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Crime News Mark of a Serial Killer

Who Is The Most Infamous Serial Killer In Each State?

Even in Hawaii, there has been a serial killer. See which murderer stalked your state.

By Becca van Sambeck
Serial Killers By State

There are some serial killers who have reached a level of notoriety where basically everyone knows their name. The Zodiac Killer, John Wayne Gacy, Ted Bundy, Jeffrey Dahmer ... but for many of us, these crimes happened miles and miles away. But the reality is, not every serial killing spree happened in California (even though it sure feels that way some times.) In fact, in every single state, a serial killer was born or committed their crimes there.

So, before the return of Oxygen series "Mark Of A Serial Killer," which dives into serial killers' modus operandi and premieres new episodes starting Saturday, April 2 at 8/7c, lets dive into the most infamous crimes in each state.

Alabama: Daniel Lee Siebert

Daniel Lee Siebert was put on Alabama's death row after he was convicted of five murders – although he confessed to many others in places as far away as California and New Jersey, the Associated Press reported in 2008. One of his victims was a student at the Alabama Institute for the Deaf and Blind, according to The World Encyclopedia Serial Killers: Volume Three. He ultimately died in prison of pancreatic cancer.

Alaska: Robert Hansen

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Robert Hansen earned the nickname of "The Butcher Baker" for kidnapping sex workers, bringing them into the Alaskan wilderness, and then hunting them in the '70s and '80s. Ultimately, he confessed to killing 17 women, although he also later admitted to raping 30 women throughout the 1970s and ‘80s, according to The Washington Post. He was caught after one of his victims managed to break out of his home.

Arizona: Mark Goudeau

From August 2005 to June 2006, Mark Goudeu terrorized the city of Phoenix, Arizona. Known by the nickname "The Baseline Killer" (he committed crimes near a road of the same name), he attacked 33 women, raping them and then shooting them in the head if they didn't comply. Nine women ultimately died at his hands.

Arkansas: Ronald Gene Simmons

It took Ronald Gene Simmons a mere week to kill 16 people in Arkansas in 1987.14 of those victims were directly related to him. He strangled, shot, and drowned them — one was as young as 20 months old, the Ocala Star-Banner reported at the time. He was put to death in1990 at the age of 49.

California: Joseph DeAngelo

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For decades, investigators sought to uncover the identity of the Golden State Killer, a man so vicious he graduated from the Visalia Ransacker (breaking into homes) to the East Area Rapist (assaulting women) to the Golden State Killer, who murdered 13 people in the '70s and '80s. He was so depraved he would sometimes put plates on men's backs after he broke into their homes and make them watch as he raped their wives, telling them if a plate fell, he would kill them.

In 2018, investigators used genetic genealogy to identify the murderer as 72-year-old ex-cop Joseph DeAngelo. He was sentenced to life in prison in 2020.

Colorado: Ted Bundy

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Ted Bundy may be the most famous serial killer in the United States. Bundy, who ultimately killed at least 33 girls and young women in the 1970s, was active in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Utah, Colorado, and Florida. It was in Colorado he killed three women; two of the bodies were never found. It's also where he broke out of jail — twice. On the second jailbreak, he headed down to Florida where he terrorized a sorority house and killed a 12-year-old girl before being apprehended for good.

Connecticut: Michael Ross

The first and only execution in Connecticut happened in 2005. The inmate put to death was Michael Ross, a serial killer who confessed to murdering eight women between 1981 and 1984 in Connecticut and New York and raping seven of those victims. Ross, a Cornell University graduate, fought attempts to cancel his execution, saying, “I owe these people. I killed their daughters. If I could stop the pain, I have to do that. This is my right," NBC reported in 2005. 

Delaware: Steven Brian Pennell

Delaware is a small state, and luckily, only has one known serial killer: Steven Brian Pennell. Pennell, who was nicknamed the Route 40 Killer, was convicted of killing two women and suspected of killing three others in the late '80s. He tortured his victims before killing them; one of his victims seemed to have "been frightened to death," according to an episode of Oxygen series "Mark of a Serial Killer."

