2014 has been a bad news year. Anyone tuning in to the news at any given time this year would be forgiven for thinking the world was going to hell. Every day, we're subjected to reports about murders and violence. It's become so commonplace that it's almost easy to become desensitized to it all.
But there are some stories so violent and so gruesome that they shake us right out of our apathy. It might be the way the crime is carried out, or something the killer did after their brutal crime that makes these murders so much more shocking than the countless other tragedies we read about daily.
You might be familiar with some of the following horrific murders that occurred this year, but there's a good chance you haven't heard of some of the others. Perhaps you'll wish you hadn't. After all, these murders around the globe have one thing in common – they're truly gruesome crimes.
While most of these murders happened in 2014, some happened in previous years, only to come to light in 2014.
Trigger Warnings: Graphic descriptions of violent acts and implied violence.
14 Elliot Rodger Murder Spree
On May 23, 2014, a 22-year old man named Elliot Rodger went on a killing spree near the University of California, Santa Barbara. In total, six people were killed and another thirteen injured before Rodger turned the gun on himself, and committed suicide.
Prior to the killing spree, Rodger had sent friends and family members a lengthy manifesto and he posted a video to YouTube wherein he smiled as he talked about the reasons for his impending attack. He discussed his hatred of the women who rejected him over the years as well as his blatant jealousy of men who dated beautiful women.
Rodger's rampage started in his apartment where three men were found dead, two of whom were confirmed roommates of Rodger's. From there, he drove to the Alpha Phi sorority house. He knocked on the door, but no one answered, so he started shooting people nearby, including three Delta Delta Delta sorority sisters. He killed two of them.
Rodger then drove to the Isla Vista Deli Mart and shot a student inside. He proceeded to drive away, shooting at pedestrians as he passed them on the street. Eventually, he crashed his car after being chased by police. The rampage ended when police found him in his car with a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head.
13 American Psycho Style Killing in Hong Kong
Rurik Jutting is a 29-year old Cambridge University graduate, and former investment banker for Bank of America. He can now add “killer” to his list of accolades after two Indonesian women were found murdered inside his luxury apartment in Hong Kong.
In November this year, police were called to the gory scene by Jutting himself. They arrived to find his apartment covered in blood. Jutting was standing over one of the women who had been cut to ribbons. She was pronounced dead at the scene, but she wasn't the only victim found in his apartment that day. Police found a suitcase on the balcony that contained the decomposing and practically decapitated body of a second woman, killed days earlier.
Reports cite a dramatic change in the fresh-faced, athletic British graduate Jutting was before he relocated to Hong Kong for work. He reportedly took a break up during that year hard, and proceeded to behave strangely, put on weight and displayed antisocial tendencies. All this led up to this murder of the two sex workers he's believed to have picked up in a club near his luxury apartment block.
12 Elderly German Couple Mutilated in Tobago
Tobago, part of the twin islands of Trinidad and Tobago, is a popular vacation destination for Europeans. Hubertus Keil, 74, and his wife Birgid, 71, owned a home there, and were well known within the local community.
The couple arrived in Bacolet on the southwest coast of the island on October 25th this year, and were last seen alive one Friday in November. That Saturday, a gardener arrived and went looking for them when he couldn't find them, only to discover the mutilated body of Birgid. The police discovered her husband's body nearby.
The Keil's suffered from extensive wounds to their bodies, having apparently been chopped up. The brutal murder of the Keil's brings to mind another double slaying in the area back in 2009, when an elderly Swedish couple were found mutilated and near-dead in their villa, suffering from the similar wounds.
11 Florida Woman Killed with Arrows Through her Head
In a case of literal overkill, a Florida man killed his own mother by shooting her with a gun, and then a bow-and-arrow, before finally stabbing her. All because she supposedly “stole his diamonds” and “gave his father cancer.” He also claims that his mother was trying to kill him, but the details of how she was attempting to do that remain unknown.
In late November 2014, the sheriff's office was notified of a man yelling and knocking over Christmas decorations. When they arrived they found Gloria Watkins, 65, dead in a chair with arrows protruding through her head. Her son, Michael, admitted to killing her, and even went as far as telling the officers “You see that, that's death,” as he pointed at his mother.
10 Bosnian Immigrant Bludgeoned to Death with Hammer in St. Louis
Not even a week after the Michael Brown grand jury decision, the city of St. Louis found itself in the news once again – and, again, not for good reasons.
Just last week, 32-year old Bosnian immigrant Zemir Begic was attacked. This happened after he exchanged words with a 17-year old boy. As Begic walked past the suspect, they were seen arguing before the victim got into his car. One of the suspects hit his car with something, and Begic got out and confronted them.
It was then that they attacked him with a hammer, bludgeoning him to death in front of his wife, Arijana. His wife credits her husband with saving her life by putting himself in front of her – possibly giving up his own life to protect her. Detectives do not believe it was the victim's Bosnian heritage or the color of his skin that brought on the attack, but some spectators have said otherwise.
Outside of Europe, St. Louis has the largest population of Bosnians in the world, and they've since taken to the streets to protest violence against local Bosnians.
9 Gunmen Kill 36 Quarry Workers in Kenya
In an area that's seeing a sharp increase in violence between Christians and Muslims, thirty-six quarry workers were killed in an attack in late 2014, while sleeping in their tents. The killers separated the Muslims from the group before killing all the Christians in the camp.
Earlier that day, one person had been killed in a nearby bar frequented by non-Muslims. The workers were killed at midnight that night. Also in late 2014, twenty-eight people were killed in an attack on a bus. The attackers were apparently targeting non-Muslims.
