According to the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting Program, more than half of all murders are committed by someone the victim knows and loves. Despite this alarming statistic, it’s hard to accept that friends can and do kill. Best friendship is supposed to be a bond that doesn’t die, and it certainly shouldn’t end in murder.
Most people believe they can trust their best friend with their life, and in most instances, this is true. BFFs typically support each other when times are tough, celebrate good times together, and provide much needed comic relief whenever it’s required. Best friendships should be forgiving even when boundaries are crossed or arguments happen. A good relationship is built on this trust, but sometimes, the person you think is a friend is just a wolf in sheep’s clothing.
Friendships turn toxic all time. Betrayals happen. Trust is broken. People grow apart. This should be accepted and moved on from. Friendships end, and the former friends distance themselves and move on with their lives. Even if they fight, even if it ends in a blow-up, it should never end in death; however, if all friendships ended on a mature note, the following 15 victims would still be alive.
Most of the murderers mentioned in this article were harboring jealousy. They coveted the lives of their best friends and were vengeful when the friendship started to change. Most BFF relationships can roll with these changes, but for some, any deviation from the relationship is a catalyst for obsession and other psychological demons to boil to the surface. These killers projected their problems onto their friends, and ultimately, they ended the friendship in the worst possible way.
15 Sofya Potapova
Sofya Potapova (16) spent the day drinking alcohol with her two best friends, Kristina B. (14) and Valeria K. (15) (last names redacted because they’re minors). It was like any other day for her in Ulan-Ude Russia. The girls were a bit wild and outgoing, and they were best friends who did everything together, except Sofya didn’t know that her two best friends secretly resented her. They hated her, really, and that was the day they planned to show her their true colors. According to another friend, who took to Facebook to pay tribute to Sofya, “Almost the whole day, they tortured and beat her. In the end, she was brutally murdered… I decided to create this post so that all the caring people would know the faces of these spoiled, these seeds-of-the-devil teen-monsters.” The term "teen monsters" would be splashed across headlines as the media reported on the crime, which involved the two teens propping Sofya’s dead body up in the back of a taxi cab and pretending she was alive and just too drunk to hold herself up. Unbeknownst to the cab driver, the girls he had dropped off at the river were going to attempt to dispose of their former BFF’s body.
14 Sarah Stern
For two months, Sarah Stern’s family and friends searched for her. She’d disappeared without a trace, her car abandoned on a Neptune City, NJ bridge. Liam McAtasney and Taylor Preston were Sarah’s best friends since grade school. They joined in the search for her, spoke with police, and consoled her family. They were also the ones charged with her death. “It was kind of a shock, to say the very least,” said Michael Stern, the victim’s father. He noted that his daughter was a good, caring friend and that Taylor was her date to the junior prom. No one suspected her closest friends would plot against her. Liam and Taylor wanted the $7,000 that Sarah kept in a safe deposit box at the bank, and they plotted for six months to get it. Finally, Liam went through with the plan on his own, but things took a violent turn. He strangled Sarah for thirty minutes; then, he called Taylor to help him dispose of the body. Liam was charged with murder, robbery, and desecrating human remains. Taylor was charged with robbery and desecration.
13 Alex Fraser
According to James McCullough, his best friend, 20-year-old Alex Fraser, was “a great guy, an intelligent guy, a computer whiz.” So why'd he kill him? The two spent nearly every weekend together, but McCullough struggled to keep a grip on reality. He told the courts he hadn’t been taking the pills he was prescribed for psychosis, and that he was dealing marijuana and cocaine. He was partying too much, binge drinking, and using drugs. None of those were real excuses for killing his best friend, but they did explain why he snapped and committed such a horrific crime. McCullough says that Fraser made a pass at him while the two were staying in a hotel. He claims Fraser stripped naked and attempted to grab him in a sexual manner. This provoked McCullough to pull a knife from his backpack and stab the young man twice. He says that he blacked out and awoke later to Fraser’s dismembered body in the hotel’s bathtub. He doesn’t remember cutting him up, but he does remember going out for fast food and eating it in the room with Fraser’s body parts nearby.
12 Skylar Neese
Skylar Neese, Shelia Eddy, and Rachel Shoaf were inseparable best friends, or so it would seem. The girls were active on social media, posed for selfies, and spent most of their free time in each other’s company. Yet, when authorities asked Shelia and Rachel why they killed Skylar, Rachel responded, “We just didn’t like her.” But, what wasn’t to like? Skylar was a good kid, a straight-A student, and a good friend. The girls had a falling out, but it was typical teenage drama, the sort of bickering all teens experience in their friendship circles; yet her two best friends premeditated her murder. They planned and plotted the whole thing. They acted nice and lured her into a car, then transported her over state lines. On the side of a deserted road, Shelia and Rachel stabbed her more than fifty times. Each girl even brought her own knife. Both girls were tried as adults, which makes sense when you consider the viciousness of the crime and that they were just shy of their eighteenth birthdays. Shelia was sentenced to life in prison; Rachel got thirty years.