Florida: Danny Rolling

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Known as the Gainesville Ripper, Rolling loosely inspired the hit horror film "Scream." He murdered five college students in Gainesville, Florida in August 1990, mutilating their bodies afterward. He would even pose some of the bodies in sexually provocative positions. His crime spree terrorized the college town, and he was caught after the crimes were connected to three similar murders in Shreveport, Louisiana. 

Georgia: Samuel Little

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Samuel Little was the most prolific serial killer America has ever seen: Little confessed to 93 murders after he was caught by the FBI and the organization was able to verify at least 60 of these crimes. Little, who was active from the '70s to anywhere from 2006 to 2012, typically preyed on Black sex workers, seeking out women on the margins of society. A drifter, he murdered people in 19 states, including Georgia, his home state.

Hawaii: Eugene Barrett

Even in a place as close to paradise as Hawaii, a serial killer can lurk. Starting in 1959, Barrett murdered three women he was romantically involved with over a 36-year span, Honolulu Star-Bulletin reported in 2003. He shot one lover, stabbed an ex-girlfriend, and gunned down a neighbor he had an affair with. Despite being convicted of all three murders at different times, he only served a total of 19 years in prison, according to the local newspaper.

Idaho: Joseph Edward Duncan

In 2005, Joseph Edward Duncan attacked the Groene family: Brenda Groene; her children, Dylan, Shasta and Slade; and her fiancé, Mark McKenzie. He murdered both adults and 13-year-old Slade before taking the younger two children, reported The Associated Press in 2021. The children were kept for weeks, as Duncan molested and tortured them, even videotaping some of it, according to local station KXLY. He eventually shot and killed Dylan, but Shasta was soon rescued. After he was apprehended, he was linked to the murders of three other children.

Illinois: John Wayne Gacy

John Wayne Gacy's reputation as a Chicago-area family man and child party clown was demolished after a grisly discovery at his home: 26 bodies were found in the crawlspace of his house. In total, he murdered 33 boys and young men throughout the '70s. He would lure them to his home with offers of drugs or money for sex, then rape and torture them before strangling them. He was executed by lethal injection in 1994.

Indiana: Herbert Richard Baumeister

Herbert Baumeister was never convicted of murder, but it's believed he killed 11 gay men in the Indianapolis area in the early 1990s. Baumeister was married and had children, but he would often spend his free time cruising the city's gay bars, IN Magazine reported in 2013. When men started going missing from the area, authorities were on high alert for a suspect. After a survivor was able to give investigators enough information to identify this attacker as Baumeister, they searched his property where they found 11 bodies, according to the outlet.

Baumeister was never convicted. He died by suicide in his car on July 3, 1995.

Iowa: Robert Ben Rhoades

Nicknamed the "Truck Stop Killer," Robert Ben Rhodes, who grew up in Iowa, picked up hitchhikers and then raped and tortured them. He even turned the sleeper bed of his truck into a personal torture chamber. Though he was only convicted of three murders, it's believed he raped and killed over 50 other women from 1975 to 1990 while working as an interstate trucker.

Kansas: Dennis Rader

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Dennis Rader gave himself a gruesome nickname: "BTK" for his M.O. of bind, torture, and kill (he wrote it in a letter to a local newspaper bragging about his crimes). He terrorized the city of Wichita, Kansas, and the surrounding area from 1974 to 1992, ultimately killing 10 people and sending all kinds of notes to police and the media. However, he soon quieted down — but in 2004, he resumed writing threatening letters. But technology had changed, and after sending in a floppy disk, police were easily able to trace him.

Kentucky: Donald Harvey

Donald Harvey, a nurse's aide, wasn't giving his patients the medical help they needed. No, instead, while working at hospitals in Kentucky and Ohio, he was responsible for 37 murders that occurred from 1970 to 1987 (although he claimed to have killed more). Nicknamed the "Angel of Death," he would inject air into patients' breathing tubes, feed them rat poison and cyanide, and strangle them, reported UPI in 1987.

Although he tried to insist he was doing it out of mercy and saving his patients from misery, former FBI profiler John Douglas told Fox News in 2019, "H]e was not a mercy killer because some of the things he did were sadistic to the victims, like sticking a coat hanger up through a catheter into a patient's abdomen.” 

