Serial killers are supposed to be rare. When one terrorizes a city, there usually isn't another lurking around the corner, committing his (or even her) own horrifying crimes. However, there have been times when serial killers overlap in the same city. This makes it tricky for law enforcement to determine which murderer is to blame for the crimes - they might even think that it's just one killer, not the work of two active killers. Some huge cities, like Los Angeles and New York, have had multiple serial killers scaring their citizenry at the same time. Small cities have also been terrorized by serial killers who were active at the same time.
It's hard to believe so much chaos was happening all at once - and that some of these killers managed to get away with it for a long time.
Derrick Todd Lee And Sean Vincent Gillis Were Active In Baton Rouge, LAPhoto: CC BY-SA 4.0 / Wikimedia Commons
Throughout the 1990s and well into the early 2000s, the city of Baton Rouge, LA, was besieged by two serial killers, both of whom preyed on women. To make it even more confusing, one of the murderers - Derrick Todd Lee - changed his modus operandi every time he killed, leaving police unable to connect the crimes. Lee started off stalking women, and then quickly progressed to murdering them. In all, he killed at least 7 between the years of 1992 and 2003.
During this same time period (to be specific, 1994 to 2004) Sean Vincent Gillis was out murdering women as well. He raped and mutilated their bodies, keeping photographs and body parts as souvenirs. Lee died in 2016 of heart disease while on death row, while Gillis is serving life in prison at the Louisiana State Penitentiary.
Phoenix, AZ, Had Horrific Killers Dale Housner And Mark Goudeau Active At The Same TimePhoto: D. Gustafson/Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons
The years of 2005 and 2006 were a bad time for Phoenix, AZ, residents. Not only did they have to deal with a serial rapist and murderer, but a serial shooter as well. The former was Mark Goudeau, whose final tally stands at nine murders, 15 rapes, and 11 kidnappings. Nicknamed the Baseline Killer after the street where his crime spree began, he received nine death sentences in 2011, and may have had an accomplice.
Serial shooter Dale Shawn Hausner killed at least eight people. Hausner was known to drive around and shoot people at random, usually targeting pedestrians. Police believe he may have shot at at least 38 people. Hausner had an accomplice as well - his roommate, Samuel Dieteman. Dieteman is spending his sentence - life without parole - in an area prison, while Hausner committed suicide in his cell in 2013.
The Hillside Stranglers And The Freeway Killer Both Left Their Marks On Los Angeles In The Late 1970sPhoto: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons
In the late 1970s, the city of Los Angeles, was besieged by two high profile serial killers - although one of them turned out to be a pair of killers. The Hillside Stranglers, cousins Kenneth Bianchi and Angelo Buono, murdered 10 women and girls, raping, torturing, and strangling them before dumping their naked bodies in various locations. Both Bianchi and Buono received life sentences; Buono died of a heart attack in 2002, but Bianchi is still in prison.
At the tail end of the Hillside Strangler killings, the Freeway Killer William Bonin was on a murderous rampage of his own, picking up young male hitchhikers, prostitutes, and schoolboys, who he then beat, tortured, raped, and strangled to death before dumping their bodies alongside the freeway. In all, he committed between 20 and 36 murders, for which he received the death penalty. Bonin was executed in 1996.
Milwaukee, WI, Officials Dealt With Walter E. Ellis And Jeffrey Dahmer At The Same TimePhoto: CC BY 2.0 / Wikimedia Commons
When most people think of serial killers in Milwaukee, WI, Jeffrey Dahmer is the first person to come to mind. Dahmer is best known for his cannibalization of his victims, all of whom were male. He killed at least 17 between the years of 1978 and 1991. While that was going on, Walter E. Ellis - another Milwaukee resident - murdered seven women over a 21 year span - 1986 to 2007.
Ellis raped and strangled his victims, and was caught in 2009 thanks to a series of DNA matches. He died in South Dakota in 2013 while serving out the life sentences that were handed to him. Dahmer died in prison in 1994 at the hands of his fellow inmates.