Ask ▼Serial Killers/Murderers Index ▼ Psychology
Mohammed Bijeh Persian: محمد بيژه ) (February 7, 1975-March 16, 2005) was an Iranian serial killer. He confessed in court to raping and killing 16 young boys between March and September 2004, and was sentenced to 100 lashes followed by execution.
Nicknamed the “Tehran Desert Vampire” by the press, Bijeh and an accomplice lured young boys into the desert telling them they were hunting for animals. The actual number of victims is believed to be higher than 16. His accomplice, Ali Gholampour, (or Ali Baghi) was sentenced to 100 lashes and 15 years in prison.
Execution: On March 16,2005, in front of a crowd of about 5,000, his shirt was removed and he was handcuffed to an iron post, where he received his lashings from different judicial officials. He fell to the ground more than once during the punishment, but did not cry out. A relative of one of the victims managed to get by security and stab Bijeh. A blue nylon rope was then put around his neck and he was hoisted about 10 meters in the air by a crane until he died. He was hanged in Pakdasht, Iran, the town near the desert area where the killings occurred.
Paul Kenneth Bernardo, (born August 27, 1964 in Scarborough, Ontario), is a Canadian serial killer, known for the murders he committed with his wife Karla Homolka. They were dubbed the “Ken and Barbie” murderers by the press.
Bernardo was the product of an extramarital affair between his mother, Marilyn, and an ex-boyfriend; her husband, Kenneth, listed the baby’s last name as Bernardo to avoid her indiscretion becoming public. Kenneth Bernardo was a pedophile and peeping tom who molested his daughter; the scandal surrounding Kenneth Bernardo’s crimes notably affected his son, who excelled in school to overcome the public shame. When Bernardo was a teenager, his mother told him he was illegitimate during an argument.
Bernardo graduated in 1987 from the University of Toronto at Scarborough. He joined the Toronto office of PricewaterhouseCoopers that September. A few months later, he met Homolka, and they started dating. Homolka would later say that he began abusing her immediately, calling her his “sex slave.” They each encouraged each other’s violent behavior: Homolka said she would not deny him anything, and urged (or at least allowed) him to brutalize her and, eventually, other women. Bernardo, meanwhile, demanded from her total submission, which included helping him commit murder and rape.
By 1990, Bernardo was spending large amounts of time with the Homolka family, who liked him. He was engaged to the eldest daughter and flirted constantly with the youngest one. He had not told them that he had lost his job as an accountant, and instead was smuggling cigarettes across the nearby U.S.-Canadian border. He had become obsessed with Tammy Homolka, peeping into her window and entering her room to masturbate while she slept. Karla Homolka helped him by breaking the blinds in her sister’s window to allow Bernardo access. In July, Bernardo took Tammy across the border to get beer for a party. While there, Bernardo later told his fiancee, “they got drunk and began making out.”
According to Bernardo’s testimony at his trial on July 24, 1990, Karla Homolka laced spaghetti sauce with crushed Valium she had stolen from her employer, Martindale Animal Clinic. She served dinner to her sister, who soon lost consciousness. Bernardo began to rape Tammy while Karla watched.
Over the summer, he supplied Tammy and her friends with gifts, food, and sodas that had “a film and a few white flecks on the top.”
Six months before their 1991 wedding, Karla Homolka stole the anaesthetic agent Halothane from the clinic. On December 23, 1990, Homolka and Bernardo administered sleeping pills to the 15-year-old in a rum-and-eggnog cocktail. After Tammy was unconscious, Homolka and Bernardo undressed her and Karla applied a Halothane-soaked cloth to her sister’s nose and mouth.
Karla Homolka wanted to “give Tammy’s virginity to Bernardo for Christmas” as, according to Homolka, Bernardo was disappointed by not having been Karla’s first sex partner. With Tammy’s parents sleeping upstairs, the pair filmed themselves as they raped her in the basement. Tammy began to vomit. The pair tried to revive her, then called 911, but not before they hid evidence, dressed Tammy, and moved her into her basement bedroom. A few hours later Tammy Homolka was pronounced dead at St. Catharines General Hospital without having regained consciousness.
On June 15, 1991, Bernardo kidnapped fourteen-year-old Leslie Mahaffy, whom he then raped and murdered. Her dismembered body was found in Lake Gibson near St. Catharines, Ontario. On April 16, 1992, Bernardo, with Homolka’s help, kidnapped Kristen French from a church parking lot. Again, Bernardo abused her, then murdered her. Later that year Bernardo increasingly became abusive towards Homolka, and as a consequence she left him in January 1993. In return for a plea bargain (12 years in prison) Homolka agreed to testify against Bernardo in his murder trial. This plea bargain received much public criticism from Canadians.
