The Escambia County Sheriff’s Office has solved the 42-year old cold case murder of a real estate agent found dead at an empty home in Cantonment. On April
Who’s the most horrible criminal in the world?
Who is the worst criminal in history?
Selecting even a dozen villains is a daunting task indeed even considering morbid factors like body count, notoriety, and sadism.
That said, I prefer to briefly tell you about some 46 most notorious ones in America and in the world and leave you to make your own judgment as who is the worst.
These criminals range from sadistic serial killers to mobsters who lived like royalty. It also includes genius criminal minds who used their intelligence to pull off the most perfect crimes.
Frank William Abagnale Jr
Do you remember the movie “Catch Me If You Can”?
Frank is the inspiration behind it. Why not when he is one of the most famous impostors in history.
Imagine that even before turning 21, he had assumed the identity of a doctor, a lawyer, and a pilot!
Slippery as he is, Frank escaped from police custody twice. Once even from a taxiing plane!
The government finally had to hire him to help them identify forgeries and other crimes.
Today, Frank runs a successful financial fraud company.
Canadian police dubbed Gerald as the country’s “most sophisticated” criminal mastermind ever. And they’re right.
In what can be described as his biggest crime, Gerald parachuted into the Schönbrunn Palace in Vienna, stole the Star of Empress Sisi (one of Austria’s crown jewels) and replaced it with a fake.
After serving time in Canada, Gerald has reconverted into a new career: that of a security consultant.
Ted Bundy is one of the most famous serial killers and necrophilia’s in U.S. history.
But would you believe it that this guy had a bright future in the Washington State Republican Party in the 1970s?
Ted liked killing women.
He would often lure his victims, pretending to be injured and in need of help. Then he would attack them when they came to his aid.
In 1976, Ted was arrested for an attempted kidnapping.
While acting as his own lawyer, he escaped and migrated to Florida. There, he killed two women in a Florida State University sorority house as well as 12-year-old Kimberly Diane Leach.
While on death row in 1989 following conviction of those murders, Ted confessed to 50 other murders. The true total however remains unknown.
On Jan. 24, 1989, Bundy was executed in the electric chair at Raiford Prison in Starke, Fla.
If you’ve never heard of infamous American crime czar Al “Scarface” Capone, a.k.a “Robin Hood,’ then you might be living under some rock somewhere.
A Prohibition-era gangster, he sat on a multimillion-dollar empire in the 1920s running illegal booze, gambling and prostitution.
The word “mobster” still brings Al Capone to mind today although he died of a stroke and pneumonia on Jan. 25, 1947.
Why not when he is suspected of masterminding the 1929 Saint Valentine’s Day Massacre in Lincoln Park. There, his gang mowed down seven members of a rival gang in broad daylight using machine guns.
Yet before this event Al Capone was cheered like a star by the residents of Chicago when he appeared at ball games. Why not when he made donations to and supported various local charities!
This cunning man’s reign as ruler of Chicago’s gangland came to an end in 1931 when he pleaded guilty to charges of tax evasion and prohibition.
Al Capone served seven years and six months in federal prison, including a stay at Alcatraz. He was paroled on Nov. 16, 1939. By then he was suffering from paresis derived from syphilis.
Capone went into seclusion at an estate near Miami, Fla., where he died.
Andrei Chikatilo – Body count: 53
Andrei Chikatilo was a notorious Ukrainian serial murderer who became known as “The Ripper of Rostov”, “The Rostov Ripper” or “The Butcher of Rostov,” simply because he committed his murders in Rostov.
Chikatilo started his dastardly acts from the late 1970s and continued up until the very early 1990s.
Did being a chronic bed-wetter suffering from impotence make him the sexual deviant he was?
One may be tempted to think so as Chikatilo achieved orgasm by stabbing and slashing his victims instead of outwardly raping them.
Apprehended and interrogated by police, Chikatilo was sentenced to death carried out in 1994 by a gunshot to the head.
He was 57 at the time.
D. B. Cooper
D. B. Cooper is not this guy’s real name. His real identity is still unknown. He was only identified as D. B. Cooper as he used that name to purchase a plane ticket.
