When we think of serial killers, we usually imagine psychopathic men and women who commit their crimes without a hint of remorse. We rarely consider that many infamous killers like Ted Bundy and Paul Bernardo were apparently happily married. In Bundy’s case, his wife had no idea of his sinister private life. In Bernardo’s, his wife Karla Homolka actively participated in - if she didn't instigate - many of the brutal crimes.
Sometimes premeditated, and sometimes in bouts of sinister passion, the following men and women have committed terrible acts of violence, and the targets have often been their spouses or children. However, in a perhaps even more sinister turn, many joined together to carry out multiple sadistic murders as couples, bound by their lust for blood. These are some of their stories.
*Warning: Not suitable for sensitive readers, graphic and violent descriptions follow*
10 Lori and Mark Hacking
Lori Soares and Mark Hacking met in 1994 while on a trip in Utah. They fell, it seemed, deeply in love, but Lori was five weeks pregnant with their child when she disappeared one morning in 2004.
Mark reported that she went for a routine jog but never came back. It took only a week for the police to reveal that Mark had murdered her. He confessed the crime to his brothers.
It transpired that after Lori discovered that Mark had been lying about receiving a degree and being accepted into medical school, she confronted him. Shortly after, he took a .22 calibre rifle and shot her while she was asleep. He then wrapped her up and disposed of the body.
9 Kelly Ecker and George Samson
George Samson and Kelly Ecker married in October, 2014. George was a successful anesthesiologist who had a lucrative medical career. A nasty argument emerged about a prenuptial agreement only hours after the wedding, to the extent that guests felt uncomfortable and left the wedding party.
Not long after the last guest left, Ecker made several 9-1-1 calls and claimed that George was going to kill her. Police arrived on the scene shortly after the calls and found Ecker dead. George shot her in the head and neck with a .44 calibre pistol. According to witnesses, his last words to his wife were, "[you’ll] never get [your] hands on [my] money."
8 Richard and Nancy Lyon
Richard and Nancy Lyon were once a wealthy couple, but the family almost lost everything after the horrible spending habits of the husband became too much. Things began to fall apart and Richard started to have an open affair.
Nancy began to show regular signs of serious sickness. After she finally applied for divorce, she was brought to the hospital by Richard, and she exhibited terrible symptoms including vomiting and diarrhea. She fell into a coma and eventually died.
The cause? According to doctors, it was poisoning. Nancy was poisoned with arsenic administered by her loving husband. Richard was charged, found guilty, and sentenced to life in prison.
7 Phil and Brynn Hartman
Phil Hartman was a star comedian and actor, a regular cast member on Saturday Night Live and The Simpsons. One early morning in 1998, Hartman’s wife, Brynn, returned home from a party. With a .38 calibre Smith & Wesson she shot her husband while he was sleeping. She used the gun to fire three shots; the fatal shot was at point-blank range.
An hour later, she called a friend who came to the house. After seeing what happened, he called the police right away. After various calls to friends and contacts with police, Brynn eventually sat with Hartman's body in bed while she committed suicide with the same weapon.
6 O.J. Simpson and Nicole Brown
In 1994, neighbours of O.J. Simpson and his wife Nicole Brown heard their dog barking. They followed the dog and noticed red tufts of fur on its belly and paws. They eventually discovered two mutilated bodies lying in the backyard walkway. One body was that of Nicole.
O.J. was one of the main suspects for the murder and, after he was charged for the double homicide, faced one of the most famous murder trials in American history. O.J. was acquitted. In the eyes of the law, he did not murder his wife. In the eyes of the public, the circumstances surrounding that night tell a different story.
5 Stacey Castor
When Stacey Castor was unsatisfied with her marriages, she didn't try to work things out or file for divorce. Instead, she took matters into her own hands. Living in New York State, Castor poisoned and killed her second husband, David Castor. She was also suspected of poisoning and killing her first husband, Michael Wallace.
She was also charged with the murder, by poisoning, of Ashley Wallace - the daughter of her first husband. Stacey was charged and sentenced to 51 years in prison.
4 Fred and Rose West
The deadly secrets of Fred and Rose West became clear to police in 1994. Police arrived at their home with a warrant to search for the remains of Heather, their 16-year old daughter who went "missing" in 1987.
Fred confessed to the murder immediately, but later denied it. Police found three of Heather's bones buried in the garden. Fred had strangled her in a bathtub then dismembered the body to easily hide the corpse. Before that, Rose had murdered a young girl in their home; Fred knew of the crime and used it against her.
A total of seven women were murdered, dismembered and buried underneath the Wests' home.
3 Katherine Knight and John Price
Australian Katherine Knight did the unthinkable. In 2000, police found the dismembered head of John Price boiling in a pot of cabbage and potatoes. Not far from the stove, hanging on a coat hook, was Price’s skin.
Price was murdered by his girlfriend and soon-to-be wife, who was known in her small Australian village for being a violent, bad-tempered woman. As if he had a sinister presentiment, Price told his friends that if he did not show up to work the next day, he was probably murdered by Knight.
She reportedly used sex to lure Price to bed and began stabbing him. She proceeded to skin and roast him immediately after.
2 Gerald & Charlene Gallego
Gerald and Charlene Gallego met in a bar in 1977. Gerald was incredibly controlling, making Charlene give him all her earnings and forcing her to wear certain clothes. Gerald eventually became open about his desires to have young sex slaves and Charlene became actively involved in his fantasy.
They first kidnapped Rhonda Scheffler and Kippi Vaught, aged 17 years and 16 years, respectively. They raped both girls in their home, drove them to a field, and shot them. Another eight victims, almost all younger than 16 years, were kidnapped, raped and murdered by both Gerald and Charlene. They were eventually arrested, charged and sentenced to prison. Gerald faced the death penalty.
1 Omaima Aree and William E. Nelson
Omaima Aree Nelson was an Egyptian model who no one would ever suspect of doing anyone harm. But only one month after marrying her husband William E. Nelson, she was convicted for his sadistic murder.
She testified that her killing was sparked by constant abuse by Nelson, and that she killed him out of self-defense. But the jury saw a different story. After killing Nelson, she put on a red dress and tied him to the bed. She proceeded to chop him up, limb from limb. She then skinned him and cooked many of his body parts on the stove. She was sentenced to 27 years to life with possibility of parole. To this day, 80 pounds of Nelson's body is still missing.