Disabled Serial Killers You’ve Never Heard About

This might surprise you, but serial killers don’t come in a one-size fits all category. Are you worried that you might be serial murdered by that weird-looking, white, middle-aged male who lives next door? Don’t worry! Statistically you’re just as likely to be bludgeoned to death by the pimply-faced kid across the street. Oddly enough, even the disabled commit murder on a grand scale. Here are a few disabled serial killers (and a few other plain murderers) you’ve never heard about.

Remember the “Blade Runner” from the 2008 Paralympics? His name was Oscar Pistorius. The guy won the gold medal for the 100 and 400-meter sprint way back in 2012, too. But that wasn’t enough for the double-amputee, who went on to kill his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp. His defense? He believed she was an intruder. 

And now for an actual serial killer: Seisaku Nakamura. If his Japanese name wasn’t cool enough all by itself, he was deaf. That didn’t stop him from successfully killing at least nine people nearly a century ago. He was only 14 years old when he began the spree with the rape and murder or two women. He was eventually caught because unlike more successful serial killers, he was not careful — and killed those closest to him, including his dad, brother and sister, and the brother’s wife and kid. He was executed after a guilty verdict.

Ready for an interesting one? In August 2001, a man named Baljit Singh Buttar was shot several times. According to witnesses at the scene, his brains had spilled all over the floor. But get this — Buttar survived. He would live the rest of his life in a care facility because he was blind and bound to a wheel-chair because of quadriplegia. But…that didn’t stop him from confessing to a number of hits after his change in scenery. The authorities tried and convicted him for murder conspiracy. He was confined to the care facility, where he died a decade ago. 

Three deaf and mentally impaired housemates named Jake Fairest, Warwick Toohey and Georgia Fields conspired to kill their friend Robert Right by throwing him off a second-floor balcony. The fall was far enough, because Robert died. CCTV footage of the incident actually showed the conversation that preceded the murder, because it was conducted using sign language. The three housemates discussed what the best way to murder Robert might be, and they all landed on “fall good.” None would ever see a jail cell. Fairest and Toohey were confined to another treatment facility while Fields would spend the rest of her life at home.

Why do the disabled commit murder? Maybe they’re angry at society. Maybe they’re pissed off that all the SSDI appeals have run dry. Maybe they want to show that they can commit murder just as skillfully as anyone else. Or maybe — and more likely — people are crazy whether disabled or not. Serial killers come in all shapes, sizes, genders, and ethnicities. They operate all over the world. And we’re here to unlock some of their greatest mysteries. 

Foreign Serial Killers You’ve Never Heard About: PART 2

We previously asked why Americans are so obsessed with serial killers, and later why Americans are so obsessed with their own serial killers, and then why we don’t talk about how many insane foreign serial killers stalk citizens of their own countries overseas. In part one of our series on foreign serial killers, we discussed a Colombian with hundreds of murders under his belt — who will likely be released from prison before his 2,000-year sentence has expired — and a man aptly named the “Terminator” for snuffing out entire families in a single night.

Alexander Pichushkin’s body count isn’t quite as high as some of the others we’ve named, but he makes our list on the sheer creep factor alone. We don’t know quite how far he made it, but the goal was to murder enough people to fill the squares on a chessboard (that’s 68, for all of you non-fans out there). But he believed in baby steps, so there were other goals along the way. For example, he wanted to surpass the body count of the Rostov Ripper who had killed 53 women and children. Child’s play, if you will.

Pichushkin was especially creepy because of the sexual nature of the crimes, which he called a “perpetual orgasm.” He would routinely kill older homeless men, leaving the bottle of vodka he shared with them inside of their skulls after bludgeoning them to death. At least they enjoyed a last drink before they met their maker. After his arrest in 2006, he was kept in a glass cage during the trial, which resulted in a verdict of life in prison.

Yang Xinhai was a Chinese serial killer who would use axes, meat cleavers and, when he got bored, shovels to take out entire families. It is believed he killed more than 300 people from the years 2000 to 2003 after he experienced an especially bad breakup. He said, “I have no desire to be part of society. Society is not my concern.”

