Serial killers are sinister human beings who act out their most twisted desires at the expense of another person’s life. Typically, they choose to kill alone – but what happens when two serial killers not only just meet…but also fall madly in love with each other?
Forensic psychologist Tom Powell, who spent more than a decade working for the Department of Corrections in Vermont, told NBC, “They see this as a viable way to strike back at the world. Through either enactment of fantasies in the privacy of their own home or use of pornography that might be on point to what their deviant interests might be.”
These following couples all decided to strike back at the world in the deadliest way possible…
12. James and Suzan Carson
Victim Count – 3
Michael and Susan Carzon became known as the “San Francisco Witch Killers” killed three victims between 1982 and 1983 in Northern California and the San Francisco Bay Area (although the actual victim count is believed to be much higher) had “evil energy.” They took a lot of drugs, lived on a pit farm and described themselves as “vegetarian Muslim warriors.”
Their first murder took place in 1981, they beat their roommate to death with a frying pan before stabbing her several times. They then killed at least two more people, in an attempt to rid the world of “witchcraft.” After they were caught they told officers they were forced to murder so evil spells could be broken. The detectives weren’t buying it and sentenced them both to 75 years to life in prison.
11. Paul Bernardo and Karla Homolka
Victim Count: 3
Canadians Karla Homolka and Paul Bernardo first met in 1987, two months later they were engaged – and within three years they had claimed their first victim. In 1990, Homolka decided to give her sister Tammy to Bernardo as a ‘Christmas present’, the young girl was drugged with tranquilizers, then strangled to death. They went on to abduct and murder two more teenage girls.
The pair would trick the young girls into a car with them, bring them back to their house and film themselves abusing her over a period of several days, before killing her and then later dumping her body.
When they finally stood trial, Homolka was seen as a victim of Bernardo and offered a plea bargain, meaning if she testified against her husband she would receive a manslaughter sentence and be sent to prison for only 12 years. While Bernardo remains in prison, Homolka was released in 2005; reports indicate she gave birth to a son in 2007 and currently lives in Quebec.
10. Gwendolyn Graham and Catherine May Wood
Victim Count – 5
Gwendolyn Graham and Catherine May Wood from Grand Rapids, Michigan, both worked as nurses at Alpine Manor when they fell for each other and began to play a dangerous game.
In 1987, they turned to killing the elderly patients, aged between 65 to 97 years old, as a thrill and attempted to spell out the name M.U.R.D.E.R using the first names of their victims. They only got to E instead spelling ‘MURDE.’
Wood eventually confessed the murders to her ex-husband after Graham was transferred to another hospital and Wood was worried the patients who were children would be harmed. The pair were arrested, Wood received twenty years behind bars and Graham got life in prison.
9. Ian Brady and Myra Hindley
Victim Count: 5
Ian Brady and Myra Hindley – the ‘Moors murderers’ – committed some of the most notorious crimes of the last century in England. In 1961, Hindley met Brady – who read Nietzsche, Mein Kampf and books on Nazi atrocities – at the chemical plant where they both worked, Hindley thought she’d found a kindred spirit.
Later, when Brady revealed his obsession with committing the ‘perfect murder’, Hindley was quick to comply. Their first victim, in 1963, was Pauline Reade, a 16-year old schoolfriend of Hindley’s sister. Hindley later claimed that she only lured the girl to Saddleworth Moor, waiting in her van while Brady killed the girl before the pair buried her. They murdered four more victims and Hindley delighted in carrying around a cord that she used to strangle one victim and playing with it in front of people.
With the death penalty abolished in England while Brady and Hindley were in custody, Hindley lived out the rest of her life in prison, dying of pneumonia in 2002, whereas Brady is still behind bars.
8. Alton Coleman and Debra Brown
Victim Count – 8
In 1984, Alton Coleman and Debra Brown went on a two-year killing spree, between six different states, that left eight people dead. Their relationship was like a master and slave scenario, with Coleman ruling over Brown.
The first three victims were aged between 7 and 9 years old before they moved on to an older couple who they attacked with a lead pipe. All of their victims were African-American who they befriended before killing them in cold blood.
They were finally caught when one victim managed to survive a brutal attack and testify in court. As their sinister crimes had been carried out in so many different states, the prosecution decided to leave their trial to Ohio where the worst punishment possible was the death penalty. Coleman was executed in 2002 and Brown’s sentence was reduced to life in prison.
7. Ray and Faye Copeland
Victim Count: 5 – 12
Ray and Faye Copeland killed five drifters at their Missouri farm during the 1980s. When they were convicted for the murders, Ray was 76-years-old and Faye was 69-years-old, which made them the oldest couple in America to receive the death penalty.
Ray was well-known for his fraudulent schemes, he hired the drifters to buy cattle with fake checks. Once the cattle had been bought, Ray would re-sell the livestock at a much higher price and then kill off the drifter. They were finally caught when one drifter spotted human remains at the farm and he reported this to the police.
Faye’s lawyers claimed that she had nothing to do with the murders and she was psychologically abused by her husband. That was until they discovered she had made a quilt out of the clothing belonging to the dead men. They both died behind bars.
6. Carol M. Bundy and Doug Clark
Victim Count: 7
Nicknamed “The Sunset Strip Killers”, Carol M. Bundy and Doug Clark went on a sexually charged killing spree around the Los Angeles area in the 1980s. Bundy first met Clark in a bar and he introduced himself as the “king of one-night stands.” They soon started living together after discovering they both shared dark sexual desires.
