16 Killers Who Deliberately Prolonged Their Victims' Suffering

This list details instances in which both men and women - some with the help of accomplices - committed infamously sadistic crimes. A sadist finds pleasure in harming others, and that pleasure is often sexual. These "torture killers" deliberately kept their victims alive and in psychological and physical pain before ending their lives. Many of those on this list are, in fact, serial killers, so they have committed these acts on multiple occasions. Some constructed dungeons, mobile chambers, and even instruments with which to conduct their assaults. More than inflicting physical pain, these offenders found ways to mentally manipulate those they were hurting. 

However, none are still active today. Regardless of state or country, these notorious offenders have been caught, tried, and convicted - or if not, have already found their end through natural or self-inflicted causes. 


  • David Parker Ray

    In 1999, Cynthia Vigil Jaramillo escaped a motor home, running naked into the New Mexico desert after overpowering Cindy Hendy, David Ray Parker's girlfriend. Police followed her directions back to the trailer, where they found a horrifying dungeon built specifically for the purpose of torturing women. After that, Ray became known as the "Toy Box Killer." 

    He would abduct women in rural Elephant Butte, then systematically harm them for weeks or months, with his friends and his girlfriend participating. When the captives first arrived, the women would hear a recording in which Ray would tell them all the horrors they were about to endure, including mutilation, beatings, assaults, and even forced bestiality. It is suspected that he harmed as many as 60 women over a 40-year span.

    In 2002, Ray passed from a heart attack while in police custody. 

  • Rosemary and Fred West
    Video: YouTube

    Fred and Rosemary West met in 1968 when Fred was 27 and Rosemary was only 15 years old. For approximately the next two decades, the pair abducted and killed women - predominantly nannies and lodgers - in the Gloucestershire area of England. They would then keep their captives in a small room for an extended period of time before causing their deaths via strangulation or suffocation.

    Eventually, the Wests took the life of their own daughter, and this was when they were caught, complete with a videotape they had made of the assault. Authorities believe the couple has at least a dozen victims. Fred took his own life in 1995 while in police custody, and the Winchester Crown Court convicted Rosemary on 10 counts. She received a life sentence.

  • The Killers of Junko Furuta

    The Killers of Junko Furuta
    Photo: Courtesy Photo / via Wikimedia Commons / Fair Use

     In 1988, 17-year-old Junko Furuta began walking home from school. Four males - ranging in ages between 15 and 18 - grabbed her and confined her in one of their homes, even with the knowledge of the boy's parents. Reportedly, Junko was held captive for 44 days. Although many knew of her abduction, the teen was not rescued due to her captors' connection to organized crime in Japan. 

    Junko endured repeated assaults and extensive torture before passing, and her body was recovered from an oil drum in 1989. Those responsible - Shinji Minato, Hiroshi Miyano, Jo Ogura, and Yasushi Watanabe - were arrested and received sentences between 5 and 20 years. After their releases, the offenders were apprehended on unrelated charges and received additional sentences.

  • Leonard Lake and Charles Ng

    In 1985, San Francisco police responded to a report of shoplifting, and the suspect was Charles Ng. When Leonard Lake arrived to pay for the stolen item, police found that Lake was in possession of an illegal weapon as well as a fraudulent ID. There were also bloodstains in his car. This lead police to Lake's cabin and bunker in the Sierra Nevada foothills, where they uncovered "a mass graveyard."

    Investigators recovered videotapes and a diary from the remote Northern California cabin, depicting crimes the ex-marines committed - including the deaths of entire families as well as repeated assaults on women. Authorities believe the pair is responsible for over two dozen deaths between 1983 and 1985. Lake took his life while in police custody. Ng fled to Canada but was later apprehended. He was then convicted of 11 capital counts and, as of 2018, is on death row at San Quentin State Prison.

  • Dennis Rader
    Photo: Kansas Department of Corrections / Wikipedia / Fair Use

    Dennis Rader is infamously known as the "BTK Strangler," an acronym which stands for "Bind, Torture, Kill." In Wichita, Kansas, from the mid-1970s to the early 1990s, Rader strangled adults, children, and even a whole family, sometimes in their own homes. Rader often resuscitated his victims after inducing asphyxiation, a process he then repeated. This reportedly gave him immense sexual gratification, especially if they tried to plead with him.

    Following his crimes, the former church president and Boy Scouts leader sent the police mocking letters, goading them to try and catch him. In 2005, following over a decade of silence, authorities apprehended Rader after he sent another letter. He was convicted on 10 capital counts and, as of 2018, is serving out life in prison.

  • Albert Fish
    Photo: Unknown author / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain

    Albert Fish, who has many infamous titles, including "The Boogeyman," predominantly preyed on children. In 1910, Fish - a father and husband - reportedly had a romance with a mentally-disabled teen named Thomas Kedden. Fish lured the 19-year-old into a barn where he mutilated Kedden's genitalia. Fish also engaged in self-harm, inserting needles into his abdomen and penis. As a sexual sadist and sadomasochist, Fish derived pleasure from inflicting and receiving pain.

    From 1924 to 1932, Fish targeted children predominantly in the New York area. However, he claimed he "had a child in every state," as he was a traveling painter and often relocating for work. The state convicted Fish of 10-year-old Gracie Budd's death, although it is believed he had at least 100 victims, some of whom he reportedly cannibalized. Fish passed via the electric chair in 1936.