10 Of The Most Horrific Serial Killers Released From Prison

When a serial killer is captured, most people would reasonably assume that him or her will be sentenced to spend the rest of their lives behind bars. Unfortunately, the justice system doesn't always work that way. Although it is rare (thankfully), some killers who have been tried and found guilty of horrendous crimes end up walking free, after spending only a few short years in the slammer. Whether faulty paperwork is to blame or a strange loophole in an outdated law, the ten serial killers listed below are free to do as they please. Terrifyingly enough, this kind of thing is still occurring today. Just this past month, it was announced that Genene Anne Jones, a serial killer who chose newborn babies as her prey, is set to be released from prison because of good behavior. In any case, the victims and their families didn't get the justice they deserve and their killers are permitted to roam free.

Continue scrolling to keep reading

Click the button below to start this article in quick view

Start Now

10 Nikolai Dzhumagaliev


Nikolai Dzhumagaliev is a serial killer and cannibal. He is thought to have killed at least 7 women, between the years 1979-1980. Dzhumagaliev also goes by the name “Metal Fang,” because of his white metal teeth. Dzhumagaliev’s first kill was a young peasant woman. He slit her throat and then proceeded to eat her for the next month. Dzhumagaliev killed five more women before being arrested for accidentally shooting one of his colleagues. However, he was diagnosed with schizophrenia and was only sentenced to less than a year in a mental institution. When he was released, he committed three more murders. Dzhumagaliev was finally arrested after his ninth murder, when he invited a few friends to his home. Instead of acting like the hospitable host, Dzhumagaliev killed one of his guests and began to dismember him in the next room. When the police arrived, they found Dzhumagaliev covered in blood. The police were so shocked that they allowed Dzhumagaliev to escape, only to be arrested the next day. Dzhumagaliev was put on trial once again but because he had already been diagnosed with schizophrenia, he was sentenced to just eight years in a closed clinic.

9 Mary Bell


Mary Bell became infamous when she killed two young boys in cold blood, just one day before her eleventh birthday. The first kill was a four-year-old boy named Martin Brown. Bell is believed to have committed this murder on her own. Mary Bell strangled the young boy in an abandoned house. Bell’s second victim was a three-year-old boy named Brian Howe. Mary Bell strangled this boy as well, but this time, she had help from her thirteen-year-old friend, Norma Joyce Bell. The pair took this murder a step further. They carved an N in the boy’s chest that was later changed to an M, they cut some of the young boy’s hair off, and they mutilated his genitals. Once the pair was caught, Norma was acquitted of all charges, while Mary was convicted of manslaughter. Mary spent twelve years in prison before being released at the age of 23. She now has one daughter and a grandchild.

8 Karla Homolka


Karla Homolka is a convicted Canadian serial killer who participated in the rape and murder of at least three women with her husband Paul Bernardo. The couple’s first victim was Karla’s younger sister Tammy. Paul had become obsessed with Tammy, so Karla decided it was a good idea to offer her sister to her future husband. Karla would drug her younger sister and allow Paul to rape her while she was unconscious. Sadly in December 1990, Tammy choked on her own vomit and died after Karla had drugged her with an animal tranquilizer. Karla and Paul continued their murderous tendencies at least two more times. When the pair was finally captured, Karla managed to convince prosecutors that she was a victim in everything and got a reduced prison sentence of twelve years, while Paul received life in prison. Later on, videotapes were released of the couple’s crimes showing that Karla was a willing participant. Karla was released on July 4, 2005. She now goes by the name Leanne Bordelais and lives in Guadalupe with her husband and three children.

7 Pedro Lopez


Pedro Lopez is “The Monster of the Andes,” who is thought to have killed over three hundred young girls across South America. When he was young, Lopez was incarcerated for stealing cars. After he was released, he started preying on young girls. By 1978, Lopez claimed that he had killed over 100 girls in Columbia. After that, he moved to Ecuador where he began killing about three girls a week. Lopez was arrested after a failed abduction and confessed to over three hundred murders. However, the police only believed his unlikely story when a flash flood uncovered a mass grave that contained many of his victims. He was arrested in 1980 by the government in Ecuador, only to be released eighteen years later. Then just an hour after that, he was re-arrested by the Columbian government, where he was committed to a hospital and freed three years later.