Louisiana: Derrick Todd Lee

From 1992 to 2003, Derrick Todd Lee prowled the city of Baton Rouge, Louisiana. He was repeatedly arrested for "Peeping Tom" activities, but it wasn't until 2003 that he was caught for murder, The Associated Press reported in 2003. He was eventually linked to seven killings. A popular urban legend says he used the pre-recorded sound of a baby crying to lure his victims, but as Snopes noted, that never happened.

Maine: James Hicks

Dating James Hicks, a Maine man, was a surefire way to end up dead. His wife, Jennie, disappeared in 1977, and he was ultimately convicted of manslaughter in her death, despite the fact her body was not found, reported The New York Times in 1994. But disappearances continued to happen around him: A woman who left a bar with him, Jerilyn Towers, also ended up missing. A co-worker he dated, Lynn Willette, vanished, too.

He then moved to Texas where he attacked a woman, holding her at gunpoint and forcing her to write a suicide note. When she managed to escape, Hick was arrested and sentenced to 55 years in prison. He ultimately ended up confessing to killing both Willette and Towers and led investigators to their bodies, local Maine station Q105.6 reported.

Maryland: Joe Metheny

Was Joe Metheny actually a serial killer? He was convicted of murdering two women between 1994 and 1996, but the Baltimore man, who preyed mainly on women dealing with drug addiction, or alcoholism, claimed to have killed many others, The Baltimore Sun reported in 2017. He murdered people, he claimed, because he enjoyed it. He was found dead in his prison cell in 2017.

Massachusetts - Albert DeSalvo

The city of Boston was sent into a tailspin when an unknown killer strangled 13 women around the city between 1962 and 1964. The murderer would pretend to be a maintenance worker to gain access to their apartments. Who was this "Boston Strangler"? One man did come forward to confess: Albert DeSalvo, who had already been nabbed by police for committing a series of rapes, reported The Associated Press in 2013. However, DeSalvo's confession has led to doubts, and he even recanted it before he died.

In 2013, though, the remains of the final "Boston Strangler" victim were exhumed, and DNA evidence confirmed DeSalvo as her killer, The Guardian reported at the time.

Michigan: John Norman Collins

Various nicknames were used to describe the person behind the murders of young women in the Ann Arbor area of Michigan between 1967 and 1969: The Ypsilanti Ripper, the Michigan Murderer, and the Co-Ed Killer. Ultimately, the man behind the Michigan Murders was unveiled as college student John Norman Collins, according to Lansing State Journal. He abducted and killed seven girls and young women, ranging in ages from 13 to 21, sometimes mutilating bodies before discarding them.

Minnesota: Paul Michael Stephani

One listen to the eerie phone calls made by Paul Michael Stephani, and you'll understand why he earned the moniker "The Weepy-Voiced Killer." Stephani, who murdered three women in the Minneapolis area in the early '80s, would call the authorities after he killed, telling them he was sorry in a warbling, mournful voice. Ultimately, he attacked four women, even stabbing one with an ice pick and drowning another.

Mississippi: Donald Leroy Evans

Donald Leroy Evans, a drifter, claimed he killed 60 people in 20 states during a decade of wandering, attacking people primarily at parks and rest stops. However, he was ultimately only connected to three murders. He was initially arrested after strangling a 10-year-old homeless girl in Gulfport, according to a 1991 New York Times report. Searches for bodies followed, but with no results. He was stabbed to death by another inmate in 1999, according to a Los Angeles Times article that year.

Missouri: Robert Berdella

In the mid-‘80s, Robert Berdella, known as “The Butcher Of Kansas City,” held young men captive in his home, repeatedly raping and torturing them, in some cases for up to six weeks, until they died from the wounds he inflicted on them. Berdella was a former chef, and he knew how to cut up the remains into tiny pieces and discard them in the trash. After a victim escaped and led police to his home, they found hundreds of incriminating photos and a diary detailing his tortures and murders.

Montana: Wayne Nance

From 1974 to 1986, a person nicknamed "The Missoula Mauler" committed a series frightening crimes in the Montana city. Ultimately they were shot and killed in the middle of committing a home invasion. Wayne Nance had broken into his manager Kristen Wells' home and made her help him tie up her husband before tying her up in another room and stabbing her husband, reported The Associated Press in 1986. Wells was able to escape her binds and shoot Nance before he could kill them both. It's believed Nance killed six people during his Montana crime spree.