His hidden identity is understandable as he hijacked the Boeing 727 mid-flight near Seattle in 1971 and made off with $200,000 in ransom money. Then he parachuted to an unknown fate.
Dean Corll – Body count: 27
Corll was nicknamed “The Candy Man” because he was in charge of his mother’s small candy company when his crimes became known to the public.
Corll was the brain behind the “Houston Mass Murders” which took place in Houston, Texas between 1970 and 1973.
With the help of two accomplices (Elmer Wayne Henley and David Brooks), Corll would abduct young boys they had lured to his apartment. Then he tortured and murdered them. To dissimulate his crime, he buried the bodies of his victims in the surrounding rural areas.
Irony of fate, Corll was shot and killed by Henley following a heated argument at Corll’s home.
Do you know why when Anthony gained national attention in 2008 he was known as the Craigslist robber?
This was because when planning his heist at the Bank of America, Anthony would put out an ad on Craigslist asking for construction workers.
He would instruct them to meet near the bank about the time of the robbery. Anthony would then rob the bank and vanish with the exact same construction clothes.
This left the police with a confused group of construction workers.
Anthony’s luck ran out when a local homeless man who saw the whole thing denounced him.
Anthony is now a public speaker!
Jeffrey Dahmer was America’s most gruesome serial killer. Imagine that while he preserved the skeletons of his victims as trophies, he liked to kiss and chat to their chopped off heads!
The Police couldn’t quite believe their eyes when inside Dahmer’s pad they found severed heads in the fridge, a human torso in the freezer, and bags of organs stuffed further back in the ice.
We would certainly never see the grisly handiwork of this criminal again as Dahmer was eventually killed in prison.
If you had dashing good looks, roguish charm and ability to narrowly elude the cops, it’s no wonder that even as a bank robber you became something of a folk hero in 1930s America.
That was John Dillinger.
Although also famous as a killer, he would perhaps better be remembered for escaping from jail using a fake gun he’d carved out of wood!
“Public enemy number one”, Dillinger’s luck ran out when, while strolling out of a cinema, he was finally cornered and shot to death.
His exploits have been immortalized by the big screen, Dillinger played by Johnny Depp of all.
John Wayne Gacy – Body count: 33
Can you guess why serial killer John Wayne Gacy was known as the “Killer Clown”?
Well, at parties he would don a clown suit and make-up, and act disguised as “Pogo the Clown” to raise funds for charity.
In fact, Gacy was something like a pillar of the community. As the photo above of him smiling next to the wife of US President Jimmy Carter shows. This turned up to be somewhat embarrassing for the Secret Service when Gacy’s crimes were uncovered.
Yes, Gacy was a popular political and local figure at the time, apparently living a normal life. But he would later be arrested for the rape and murder of some 33 young men between 1972 and 1978.
Most of the bodies of Gacy’s victims were found buried underneath the crawl space of his own Chicago-area home. He even claimed to be responsible for at least 45 murders!
Eventually sentenced to death, Gacy whiled away his time on death row painting pictures which frequently featured clowns!
Gacy’s notorious last words before being executed at the Stateville Correctional Center in 1994 by lethal injection were: “Kiss my ass.”
This famous and highly elusive Italian-American mobster is the Godfather himself.
Despite running the NY mob scene for several years, Carlo Gambino never spent a single day in prison. And this, despite the government’s best efforts.
French Vacuum Gang
This group’s modus operandi explains their euphonious name.
In effect, they used perhaps one of the most ingenious techniques in history to rob local supermarkets of hundreds of thousands of euros.
They drilled holes into the tubes that employees used to send leftover cash to the store’s vault. Then they inserted the vacuum and sucked some cash into their possession!
If you were aficionado of flashy suits and had a flamboyant personality to boot, would people be wrong to call you the “Dapper Don”?
And if charges just refused to stick would others be wrong to dub you the “Teflon Don”?
Also the inspiration for movie characters and pop songs, that was John Gotti.
He was the most infamous mob lord of the 80s and 90s, in charge of the murderous Gambino crime family in New York City.
When he was finally arrested, Gotti was sent down for racketeering and murder.
Offered no possibility of release, Gotti died in prison.
