When a serial killer is convicted we often expect them to spend the rest of their life behind bars – most likely sat on death row. Yet the justice system will always find a new way to surprise us year after year. These following serial killers and cannibals have taken the life of another and have been released back into society.
8. Karla Homolka Took A Plea Deal & Now Works As A School Volunteer
Karla Homolka, also known as Karla Teale, is a convicted serial killer who helped her husband, Paul Bernardo, rape and murder at least three women. She gained worldwide media attention during 1991 to 1992 for killing Ontario teenage girls, Leslie Mahaffy and Kristen French, then raping and killing her sister own sister, Tammy.
After Bernado was arrested in 1993, Homolka told investigators that she was unwilling to murder anyone and that she had been badly abused by her husband. She struck a deal with the prosecution and was sentenced to 12-years for manslaughter for a guilty plea bargain. Homolka scored only 5/40 on the Psychopathy Checklist, whereas Bernardo scored 35/40.
Later, videotapes of the murders were discovered and they clearly proved Homolka was a more than willing participant in the murders. Although, due to her plea deal she still only served 12-years.
In 2007, she was released and moved to Quebec where she remarried and had a son. She has angered parents at Greaves Adventist Academy, a school in Montreal, where she regularly volunteers. Breakfast Television Montreal reported that a woman known only as “Lily” told them, “We don’t want her here. How would you feel knowing that your child is interacting with a person who is a serial killer? It’s not right.”
A spokesperson for the school told City News, “The school board was fully aware of who she is. She is not a regular volunteer, and can never be alone with any children, either in school or churches.” They added, “It is a protocol for all of our schools across Canada, and most of the world, to do background checks, not only on teachers but (also) volunteers. As I said, she is not a regular volunteer. Rarely would she have cause to go to the school, and when she is, she is never alone.”
7. Mary Bell Mutilated & Killed Young Boys & Now Her Whereabouts Are Unknown
In 1968, Mary Bell strangled to death two little boys, 4-year-old Martin Brown and 3-year-old Brian Howe, in a suburb of Scotswood, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK. She was convicted of manslaughter because of her age and was released from prison in 1980. She now lives under a different identity.
Bell’s life was one of constant abuse, which she suffered at the hands of her mother Betty, who was a prostitute, and her clients. Family members claimed that Betty had attempted to kill Mary more than once and wanted to make it look accidental.
Once Mary had “fallen” from a high window and “accidentally” taken sleeping pills. She would often witness her mother engaging in violent sexual acts with clients she had bought back to the home. Her mother was so twisted that she even forced her into prostitution from the age of just 4-years-old.
On May 25th, 1968, just days before she turned 11-years-old, Mary strangled 4-year-old Martin Brown in an abandoned house. Then on July 31st, she and friend Norma Bell (no relation), strangled 3-year-old Brian Howe to death in an abandoned wasteland near their homes. Mary later returned to carve an “M” into the boy’s stomach and mutilate his penis with scissors.
While her friend Norma Bell was acquitted, Mary was convicted of manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility. Psychiatrists described her as displaying “classic symptoms of psychopathy” and that she posed a “very grave risk to other children”. She spent 12-years in prison and now lives a new life, where it was rumored that she had recently become a grandmother.
6. Pedro Lopez Killed Over 100 Children – But He Was Released For Good Behavior
Pedro Lopez was born in 1948 as the seventh of thirteen children. He grew up in Santa Isabel, Colombia. His mother was a prostitute and his father was killed before he was born while defending his grocery store from mobsters. When he was eight-years-old, his mother caught him fondling his younger sister and he soon ran away from home to Colombia’s capital city, Bogota.
Young and alone, he was picked up by a man from the streets, taken to a deserted house and repeatedly assaulted. At twelve-years-old, he was kindly taken in by an American family who put him in education, but then he ran away again after a male teacher allegedly molested him.
To earn his living, he would steal cars and then sell them to the local scrap yards. This landed Lopez his first prison sentence; he was once again repeatedly molested in prison. Lopez later confessed to stalking everyone who had assaulted him behind bars and killing them.
After his release, he went on a murdering spree, targeting young girls in Peru. Lopez claimed that by 1978, he had killed over one hundred but then a native tribe who planned to execute him caught him. An American missionary took pity on Lopez and managed to persuade them to release him to the state police.
Once again, Lopez served very short time in prison and as soon as he was out he had moved to Ecuador and then Colombia where he began killing three girls a week. Lopez shockingly revealed, “I like the girls in Ecuador, they are more gentle and trusting, more innocent.”
By the time Lopez was arrested for the third time – he had already committed over three hundred abductions and murders. Nobody believed he was capable until a massive grave site was uncovered with many of his victim’s bodies buried there. Then according to the BBC: “He was arrested in 1980 but was freed by the government in Ecuador at the end of (1998)” Lopez said his early release was for “good behavior.”
5. Baby Killer Genene Anne Jones Is Out Soon Due To An Expired Law
63-year-old Genene Anne Jones will be released from prison in 2018 on “mandatory terms” for “good behavior.” In 1984, she was convicted of murdering a baby and suspected of killing up to 46 more. Her early release means that she would have served just a third of her 99-year sentence.
Jones was working as a nurse at Bexar County Hospital, San Antonio, Texas when she was convicted of murdering 15-month-old Chelsea McClellan. She had injected the baby with a lethal dose of muscle relaxant, suxamethonium chloride, while she was still in her mother’s arms.