11 Jessica Carr
On August 25th, 1989, Cameron Robert Kocher and Jessica Carr had a snow day, so the children met at Jessica’s house to play a few rounds of “Spy Hunter,” which is an original NES shooter. An OG girl gamer, Jessica whooped Cameron’s ass in the game, but Cam lacked the manners to gracefully handle the loss. The children played together often, so it’s hard to understand why Cam shot her, but he did. He was seething over the loss, so he entered his parents' second-floor bedroom and retrieved a .35-caliber Marlin rifle from the gun cabinet. Jessica lived across the street and happened to be playing outside. He placed the rifle on a windowsill and killed her with a single bullet. People thought it was a sniper who shot her. That same day, Cameron returned to Jessica’s house where their other friends were mourning her death. Reportedly, he said in a calm and evened tone, “If you don’t think about it, you won’t be sad.” Then he sat down and began playing a video game. He was arrested a couple days later and would become the youngest person to be charged as an adult for murder to date.
10 George Rakos
Darren John McArdle and George Rakos were co-workers and best friends. Because they were BFFs, George entrusted John with a bank check for $6,900. He trusted that his friend wouldn’t make off with the money but would rather pass it to him so he could buy Telstra shares. The two had cooked up a scheme they’d hoped would pay off big time, and help them pay down some gambling debts. John, unfortunately, did what addicts do, and went on a gambling spree with the money, and he lost all of it. Rather than admit he had spent money he shouldn’t have, John bashed his best friend over the head with a steering lock. A judge ruled that the intention was to kill George and was, therefore, a cowardly and premeditated murder. John simply didn’t want to own up to his mistake, so he did the unthinkable. Neither the judge nor the court’s psychologist really understood how John was capable of such a shallow and hateful crime. The judge even noted that McArdle had no previous criminal record and that he was raised by a good family.
9 Trang Phuong Ho
According to a fellow student, Trang Phuong Ho was “too nice” to tell her roommate she was leaving their dorm. “She didn’t want to upset her,” said Todd Milne, a fellow student at Harvard Medical School. In truth, the roommates had a seemingly perfect friendship. They got along great and had a lot in common. Trang Phuong was Vietnamese; her roommate, Sinedu Tadesse, was Ethiopian. Both girls were immigrants on full scholarships with the ivy league university. They both wanted to be doctors so they could help people, and both young women were valedictorians at their respective high schools. Unfortunately, the pressures of a rigorous class schedule and jealousy would change the dynamic for one. Sinedu was overworked and jealous that her roommate was moving into a dorm with another girl that Sinedu herself had hoped to room with. With little provocation, she stabbed her roommate with a five-inch hunting knife 45 times and then hung herself in the bathroom. The murder-suicide left the campus stunned, and no one (not even the girl’s family) understood why a nice girl like Sinedu would do something so terrible to her best friend on campus.
8 Michele “Missy” Avila
In a murder that would shock everyone, 22-year-old Karen Severson killed her best friend, Missy, with the help of another friend, Laura Doyle, and then admitted to attending the victim’s funeral just so the police wouldn’t suspect her. Karen, Laura, and Missy were friends, but something went wrong with the trio. Karen and Laura no longer adored their former friend, and instead were jealous of her beauty. Karen told The Mirror that she and Missy grew apart because Karen had a child at 14 and was forced to quit school. This may be why she was resentful toward Missy, who had a boyfriend, was very pretty, and who remained in school. She duped Missy into thinking they were friends, picked her up, drove her out to the woods, and then murdered her with the help of Laura Doyle. They hid her body under a log, and the two girls began a campaign to promote their innocence. They comforted Missy’s family, attended their victim’s funeral, and even gave statements to the police. Eventually, they were caught, and both girls were sentenced to 15 years in prison.
7 Jason McCullough
Josiah Clark couldn’t handle what his best friend, James McCullough, had posted to Facebook. The best friends were also roommates, but McCullough lost trust when he discovered some skeletons in Clark’s closet. He went to the police with his discovery, but police haven’t released that information. His Facebook posts only alluded to the information, such as his post “Josiah Clark u never know who u can trust.” They never outwardly implicated McCullough in any crimes or exposed him for any wrongdoing. It’s unknown what Clark knew about McCullough, and quite possibly, the world will never know because McCullough killed his best friend before he could expose more information. Angry and seeking revenge, McCullough went to their shared home in Chicago and confronted Clark about the Facebook posts. He shot and killed his best friend of 27 years. McCullough was charged with first-degree murder, and three other Chicago residents were also charged for helping him evade police.
