Here are our top 5 picks of the worst American serial killers of all time. We didn’t forget about all the other serial killers, these 5 were picked because of the number of victims or assumed number of victims. In some cases authorities were unable to prove the exact number of victims, but some of the killers admitted to killing horrific amounts of people, some even in the 100s.
Other notable American serial killers that almost made the list are below:
The Zodiac Killer – As many as 37 murders
The Zodiac Killer is one of the most notorious unidentified killers of the 20th century. In the late 1960s and early ‘70s, he murdered at least five people (though he claims to have killed 37), and, in the decades since, people have continued to collect facts about the Zodiac killer and speculate about his identity.
Richard Ramirez – As many as 25 murders and rapes
Born in El Paso, Texas, on February 29, 1960, Richard Ramirez was an American serial killer who over a two-year rampage raped and tortured more than 25 victims and murdered more than a dozen—most of them in their own homes. Dubbed the “Night Stalker,” Ramirez was turned on to Satanic worship at an early age by his cousin, a soldier who had recently returned from the war in Vietnam. Following a four-year trial, in 1989, Ramirez was convicted of 13 killings. He received the death penalty and was sent to San Quentin Prison in California. He died on June 7, 2013, at age 53.
Jeffrey Dahmer – As many as 17 murders
Jeffrey Dahmer was serial killer and sex offender, was born on May 21, 1960. Between the years of 1978 and 1991, Dahmer murdered 17 males. Rape, dismemberment, necrophilia, and cannibalism were involved in his murders. He was beaten to death on November 28, 1994 by an inmate at the Columbia Correctional Institution, where he had been incarcerated.
Dennis Rader – BTK – As many as 10 murders
Born in 1945 in Pittsburg, Kansas, Dennis Rader committed his first murders in 1974, strangling four members of the Otero family in their home. Later that year he began seeking fame for his killings, writing letters and reporting his crimes. His final crime was in 1991, but he resurfaced in 2004 and again sought media attention. This eventually led to his arrest. He pled guilty and was ordered to serve 10 life sentences in prison.
David Berkowitz – 6 murders
David Berkowitz is a serial killer who murdered six people in New York City in 1976–77, Berkowitz’s crimes plunged the city into a panic and unleashed one of the largest manhunts in New York history. Known as Son of Sam, Berkowitz was arrested on August 10, 1977, 11 days after his last murder, and was sentenced to 365 years in prison.