Six videotapes found at the home of Bernardo and his wife Homolka were used as evidence in Bernardo’s trial. Depicted are the rapes of Tammy Lyn Homolka, Kristen French, and Leslie Mahaffy. Also depicted is the rape of an unidentified girl known only as “Jane Doe.”
Bernardo’s trial for the murders of French and Mahaffy took place in 1995, and included detailed testimony from Homolka and videotapes of the rapes. The trial was subject to a publication ban to prevent the public from knowing details until after the trial. This led to many people driving to the United States and sharing newspaper reports from there. The trial was held in Toronto rather than St. Catharines, due to the inability to find an impartial jury in the city where the killings occurred. During the trial, Bernardo claimed the deaths were accidental, and later claimed that his wife was the actual killer. On September 1, 1995, Bernardo was convicted of the murders and sentenced to life in prison. Later, Bernardo was also declared a “Dangerous Offender”, virtually ensuring that he will never be released on parole. Since his conviction, he has been held in solitary confinement at the Kingston Penitentiary in Kingston, Ontario. He occupies a very small cell 23 out of 24 hours a day and is allowed one hour of exercise in a small walled-in yard. He is kept apart from the other male prisoners to ensure his safety.
Homolka was released from prison on July 4, 2005. Several days before, Bernardo was interviewed by police and his lawyer, Tony Bryant. According to Bryant, Bernardo claimed that he had always intended to free the girls he and Homolka kidnapped. However, once Mahaffy’s blindfold fell off, allowing Mahaffy to see Bernardo’s face, Homolka was concerned that Mahaffy would identify Bernardo, and hence report Homolka to the police. Further, Bernardo claimed that Homolka planned to murder Mahaffy by injecting an air bubble into her bloodstream, eventually causing an embolism.
Albert Henry DeSalvo “The Boston Strangler” (September 3, 1931 - November 25, 1973) was a serial killer active in Boston, Massachusetts in the early 1960s. Between June 14, 1962, and January 4, 1964, thirteen single women between the ages of 19 and 85 in the Boston area were murdered. All thirteen women were murdered in their apartments, strangled with articles of clothing after being sexually assaulted. Without any sign of forced entry into their dwellings, the women apparently either knew their assailant or voluntarily allowed him into their homes.
While the police were not convinced that all of these murders were the work of a single individual, the public believed so. Despite police efforts to solve the case, it was the alleged Strangler who caused his own capture.
On October 27, 1964, a stranger entered a young woman’s home posing as a detective. He tied his victim to her bed, proceeded to sexually assault her, and suddenly left, saying “I’m sorry” as he went. The woman’s description led police to identify the assailant as Albert Henry DeSalvo and when his photo was published, many women identified him as the man who had assaulted them. Earlier that night, he had posed as a motorist with car trouble and attempted to enter a home in Bridgewater, Massachusetts. The homeowner, future Brockton police chief Richard Sproles, became suspicious, and eventually fired a shotgun at DeSalvo. At this point, DeSalvo was not suspected of being involved with the stranglings. It was only after he was charged with rape that he gave a detailed confession of his activities as the Boston Strangler. However, there was no evidence to substantiate his confession. As such, he stood trial for earlier, unrelated crimes of robbery and sexual offences. DeSalvo was sentenced to life in prison in 1967. He was murdered six years later in the prison infirmary.
Lingering doubts remain as to whether DeSalvo was indeed the Boston Strangler. At the time that he confessed, people who knew him personally did not believe him capable of the vicious crimes (however, it is not uncommon for people who knew a serial killer to never have suspected him to be capable of such violence. In the case of Mary Sullivan, murdered January 4, 1964, at age 19, DNA) and other forensic evidence gathered nearly 40 years later by her nephew Casey Sherman and published in his book A Rose for Mary (2003) suggested that DeSalvo was not responsible for her death. For example, DeSalvo confessed to sexually penetrating her, yet the forensic investigation revealed no evidence of sexual activity. There are also suggestions from DeSalvo himself that he was covering up for another man, the real killer.
DeSalvo was the subject of the 1968 Hollywood film The Boston Strangler, starring Tony Curtis as DeSalvo, and Henry Fonda and George Kennedy as the homicide detectives who apprehend him. The movie was highly fictionalized; it assumed DeSalvo was guilty, and it portrayed him as suffering from multiple personality disorder and committing the murders while in a psychotic state. DeSalvo was never diagnosed with, or even suspected of having, that disorder. DeSalvo was one of the serial killers whose murders were recreated by the killer in the movie Copycat.