While most criminals we know are low-level people, Carl Gugasian however had a PhD in statistics and probability.
Is this knowledge which aided one of the most educated thieves on this list to be also one of the most prolific bank robbers in US history?
We are tempted to think so as Carl robbed more than 50 banks over the course of 30 years.
But luck eluded him in 2002 after several boys playing near a drainage ditch stumbled across a cache of weapons/maps/equipment. Police were eventually led to Carl’s door and he was caught.
The Banco Central Heist
A group of thieves innocently rented a property near the Brazilian Central Bank. Then over the next few months, they dug a tunnel straight to the bank’s vault.
The largest on record at $69.8 million.
Where are they now?
Still at large as the police haven’t been able to get hold of them yet.
Another criminal of many hats was Tom.
He was everything from army scout to lawman. But he was especially notorious as assassin and outlaw.
Yes, Tom made a name for himself as one of the most cold-blooded killers of the Wild West.
It was during the late 1880s. Horn was a bounty hunter for the Pinkerton Detective Agency. Initially thought of as a good fit, his capacity for violence changed the initial perception. He was therefore forced to resign in 1894. Not surprisingly, he got linked to 17 murders.
Stripped of his badge, Horn became a killer-for-hire. He mainly targeted cattle rustlers for whom he is believed to be responsible for 20 deaths.
In 1901, Horn was suspected of the murder of 14-year-old Willie Nickell, the son of a rancher.
Horn was executed by hanging in Cheyenne, Wyo., on November 20, 1903, the day before his 43rd birthday.
A sort of an all-American
Robin Hood, Jesse James was maybe inspired by the Biblical saying of robbing Peter to pay Paul.
In effect, he rode his way through the Wild West robbing from the rich and giving to the poor.
But this is believed to be a load of codswallop.
A vicious criminal, no evidence exists to prove that Jesse James robbed for anyone other than his own gang.
Jesse James was also bitterly opposed to the freeing of the slaves after the American Civil War.
He met his fate while dusting a picture on the wall and he was gunned down.
Do you remember the Jonestown mass suicide in Guyana?
It was the brainchild of Jim Jones.
Founder and charismatic leader of the Peoples Temple, Jim fled California in 1974 with his followers and set up Jonestown, a compound in Guyana he named after himself.
Jones ruled his community with an iron fist and did not permit anyone to leave. A disturbed individual, he had become paranoid that the CIA and FBI were watching him. Justly, his schemes reached the ears of officials in the U.S.
On November 18, 1978, California Congressman Leo J. Ryan paid a visit to Jonestown. After the tour, Ryan left the compound with a number of defectors.
Not happy about that, Jones dispatched some of his men to the airstrip in Port Kaituma, where they gunned down Ryan and four others.
Later that same day, 909 of Jones’ followers, a third of whom were children, died of apparent cyanide poisoning. Jones however died from a gunshot wound to the head.
In a 45-minute audio recording that was made that day, Jones said: “We didn’t commit suicide; we committed an act of revolutionary suicide protesting the conditions of an inhumane world.”
Ted Kaczynski (Unabomber)
Can you believe that this guy was actually a mathematical prodigy who was accepted into Harvard at the age of 16 and earned his PhD in math from the University of Michigan?
Do you also remember the more than a dozen bomb attacks in multiple states between 1978 and 1995 that killed three people and injured 23 others?
Maybe you also haven’t forgotten that the attacker called for the “destruction of the worldwide industrial system.”
Ted Kaczynski was dubbed the Unabomber because he sent fatally explosive packages to university professors, airlines, computer salesmen, and other people he regarded as agents of modernity and enemies of Mother Nature.
Ted formed his reactionary opinions while living as a recluse in a remote cabin.
Can you imagine how he was caught?
A manifesto attributed to the Unabomber appeared in The New York Times and The Washington Post. Ted’s brother, David, saw that it was similar to papers his mathematician brother had written.
He informed the FBI who zeroed in on him.
Ted Kaczynski was ultimately sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
Ironically he’ll never again walk the woods he heartlessly killed to “defend”.
I can’t blame you if you don’t remember the deadliest mass murder at a U.S. elementary school which occurred in Bath Township, Michigan.
