A murderer graduates to a serial killer when he kills at least two people in separate events at different times. The term is also different from a mass murderer who, by definition, kills several people at a time in a single location.
Throughout crime history in the United States, there has been a long list of both identified and unidentified serial killers, each with varying numbers of victims and activity periods.
Many died in prison and committed suicide while fugitives, whereas some were executed and killed by police during shoot out or, in fact, by intended victims.
Serial killers commit their crimes for a variety of reasons. A killing spree has many possible triggers, such as trauma by past events, troubled childhood, deep hatred of certain people with specific characteristics, cannibalistic behavior, and twisted desire to gain fame.
In some cases, serial killers enjoyed being the objects of an investigation by the authorities and fascination by the media that they even taunted the police, as if they were sure no one would get to them. Unfortunately, they were quite right sometimes.
10 The Cleveland Torso Murderer
Active in the mid-1930s with confirmed 13 victims and possibly dozens more, the Cleveland Torso Murderer has never been identified.
Authorities developed a theory that the serial killer would decapitate victims; some heads were never found.
Whoever the serial killer was, he seemed to take pleasure in taunting Eliot Ness, who at that time was Cleveland’s Safety Director.
The killer once placed the remains of his two victims near the director’s office. Despite previous success with putting Al Capone in prison, Ness was heavily criticized for failing to capture the Cleveland Torso Murderer.
9 The Axeman Of New Orleans
A serial killer known as The Axeman of New Orleans was responsible for the death of six or seven people in the city and surrounding areas in 1918 – 1919.
The Axeman reportedly taunted the police and the public at large by sending a letter to the local newspaper suggesting he would not attack any house that played jazz.
It was unclear if the letter did come from him. After the newspaper published the letter, the killer seemed to disappear. The cases went cold and remain unsolved.