Everyone has heard of John Wayne Gacy Jr. and Ted Bundy, but for every high profile serial killer, there are dozens of others who murdered without the fame. There's a common misconception that there aren't many active serial killers around today, due to advancing technology and how easily one would get caught. According to former FBI chief John Douglas, there are between 25 and 50 active serial killers in the US today. Fortunately, some of these murderers have been arrested - so why don't we hear about it?
A lot of the time it has to do with the media. At one time, cases became sensational, and the names of serial killers were all over headline news. Since that time, the media has made a deliberate move to prevent serial killers from becoming celebrities by not giving them the attention that they used to do. Because of this, there are many unknown serial killers. This list includes just such cases.
Donald "Pee Wee" Gaskins was arguably one of the most depraved serial killers the world has ever seen. Born in 1933, he eventually earned the title of "meanest man in America." Gaskins dropped out of school at the age of 11, which is when he started breaking into homes, robbing them, hiring sex workers, and sexually violating other children.
By the time he was 13, he was sent to a juvenile detention center for attacking a girl while attempting to burglarize her home. He was released when he was 18. It wasn't long after his release that he was sent to prison for attempted murder. While there, Gaskins killed another inmate to gain respect from fellow prisoners. Throughout the years, Gaskins would escape from prison, or get an eventual release, only to commit additional acts of robbery, rape, and murder.
Gaskins would torture some of his victims for days on end, often cannibalizing them while they were still alive, forcing the victims to watch while he ate parts of their body, and sometimes, force them to eat their own body parts. One of Gaskins's victims was a pregnant woman with a two-year-old daughter. Gaskins assaulted and killed the mother in front of the child, and then sodomized and killed the child. He would use a hearse to move and dispose of the bodies of his victims.
For a six-year period, Gaskins would violate, torture and murder without discrimination. He ended up being convicted of nine murders but confessed to over 100. A jury sentenced him to death for the crimes, and before his execution was to take place, he attempted to slit his wrists so the state would be unable to kill him. His plan didn't work, and he was bandaged up and executed via electric chair in 1991. He was 56 years old.
In the mid 1970s, gay men were being murdered with their bodies left in trash bags along California highways. The man responsible was Patrick Kearney, an electronics engineer with an IQ of 180. Kearney would lure in young boys and men - anywhere between the ages of 5 and 28 - kill them, sexually assault the bodies, and then chop them up and wrap them in garbage bags he unceremoniously left on the sides of freeways. Police were able to link Kearney to the crimes when one of his last victims was reported as being seen with him just before disappearing. Police were able to tie Kearney to two murders, but they believed there were more. They were right.
The cops offered Kearney a deal: if he came clean to all the murders, he would not receive a death sentence. Kearney initially confessed to an additional 18 murders, but the list continued to grow, with a final count being at 32. Police were able to confirm 21 of those murders. Some police believe he could have killed as many as 43 people.
Some think it wasn't Kearney who committed these atrocities. Kearney lived with his partner, David Hill, who was also suspected to be involved in the murders. There is speculation that Hill was the guilty one, but Kearney took the rap for the killings. Whatever the case, Kearney confessed to the murders and exonerated Hill. Kearney received a life sentence and is serving time in a California prison.
Danny Rolling was known as the "Gainesville Ripper," due to his murder spree which took place between 1989 and 1990. During that time, Rolling was responsible for the death of eight people. Five of his victims were college students, whom he raped before killing. He gruesomely mutilated the victims, even decapitating one of them. He would then pose the corpses in a lewd manner.
He was eventually arrested on charges of burglary and police were able to link him to the unsolved murders of the five college students by matching his tools to those used in the killings. After his arrest, Rolling revealed he committed the crimes because he wanted to be famous like Ted Bundy.
That wasn't all he confessed to, either. He also admitted to being guilty of a 1989 triple murder that occurred in Shreveport, Louisiana, quickly making his body count go from five to eight. Rolling pleaded guilty during his trial and received several death sentences. He was executed at Florida State Prison on October 25, 2006.
John Robinson is a criminal in every sense of the word. His first arrest was in 1969, at the age of 26, when it was discovered he forged documents and certificates in order to get a job as an X-ray technician at a doctor's office. While working there, he stole $33,000, for which he was arrested.
Once released from jail, he continued making fake documents and taking money from companies and individuals. Robinson didn't stop at being a con man, though. Instead, he added "serial killer" to his resume. Starting in 1993, Robinson met several of his victims online while pretending to run different businesses and offering secretary positions. Once the women moved to Kansas for the jobs, he would murder them.
One of the women Robinson met had a four-month-old daughter. Robinson killed the woman, and then, knowing that his brother and sister-in-law were trying to adopt a child, he forged adoption papers for the infant and gave the child to his brother for a fee. The child was fifteen before she and her adoptive parents would learn about the grisly murder of her mother and the fake adoption.
Robinson would also meet women online who were into the S&M lifestyle, using the online moniker the "Slave Master." Robinson would meet these women and invite them to his home. The ones unfortunate enough to accept his offer were murdered. Robinson's crime and murder spree finally ended in 2000, when he was arrested for sexual battery in addition to theft. Police searched his property and found decaying bodies in giant barrels. Robinson has confessed to eight murders, but police believe that number is likely much higher. Robinson is serving a death sentence in Kansas.