6 Cynthia Weekly
One of the most endearing things in this world is a lasting friendship. To see two elderly persons maintain their friendship is a beautiful thing, but this wasn't the case for Janet Clements and Cynthia Weekly. The best friends were roommates at Crestwood Nursing Home in Valdosta, FL. No one expected their relationship would end in murder. According to the local police chief, Brian Childress, 66-year-old Janet Clements strangled her friend during the night. “We were told that at some point during the night there was an argument between the two roommates,” said Childress. “The staff also told us that Ms. Clements indicated that she may have hurt Ms. Weekley.” But she didn’t just hurt her; she strangled her to death. It’s unknown what the true motive for the murder was as police refused to discuss more intimate details of the case with the public. They charged Janet with felony murder and aggravated assault by strangulation.
5 Gemma Hayter
Five of Gemma Hayter’s friends will spend most their lives behind bars because they murdered her. Gemma, aged 27, had special needs. She relied on the help of others and considered her murderers her closest friends. As a child, Hayter was supported by the system, but her sister says she was “thrown to the wolves” as an adult. Her financial and physical support were taken away when she turned eighteen, forcing her to rely on friends and family members for support. Gemma was brutally tortured by her “best friends,” and even forced to drink urine. She was beaten with a mop and other weapons inside the apartment she shared with them. They forced her to accompany them outside the apartment to a secluded area along some railroad tracks where she was forced to wear a bag over her head, was cut repeatedly, and was then choked. She died after choking on her blood. Two of her killers received life sentences, and the other three received sentences between 13 and 20 years depending on what role they had played in the brutal murd
4 Ronald Bettig
Professor Ronald Bettig was a good guy. He was liked by his students, who were communications majors. He was adored by his family, and he was esteemed by his professional peers. The professor had an illustrious career, which produced several acclaimed books and spanned decades at Penn State. His only downfall was the heart he wore on his sleeve because it made him vulnerable to predatory “friends.” After the sudden death of his wife, Bettig invited a young single mother and her uncle to live with him. He cared for them, paid their way, and was attempting to help the mother kick a nasty drug habit. They became his closest friends, but their intentions weren’t so pure. Danelle Geier and George Ishler Jr. thought they stood to gain something from the professor’s will, so they pushed him off the side of a rocky quarry. He had suffered for three days and had died before they reported him missing. Police were quick to discover the plot and arrested the two.
3 Anel Baez
Erandy Gutierrez and Anel Baez were so close that they called each other “sister” rather than "best friend" -- that is, until Anel published nude photos of the pair on Facebook. Erandy was so distraught over the photos, she brutally murdered her former best friend. She stabbed Anel 65 times, causing multiple wounds to the girl’s neck. In an attempt to reconcile with her friend, Anel invited Erandy to her home. It would be the last thing she’d ever do because reconciling was the last thing on Erandy’s mind. She wanted revenge. Upon arriving, Erandy asked to use the restroom, but she went to the kitchen instead. She retrieved a knife and she then assaulted her former friend. Like many of the other young women on this list, Erandy tried to play it off as though she were grieving too. She attended Anel’s funeral. Police began suspecting Erandy when they discovered she’d threatened Anel on Twitter earlier in the year. The since-deleted tweets read, “It may seem that I am very calm, but in my head, I have killed you at least three times.” It wasn’t long before police had the evidence they needed to put her away.
2 Kevin Haines And Family
16-year-old Alec Devon Kreider met Kevin Haines in German class, and the two students became fast friends. Unfortunately for Kevin, his friend was deranged. Without provocation, he attacked Kevin and his family in the middle of the night. He broke into their home, stabbed his mother and father, and then stabbed Kevin before running out of the house. A neighbor called police, but Alec escaped before they arrived. For many days after, he appeared to grieve along with everyone else. He even attended Kevin and his family’s funeral. He acted innocent, but police had evidence, and they began to suspect him. They found bloody shoeprints in the home and blood on the back door. He was arrested just a few weeks after the murder, and everyone was shocked that he’d killed his former best friend. As far as motive goes, there really wasn’t one, except that Alec had once written that he “despised happy people” in his journal. He was sentenced to life without parole, but his sentence was cut short when he hung himself in his prison cell.
1 Jason Keel Sweeney
At only 16-years-old, Jason Keel Sweeney worked as a construction worker while attending high school. He was a good kid. He’d been accepted into the Valley Forge Military School and dreamed of eventually enlisting as a Navy SEAL. His best friend since childhood was Edward Batzig Jr. Jason never suspected that Edward was secretly fooling around with his 15-year-old girlfriend, Justina Morley. He also didn’t know that Edward, Justina, and two other teens, Nicolas and Dominic Coia, were plotting to kill him. The youths were all drug addicts, and they allegedly plotted to murder Jason in order to steal his paycheck and spend it on drugs. Justina lured Jason to a wooded area. She had promised him sex, but it wasn’t romance he found in the woods; it was his best friend and Nicolas waiting for him with weapons. They bludgeoned him and hit him in the face with a hatchet multiple times. They stole $500 from his wallet and left his body in the woods. They used his money to purchase heroin, marijuana, and Xanax but admitted to police that they weren’t high at the time of the murder. All three murderers received life without parole.
Sources: New York Times: New York Daily News: Wikipedia