Yang Xinhai “The Monster Killer”
He was a Chinese serial killer who confessed to committing 65 murders and 23 rapes between 1999 and 2003, and was sentenced to death and executed for 67. He was dubbed the “Monster Killer” by the media. He is the most prolific serial killer China has seen.
Early life: Yang was born on July 29, 1968 in Zhumadian, Zhengyang County, Henan Province, China. His family was one of the poorest in their village. The youngest of four children, Yang was clever but introverted. He dropped out of school in 1985, at age 17, and refused to return home, instead traveling around China and working as a hired labourer.
Crimes: In 1988 and 1991, Yang was sentenced to labor camps for theft in Xi’an, Shaanxi and Shijiazhuang, Hebei. In 1996, he was sentenced to five years in prison for attempted rape in Zhumadian, Henan and released in 1999.
Yang’s killings took place between 1999 and 2003 in the provinces of Anhui, Hebei, Henan and Shandong. At night, he would enter his victims’ homes, and kill all of the occupants mainly farmers with axes, hammers and shovels, sometimes killing entire families. Each time he wore new clothes and large shoes.
In October 2002, Yang killed a father and a six-year-old girl with a shovel and raped a pregnant woman, who survived the attack with serious head injuries.
Arrest, trial and execution: Yang was detained on November 3, 2003 after acting suspiciously during a routine police inspection of entertainment venues in Cangzhou, Hebei. Police took him in for questioning and discovered that he was wanted for murder in four provinces. As news of his arrest and crimes spread, the media dubbed him the “Monster Killer”.
Shortly after he was arrested, Yang confessed to 65 murders, 23 rapes and five attacks causing serious injury: 49 murders, 17 rapes and five attacks in Henan; eight murders and three rapes in Hebei; six murders and two rapes in Anhui; and two murders and one rape in Shandong. Police also matched his DNA with that found at several crime scenes.
On February 1, 2004, Yang was found guilty of 67 murders and 23 rapes, and sentenced to death in Luohe City Intermediate People’s Court, Henan. At the time of his sentencing, official Chinese media believed he had carried out China’s longest and grisliest killing spree.
Yang was executed on February 14, 2004, by a gunshot to the back of the head.
Motive: According to some media reports at the time of his arrest, Yang’s motive for the killings was revenge against society as a result of a break up. Allegedly his girlfriend had left him because of his previous sentences for theft and rape. Later media reports claimed that his enjoyment of robbery, rape and murder was the motive.
While Yang never formally provided a motive, he was quoted as saying: “When I killed people I had a desire. This inspired me to kill more. I don’t care whether they deserve to live or not. It is none of my concern…I have no desire to be part of society. Society is not my concern.”
Items found in Ted Bundy’s 1968 Volkswagen Beetle after a 1975 arrest.
Theodore Robert “Ted” Bundy (November 24 1946 – January 24 1989) was an American serial killer and rapist who murdered numerous young women across the United States between 1974 and 1978. His total number of victims is unknown. After over a decade of vigorous denials, Bundy eventually confessed to over 30 murders. Bundy is often considered the prototypical American serial killer — indeed, the term ‘serial killer’ was coined in order to describe him.
Bundy is believed to have been a sociopath. He is usually described as an educated, handsome and charming young man despite the brutality of his crimes. Typically, he murdered young women and girls by bludgeoning them, and sometimes by strangulation. He is also believed to have raped many of his victims, in addition to mutilating and molesting their bodies after their deaths.
While some Bundy experts, including Rule and former King County detective Robert D. Keppel, believe Bundy may have started killing as far back as his early teens (an eight-year-old girl from Tacoma, Ann Marie Burr, vanished from her home when Bundy was 15), his earliest confirmed murders were committed in 1974, when he was 27.
Shortly after midnight on January 4, 1974, Bundy entered the basement bedroom of Joni Lenz, an 18-year-old student at the University of Washington, and bludgeoned her with a crowbar while she slept. Bundy also removed a steel rod from Lenz’s bed frame and sexually assaulted her with it. She was found the next morning, in a coma, lying in a pool of her own blood. Lenz survived the attack, but suffered permanent brain damage.
Bundy’s next victim was Lynda Ann Healy, a senior at the University of Washington. On January 31, 1974, Bundy broke into Healy’s basement room, knocked her unconscious, dressed her in jeans and a shirt, wrapped her in a bed sheet, and carried her away. A year would pass before her decapitated remains were found in the mountains east of Seattle.