How Does Society Define A Serial Killer?

We probably all have our own individual definition of what “makes” a serial killer. Ask someone the definition of “serial killer” and they’ll probably give a simplistic answer: a guy who kills a lot of people. But from a purely scientific point of view, there have been female serial killers too. The FBI defines a serial killer as a person who has killed three or more murders in more than a month. There is generally an “emotional cooling off” in between kills.

Why is this the definition? It’s actually simple to understand. The FBI doesn’t want to lump one-time mass murderers and super shooters in the same category as the people who plan more methodical killing sprees over a longer time period. There are a couple reasons for this. First, someone who commits mass murder in a single day is usually caught or killed very fast — and serial killers are usually smart enough to evade capture for longer periods of time.

Second, serial killers are active over a longer period of time because they like what they’re doing. One-time mass murderers might have planned everything out, but they’re usually people venting against society. Serial killers don’t really fit the same mold.

There are four types of serial killers. The “visionary” generally believes that he has been purposed to kill by a higher power. These guys are usually your run-of-the-mill whack jobs who hear voices. 

The “mission-oriented” killer does so in order to dispatch a certain marginalized group in society. For example, if a white guy searches out only African American victims, he’s all about the mission. Another sicko.

The “hedonistic” serial killer is in it for personal pleasure. These are the guys (or gals) who liken the act of killing to an orgasm. These killers are more likely to rape, torture, or steal a wad of cash before they off the victim. 

The “power” hungry serial killer is in it because murder makes him feel like he’s in control. He’s doing it to dominate and subjugate victims, who might be younger or older, because plain ‘ol S&M just doesn’t do it for him. 

Herbert Mullin was a “visionary” serial killer who operated between 1972 and 1973, when he killed 13 people. He thought the voices in his head would cause an earthquake in California if these particular people weren’t sacrificed for the greater good. The fantasy was a bit more elaborate, of course.

You see, Mullin thought that the earthquake had always been a threat. It was only staved off due to the perpetual bloodshed around the same time, i.e. the Vietnam War. When the war began to taper off around 1972, it was up to him to keep the sacrifices going. 

Serial killers target anyone and everyone (ask these lawyers: https://www.socalinjurylawyers.com/) from the young to the old. They usually escape detection for long periods of time because they have the tendency to commit murder infrequently and without any obvious pattern. The lack of evidence doesn’t give detectives much to go on, and the longer a serial killer is operational, the better he gets at his “craft.”

Foreign Serial Killers You’ve Never Heard About

International news is one of the most popular segments in mainstream media — but it’s usually dominated by cycles about Russia, China, or the Middle East. Rarely do we hear about what’s going on in smaller African or South American countries. Even more rarely than that do we hear about individuals who cause a big stir. Serial killers certainly live and breathe outside of the United States, and citizens of other countries find them just as scary as we do here.

Luis Garavito was a Colombian mass-murderer with a body count so high we’re not even sure of the exact number. Specialists theorize it could be as high as 300, but we’ve confirmed that Garavito has killed at least 138 people. They were all young boys. He raped, tortured, and killed them all. Although sentenced to nearly 2,000 years in prison, he’ll probably be released early because Colombia doesn’t let anyone stew in a cell for more than three decades. Oh, and Garavito wants to jump into politics upon release. Maybe he’ll be the Colombian Donald Trump!

Pedro Rodrigues (or the Pedrinho Matador) killed over 100 people between the years 1966 and 1973 — but if that seems like it was a long time ago, keep in mind he was only 14 when the first body dropped. Apparently, the guy doesn’t want anyone else to rival his killer skills. He stated that he would kill anyone with a bodycount as high or higher than his.

Anatoly Onoprienko killed at least 52 people in only seven years, and he obtained the nickname the “Beast of Ukraine” as a result. He is also sometimes called “The Terminator.” He was arrested for the murders in 1995. Why did he do it? According to him, the voices in his head told him to. He was known to have killed entire families as part of a ritual. He died in prison from heart failure.

Why Are Americans Obsessed With Serial Killer Cases And Trials?