This happened in 1927.
It was the work of Andrew Kehoe, a 55-year-old school board treasurer and farmer.
Why all that madness?
Kehoe was apparently angry about his financial woes and couldn’t also accept his defeat in an election for township clerk.
So, on May 18, 1927, Kehoe killed his wife and set off incendiary devices at his farm. This destroyed his home and all the buildings.
He then triggered timed detonators to set off several incendiary devices he had planted inside Bath Consolidated School. The ensuing deflagration left much of the school destroyed and claimed the lives of 43 people, including 38 children.
Then Kehoe took his own life by detonating dynamite in his truck.
“Criminals are made, not born.” Investigators stumbled on this wooden sign Kehoe had apparently wired to a fence on his farm.
The Zodiac Killer
If you can say who the Zodiac killer is, I’m sure the whole of America would be grateful to you.
For the moment, nobody knows who this Killer is.
This man terrorised California in the 60s and 70s.
Some of his crimes?
He gunned down couples in parked cars, killed a cabbie, and in broad daylight stabbed a couple who were basking in a park.
To add more to the mystery, most of the complex coded messages he sent to the media have still not been deciphered.
Interestingly, this killer inspired the villain in the Hollywood creation Scorpio in Dirty Harry.
Adam Lanza was a 20-year-old recluse from Connecticut who brought terror to Newtown and its Sandy Hook Elementary School on Dec. 14, 2012.
In effect, the troubled young man first killed his mother, Nancy, in their home.
Then armed with a semi-automatic rifle and a handgun, he burst into the elementary School and in a span of about five minutes fired 154 shots.
Unfortunately 20 first-graders and six educators got killed.
Lanza then took his own life. It was not until later that day that authorities discovered the additional casualty which was his mother.
Pedro Alonso Lopez – Body count: 300+
Can we dub Pedro Alonso Lopez one of the most prolific serial killers of all time?
Let’s judge by his acts.
Lopez was called the “Monster of the Andes” certainly for butchering enough people to be a small town.
First, he dispatched around 100 tribal women into the next world in Peru in the 1970s. Apprehended by tribal forces he was spared execution only on the intervention of an American missionary staying in the community.
Taken to the police force, they simply released him.
Lopez then left for Ecuador. There, he killed about 3-4 girls a week. He thought girls in Ecuador were “more gentle and trusting, more innocent”.
This continued until Lopez was caught in 1980. Again, the police doubted his guilt. Then a flash flood uncovered a mass grave that had hidden many of his victims. He was rearrested.
On his release by the Ecuadorean government in 1998, Lopez was deported to Columbia.
Lopez alleged that he was released for “good behavior”!
Henry Lee Lucas – Body count: Somewhere in the region of 4-213
When arrested, Henry Lee Lucas confessed to committing thousands of murders with his accomplice, Ottis Toole. But out of the somewhat 213 murder cases the police attributed to him, only 4 were ever solidly proven to be his handiwork. And that included his very own abusive mother!
Apprehended in 1983 and sentenced to death, Luca’s sentence was commuted to life in prison by the then-Governor George W. Bush. And this was the only one out of 153 death penalty cases to be reviewed that Bush accepted.
Lucas died of natural causes in 2001, aged 64.
Bruno Ludke – Body count: 85
Starting in 1928, Ludke killed over a period of 15 years. He was only caught near the end of World War II by Nazi police who reportedly surprised him committing necrophilia on the corpse of one of his recently-deceased victims.
Ludke then confessed to a number of crimes. Declared insane, he was sent to a hospital in Vienna. There, he was subjected to medical experiments. He died through lethal injection in 1944.
One other thing about Ludke.
After he was caught molesting a young woman, he was sterilized. Despite that imagine that he still continued to assault and murder women, often by stabbing and strangulation.
Maybe you have to be called Lustig, Victor’s last name which means “funny” in German to do certain things.
Imagine that one of his boldest cons was to sell the Eiffel Tower…
The name above certainly struck a chord in you. For you can’t so quickly forget the most notorious fraudster in recent memory.
The largest financial fraud in US history, Madoff’s Ponzi scheme went up to the tune of over $64 billion dollars!