Between January and June of 1974, Bundy stalked and killed at least eight young women in Washington State alone, a spree that culminated in July with the abduction, in broad daylight, of Janice Ott and Denise Naslund from Lake Sammamish State Park near Seattle. Bundy had a remarkable advantage as his facial features were attractive, yet not especially memorable. In later years, he would often be described as a chameleon, able to look totally different by making only minor adjustments to his appearance, e.g., shaving or changing his hairstyle.
That autumn, Bundy moved to Utah to attend law school in Salt Lake City, where he resumed killing in October with the murder of Melissa Smith, the 17-year-old daughter of Midvale, Utah, police chief Louis Smith. Bundy raped, sodomized, and strangled Smith. Her body was found nine days later.
Next was Laura Aime, also 17, who disappeared on Halloween. Her remains were found nearly a month later, on Thanksgiving Day, on the banks of a river.
Aileen Wuornos interviewed one day before her execution.
Aileen Wuornos and her victims:
- Richard Mallory, age 51—November 30, 1989—Electronics store owner in Clearwater, Florida. Wuornos’ first victim was a convicted rapist whom she claimed to have killed in self-defense. Two days later, a Volusia County, Florida, Deputy Sheriff found Mallory’s abandoned vehicle. On December 13, Mallory’s body was found several miles away in a wooded area. He had been shot several times, but two bullets to the left lung were found to have been the cause of death. It was on this murder that Wuornos would eventually be condemned.
- David Spears, age 43—Construction worker in Winter Garden, Florida. On June 1, 1990, his nude body was found along Highway 19 in Citrus County, Florida. He had been shot six times.
- Charles Carskaddon, age 40—May 31, 1990—Part-time rodeo worker. On June 6, 1990, his body was found in Pasco County, Florida. He had been shot nine times with a small-caliber weapon.
- Peter Siems, age 65—In June 1990, Siems left Jupiter, Florida, for New Jersey. On July 4, 1990, his car was found in Orange Springs, Florida. Moore and Wuornos were seen abandoning the car, and Wuornos’ palm print was found on the interior door handle. His body was never found.
- Troy Burress, age 50—Sausage salesman from Ocala, Florida. On July 31, 1990, he was reported missing. On August 4, 1990, his body was found in a wooded area along State Road 19 inMarion County, Florida. He had been shot twice.
- Charles “Dick” Humphreys, age 56—September 11, 1990—Retired U.S. Air Force Major, former State Child Abuse Investigator, and former Chief of Police. On September 12, 1990, his body was found in Marion County, Florida. He was fully clothed and had been shot six times in the head and torso. His car was found in Suwannee County, Florida.
- Walter Jeno Antonio, age 62—Police Reservist. On November 19, 1990, Antonio’s nearly nude body was found near a remote logging road in Dixie County, Florida. He had been shot four times. Five days later, his car was found in Brevard County, Florida.
Jack the Ripper
Jack the Ripper is a pseudonym given to an unidentified serial killer active in the largely impoverished Whitechapel area and adjacent districts of London, England, in late 1888. The name originated in a letter sent to the London Central News Agency by someone claiming to be the murderer.
The victims were women earning income as prostitutes. Most victims’ throats were slit, after which the bodies were mutilated. The removal of internal organs from three of the victims led some officials at the time of the murders to propose that the killer possessed anatomical or surgical knowledge.
Newspapers, whose circulation had been growing during this era, bestowed widespread and enduring notoriety on the killer because of the savagery of the attacks and the failure of the police to capture the murderer.
Because the killer’s identity has never been confirmed, the legends surrounding the murders have become a combination of genuine historical research, folklore, and pseudohistory. Many authors, historians, and amateur detectives have proposed theories about the identity of the killer and his victims.
Metropolitan Police files show that the investigation began in 1888 and eventually came to encompass eleven separate murders, stretching from 3 April 1888 to 13 February 1891, known in the police docket as the “Whitechapel murders”. In addition, authors and historians have connected at least seven other murders and violent attacks with Jack the Ripper. Among the eleven murders actively investigated by the police, five are almost universally agreed upon as the work of a single killer, collectively called the “canonical five” victims:
- Mary Ann Nichols (nicknamed “Polly”) killed Friday 31 August 1888. Her body was discovered by a man named Charles Cross at about 3:40 A.M. on the ground in front of a gated stable entrance in Buck’s Row (now Durward Street), a back street in Whitechapel 200 yards from the London Hospital. Her throat was severed deeply by two cuts; the lower part of the abdomen was partly ripped open by a deep, jagged wound. There also were several incisions running across the abdomen, and three or four similar cuts on the right side caused by the same knife used violently and downwards.
