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10 American Serial Killers You Likely Do Not Know

Updated on March 23, 2015

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10 American Serial Killers You Like Do Not Know

#10 - Rodney Alcala

Rodney Alcala, otherwise known as the "Dating Game Killer" due to his appearance on the popular TV show with the same name, is an American serial killer , who is still currently incarcerated.

Rodney James Alcala was born August 23, 1943, in San Antonio, TX. At the age of 12, Alcala’s father abandon his family, prompting his mother to move the family to Los Angeles, California. In 1960, at only age 17, Alcala joined the U.S. army and served as a desk clerk. However, in 1964, Alcala was discharged for medical reasons after having a nervous breakdown, believed to be triggered by antisocial personality disorder.

In 1968, Alcala assaulted an eight-year-old girl with a steel bar and raped her, after luring her into his apartment. Alcala was later apprehended and only served 34 months. Within 2 months, he assaulted another young girl.

Rodney Alcala was once again released from prison in 1977 for the previous crime. In 1978, Rodney was featured as a contestant on The Dating Game. Alcala won the game show, however the female contestant on the show refused to go on a date with him due to his social attache.

Alcala went on to kill a minimum of roughly 10 people, however his true body count is currently unknown. He is currently awaiting death in a United States penitentiary

#9 - Herb Baumeister

Herb Baumeister is an American serial killer that was active between 1980-1996, in Indiana and possibly Ohio. The twist? Baumeister took his own life, avoiding ever being charged for his crimes. Baumeister is not commonly known due to the limited information of his crimes.

Baumeister was born April 7, 1947 in Indianapolis, Indiana. Baumeister was diagnosed with schizophrenia as a teenager as a result of bizarre behavior, however he never received any treatment. His bizarre behavior continued into his adult life. Baumeister founded a successful thrift store chain in his hometown.

In the 1990s, gay men began to disappear around the Indianapolis area. Herb was identified as a killer by a bartender who he attempted to murder, and whose friend he successfully murdered. With the consent of his wife, the family estate was searched, which returned the remains of at least 11 men, the majority of whom were not identified.

Baumeister was able to escape to Ontario, Canada, where he committed suicide. Nine more bodies were found scattered throughout interstate 70, believed to be his victims.

#8 - Charles Cullen

Charles Cullen has killed more than any other serial killer in the state of New Jersey. Cullen killed at least 40 patients while working as a nurse, however the true number is believed to be extremely higher due to the fact that he was unable to remember the majority of his victims. Estimates of his kill count go upwards of 400.

The first murder Cullen ever committed is unknown, however his first known murder, according to his own testimony, took place on June 11, 1988. Cullen contaminated IV bags while working at St. Barnabas Medical Center, which likely resulted in well over 20 deaths.

Between that time and his apprehension on December 15, 2003, Cullen continued to find work at several hospitals, killing a large amount of patients before moving on to find new work. Cullen is currently imprisoned in New Jersey State Prison, serving a minimum 397 years.

#7 - Heriberto Seda

Eddie Seda, or Heriberto Eddie Seda, was active in New York City from 1990 to 1993. Seda is believed to have likely been inspired drastically by the Zodiac Killer of San Francisco, primarily his ability to taunt police whilst still avoiding capture.

Seda first taunted police in November of 1989 with a letter claiming that he was the Zodiac Killer. Seda was captured after wounding his sister by shooting her. While writing his account of the events that took place, a detective noticed the similarities in his hand writing to that of the person who sent them the recent Zodiac letter. Seda, upon pleading guilty, was convicted and is currently serving out his sentence for several counts of murder and attempted murder.

#6 - Anna Marie Hahn

Anna Hahn was born in Germany on July 7, 1906, however her family had her sent to America in 1929 due to her having a child out of wedlock. Hahn met another German immigrant and they married in 1930. After they married, Anna returned to Germany to retrieve her son, after which she returned to America.

Hahn began taking care of elderly men to support her gambling habit. Hahn would find a way to get the men to leave her as the sole beneficiary in her will, then she would poison them. She killed 5 men using this method, and all murders were done for monetary gain.

Hahn was caught after killing an elderly man that she did not know, with a witness present, who testified against her. Hahn was sentenced to death by electric chair, and was executed on December 7, 1938.

#5 - David Parker Ray

David Parker Ray was an American serial killer who lived in the small town of Truth or Consequences, New Mexico. Ray tortured and killed as many as 60 women, however the true count is completely unknown and likely never will be.

Ray, similar to many serial killers and abusers, was physically abused by his father. Ray was also bullied, and struggled with issues including alcohol and drug abuse. Ray was never socially accepted by the people he knew. He lived with his grandfather until he reached adulthood.

Ray spent a large sum of money building a torture chamber for his victims, which he called his “toy box”, built out of a mobile home. This torture chamber featured a large number of instruments and other tools used to torture his victims. Ray had a mirror placed above the table in which the victims were strapped, forcing them to watch their own torture.

Ray and his accomplices were caught after a victim escaped the torture chamber. This victim, along with another, came forward. Ray was sentenced to 224 years in prison for the sexual torture and abduction of 3 women, however he never served any time after suffering a heart attack while in police custody. Ray was aided by several accomplices, including his own daughter.

#4 - Robert Rozier

Robert Rozier was an American serial killer and professional football player in the NFL. Surprisingly, he isn’t that well known. This is because he was practically a cult leader, and compared to many cult leaders, his actions were fairly tame. Rozier was released from the NFL after only 6 games, believed to be for drug issues.