Chelsea’s mother, Petti McClellan told ABC, “I was holding Chelsea, she was facing me, and Jones gave her the first shot in her left thigh. Immediately Chelsea had trouble breathing. Chelsea was trying to say my name, but she couldn’t. I was extremely upset.”
Jones was sentenced to 99-years, along with another 60-year sentence for injuring another child who luckily survived. Criminal prosecutor Ron Sutton, who won the conviction, believed that Jones is also responsible for as many as 46 more deaths at the hospital between the times she worked there – 1978 to 1982.
The shift supervisor at the time, Cheryl Pendergraph, was responsible for assigning patients to nurses. She noticed a significant rise in the unit’s infant mortality rate and found an unsettling pattern. She told ABC: “Most of the deaths were on the 3-11 shift, which was the shift that Genene Jones worked on. And most of the infants who died were Genene’s patients. She was assigned to them.”
This Texas law, which allows the early release to happen, has since expired. Currently, Pendergraph and others are coming forward to appeal against Jones’s pending early release.
4. Cannibal Nikolai Dzhumagaliev Only Spent 8 Years Behind Bars
In 1979, Nikolai Dzhumagaliev killed and cannibalized nine people. On August 21st, when he was drunk, he accidentally shot his colleague and was arrested. The Siberian Institute diagnosed him with schizophrenia but in less than a year he was released and returned to his home city of Uzunagach, Kazakhstan. He became known as “Metal Fang” because of his white metal teeth.
After his ninth murder, Dzhumagaliev was arrested again. He had invited several friends to his home, killed one of them and began to dismember the body in the next room. His guests fled in horror after they looked into the next room to find out what Dzhumagaliev was doing. When the police arrived, they found Dzhumagaliev on his knees, smeared with blood, naked and holding a hatchet.
The police were so shocked that he managed to flee the scene of the crime and was on the run until he was eventually arrested at his cousin’s house. After searching the house they also found a woman’s severed head.
In 1981, a new trial took into account his previous diagnosis of schizophrenia and he was declared insane. Dzhumagaliev was sent for treatment at the clinical hospital where he spent eight years until doctors claimed he was cured and could be released. Many skeptics believed that Dzhumagaliev will never be cured because of his cannibalistic instincts and that he should be kept behind bars for a very long time.
3. Cold-Blooded Killer Juha Valjakkala Now Lives Under A New Name
In 1988, 23-year-old Juha Valjakkala was traveling through Åmsele, Sweden, with his 21-year-old then-girlfriend Marita Routalammi. Around midnight, he stole a bicycle and was chased by the owner, Sten Nilsson and his 15-year-old son, Fredrik, to a local cemetery and when cornered, Valjakkala pulled out a shotgun and killed both of them.
Later when Sten’s wife and mother of Fredrick, Ewa Nilsson, went looking for them both, Valjakkala led her into the woods and slit her throat. Valjakkala and his girlfriend went on the run but they were caught in Odense, Denmark a week later.
During the trial, both Valjakkala and his girlfriend blamed each other for the murders. A psychiatric evaluation found Valjakkala was a psychopath and had extremely aggressive tendencies. The killings were also his twelfth criminal conviction. He was sentenced to life on three counts of murder, and his girlfriend received two years for complicity in assault and battery.
Valjakkala was given a life sentence on three counts of murder, while Routalammi received two years for complicity in assault and battery. Routalammi was released after serving half of her time, and Valjakkala was transferred to Finland to serve out the rest of his sentence.
In 2008, Valjakkala changed his name to Nikita Joakim Fouganthine. Then in the same year, the Supreme Court of Finland decided that he would be released with a suspended sentence in February 2009. In 2013, he changed his name once more to Nikita Bergenström and married his new wife, Alexandria.
2. Shooter Louis van Schoor Served Only Half Of His Sentence
In 1992, security guard and ex-policeman, Sybrand “Louis” van Schoor, was convicted for shooting 39 burglars over three years with a 9mm Parabellum. All the victims were either black or mixed race. After each shooting, it was ruled that he acted within the law and he never received a single caution from the police.
That was until April 1992, when he was finally bought to trial by the victim’s families for seven murders and two attempted murders. Found guilty of all crimes by Supreme Court, he was sentenced to jail in Fort Glamorgan Prison, East London, South Africa. He was branded South Africa’s “worst mass killer.”
Then in 2004, he was released having served only 12 of his 20 years in prison. He held a press conference and expressed how happy he was to be free and urged the public not to judge him on his past. Schoor stated, “To the families and friends of my victims, I apologize if my action caused any hurt and discomfort.”
1. Arnfinn Nesset Confessed To 27 Murders But Only Spent 12 Years Behind Bars
In 1977, Arnfinn Nesset was hired as a head nurse and manager at a large nursing home in Orkdal, Sør-Trøndelag Norway. Yet by 1981, there was a lot of suspicion over the number of deaths at the home. Nesset was questioned by police and he immediately confessed to the murders of 27 patients who he killed by injecting them with suxamethonium chloride which is a muscle relaxing drug.
Then as he was about to be charged with 25 counts of homicide, he retracted his confession and denied all charges which resulted in a six-month-long trial. The chief prosecutor, Olaf Jakhelln, described him as “an ambitious man, who wanted complete control over life and death (of his victims).”
He was finally convicted in 1983 of poisoning and killing 22 patients. Although prosectors believe the real victim count could have been as many as 132. He was sentenced to 21-years in prison which is the maximum term under Norwegian law. However, he was later released after serving just 12-years for good behavior. He is now living in an undisclosed location under a different name.