Jeffrey Allen Manchester
Have you ever heard the expression the Toys R Us bandit?
That was Jeffrey.
On escaping from prison, he hid out in Toys R Us for several months. Pretending to be a faithful member of the local church, he even got a girlfriend from the congregation.
Jeffrey would hand out toys from the toy store to children.
Once criminal, always a criminal.
Jeffrey planned another robbery. His last.
For the local police were alerted, and his girlfriend turned him in.
Charles Manson was a songwriter from California who created the Manson Family in California in the late 1960s. With this cult he hoped to start an apocalyptic massive race war, which he termed “Helter Skelter.”
Despite being a wild-eyed drifter with a murky background, Manson’s charisma got him a devoted 1960s quasi-commune that was like the dark flipside to the hippy movement.
Believing that the songs of the Beatles predicted a race war between whites and blacks, Manson tried to trigger it by ordering savage murders on consecutive nights. This included the gruesome massacre of movie star Sharon Tate and several friends who were staying at her house that night.
In 1969, Manson and his followers were convicted in the slaying of the actress and several others. Initially sentenced to death, Manson’s sentence was later commuted to life in prison.
He managed to become a pop culture icon while in jail.
Manson was denied parole for the 12th time in April 2012.
Claiming that he was building a skyscraper, McMahon managed to swindle investors out of their money.
Yet he escaped justice.
Imagine that instead of “feet” he used “inches” in the blueprints.
So in his defense, J.D. argued that he had never said that the building would be 480 feet but 480 inches high!
Would you believe that to this day, the “world’s littlest skyscraper” still stands in Wichita Falls, Texas?
Timothy McVeigh was a Gulf War veteran who sought revenge against the federal government for the 1993 siege of a compound belonging to the religious group Branch Davidians in Waco, Texas.
The siege claimed the lives of sect leader David Koresh and 75 of his followers.
On the two-year anniversary of the Davidians’ deaths, McVeigh detonated a truck bomb in front of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City on April 19, 1995.
Commonly known as the Oklahoma City bombing, the attack killed 168 people, including 19 children.
McVeigh was convicted of 11 federal offenses and was executed on June 11, 2001.
Natwarlal’s full name was Mithilesh Kumar Srivastava.
This famous Indian con man sold both the Taj Mahal and the House of Parliament several times.
By the time of his alleged “death” (of which no one is certain), Natwarlal was wanted in more than 100 cases of forgery and identity theft.
A Diamond Heist took place in 2003 in Antwerp. It was dubbed the “heist of the century.”
Leonardo is believed to be the mastermind behind it.
He was also the only thief arrested in connection with it.
After serving some time in jail, Leonardo was released.
The diamonds still remain unrecovered.
The speculation is that Leonardo allowed himself to be caught. So that when he comes out, he can’t be put back in jail for a crime he already served time for.
If that’s true, Leonardo could be described as pretty clever…,
…and he’d be very rich man now too.
Hassan and Abbas O
Hassan and Abbas O are identical twins whose last name is protected by German privacy laws.
They robbed the Kaufhaus Des Westens (Europe’s second largest department store), and accidentally left behind a single glove.
DNA sampling led investigators to the pair. But German law says that each person must be individually convicted. But police couldn’t determine which of the twin’s DNA was on the glove. Besides, neither brother was willing to talk.
Under the circumstances, the police were forced to free them.
The German magazine Der Spiegel described it as the perfect crime.
The Pink Panthers
This is the name given by Interpol to a band of Balkan criminals who in the past 25 years are responsible for some of the craziest heists in history.
They got their name from the then Britain’s most expensive diamond heist, thefrom the Graff Jewellery Salon in New Bond Street, London, in May 2003.
In fact, some of their crimes have even been called “art.”
They scaled the wall of Villefranche-sur-Saône prison with ladders in October 2005 into their getaway van.
They have been linked to the theft, from an upmarketboutique in 2004, of the Comtesse de Vendôme necklace: studded with 116 diamonds, worth £17m.
They have been suspected of entering astore in 2007 and going away with jewellery worth almost $3.5m in 55 seconds.
Pink Panthers have been credited with the wit to paint a bench in Biarritz in 2001, making it too wet for potential witnesses to sit on while they robbed the jewellery store opposite.
