Killers True crime stories can frighten and excite us at the same time. We reach for the latest book on the shelf ready for another look into the sadistic world of serial killers and mass murderers to ask ourselves more questions about their dark world. What is it that makes them tick? How did they become evil?
Why would these monsters choose to take the life of an innocent victim in such a brutal manner?
Paul John Knowles
Paul John Knowles murdered anywhere between 18 and 35 women. He was killed in 1974 while in custody after attempting to grab the handgun off the sheriff escorting him. At least one woman who met Knowles described him as “ruggedly handsome,” hence the name Casanova Killer. There was another woman in Knowles’ life who also survived her encounter, thanks to the warning of a psychic.
One of the lesser-known serial killers, William Bonin, was nicknamed “The Freeway Killer”. Like the “Night Stalker” Richard Ramirez and the “Hillside Stranglers” Angelo Buono Jr. and Kenneth Bianchi, Bonin employed the vast Los Angeles and Orange County freeway systems to pick up his victims and later dispose of their bodies.
Bonin ended up killing at least 21 youths in the greater Los Angeles and Orange County areas in the late 1970s and early 1980s. The murder of 15-year-old Donald Ray Hyden stands out as especially brutal.
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Kearney joins William Bonin and Randy Kraft in the dubious achievement of being nicknamed “The Freeway Killer”. Born in 1934, Patrick Kearney preyed on young men (the youngest of whom was 8) he picked up along freeways or at gay bars. Kearney was a necrophile and he was strongly averse to inflicting pain on his victims so he developed a technique of shooting them in the temple whilst driving. He would then drive to a secluded place to have sex with their corpses.
Earle Leonard Nelson was known as The Gorilla Killer (May 12, 1897 – January 13, 1928). Around the age of 10, Nelson collided with a streetcar while riding his bicycle and remained unconscious for six days. After he awoke, his behavior became erratic and he suffered from frequent headaches and memory loss. He began his criminal behavior early, and he was sentenced to two years in San Quentin State Prison, in 1915, after breaking into a cabin he believed to be abandoned. He later spent time in mental institutions.
In 1997, Ronald Dominique embarked on a decade-long killing spree that might have claimed as many as 23 lives. When he was arrested in 2006, he was charged with eight murders and condemned to eight life sentences. However, while in custody, Dominique confessed to the murders of 23 gay men whom he’d picked up in gay bars around the Bayou Blue area in Louisiana. Police think that the final count may be even higher than that and are still looking at him as a suspect in other cases.