Clark murdered prostitutes and sickeningly bought the head of one of his victims home to Bundy as a twisted trophy. The pair used the head for sex games and then kept it in a box. He became jealous when Bundy began confessing their crimes to country singer Jack Murray who she fancied, Clark urged Bundy to murder her fling and she did just that – decapitating Murray in the back of a van after luring him there for sex.
Bundy finally broke down and confessed to her colleagues about her and Clark’s killing spree. They both received the death penalty and Clark is still behind bars, although Bundy died of heart failure aged 61-years-old.
5. Charles Starkweather and Caril Ann Fugate
Victim Count: 11
Teenage serial killers 19-year-old Charles Starkweather and 14-year-old Caril Ann Fugate went on a two-month killing spree in the late 1950s that shocked the nation. They murdered eleven people in the states of Nebraska and Wyoming and their crimes inspired the film Natural Born Killers.
They finally caught when motorists witnessed a heated argument between the two as they were fighting on the side of a busy road. When the Deputy Sheriff approached the couple, Fugate ran towards him screaming, “He’s going to kill me!”
In 1959, Starkweather was executed aged just 20-years-old and Fugate now lives under a new name in Michigan.
4. Fred and Rosemary West
Victim Count: 12
Fred and Rose West met at a caravan park when she was around 16-years-old. Rose worked as a prostitute at her husband’s insistence, and often while he watched. She regularly fell pregnant by both her husband and her customers, giving birth to eight children in total, as well as looking after Fred’s daughter and stepdaughter from previous marriages.
In 1973, the pair were fined for the indecent assault of beauty queen Caroline Roberts, who was abducted and raped before escaping their house. Soon the couple realized that if they wished to continue their crimes, their victims should not be allowed to live to tell the tale.
Their usual tactic was to offer a woman on the street a lift home, take her back to their house and murder her, before burying her body in their cellar or back garden. Rose West’s gender was crucial in allowing the pair to commit their crimes; women traveling alone at night were more likely to accept a lift from a couple than from a single male driver.
Finally, in 1995, they were convicted of murder and sentenced to life. Fred killed himself while in custody pending his trial and Rose will live out the rest of her days behind bars.
3. Raymond Fernandez and Martha Beck
Victim Count: up to 20
Raymond Fernandez and Martha Beck became known as “The Lonely Hearts Killers” after luring their unsuspecting victims through lonely hearts ads in the late 1940s. It is believed during their murder spree they killed as many as twenty women.
Fernandez enjoyed the way Beck loved him unconditionally, she even left her own children behind so she could be with him. When they lured the girls back to their home, she posed as Fernandez’s sister, and the victims felt safe knowing there was another woman in the house, so they agreed to stay the night. They buried the bodies in the basement, but when the families of victims became concerned they were missing, the police managed to tie the disappearances to the couple.
They both received the death penalty and were sent to the electric chair. Before their deaths Fernandez cried out, “I wanna shout it out; I love Martha! What do the public know about love?” Beck also confessed her love as she said, “My story is a love story. But only those tortured by love can know what I mean. I am not unfeeling, stupid or moronic. I am a woman who had a great love and always will have it. Imprisonment in the Death House has only strengthened my feeling for Raymond.”
2. Inessa Tarverdiyeva and Roman Podkopaev
Victim Count: At least 30
Married Russian couple Inessa Tarverdiyeva and Roman Podkopaev murdered at least 30 people during their six-year reign of terror. Shockingly, Inessa’s two daughters from her first marriage, 25-year-old Viktoria Tarverdiyeva, and 13-year-old daughter Anastasiya, also took part in all the crimes.
Inessa claimed, “I am a gangster by nature” and carried out robberies, targeting homes of rich families, as her daily job. In 2009, the family murdered a paratrooper, Dmitry Chudakov, his wife Irina, and their two children – 11-year-old Vernokia and 7-year-old Sasha, 7. They were killed with a semi-automatic rifle, but the 11-year-old daughter was stabbed nearly forty times before she died. All the Tarverdiyeva family got away with was a camera, laptop and hair dryer.
Other victims included Inessa’s own Goddaughters. She knew their father enjoying hunting and had a collection of guns in the house. The family tortured the two teenage girls and gouged their eyes out before stealing the weapons. The family would often say they were away on camping trips when they were actually carrying out their sinister crimes.
Eventually, they were captured by the police. The father, Roman Podkopaev, died during the shootout with police but Inessa and her daughters are currently serving their sentences in prison.
1. Henry Lee Lucas and Ottis Toole
Victim Count: 6 – 300
Companions and lovers Henry Lee Lucas and Ottis Toole were self-confessed serial killers. For Lucas growing up, he had a troubled childhood full of violence, his mother forced him into cross-dressing that caused him to be rejected by all of his peers. Even more disturbingly, his mother was a working prostitute who would force Lucas to watch her with clients.
Toole grew up innocent enough but when he met Lucas he was swayed towards murder and joined him as an accomplice during his killing sprees. Lucas’ first kill was strangling to death 17-year-old Laura Burnsley, who had refused his sexual advances.
The pair met at a soup kitchen and Toole later confessed to joining Lucas in 108 murders and Lucas confessed to more than 360 murders – the actual victim count is still unknown.
Toole died behind bars of cirrhosis in 1996. Lucas was sentenced to death row, but in 2001, he was found dead in prison from heart failure – aged 64-years-old. His grave in Texas was left unmarked due to threats of vandalism.