14 Famous Criminals Who Were Murdered In Prison

For some criminals, the notoriety that comes with getting caught for horrific offenses is exactly what they want. The newspaper articles, biographies, and constant attention provide certain offenders with a sense of purpose as if they are celebrities who will have their names remembered long after they’re gone. Ultimately, though, gaining notoriety has plenty of downsides. For some offenders, fame is what leads to their untimely passing within the walls of a prison.

The men on this list have proven that maintaining a low profile in prison is better than having a famous name, since being well-known for their heinous actions is what got many of these offenders a death sentence not ordered by the legal system.


  • On October 30, 2018, notorious Boston gangster James Joseph "Whitey" Bulger was killed at US Penitentiary Hazelton in Virginia. Bulger was serving a life sentence for his involvement in 11 homicides. He topped the FBI's most-wanted list for 16 years until his 2011 arrest. A jury sentenced him in 2013.

    Three anonymous people briefed on the prison incident told The Boston Globe that a "fellow inmate with Mafia ties" is responsible for Bulger's passing. 

    • Age: Dec. at 89
    • Birthplace: Dorchester, Boston, Massachusetts, United States of America
  • Albert DeSalvo was better known as the confessed "Boston Strangler," who killed 13 women. While DeSalvo never ended up in jail for the strangulations, he served a prison sentence for being a serial rapist. DeSalvo attempted to escape from prison, but the escape was short-lived.

    In 1973, Robert Wilson was suspected of DeSalvo's stabbing, but he was never convicted.

    • Age: Dec. at 42 (1931-1973)
    • Birthplace: Chelsea, Boston, Massachusetts
  • John Geoghan, a Catholic priest, was accused of sexually abusing more than 130 children over 30 years in six different parishes. He was charged in 1991, defrocked in 1998, and sentenced to prison in 2002. In 2003, Geoghan was fatally strangled by white supremacist Joseph Druce.

    Since Druce allegedly planned out the attack on Geoghan well in advance, many believe that officers sanctioned Geoghan's homicide.

    • Age: Dec. at 68 (1935-2003)
  • Jeffrey Dahmer
    Photo: Milwaukee Police Department / Wikipedia / Fair Use

    Jeffrey Dahmer is one of the most infamous serial killers in history, most known for his cannibalism of men between 1978 and 1991. Once he was caught, he was placed into solitary confinement to ensure that his fellow inmates wouldn't hurt him.

    However, when he was let into the general prison population, there were multiple attempts on his life. While on a work detail with Christopher Scarver, Dahmer and another inmate, Jesse Anderson, were killed by Scarver in 1994. Scarver used a piece of equipment from a weight room and claimed guards allowed it to happen. According to Scarver, he wasn't motivated by Dahmer's crimes but by his tendency to annoy other inmates by replicating severed limbs with food items.

    • Age: Dec. at 34 (1960-1994)
    • Birthplace: West Allis, Wisconsin, United States of America