Nebraska: John Joubert

Once, John Joubert was a Boy Scout and a member of a track team, NBC affiliate KCRA reported. But he'd ultimately be found guilty of killing three children in Maine and Nebraska. The boys, ages 11 to 13, were strangled and stabbed, and he left bite marks all over their bodies. Joubert was caught after he was seen hanging around a preschool and reacted violently to a school employee who approached him. He was executed in 1996 by electric chair in Nebraska.

Nevada: Carroll Cole

Nevada, home to Sin City, was also where Carroll Cole committed several of his murders. He would pick women up for sex and then kill them. He ultimately confessed to murdering 13 women in Nevada and California, although he was convicted of five. He even confessed to drowning a boy when he was a child himself back in Iowa.

Before he began his murder spree, he bounced around from mental health facilities, where he claimed to fantasize about killing women. He blamed his strained relationship with his mother, who he said abused him, reported The Los Angeles Times in 1985.

New Hampshire: Terry Peder Rasmussen

When four bodies were found in two barrels in New Hampshire's Bear Brook State Park decades apart, fear spread throughout the community. Who had killed a woman and three young children and disposed of them in such a manner?  And who were they? DNA testing and genetic geneaology eventually solved the case, identifying the victims as Marlyse Elizabeth Honeychurch, 24, and her two daughters, Marie Elizabeth Vaughn and Sarah Lynn McWaters. The third child has not been identified, although officials have confirmed she is the biological child of serial killer Terry Peder Rasmussen, believed to be the man behind the murders.

Rasmussen, who died in prison in 2010 while serving a murder sentence for killing his wife, was dating Honeychurch at one point underneath another alias. He's also been linked to the death of another romantic partner.

New Jersey: Charles Cullen

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Charles Cullen worked in hospitals as a nurse to administer care. Instead, he eventually confessed to murdering 40 of his patients. Cullen, who was employed at nine hospitals in New Jersey and Pennsylvania, claimed he was acting out of mercy when he murdered his patients. Known as the Angel of Death, he would inject them with a lethal dose of drugs, like the heart medication digoxin, as The New York Times reported. He was finally caught after a fellow nurse started investigating him, concerned he was ordering cardiac medication while working in the intensive care unit.

New Mexico: David Parker Ray

Known as "The Toy Box Killer," David Parker Ray was particularly sadistic to his victims. With the help of his girlfriend, Cindy Hendy, he would kidnap women and hold them hostage in a torture chamber in his trailer, filled with all kinds of disturbing instruments. He would torture and rape them after playing them an instruction tape that started with, "OK, bitch. We both know what you’ve been brought here for. I’m going to use you for a sex slave. And it’s going to be painful as hell. That’s the way I want it to be," his final victim, Cynthia Vigil, told "Snapped: Killer Couples."

Vigil was ultimately able to escape and help authorities find Ray and Hendy. It's believed he murdered more than 60 women, but he was only convicted for kidnapping and torture. He died of a heart attack shortly afterward.

New York: Joel Rifkin

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Joel Rifkin, New York's most prolific serial killer, is believed to have killed 17 women from 1989 to 1993, although he was only convicted of nine murders. Rifkin primarily targeted sex workers around New York City and Long Island, sometimes bringing them to the house he shared with his mother and sister to brutally strangle them; others he killed in his car after sex. Some victims he dismembered, others he disposed of in oil drums or concrete blocks, while other bodies were brought to fields. He stashed bodies all over the New York region, from a Brooklyn creek to an Orange County town, the New York Times reported in 1993. 

He was caught after police pulled him over for driving a car without a license plate. In the back they found the body of a woman. A search of his home revealed mementos he took from other victims.

North Carolina: Henry Louis Wallace

Those who knew Henry Louis Wallace as a high schooler and young adult described him as "nice" and "considerate," "a pleasant sort of person,"  according to a 1994 Greensboro News and Record article. But between 1990 and 1994, Wallace killed at least nine women in North Carolina. Many of them were his co-workers at fast food restaurants like Bojangles and Taco Bell. He would rape and strangle them, sometimes stabbing others as well or robbing them of valuables, according to a 2009 Crime Magazine article. In 1998, while on death row, he married a prison nurse.

