6. The Harpe Brothers Are America’s First Serial Killers
Micajah “Big” Harpe and Wiley “Little” Harpe, were serial killers and river pirates, who carried out their crimes in Tennessee, Kentucky, Illinois, and Mississippi during the late 18th century. Many claim they are America’s first serial killers who were responsible for the murders of 39 people, or possibly more, as there were 50 other unsolved murders which could have been connected to them.
In 1797, the Harpes brothers were living near Knoxville, Tennessee but they had been driven from the town after they were caught stealing hogs and horses. They were also accused of murdering a man named Johnson, whose body had been found in a river – the torso ripped open and weighted down with stones. This would soon be the “signature” of the Harpes brothers and how they often disposed of corpses.
They soon became known as vicious killers who would butcher someone at the slightest provocation – even their own children. It has been said that Big Harpe bashed his own daughter’s head against a tree because she cried too much. This was also the only crime he ever showed genuine remorse for.
Eventually, they were caught and confessed to killing 39 people. Big Harpe was shot dead and Little Harpe was executed by hanging in 1804.
5. The Sawney Bean Family Were A Family of Killers and Cannibals
Alexander “Sawney” Bean was the head of a 48-member clan in 15th- or 16th-century Scotland, who killed, and ate, over 1,000 people. He lived with an unnamed woman and together they had eight sons, six daughters, eighteen grandsons and fourteen granddaughters. Many members of the family were products of incest and not fit for regular labor. Instead, they chose to survive by ambushing small groups of travelers during the night.
They would kill those they ambushed and drag their bodies back to their cave, where they were dismembered and eaten. Often the discarded body parts would be thrown from the cave and left to wash up on the nearby shores.
Locals were not happy with their barbaric behavior and organized searches to find the cave. Frustration led to townsfolk accusing each other of the murders refusing to believe the family existed. Then King James VI of Scotland (later James I of England) had heard of the crimes and lead a manhunt with a team of 400 men and several bloodhounds. They eventually found the cave and scattered remains of past victims.
The family was taken to the town in chains and executed. The men had their genitalia cut off, hands and feet severed causing them to bleed to death; the women and children were made to watch the men die first, they were burned alive.
4. The Bever Brothers Stabbed Their Family To Death
In 2015, five members of the Bever family were found murdered at their Broken Arrow, Oklahoma home. The bodies of parents, 52-year-old David and 44-year-old April, were discovered with 66 stab wounds between them, 12-year-old Daniel had been killed by nine stab wounds, 7-year-old Christopher died after suffering six stab wounds and 5-year-old Victoria had been killed by seven stab wounds. 13-year-old Crystal survived and she identified the two killers to be her 18-year-old brother Robert and 16-year-old brother Michael.
There was a lack of motive behind the boys’ crimes. They had both been home educated and neighbors claimed the family kept themselves away from others – the children were rarely allowed to mingle with others. Other neighbors commented that they had only come to know the names of the family members when the murders were printed in the press.
The brothers admitted they had killed their family, they also revealed that they had a desire to kill for quite awhile but their original idea was to stage a school shooting somewhere close by. The very next day after the killings, 3000 rounds of ammunition had been delivered to the house that is believed to have been ordered by the brothers. They were both charged with five counts of first-degree murder and one count of assault and battery with intent to kill.
3. Linda and Charlotte Mulhall Became Known As The “Scissor Sisters”
Dublin-born sisters Linda and Charlotte Mulhall killed and dismembered Kenyan immigrant Farah Swaleh Noor in 2005. Noor was killed as he was struck with a hammer swung by Linda and then stabbed with a Stanley Knife by Charlotte. They killed him after an argument over him dating their mother, Kathleen Mulhall. They also sliced off his head and penis then dumped his dismembered corpse in the Royal Canal, Dublin.
Ten days later, his leg had been found floating in the river and the body was still wearing a sock. Neither the head and penis of Noor were never recovered – the girls late admitted they had disposed of these body parts in rubbish bins around Dublin.
The sisters were arrested and they both admitted to their involvement in the murder. The media attention landed them the name “Scissor Sisters”. Their mother fled to England and their father, John Mulhall, hung himself in Phoenix Park, shortly after they were both charged. The judge labeled the killings: “The most grotesque killing that has occurred in my professional lifetime”. Charlotte Mulhall was given the mandatory life sentence and Linda Mulhall was given a 15-year sentence for manslaughter, they were both sent to Mountjoy Women’s prison in Dublin.
2. Alex and Derek King Killed When They Were Just 12 and 13
In 2001, in Pensacola, Florida, brothers 12-year-old Alex and 13-year-old Derek King, murdered their father, 40-year-old Terry King, after bludgeoning him to death with a baseball bat. Convicted child molester, 41-year-old Ricky Chavis, was also sentenced to a maximum of 30-years in prison after helping the young boys cover up the murder.
After the boys had killed their father, they set their home on fire, called Chavis who came to pick them up, then washed their clothes and hid from the police at his house. His lawyer called his sentence “disproportionate” when compared to the maximum eight-year sentence the King brothers received for the murder. The boys, who were on trial separately, both pleaded guilty to third-degree murder and served their sentences in separate juvenile facilities.
1. Erik and Lyle Menendez Were Sentenced To Life Without Parole
The case of the Menendez brothers shocked and gripped America in equal measure in the Nineties. The brothers murdered their rich parents in August 1989, when Lyle was 21-years-old and Erik was 18-years-old, planning the whole thing to make it look like some kind of ultra-violent Mafia hit. They had – according to their own defense – suffered years of abuse at the hands of their mega-rich parents, so after it became too much, they banded together to defend themselves in a fatal way.
However, as was revealed during their highly televised trial in 1993, the truth of the matter was somewhat different. They shot their father Jose and mother Mary in cold blood one evening in the family’s home in Beverly Hills, and then went out to the movies with their friends so that they’d have an alibi. For a while, this story worked out for them, regardless of the suspiciously lavish spending that ensued in the months following the parricide. However, soon enough, Erik confessed the crimes to his psychologist, L. Jerome Oziel. After being threatened by Lyle, Oziel talked about the murder of his parents to a girlfriend, who went on to report it to the police. The cops then moved in for the arrest, with the brothers facing trial in 1993, live on the newly launched Court TV.
Before millions of mesmerized viewers, Lyle stated that he would miss his dog as much as his parents and Erik revealed that he “felt love for his mother when he placed the shotgun in her cheek.” Despite such shocking admissions, the two juries in the first trial ended up being deadlocked, requiring a second trial to be held. This time, with less media attention, they were found guilty and sentenced to life without parole. Yet perhaps more startling than the lateness of this decision or the crime itself is the news that behind bars, both brothers have now apparently found love, marrying pen pals and enjoying the kind of intimacy they didn’t quite have with their parents.