Imagine if a friend, coworker, or even a family member turned out to be capable of murder. You may not think someone in your life could ever do such a thing, but plenty of people who know murderers would beg to differ. Often, it turns out, family members notice red flags all along and ignore them, or coworkers just think a new employee is a bit off. For many people, it's easier to believe the best in others rather than believe someone they know might be a killer.
To better unpack these complicated feelings, people who unknowingly interacted with killers shared their stories on Reddit. Some admit the serial killer warning signs existed long before the crimes, but others tell of murderers who emerged seemingly from nowhere. A few of these unknowing acquaintances actually crossed paths with some notorious criminals you might already know. It makes for some chilling reading, especially when you realize the majority of these people had no idea they were much less than six degrees of separation away from murder.
From a deleted user:
In grade school I sat next to this guy named George. Super quiet kid, and occasionally I would go over his house after school. His mom would sometimes be our substitute teacher.
Fast forward to when I was in college and went to pick up a New York Post in the morning. I saw the headline "Three Strikes, She's Out - Kid Beats Mom To Death With Baseball Bat," and there was a photo of George and his mom. It was big news in NY for a brief period, and I heard he was sent to jail.
Fast forward a few years later. I was working in Manhattan and I literally bumped right into him on the subway platform. Apparently he got out after a few years. It was seriously the most awkward small talk I ever made with someone in my life.
From Redditor /u/toooldforusernames:
When I was in high school, one of my friends murdered his family out of nowhere.
The day it happened, it started to get around to my friends that something went down at his house. This was before most people had cell phones, and texting wasn't a thing at all, so throughout the day more and more people were contacted and headed over to the guy's (whose name is Andy) best friend's house. The first officers on scene got his name and his brother's name mixed up, and we were all told that his brother had snapped and shot their parents and then him, then called the police and gave himself up with no struggle. So we all got together, mourned as a group or whatever, then got up and went to school the next day.
Shortly into the first hour of classes, everyone who was a known friend of Andy's was pulled out of class and called into the office. Once we were all there, the principal told us that Andy was alive, and that he had actually been the one who committed the murders. Everyone was pretty shocked; this dude was a totally harmless stoner who never even really seemed to disagree with anyone, much less have violent tendencies. I personally went into my standard compartmentalization/disassociation mode and just dealt with it by going kind of numb to it.
The funeral was really rough, they had an open casket viewing even though his parents were both shot in the face. Andy claimed to have no memory of doing it, and what they'd pieced together was that he for whatever reason went into his dad's gun locker, pulled out a rifle, and shot his parents in their kitchen. It didn't look like there was any kind of struggle. His brother came up from their basement and he shot him at the top of the stairs. He then called the police and told the dispatcher that his parents were dead, and when she asked who killed them he said he had. He went outside and stood on the lawn waiting for the police to come. Once they got there, he went into a full-on panic asking about his brother, he had no idea that he'd shot him.
He got 18 years for each murder, I think, and was sent to prison. I wrote to him here and there in the beginning, but his replies just felt really strange to me. I feel a little bit guilty now about fading out of his life, but it was honestly really, really hard to reconcile the person I was friends with with the person I was writing to, the person who killed his family. He sounded very stiff and hollow in the replies. I guess that makes some sense.
I keep up with the details now through a friend who still keeps in touch with him. He tried to escape a few years ago; the guy he was trying to escape with was killed in the process and his sentence was upped to life. I check his profile on the Michigan offenders search page sometimes, but it makes me pretty sad to see him. He's gone all white power, I'm sure to save his ass, which is bizarre considering how 100% anti-racism he was prior to all this. I don't know how it's affected me really other than my senior year in high school was a little f*cked up because of it.
I'm 30 now, and whenever it comes up (which is rare) I feel very disconnected to it.
From Redditor /u/nobody16:
A coworker sent me a news post of a murder. The news mentioned a guy with a name I didn't really recognized but it said that he was two years older than me and graduated from the same college in the same major. I looked up the name on Facebook and I immediately recognized him. I had a couple of classes with him and he was the president of my major's student association (I didn't get involved much with these kind of things).
He beat his girlfriend to death, stayed inside the house with the body for three days, and then killed himself with a plastic bag. It surprisingly affected me more than I expected since I barely even knew the guy, I felt sick the whole day.
Didn't impact me much after, but it sucks, the poor girl was highly involved in non-profit organizations and they looked like a fine couple. Strange world.
From Redditor /u/Skonono:
I knew a kid in Boy Scouts who moved to a different town and beat a homeless man to death when he was 17. I wasn't terribly surprised; I'd heard stories about him killing kittens when we were younger and I suspected that his adopted father, our scoutmaster, was a molester.
The first camp-out he came out on, he spent the whole time oscillating between crying fits and sort of maniacally acting out. A good friend of mine started going to the Christian school because this kid threatened him with a knife (not for any reason either, more like he just thought it was something to do). He was always messed up, and it's sad to see someone so young who seems so destined for monstrous acts.