North Dakota: Eugene Butler

Eugene Butler's crimes weren't exposed until 1915, two years after he died in a mental asylum, reported The Grand Forks Daily Herald in 1915. When his home in Niagara, North Dakota was excavated, workers found the remains of six young men underneath his home, according to a 1915 Daily Gate city article. Butler, who was known to be an odd and reclusive man around town, had murdered them by bashing their heads in. All the victims were teenagers between the ages of 15-18, and their identities have never been uncovered, reported the Grand Forks Herald in 2016. It's speculated they were his farm hands.

Ohio: Anthony Sowell

When police entered the Cleveland home of Anthony Sowell in 2009, they were shocked to discover an actual house of horrors. Sowell, who is often known as "The Cleveland Strangler," had lured 11 women into his home with offers of drugs or money for sex from 2007 to 2009. Once inside, he raped and strangled them. He hid the bodies in and around his house, which led a strong, foul odor in the neighborhood. It was so bad a nearby sausage shop's reputation was damaged before the discovery of the bodies.

Oklahoma: Roger Dale Stafford

Roger Dale Stafford was just 27 when he was executed on death row in 1995. With the help of his wife and brother, he killed the entire Lorenze family after the trio flagged the family down on the side of the road for "help" in 1978. He then robbed them and murdered Melvin and Linda Lorenze and their 12-year-old son, Richard, The Oklahoman reported in 1995. Just three weeks later, Stafford murdered six employees in an Oklahoma steakhouse during a robbery, according to KOCO 5 News.

Stafford insisted on his innocence until he died, The Oklahoman reported in 1995.

Oregon: Jerome Henry "Jerry" Brudos

Jerry Brudos' fetish for women's shoes was so infamous, it made its way into Netflix's series "Mindhunter." While murdering four women in Oregon from 1968 to 1969, he dressed in women's clothing, New York Magazine reported. He bludgeoned and strangled them, and in one case, dressed the body in shoes and clothes he stole and took photographs before cutting off the foot and using it to model high heels, The New York Daily News reported. Brudos mutilated his victims, dressed them up, and also had sex with some of the bodies. He was caught after a university student told police he made her uncomfortable.

Pennsylvania: Edward Surrat

Edward Surratt was put behind bars in 1978 after he was convicted of murder and several rapes. But the depths of his crimes weren't known until decades later. In 2007, he admitted to killing six people in Pennsylvania. And just six years later, he confessed to six more, Newsweek reported at the time. He killed both men and women, murdering many of them by shotgun.

Rhode Island: Craig Chandler Price

Craig Chandler Price was just 13 years old when he first started terrorizing Warwick, Rhode Island. He broke into a neighbor's home in 1987 and stabbed a woman to death with her own kitchen knife. Two years later, he murdered three other neighbors: a woman and her two young daughters, The Associated Press reported in 1989. He stabbed them repeatedly, even breaking some of the knives off in their bodies. When the 15-year-old was caught, he showed no remorse, Capt. Kevin Collins of the Warwick police, claimed, The New York Times reported in 2012.

South Carolina: Donald Henry Gaskins Jr.

Donald Henry Gaskins Jr. may have gone by the nickname "Pee Wee," but there was nothing whimsical about this serial killer. Gaskins murdered13 people in South Carolina in the 1970s, although he would later claim he killed more than 100. In an unusual move for a serial killer, he used many different killing methods: stabbing, shooting, and poisoning his victims, ABC 15 News reported in 2001. He was ultimately caught in 1975 when eight bodies in shallow graves were discovered near his home. 

South Dakota: William Kunnecke

You know someone has to be disturbing whey they get called the "Human Monster." Kunnecke immigrated from Germany to Idaho in the late 1800s. Death soon followed: A farmhand of his vanished, while a fellow sheep owner was killed, The Capital Journal reported in 2016. Kunnecke skipped town and headed to South Dakota, where a local ranch hand disappeared.

People again suspected Kunnecke was the killer — and he was soon captured and thrown in prison. He confessed to killing the ranch hand in South Dakota and was sentenced to life in prison, but he escaped before serving his term, according to the outlet.

