life sentence, Karla turned on her husband. Today, Karla lives in Quebec. She asked to change her name, but courts would not allow it. Since her release, Karla has remarried and given birth to a child. I don’t know about you, but I’m disturbed a woman who would rape her own sister is raising a child.
10. Bartolomeo Gagliano – The Valentine’s Day Killer
Bartolomeo Gagliano would stalk Italian streets looking for sex workers to kill. In the late 1970s and early 1980s, he killed at least two people. Police apprehended him, and the courts sentenced him to eight years in a mental asylum. He didn’t serve his full sentence, though, as he and another inmate were able to escape. He wasted no time choosing new victims. On Valentine’s Day in 1989, he killed two prostitutes and a transgendered woman. The papers nicknamed him “the Valentine’s Day serial killer” because he chose to target sex workers on the most romantic day of the year. He told investigators he was targeting people who spread HIV, but it was never concluded that his victims had contracted the virus. More than likely, Bartolomeo had no idea if his victims were carrying the virus or not. Despite his violent past, he was granted a two-day “good behavior” pass to visit his sick mother. He took off, was reprehended a while later, and was eventually granted parole. Bartolomeo lives somewhere in Italy.
9. Juha Veikko Valjakkala – The Escape Artist Now Lives In Finland
If he wasn’t such a monster, Juha Veikko Valjakkala would be revered as an incredible escape artist. The prolific murderer took three victims in the late 1980s. He shot and killed a man and his son and then stabbed the man’s mother when she went looking for him and her grandson. Juha was quickly apprehended and pled guilty to murder. Court psychologists determined that Juha suffered from psychopathic personality and labeled him as “extremely aggressive.” He was sentenced to life in prison, but he escaped. Juha could not stifle his bloodlust, and in 1994, he took a teacher hostage. Police apprehended him before he could murder the teacher, but he escaped a second time. He would escape twice more, the third time after just 19 minutes behind bars. Despite his multiple escape attempts and the three murders he committed, Juha was eligible for parole in 2008. Today, he resides in Finland and lives under the assumed name “Nikita Joakim Fouganthine.”
8. Pedro Lopez – Somewhere in Colombia
Pedro Lopez, the “Monster of the Andes,” confessed to raping and murdering 300 South American women. In Ecuador, he led police to more than 50 graves, each containing the body of a little girl around the ages of nine and twelve. Although it’s not been proven, Lopez confessed to more than 200 other murders and claimed the murders took place in Colombia and Peru. A monster such as Lopez should not be free, but he is. His whereabouts are currently unknown, but it’s said he never left Colombia. So how did one of the most depraved and dangerous serial killers find his way out of prison? After eleven years in prison, Lopez was moved to a mental institution. He spent three years in the institute before doctors declared his sanity, and he was released on $50 bail. Interpol and Colombian authorities are currently seeking Lopez in connection with a 2002 murder, which perfectly matched his modus operandi.
7. Mary Bell – Whereabouts Unknown
Mary Flora Bell is the youngest serial killer on record. Between the ages of 10 and 11, she strangled to death two local boys, Martin Brown (4) and Brian Howe (3). The first murder took place the day before Mary’s 11th birthday. Mary lured Martin into a derelict home and strangled him. Although she committed the murder alone, 13-year-old Norma Joyce Bell (no relation) joined her in vandalizing a local nursery. The girls left notes confessing to Martin’s murder, but police didn’t take their claims seriously. A few months later, the girls teamed up to kill Brian. They took him to a desolate area and strangled the poor boy. Mary returned to the scene of the murder on her own and used scissors to mutilate his body, including carving an “M” into his stomach. The girls were arrested and charged with manslaughter, and Mary was released after serving only twelve years. Today, she is a free woman. She lives in anonymity, under an assumed name, and she has a daughter and at least one grandchild.
6. Aleksandr Rubel – Resides In Ukraine
Estonia resident Aleksandr Rubel began his murder spree in 1997, when he was barely 17 years old. The young man admitted to police that he had a desire to kill and sought his first victim because he was elderly and disabled and therefore incapable of defending himself. On September 19th, 1997 Aleksandr stabbed Tõnu Põld, his handicapped neighbor, to death. He wasn’t caught, and the murder wasn’t enough to satisfy his bloodlust, so he killed six more people, including a 15-year-old girl, Alice Sivas. Although Aleksandr killed most of his victims with a knife, he used an ax to behead Vladimir Ivanov in 1998. Two of Aleksandr’s victims were his neighbors, but despite the murders being only months apart, police didn’t arrest Aleksandr until he’d killed twice more. All seven of his murders were committed in less than a year’s time. Because he was a minor at the time of his arrest, Aleksandr was given a reduced sentence. He was released on June 8th, 2016 and now resides in Ukraine.