Americans have a penchant for being a little more interested in certain types of artistic material. Take The Walking Dead or Game of Thrones for example — or literally any other post-apocalyptic, dystopian, or downright depressing story. We love them. Dexter was the story of a serial killer who murdered only people who really deserved it (with one or two mistakes and deviations along the way). Why do we find these stories so very compelling? Do we have a secret desire to live and survive in one of these worlds?

Teaching Fellow at University of Law David Green said, “The reasons people are obsessed with crime generally and true documentaries specifically are multi-faceted. One of the key reasons that students are drawn to study criminal law and why I believe the public are drawn to true crime documentaries is the human interest factor. Crime can affect any of us, regardless of age, gender, ethnicity or social status. It can happen at random and when it does happen, can devastate people’s lives.”

And therein might lie the key: it’s a psychological interest we have with people who are different — or at least when those differences lead to disaster. It could be that deep-seated fear of anything different that causes our interest in these types of criminal cases over, say, personal injury cases (just ask https://koonz.com/).

Like it or not, bad news is something we all find exciting. Humans have this intrinsic need to break what works or cause chaos to break up the peace — even though peace is something for which we all say we strive. Are we really so self-destructive? The answer is probably “yes.”

Psychologist Dr. Meg Arroll explained that “true crime stories allow us to explore the darker side of nature in a safe way.” Even watching shows that explore this dark underworld can “trigger chemical reactions in our bodies,” she said, “while also affirming our moral views about right and wrong.”

Others believe we adopt this interest not because of an inherent self-destructive flaw, but for exactly the opposite reason: we do it to protect ourselves and the ones we love the most. Author Caitlin Rother said, “We want some insight into the psychology of a killer, partly so we can learn to protect our families and ourselves, but also because we are simply fascinated by aberrant behaviour and the many paths that twisted perceptions can take.”

This perspective justifies our love of documentaries that dig into the minds of serial killers, but what about the aforementioned dystopian films and TV shows that are increasingly popular? Do they teach us something about the minds of killers? After all, they’re just imagined realities by writers who aren’t necessarily specialized in real-world subjects that parallel the ones they write about.

Green said, “It’s clear we’re a nation of true crime addicts. The popularity of this genre can be due to our natural human interest making us curious about the dark and the different, but it’s fascinating to see it can also be because we want to learn how to protect ourselves from harm.”

 

The Crimes We Were All Obsessed With: PART 2

Earlier this month we launched a series on the crimes that become a media spectacle and soak up much of the public’s attention — even though they don’t have much long-term relevance for any of us. Society has the tendency to focus on what seems most traumatic instead of what is most important (say, regional murders over war for example), which is why we want to explore what makes these criminals hold our attention. Here is the next batch of crazy people.

Drew Peterson’s wife disappeared in October 2007 — and it made the national news because Drew was an Illinois police officer. That probably wasn’t what gave the story the right flavor to turn into an overnight sensation. It was more likely that we were attracted to the fact that his third wife was also murdered four years earlier. In 2009, Drew was charged with two counts of murder for both his wives. He was sentenced to 38 years in prison after being found guilty of the first wife’s murder, but then sweetened the deal with another guilty verdict in 2016 after he tried to hire an assassin to take out the prosecutor who put him in prison.

Police arrested Nathaniel Kibby, a man who had kidnapped, imprisoned, and sexually assaulted a 14-year-old girl for nine months beginning in October, 2013. The trial demonstrated how Kibby had kept the young girl in a storage container until he became paranoid that the police were onto him — so he finally let her go, only to be arrested not long thereafter. He pleaded guilty in 2016 and was sentenced to up to 90 years in prison.

25-year-old Cheyanne Jessie was arrested for her parents’ murders within a day of reporting their disappearance. Investigators had discovered that Jessie had killed both in her father’s house nearly two months before she filed the initial report — but that she had transferred them to a storage container. Pro tip: they always find evidence when you move the bodies.

