When a serial killer is caught, there’s a reasonable assumption that the justice system will take care of the problem. The murderous psychopath will be found guilty by the courts and sentenced to life in prison, to be hidden far away from you and the people you love. The streets are once again safe to walk without fear of becoming prey to a serial killer’s whims. However, that perfect fantasy of justice is not always the case. Sometimes, serial killers don’t spend the rest of their days behind bars. In some cases, they have actually been set free to live amongst your family, friends, and the rest of the non-lethal population.
The serial killers on this list are not currently serving time behind bars. Many of them served a short amount of time behind bars before being set free, while a few others escaped from prison to live life on the lam. Some of these serial killers are still a threat to society, while others have been declared safe by psychologists and other officials.
Which serial killers have been set free? Which have escaped? This list featured the serial killers who are at large and no longer behind bars.
Karla Homolka was one half of the murderous couple that haunted the people of Canada. Homolka, along with her psychotic husband Paul Bernardo, raped and murdered multiple women, including her own sister. When the couple was discovered in 1993, Homolka turned over evidence on her husband in exchange for a reduced sentence. She was released in 2005 after serving only 12 years in prison.
Karla Leanne Homolka, also known as Karla Leanne Teale and Leanne Bordelais, is a convicted Canadian serial killer who helped her husband rape and murder at least three women. She attracted worldwide media attention when she was convicted of manslaughter following a plea bargain in the 1991 and 1992 rape-murders of two Ontario teenage girls, Leslie Mahaffy and Kristen French, as well as the rape and death of her sister Tammy. Homolka and Paul Bernardo, her husband and partner in crime, were arrested in 1993. In 1995, Bernardo was convicted of the two teenagers' murders and received life in prison and a dangerous offender designation, the full maximum sentence allowed in Canada. During the ...more
Birthplace: Port Credit, Ontario, Canadasee more on Karla Homolka
As one of the scariest serial killers in human history, Pedro Lopez was responsible for the rape and murder of hundreds of women in Columbia, Eduador, and Peru. He was caught in 1980 but only served 14 years in an Ecuadorian prison. Once he was released, he spent three years in a mental hospital in Colombia. He was declared sane in 1998 and released on $50 bail. Lopez is currently free and suspected of further murders in Colombia.
Pedro Alonso López is a Colombian serial killer, accused of raping and killing more than 300 girls across his native country, then Peru and Ecuador, and possibly other countries. Aside from uncited local accounts, López’s crimes first received international attention from an interview conducted by Ron Laytner, a long time freelance photojournalist who reported interviewing López in his Ambato prison cell in 1980. Laytner’s interviews were widely published, first in the Chicago Tribune on Sunday, July 13, 1980, then in the Toronto Sun and The Sacramento Bee on July 21 1980, and later in many other North American papers and foreign publications over the years. Apart from Laytner’s account and ...more
Birthplace: Santa Isabel, Colombiasee more on Pedro López
When Mary Bell was just 11 years old, she had already killed two young boys in separate incidents by strangling them and mutilating one with scissors. She was convicted of manslaughter in 1968. Twelve years later, when she was age 23, Bell was freed and able to change her name to start a new life. She won a court order that permanently protects her identity and that of her daughter – a protection for convicts now known as a "Mary Bell order." According to reports as recently as 2009, Bell had become a grandmother.
Mary Flora Bell is a British woman who, as a child, strangled to death two little boys in Scotswood, an inner-city suburb of Newcastle upon Tyne. She was convicted in December 1968 of the manslaughter of the two boys, Martin Brown and Brian Howe. Bell was 11 when she was convicted for killing Brown and Howe. Since her release from prison in 1980, she has lived under a series of pseudonyms. Her identity has been protected by a court order, which has also been extended to protect the identity of her daughter. In 1998, Bell collaborated with Gitta Sereny on an account of her life, in which she details the abuse she suffered as a child at the hands of her mother, a prostitute, and her mother's ...more
Birthplace: Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdomsee more on Mary Bell