5. Robert Durst – Was Free, Now In Jail. But For For How Long?
Robert Durst, subject of the 2015 HBO documentary The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst, is a person of interest in a number of murders. Although there is circumstantial evidence connecting him to several murders, police have yet to build an ironclad case against him. Durst is the only one on this list to currently be residing in prison, but he lived as a free man for years and has yet to be found guilty. As a younger man, Durst had all the traditional markings of a madman. Multiple sources claim he’s mutilated animals, including allegedly killing six huskies and leaving the severed head of a cat on a woman’s doorstep. As far as human victims, there are three Durst is alleged to have killed. His wife, Kathleen McCormack Durst, his friend, Susan Berman, and his neighbor, Morris Black. Here’s hoping police can gather the evidence they need to try Durst for one or more of these murders and finally keep him behind bars where he belongs, but that’s unlikely. Durst will probably walk free again.
4. Mika Muranen – Released After 20 years. Now Lives In Finland
For a period of three days in 1994, Finnish man Mika Muranen went on a violent killing spree. He stole an Rk 62 assault rifle from a military barracks he belonged to. Armed with a crossbow and the assault rifle and dressed in his military fatigues, Mika entered his neighbor’s home and shot 53-year-old Reino Vulkko and his wife, 54-year-old Sirkka Vulkko. He attempted to kill more people, but none of his shots connected. The next day, he took a final victim. He used the assault rifle to shoot his mailman, 45-year-old Matti Olli. Fearing apprehension, Mika fled to the woods with his dog. The dog was shot by police, and a firefight broke out. Thankfully, Mika’s bullets did not connect with any police officers. They chased him for an entire day before wounding him and then finally taking him down. Despite killing three and attempting to kill more than eight people, Mika did not receive a life sentence. He was released from prison after 20 years and currently resides in Finland.
3. Arnfinn Nesset – Heathcare Worker Out After 12 Years
Arnfinn Nesset’s coworkers thought he was a good guy. He was a healthcare worker, a nurse, and a nursing home manager. He was also a serial killer and killed more than 20 people during the summer and fall of 1981. After his victims began piling up, coworkers and police began to suspect him. When finally questioned by police, he confessed to injecting his patients with the muscle relaxant, suxamethonium chloride. Although it can’t be proven, experts estimate that Arnfinn’s list of victims may be as many as 138 people. During his trial, he retracted his confession and proclaimed his innocence, but that didn’t deter the jury from sentencing him to 21 years in prison. At the time, that was the maximum sentence Norwegian courts allowed. Unfortunately, Arnfinn only served 12 years of his sentence. He was released on good behavior and currently resides somewhere in Norway and uses an assumed name.
2. Jay Hart – Not Enough Evidence For A Conviction
In the early 1990s, the community of Bowraville, New South Wales was on edge. A serial killer was in their midst, and he was targeting some of the most vulnerable among them. His first victim was a 16-year-old Aboriginal girl named Colleen Walker-Craig. Just three weeks later, a four-year-old named Evelyn Greenup disappeared. And, only a short time after that, a third victim was violently taken. Clinton Speedy’s body was the first to be discovered. They found him discarded in the hills just outside of town. He was only 16-years-old when his life was cut short. Evelyn’s body was found nearby, and only a short time later. Although Colleen’s body has never been recovered, investigators are certain of her death. They found her clothing washed up in the river. The police have only a single suspect for the crimes: Jay Hart. Unfortunately, they’ve never had enough evidence to garner a conviction; eventually, Hart moved away and changed his name.
1. Ravindra Kantrole – “Beer Man”
Previously convicted killer Ravindra Kantrole has yet to face judges for his alleged role in multiple murders. Between October 2006 and January 2007, seven men were beaten or stabbed to death. They were raped posthumously, and most of the bodies were discovered without their pants. Beside the bodies, the killer left a calling card. The media called him “Beer Man” because he almost always left a beer can beside his victims although this wasn’t a calling card left at every scene. Ravindra is also the main suspect in another violent series of murders. In 2011, three girls (each three-years-old or younger) were violently murdered. For these murders, DNA samples were collected, but the evidence was inconclusive. Ravindra is a suspect in the murders and has yet to serve any serious time. He remains a free man, but police routinely check in with him as they’re convinced he is both a rapist and a murderer.