The Second Impeachment Trial Of President Donald J. Trump

Barely a week has passed since Republicans voted to acquit Donald J. Trump after his historic second impeachment — and on the somewhat flimsy basis that you couldn’t impeach or convict a former president, which, of course, you absolutely can — and already there is a massive Wikipedia page devoted to sifting through every small detail of the case. Why was Trump impeached a second time?

For months, he lied to constituents by claiming he had won the 2020 election and that Biden only claimed victory because of millions of illegal votes. Of course, he had said he would do exactly this before Election Day even occurred.

It was still surprising to some people when Trump’s frenzied followers marched on the Washington D.C. Capitol with clear intention to harm senators or even the vice president. Trump showed little remorse, and reports actually suggest he was happy to see his followers out in force. This has led to friction between him and the former vice president but, more importantly, it also led to a whirlwind impeachment.

Theoretically, the trial could have occurred before Trump left office, but Republican Senator Mitch McConnell nixed plans to call the Senate back from recess — and then famously voted to acquit based on the conditions he himself had created.

Interestingly, McConnell still had something to say: “President Trump is still liable for everything he did while he was in office as an ordinary citizen. There’s no question — none — that President Trump is practically and morally responsible for provoking the events of the day. No question about it. The people that stormed this building believed they were acting on the wishes and instructions of their president… He didn’t get away with anything yet. Yet.”

Trump was asked to testify, but refused. The letter to the president also pointed out that presidents and former presidents had testified before — including Bill Clinton — and that there are no laws on the books to prevent this. Trump’s lawyers called the request a “public relations stunt.”

Five people ultimately died during the Capitol insurrection, including one police officer who was assaulted with a fire extinguisher, one rioter who was shot trying to reach the building, another who allegedly died of a heart attack after accidentally tazing himself in the testicles, and two more police officers who committed suicide following the day’s events. Trump might still be culpable for all of this, but Republicans still decided to acquit him of abusing his power while in office — which, legally, he’s been doing the entire time, potentially breaking dozens if not hundreds of laws.

Ultimately, 48 Democrats, two Independents, and seven Republicans voted to convict the former president. 43 Republicans voted not guilty. This was the expected outcome, but much of the country still watched in horror that someone so blatantly guilty of the outlined crimes could get away with them.

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The Crimes We Were All Obsessed With

There are big crimes, and then there are big crimes — the ones that society is obsessed with as opposed to the ones that really matter. You know the type: OJ Simpson and Aaron Hernandez, Casey Anthony and Nathaniel Kibby, and the list goes on and on. You won’t recognize every name on this list, of course, but that’s what makes it so fun. These were the “biggest” crimes committed in recent living memory.

An entire family vanished without a trace on February 4, 2010 — at least for three years, when the bodies of Joseph McStay, his wife, and their two children were discovered in the desert. Police charged Joseph’s business partner with their kidnappings and deaths.

Another couple were found murdered on March 6, 2015 in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina (a popular vacation destination for those living on the East Coast). It only took the police three days to track down Alexander Turner (the couple’s son) and his girlfriend to charge them with the fatalities. Alexander pleaded guilty. 

Have you ever heard of the Slender Man? Anissa Weier and Morgan Geyser confessed to the police that they had stabbed their friend, 12-year-old Payton Leutner, nineteen times because they were worried about becoming the Slender Man’s next victim (and you can look up this legend with a simple Google search). Although the pair of stabbers was arrested, they were found not guilty because of mental impairment.

Ohhhh, Casey Anthony — what a saga, and may the gods help you if you experienced it through Nancy Grace’s somewhat biased eyes. It was Casey’s mother, Cindy, who first called the police to report that Casey had stolen her car and a few dollars on top of that. Later, she made another call when she admitted that Casey’s daughter was also missing. It was six months later when two-year-old Caylee’s remains were finally located near the home. It was a shock to many when Casey was eventually found “not guilty” of the murder.

The Salem Witch Trials

When we say the “biggest trials of the century,” keep in mind we didn’t say which century. Every generation of people have their own historical horror stories, and we like to unpack the most interesting ones. What could be more interesting than a literal witch hunt? We’ll discuss why witchcraft has always been on the mind of the Christian faith and what the unfortunate young women of Salem did to seal their fate.