6 Louis Van Schoor


Louis Van Schoor, a security guard and ex-policeman, is believed to have killed more than 39 people in just a few short years. Van Schoor’s mode of operation was to respond to silent alarms at business premises and shoot the intruders with his 9mm pistol. Van Shoor explained the deaths of the burglars by saying he was only doing his job. Most of his victims were black men, leaving many to the conclusion that his killings had something to do with race, although Van Shoor adamantly denies this. Eventually, police began to see that Von Shoor was doing a little more than his job entailed and arrested him for murder. He was charged with seven murders and two attempted murders, and sentenced to 20 years in jail. However, Van Schoor was released on parole after serving just twelve years of his twenty-year sentence.

5 Bartolomeo Gagliano

via crimeblog.it

Although Gagliano is currently serving his time, he makes an important addition to this list because he managed to escape from custody, a grand total of six times. In 1981, Gagliano was sent to a criminal psychiatric ward for stoning one prostitute to death and injuring another. However, Gagliano managed to escape in 1989 and committed two more murders. When he was caught, the infamous killer was sent back for psychiatric treatment. After Gagliano’s escape, he was granted a two-day good behavior pass to see his sick mother. When Gagliano failed to return after his two days of freedom were up, a country-wide manhunt was started. Eventually the killer was re-captured, but not before shooting his girlfriend in the chin.

4 Issei Sagawa 


While Issei Sagawa may not be a serial killer, the horrific nature in which he killed his first and only victim definitely earns him a place on this infamous list. For his entire life, Sagawa had always felt like he was weak and ugly. But instead of trying to gain some self-confidence, Sagawa decided to kill and eat one of his fellow classmates. On the night of June 11, 1981, Sagawa invited Renee Hartevelt to his apartment for dinner, saying that he needed help translating German poetry. When she arrived, Sagawa shot her in the neck with a rifle. He then proceeded to eat her for the next two days, saying that he wanted to, “absorb her energy.” Sagawa was eventually caught after trying to dump Hartevelt’s body in the river, and was sentenced to be held in a mental institution indefinitely by a French judge. However, Sagawa became somewhat of a celebrity after the killing and as a result, the French authorities decided to expedite him to Japan. Once he was in Japan, he was taken to Matsuzawa hospital, where he was declared sane and released into the public. He has been a free man ever since.

3 Juha Valjakkala


On July 2, 1988, Juha Valjakkala stole a bike. Although this is a crime, it’s not necessarily too serious of a crime, unless you’re Valjakkala. When the owner of the bike, Sten Nilsson and his son Fredrik, saw Valjakkala taking off with their bike, they chased after him and eventually cornered him in a nearby cemetery. Instead of just giving the bike back, Valjakkala shot and killed the father and son. To make matters worse, Valjakkala killed Nilsson’s wife as well. He was arrested a weak later, labeled a psychopath and sentenced to life in prison. However, during his sentence, Valjakkala managed to escape four times. After his fourth successful escape, the Finnish courts paroled him after serving 19 years of his life sentence. After he was released, Valjakkala stole a car and was sent back to the slammer, only to be released on parole shortly after.

2 Arnfinn Nesset


Arnfinn Nesset is a norwegian former nurse, nursing home manager, and a convicted serial killer. He is thought to have killed up to 138 people, but he was only charged with the murders of 22 of his former patients. In 1981, a slew of suspicious deaths were occurring at the nursing home where Nesset was working at the time. When police questioned Nesset about the suspicious deaths, Nesset confessed to the murders of 27 of his patients. He claimed to have killed them by injecting them with suxamethonium chloride, a muscle relaxer. He was eventually convicted of poisoning 22 patients and sentenced to 21 years in prison (the maximum sentence in Norway at this time). However, Nesset was released after just twelve years for good behavior, and put under supervision for another ten years. Today he is living in an unknown location under an assumed name.

1 Genene Anne Jones


Genene Anne Jones is a former pediatric nurse who is believed to have killed somewhere between 1 and 46 infants, although some estimate this number to be as high as 60. Jones’ performed her murders by injecting infants with digoxin, heparin and later, succinylcholine, to induce a medical crisis. Jones’ intention was to be the hero after saving the infant but many of the infants didn't survive Jones’ initial injections. Jones’ first came under suspicion while she was working at Bexar County Hospital, where many of the children she was working with were dying. Instead of starting an investigation, the hospital simply asked the nurse to leave. After that, she took a job at a clinic in Kerrville, Texas. She once again, came under suspicion but this time, she was charged with poisoning six children. Jones was sentenced to 99 years in prison for the killing of 15-month old Chelsea McClellan. However, Jones is set to be released on February 24, 2018, on good behavior. She will have served just 35 years of her 99-year sentence.

More in Most Shocking