Rozier served 6 months in prison for several minor crimes. After being released, Rozier moved into his Yahweh ben Yahweh “Temple of Love” in 1982. Rozier changed his name to “Neariah Israel”, which translates into child of god.

Rozier admitted to killing 7 white people in order to join “The Brotherhood”, a secret group of Yahweh. Rozier was arrested for his crimes, however he was only sentenced to 22 years in exchange for testifying against the group. Rozier was released after serving 10 years, in 1996.

Rozier received a third strike for writing thousands of dollars in bad checks, and is currently serving out a 25 years to life sentence, and is currently serving out his sentence in California State Prison.

#3 - Delphine LaLaurie

LaLaurie may be more well known than the other serial killers on this list, however she’s still unknown enough to make the list. LaLaurie was a New Orleans socialite that tortured and murdered black slaves in her New Orleans mansion.

Some accounts of her cruelty are quite different. There are several who claim that she treated her slaves humanely, even better than most others. There are others who were able to tell of accounts in which she was more than obviously mistreating her slaves. In 1834 there was a fire at her house set by her seventy year old cook, who police found chained to the stove by her ankle. She claimed she set the fire out of fear of being punished by LaLaurie. Those at the scene of the fire broke into her slave quarters in order to evacuate them, however what they found was absolutely disastrous. They found seven slaves, all of which were mutilated. To make it even worse, most of them were still alive, barely. Due to the findings at her residence, a local mob destroyed much of her property. The tortured slaves were made available to be viewed by the public.

It is primarily believed that after the fire in 1834, and the subsequent events that followed, LaLaurie fled New Orleans. It is believed that she fled to Paris where she eventually died, however the accounts of this are not well documented. The French archived indicate that she died December 7, 1849, however these records are not considered to be completely accurate.

#2 - Tillie Gburek

Tillie Gburek is an American serial killer, originally from Poland, who poisoned five of her husbands. Soon after being born, Tillie moved to America with her parents.

Her two first husbands both died shortly after marrying her, as well as one of her boyfriends. When her next husband became ill, the doctors suspected it was due to arsenic poisoning, and they were correct. After this piece of troubling evidence was revealed, the bodies of her other husbands were soon exhumed, all of which were revealed to have died from a lethal dose of arsenic. Several others in the world surrounding Tillie and her cousin Nellie were found to be dead. It was later revealed that she profited from the deaths of all of her husbands, having taken out life insurance policies on all of them.

Tillie was sentenced to life in prison for the murder of her third husband. Her cousin Nellie was released from prison after only a year, often taunting her cousin that she would be dead soon. Tillie died in prison on the 20th day of November, 1936.

#1 - Joseph Paul Franklin

In comparison with the others on this list, this one is fairly recent. The full extent of his crimes is currently unknown, however it’s believed that he killed anywhere from 7-22 people between August, 1977, and August, 1980. Joseph Franklin was a racist American serial killer, primarily killing interracial couples. Franklin was believed to be a paranoid schizophrenic.

Franklin was born to a poor family in Mobile, Alabama. A profound racist from the start, Franklin held positions in the American Nazi Party, and the Ku Klux Klan. Originally James Clayton Vaughn, he changed his name in order to honor a member of the original Nazi Party, who served under Adolf Hitler.

Franklins first murder was of Bryant Tatum, a black man, as well as his white girlfriend. Franklin went on to murder several others, almost always being caught, however charges were rarely filed due to the racial beliefs of the area. Franklin was arrested on October 20, 1980 after being noticed by a blood bank worker in Lakeland, Florida. Franklin was convicted and held in prison until his execution on November 20, 2013. It is highly believed that his abusive and racist upbringing is what resulted in his acts of violence.


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    • americanesl profile image

      Ginny 20 months ago

      Hi, interesting article. BTW, that's not Alcala at the top - which is right next to his name. They've done a lot about him in the last few years on tv and the FBI posted about a hundred photos to try and determine if the people in the photos were victims or still alive. Careful who you trust!

    • Silva Hayes profile image

      Silva Hayes 2 years ago from Spicewood, Texas

      An interesting article! Shocking about Alcalla - winner of the Dating Game! What a prize. You would think that TV shows would check out their contestants more thoroughly.

    • profile image

      Syns 2 years ago

      Really good article

    • brandongrew profile image
      Author

      Brandon Grew 2 years ago from Michigan, USA

      I have a serious interest in the morbid, however it seems that in relation to this topic, everyone just posts about the same people.

    • fpherj48 profile image

      Paula 2 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

      You are absolutely correct. I'd never heard of a single one of these lovely individuals. I'm sure there are plenty more where they came from. What is it I wonder that gains a lunatic publicity and fame while these poor schmucks aren't as well-known.??

      Only in America can a sick, twisted child molester, who has done time, be seen on a Game Show on TV. Way to go Network!!...UP++

    • Kosmo profile image

      Kelley 2 years ago from California

      micko27 is right - you need more photos. But I know that getting photos of such infamous folks can be difficult. Anyway, writing a hub about little-known serial killers is a good idea. Later!

    • micko27 profile image

      Mirjan Stojanovic 2 years ago from Belgrade

      Do I need to afraid if I leave a comment? :P

      Anyway, just add some pictures of those "people" to scare us more! :)