The group responsible for these attacks is Somalia-based al-Shabab, and attacks from the group have been ramping up in Kenya since 2011 when Kenyan troops were sent to help battle the militants in Somalia.
8 Schoolboy Murdered By Online Gaming Partner
Breck Bednar of Surrey, UK was only 14 years old when he was stabbed to death in February of this year. The murderer was 19-year old Lewis Daynes, who Bednar had met online.
Bednar's mother, Lorin LaFave, was suspicious of Daynes, especially after her son's demeanor began to change. She felt that Daynes had been controlling and manipulating her son before he murdered him. But if it's not bad enough that your teenage son is murdered by another teenage boy – someone who was supposed to be his friend – it gets even worse.
Photos of Bednar's corpse were circulated online and via text message, suspected to have been sent by the killer himself. In fact, LaFave's other sons, 12-year old triplets, learned of their brother's death when they came across the photos that were being circulated.
7 Honduras Beauty Queen Killings
In two unrelated events, Miss Honduras and her sister, as well as a popular stylist among beauty queens in Honduras were all killed in November 2014.
19-year old Maria Jose Alvarado (Miss Honduras) and her sister, Sofia, 23 were shot and killed in November by a jealous boyfriend. About a week later, Miss Honduras' hair stylist Luis Alfredo Garcia was found dead in his apartment, apparently tortured. Robbery was ruled out as nothing was taken, not even the gold jewelry he was wearing at the time of his death. The victim's hands and feet had been bound and he was found with knife wounds in his neck.
Honduras has the highest murder rate of any other country in the world with a 2013 murder rate of 79 murders per 100,000 people.
6 Beheading at Oklahoma Plant
Alton Alexander Nolen had been fired from his job at Vaughan Foods moments before going on a gruesome and horrific rampage that would leave a grandmother decapitated.
After being given the news of his termination, Nolen traveled from the human resources building to the warehouse, running into 54-year old Colleen Hufford. He stabbed her with a knife that may have been used to cut vegetables, and then beheaded her with the same knife.
He then turned on another employee, Traci Johnson, slashing her repeatedly before Mark Vaughan, the company's chief operating officer and reserve deputy sheriff, arrived with a rifle. He shot and wounded Nolen, likely saving the lives of Johnson and others as well.
5 Three Muslim Youths Killed in the Central African Republic
Three Muslim children were killed by Christian militia while on their way to play in an interfaith football game. The game had been set up in order to help Christians and Muslims find peace.
The children, whose ages are not known, were found brutally mutilated, with their hearts and sex organs removed, and their bodies left outside of a mosque. In total, ten children were abducted. Another eight have yet to be found, and their fates are still unknown.
In a country where 2,000 people have already been killed in faith-based violence, there are still people and organizations trying to work toward peace. This incident has left many people upset, angry and afraid. The UN warns that this could turn into genocide if the violence continues.
4 Citizen Journalist Killed in Mexico
Years ago, most of us could never imagine witnessing a murder pretty much as it happens. Due to social media, though, terrorists now have a new method to terrorize people. In Mexico, many citizen journalists who use Twitter to share updates on drug cartel activities, helping inform not only the nation but also major news outlets of what's happening.
Dr. Maria del Rosario Fuentes Rubio knew the dangers of reporting on the cartels, and she did her best to keep her real name a secret, adopting the pseudonym Felina online. However, in October 2014, the cartels discovered who she was and kidnapped her.
Then, her killers took to her Twitter account, releasing this terrifying message to other citizen journalists: “Today my life has reached its end” and “Close your accounts. Don't risk your families the way I have.” They proceeded to show photos of what appears to be Fuentes Rubio both before and after her execution.
3 South Wales, UK Cannibal Attack
Murder is gruesome in and of itself, but we can't help but be particularly disturbed about someone not only killing their victim, but also eating them. Matthew Williams, 34, met his victim, Cerys Marie Yemm, at a bar and invited her back to his hostel for a drink. But things went downhill rapidly after that.
William's is said to have been found by the hostel owner, as he was eating Yemm's face and her eyeball. Police used a Taser on Williams, and he later died of his injuries - as did his poor victim. The killer had recently been released from prison for attacking an ex-partner, and it's believed he was high on cocaine at the time of the murder. The owner who discovered the harrowing scene said that he didn't recognize her, and didn't seem to know what he was doing.
2 The 4Chan Killer
It's not unusual to see some unusual and disturbing things posted to notorious message board, 4Chan. After all, they're often behind the biggest internet hoaxes that people seem to fall for these days, most of them rather obscene.
So it comes as little surprise that many assumed photos of a dead woman who appeared to have been strangled were a hoax. That is, until you looked at the news later that day. David Kalac has been charged with second-degree murder in the death of his girlfriend, Amber Lynn Coplin.
Deputies confirmed that the gruesome photos posted to 4Chan were of the victim and the crime scene. The victim was found by her 13-year old son, in her bedroom with her driver's license near her head and the word “dead” written on it. “Bad news” was written on the blinds and “she killed me first” was written on a picture on the wall. Kalac's reason for killing her? Apparently he was drunk and she annoyed him.
1 ISIL Beheadings
The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant became the feared focus of the world in 2014 as they rose to power in the Middle East. It's no coincidence that their rise to power has been paved by blood and the bodies of the countless people they've tortured and killed. That's how a group founded on the principles of terrorism operates.
It's unknown exactly how many Syrians have been beheaded by the group, but there have been many. They're also guilty of killing several Lebanese soldiers, ten Kurds, two American journalists, and three aid workers – two British and one American. The videos of some of the beheadings, including those of kidnapped journalists like James Foley, have been posted to social media. These horrific videos are doing exactly what they're supposed to do – inciting fear and anger in hearts the world over.