The Most Notorious Criminals in Every State
From the infamous (Jesse James, Butch Cassidy) to the horrific (the BTK Killer, Jeffery Dahmer), here are the worst residents of every state in the union.
Alabama: Joseph Dewey Akin
Nurse Joseph Dewey Akin stands out because in his job he was supposed to be saving lives, not taking them. But that’s what authorities believe he spent career doing: Over ten-year period while working at about 20 different healthcare facilities, Akin is suspected to have ended the lives of 100 people, including a quadriplegic he pleaded guilty to killing with a lethal dose of lidocaine.
Alaska: Israel Keyes
Per capita, Alaska has more serial killers than any other state. Some experts point to the long, dreary winters as a factor, though what made Israel Keyes tick is anyone’s guess. One of his more hideous acts was kidnapping and murdering a young woman in Anchorage, hiding her body, going on a cruise, and then, upon returning, convincing the woman’s family to pay a ransom for their daughter. He eventually confessed to murdering five others. Keyes took his own life in a jail cell while awaiting trial.
Arizona: Jodi Arias
Thanks to the intense news coverage of the 2013 trial of Jodi Arias over the 2008 murder of former boyfriend, Travis Alexander, Arias is arguably a more notorious criminal than even Jared Lee Loughner, who killed six and injured 13 in his assassination attempt on Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords in Tuscon. Arias spent a shocking 18 consecutive days testifying on her own behalf, attempting to resolve several years’ worth of conflicting stories she’d told about what really happened to Alexander and ultimately claiming she killed him in “self-defense”—unsuccessfully. Find out the 38 dumbest criminals of all time.
Arkansas: Andrew Golden and Mitchell Johnson
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Andrew Golden and Mitchell Johnson aren’t the first or most prolific school shooters. But their age at the time of their crimes (11 and 13, respectively), and the fact that they are now still alive (a rarity among school shooters) and out of prison having been released on their 21st birthdays makes them Arkansas’s most notorious criminals. Here are the powerful things people are doing to prevent school shootings.
California: Charles Manson
California has its share of infamous criminals, but none as notable as Charles Manson, the cult leader whose followers carried out a murder spree in Hollywood in the late 1960s that took the life of approximately 35 people, including the actress Sharon Tate and her unborn child. Read more about Manson in the true crime book, Helter Skelter— here are some other amazing true crime books to check out.
Colorado: Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris
The deadly 1999 school shooting at Columbine High School made the two teens at its center, Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris, Colorado’s most notorious criminals. With only two weeks left before they were to graduate from high school, Klebold and Harris executed a killing spree they’d been planning for more than a year. Their motive was revenge on people they accused of bullying them. They killed 12 students and one teacher before taking their own lives. Here’s some insight into the minds of mass shooters.
Connecticut: Adam Lanza
In one of the most disgusting acts imaginable, Adam Lanza murdered 20 first-graders and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown before shooting himself in December 2012.
Delaware: Steven Brian Pennell
Steven Brian Pennell, also known as the Route 40 Killer, is the only documented serial killer in Delaware history. When he was executed in 1992 for committing three murders, it was the first execution in Delaware since 1976 (the year the death penalty was reinstated). Those close to the case still can’t figure out why this young married man with two children would have hunted women on a lonely stretch of highway.
Florida: Aileen Wuornos
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Serial killer Aileen Wuornos was found guilty of murdering six men between 1989 and 1990. Wuornos was a tragic case: She was abused as a child, abandoned, and later made a living as a sex worker along Florida’s highways. Executed in Florida in 2002, Wuornos story was made into the film, Monster, which starred Charlize Theron. Read more about the criminals who left major crime-scene evidence behind.
Georgia: Paul John Knowles
The so-called Casanova Killer, Paul John Knowles, exploited his good looks and charm to ingratiate himself with his victims. He claims to have killed up to 35 people; authorities have tied him to at least 18 murders. Born in Florida in 1946, he made his way to Georgia in 1974 and began his spree, killing mostly women—many of whom invited him into their homes. Thriving on attention, Knowles idolized the outlaws Bonnie and Clyde, and like them, was shot to death by law enforcement.