What do you expect to see when you buy tickets to a magic show? More than likely, you know you’ll see masterful illusions and slight of hand. You don’t expect to see more fantastical instances of magic ripped straight from television shows like Game of Thrones. But early Christians believed in magic — and they believed that witches were responsible for conjuring the devil.

The Bible itself sows the seeds that would blossom into hate later. Deuteronomy 18:11-12 said that those who would “[cast] spells, or who is a medium or spiritist or who consults the dead. Anyone who does these things is detestable to the Lord.” Another passage from Exodus says that those who partake in witchcraft should be put to death.

There are numerous other theories as to why the belief in witchcraft became so strong. Although the very belief in witchcraft was outlawed by Christian authorities in the Early Middle Ages, eventually things changed. They changed so much, in fact, that by the end of the Middle Ages and well into the next era, tens of thousands of people (mostly women) were accused of witchcraft or practicing magic, and sentenced to die. 

In 1692, several girls accused many local women of witchcraft — suggesting that because of these women, they had been possessed. The first cases were heard in June of that year, when the first woman was sentenced to die by hanging. Over one hundred people were accused of witchcraft in the following months, and at least 18 were tried and convicted and sentenced to die. 

Of course, like all things in the real world that seem too fantastical to be true, the hysteria was likely based on medical ignorance. Earlier the same year, 9-year-old Elizabeth Parris and 11-year-old Abigail Williams began showing strange symptoms. They would explode into fits and screams. A local doctor decided they had been bewitched. It wasn’t like they had a slip and fall attorney to argue on their behalf or suggest that perhaps they were pretending or should be diagnosed with some other strange disease.

Soon, other girls began to show the same symptoms. Many of these girls accused a slave, Tituba, an older woman named Sarah Osborn, and a homeless woman named Sarah Good of doing the deed.

Strangely, Tituba confessed to the inevitable interrogation. Historians believe it most likely that she wanted to avoid the end-of-life punishments usually doled out to witches by informing on others. Each subsequent batch of women involved a confession and informant, which is why so many were named. 

Surprisingly, those involved in putting forth the Salem Witch trials seemed genuinely appalled by their actions. Restitution was paid to the surviving family members by 1711. We haven’t even managed to pay restitution to African Americans for enslaving them for centuries, so maybe we could learn something! 

These Are The Weirdest Trials Ever

The United States is well known for strange, archaic state laws that were never stripped from the books. But we’re also known for our lack of tolerance — whether direct actions affect us or not. We’re also known for settling disputes by filing frivolous lawsuits for huge sums of money. Allegedly, anyway. Here are some of the strangest lawsuits that resulted in a jury trial. None of them resulted in criminal charges. 

Erasmus University in Rotterdam allegedly kicked out a student because of his smelly feet. According to the university’s lawyers, Teunis Tenbrook’s feet smelled so bad that staff couldn’t function at the extraordinarily high level expected of them. The suit took ten years to play out before a judge said that Rotterdam’s staff was not legally allowed to expel due to foot odor.

A D.C. judge brought a pair of pants to the local dry cleaner in 2005, but the dry cleaner accidentally sent them to a different location during the cleaning process. They were retrieved, but the judge refused to accept the clothing. Instead, he decided to sue the dry cleaner to the tune of $67 million by arguing that the owners had not delivered on their “satisfaction guaranteed” promise while potentially violating a consumer protection law. He lost the case and has not been reappointed to his position. 

Remember the TV show Dexter? One New York woman sued Showtime after she fell down the stairs after viewing the advertisement of actor Michael C. Hall wrapped in cellophane. Showtime’s representatives claimed that because the fall was not predictable (unlike hot coffee being hot), they were not responsible for what happened. They also contended that they were not morally or civilly obligated to provide protection from the advertisement. A judge ultimately dismissed the case. 

Magician David Roller claimed that David Copperfield had pilfered his patented divine abilities — but failed to prove in court that he had a patent or the divine abilities that might require such a patent. The case was dismissed after the suit was amended to claim that Copperfield had conspired to have him killed. Roller is no longer legally allowed to file lawsuits.