Gary Ridgeway – Body count: Convicted of 48, but admitted somewhere around 90 killings.
Ridgeway went on a killing spree during the 1980s. This made him one of the most prolific serial murderers in American history.
He would abduct runaways or prostitutes, sexually assaulting them and murder them. Then he would toss the bodies into the Green River in Washington. This earned him the nickname “Green River Killer”.
Thanks to a breakthrough in DNA evidence linking him to his victims, Ridgeway was convicted in 2001 for murders that he had committed 20 years previously.
Unbelievable that Ridgeway later claimed that murdering young women was his “career”?
This one is another step back into history.
During the 1800’s, one of the most prominent pirates in Asia was called Ching Shih.
Ching commanded several hundred ships with nearly 40,000 men. She was even known to challenge entire empires like the British, Portuguese, and Qing.
She is one of the few pirates to retire. She is also considered one of the most legendary and powerful pirates in history.
Moses Sithole – Body count: 38 or so murders, 40 rapes.
Moses Sithole was South Africa’s most infamous serial killer and perpetrator. His acts became known as the “ABC Murders”.
In effect, he started in the town of Atteridgeville, continued in that of Boksburg and finished in Cleveland.
His modus operandi went like this: Sithole would lead his victims out into deserted fields under false pretences. He would then overpower them, rape them and murder them.
Sithole was captured in 1995, convicted in 1997, and sentenced to 2,410 years, with the possibility of parole in 930 years.
In the year 2000, it was reported that Sithole had contracted AIDS whilst in prison.
Albert Spaggiari was a high profile French bank robber and notoriously clever.
Finally he got caught but he proved that he was the clever person people knew him for.
In effect, he escaped by handing the judge a fake piece of evidence and jumping out the window onto a waiting motorcycle.
He eluded recapture up to his death from throat cancer.
An unknown person dumped his body on his mother’s lawn.
Gerald Stano – Body count: 41
An American, Stano began around the late 1960s up to early 1970s and then continued on for as many as 7-8 years.
This guy would pick up a number of hitch-hikers and young women whom he murdered via shooting, stabbing or strangulation.
Caught in 1980, he was sentenced to life in prison and executed by the electric chair in Florida, in 1998.
This French criminal has fascinated public opinion since the 1800’s by turning lawman.
In effect, Vidoq was one of the most creative criminals in France.
But eventually he became a police informant and even helped start the French police department.
Vidoq is also often regarded as the first private detective.
Another foray into history.
Jonathan was a popular figure in the London underworld in the 1700’s.
He would pose as a vigilante crime fighter while he was in fact in on the crimes. Imagine that he would quite often get a cut of the profit.
The ruse couldn’t continue eternally. Finally Jonathan’s public image suffered, and he was hung at the gallows.
Wayne Williams – Body count: 2-31
Do you have any idea about the infamous “Atlanta Child Murders” that took place in Atlanta, Georgia, between 1979 and 1981?
Believed to be responsible for them, Williams was actually convicted of the murder of two adult men (29 year old Jimmy Payne and 27 year old Nathaniel Carter).
Besides, it was after his arrest and subsequent conviction that local authorities were able to apparently solve the majority of the 29 child murders.
Williams never ceased to protests his innocence.
This is yet another journey into history.
The most notorious safe cracker and bank robber in the northeast during the mid-1800’s, Adam became known as the “Napoleon of Crime”.
To elude capture and cheat the law, Adam Worth sailed to England and masqueraded as a wealthy gentleman. But he was eventually caught in Belgium.
Strangely, our alphabetical listing of the criminals’ last names ends with the sole example of a rare example of a female serial killer.
Aileen Wuornos was the daughter of a schizophrenic sex criminal and a mother who abandoned her as a child.
Are those the reasons for her own rampant kill frenzy, which saw her murder seven men?
We can’t tell. But she herself later wrote, “I’m one who seriously hates human life and would kill again”.
She was not allowed to do that.
Aileen was executed by lethal injection.
Her last words?
“I’ll be back.”
I’ll also be back on more topics which interest you. Just keep on asking and I will continue answering them.
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