Tennessee: Paul Dennis Reid

From February 1997 to April 1997, someone was entering fast food restaurants across Tennessee and murdering employees as he robbed them. Some of his victims he slashed, others he shot execution style, The Los Angeles Times reported in 1999. "The Fast Food Killer" was eventually unveiled as Paul Dennis Reid. In total, he attacked eight people, seven of whom died by his hand. He was sentenced to death in 1999, but ultimately died from health complications in 2013, local station WBIR reported.

Texas: Henry Lee Lucas

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There's no question Henry Lee Lucas was a serial killer. The real issue was how many crimes he claimed he committed. Lucas actually told Texas Rangers he had killed 600 people after he was arrested in 1983. The Rangers then closed many cases that should have remained open, with Lucas later saying, in a quote shared in the AP obituary reporting his death, he wanted to"wreck Texas law enforcement" with his many false confessions.

Lucas was ultimately convicted of 11 murders, but it's possible he only killed three people.

Utah: Arthur Gary Bishop

Once an honor student and an Eagle Scout, Arthur Gary Bishop was found guilty of murdering five young boys in 1984, The Sarasota-Herald Tribune reported at the time. The Utah man would abduct his victims, who were as young as 4, and molest them. He'd then murder them, beating them with hammers or drowning them. During his trial at one point, Bishop said he was "glad" he was caught because he'd "do it again," ABC4 reported in 2021. 

Vermont: Israel Keyes

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Most serial killers are caught because they kill similar kinds of victims, or use the same weapons, or focus on the same areas. Not Israel Keyes. While he was based in Alaska, he murdered people all over the country, including in Vermont. He would make an excuse for a trip out of Alaska, then stalk and murder people at random in various states. He even buried "kill kits" filled with weapons, duct tape, shovels, rope, and more all over, so that he could travel to and from Alaska without carrying evidence.

Ultimately, 11 murders have been linked to Keyes, but he died by suicide in 2012 while awaiting trial.

Virginia: Timothy Wilson Spencer

Timothy Wilson Spencer, who was dubbed the "Southside Strangler," is the first serial killer in the United States to be convicted on the basis of DNA evidence — he was ultimately convicted of murdering three women in the Richmond, Virginia area in late '80s, The Associated Press reported in 1994. He raped and strangled his victims in their home. One was as young as 15. Spencer is also believed to have killed another woman in Arlington, according to "The Encyclopedia of Serial Killers."

Washington: Gary Leon Ridgway

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For years, women were turning up dead in Washington's Green River. The victims, most of whom were sex workers, had been strangled before being tossed in the river.  In 2001, Gary Leon Ridgway was finally arrested and exposed as the Green River Killer who had murdered 49 women in the '80s and '90s. DNA evidence led to his capture. Just last year, the youngest of his victims, a 14-year-old, was identified as a teenage runaway named Wendy Stephens,  KCPQ in Seattle reported.

West Virginia: Harry F. Powers

Harry F. Powers was an early adaptor of using romance advertisements (like the Craiglist Killer in recent years) to lure in victims. After moving to West Virginia in 1927, he would put out "lonely hearts" advertisements, seduce a woman, and then murder her for her money, The New York Daily News reported in 2014. He did it first to Asta Eicher, who disappeared along with her children, before pulling the same scam on Dorothy Lemke, who also vanished after falling in love with him.

When investigators searched Powers' home, they discovered bloody clothing and hair before finding the bodies of Eicher, her three children, and Lemke in a ditch. He was hanged for his crimes on 1932.

Wisconsin: Ed Gein

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The crimes of Ed Gein ended up inspiring some of the most iconic horror films of all time: "Psycho," "Texas Chainsaw Massacre," and "Silence Of The Lambs." Gein would rob graves and use skin and body parts to make decor, furniture, and fashion accessories. However, despite the Wisconsin man's incredibly ghoulish hobby, he wasn't exactly a serial killer. He only confessed to killing two women in the '50s. Still, his house of horrors lands him a spot on this list.

Wyoming: Polly Bartlett

Wyoming wasn't yet a state when Polly Bartlett committed her murder spree. In 1868, she opened up a boarding house that catered to the many gold miners in the area, reported Y95 Country. Rumor has it she killed 22 of these boarders, poisoning them with arsenic. Bartlett never stood trial for these crimes, though: She was killed in a shootout beforehand, according to local station 101.9 King.

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