- Annie Chapman (maiden name Eliza Ann Smith, nicknamed “Dark Annie”) killed Saturday 8 September 1888. Her body was discovered about 6 a.m., lying on the ground near a doorway in the back yard of 29 Hanbury Street, Spitalfields. Like Mary Ann Nichols’s, her throat was severed by two cuts, one deeper than the other. The abdomen was ripped entirely open and the uterus was removed.
- Elizabeth Stride (nicknamed “Long Liz”) killed Sunday 30 September 1888. Her body was discovered about 1 a.m., lying on the ground in Dutfield’s Yard, off Berner Street (now Henriques Street) in Whitechapel. There was one clear-cut incision on the neck; the cause of death was massive blood loss from the nearly severed main artery on the left side. The cut through the tissues on the right side was more superficial, and tapered off below the right jaw. That there also were no mutilations to the abdomen has left some uncertainty about the identity of Elizabeth’s murderer, along with the suggestion her killer was disturbed during the attack.
- Catherine Eddowes (also known as “Kate Conway” and “Mary Ann Kelly,” from the surnames of her two common-law husbands, Thomas Conway and John Kelly) killed Sunday 30 September 1888 (the same day as the previous victim, Elizabeth Stride). Her body was found in Mitre Square, in the City of London. The throat was, as in the former two cases, severed by two cuts; the abdomen was ripped open by a long, deep, jagged wound. The left kidney and the major part of the uterus had been removed. She was 46. Her murder, and the murder of Elizabeth Stride would go on to be called “The Double Event” in the media, and across London.
- Mary Jane Kelly (called herself “Marie Jeanette Kelly” after a trip to Paris, nicknamed “Ginger”) killed Friday 9 November 1888. Her gruesomely mutilated body was discovered shortly after 10:45 A.M., lying on the bed in the single room where she lived at 13 Miller’s Court, off Dorset Street, Spitalfields. Her throat had been severed down to the spine, and her abdomen virtually emptied of its organs. Her heart was missing.
The authority of this list rests on a number of authors’ opinions, but historically the idea has been based upon the 1894 notes of Sir Melville Macnaghten, Chief Constable of the Metropolitan Police Service Criminal Investigation Department. Macnaghten did not join the force until the year after the murders; and his memorandum, which came to light in 1959, contains serious factual errors about possible suspects. There is considerable disagreement about the value of Macnaghten’s assessment of the number of victims. Some researchers have posited that the series may not have been the work of a single murderer, but of an unknown larger number of killers acting independently. Authors Stewart P. Evans and Donald Rumbelow argue that the “canonical five” is a “Ripper myth” and that the probable number of victims could range from three (Nichols, Chapman, and Eddowes) to six (the previous three, plus Stride, Kelly, and Martha Tabram) or more. Macnaghten’s opinion of which crimes were committed by the same killer was not shared by other investigating officers, such as Inspector Frederick Abberline.
Except Stride, whose attack may have been interrupted, mutilations of the “canonical five” victims became increasingly severe as the series of murders proceeded. Nichols and Stride were not missing any organs; but Chapman’s uterus was taken, and Eddowes had her uterus and a kidney carried away and her face mutilated. While only Kelly’s heart was missing from her crime scene, many of her internal organs were removed and left in her room.
The “canonical five” murders were generally perpetrated in the dark of night, on or close to a weekend, in a secluded site to which the public could gain access, and on a pattern of dates either at the end of a month or a week or so after. Yet every case differed from this pattern in some manner. Besides the differences already mentioned, Eddowes was the only victim killed within the City of London, though close to the boundary between the City and the metropolis. Nichols was the only victim to be found on an open street, albeit a dark and deserted one. Many sources state that Chapman was killed after the sun had started to rise, though that was not the opinion of the police or the doctors who examined the body. Kelly’s murder ended six weeks of inactivity for the murderer. (A week elapsed between the Nichols and Chapman murders; three between Chapman and the “double event”.)
The large number of horrific attacks against women during this era adds some uncertainty as to exactly how many victims were killed by the same man. Most experts point to deep throat slashes, abdominal and genital-area mutilation, removal of internal organs, and progressive facial mutilations as the distinctive features of Jack the Ripper’s modus operandi.
Robert C. “Bobby” Greenlease (1947-1953) was the son of multi-millionaire automobile dealer Robert Cosgrove Greenlease, Sr., of Kansas City, Missouri. He was the victim of a kidnapping in September 1953 that led to the largest ransom payout in U.S. history at the time; however, Bobby Greenlease’s abductors had no intention of returning him to his family. Before the ransom demand was even issued, the young boy was murdered by his abductors, Carl Austin Hall and Bonnie Emily Brown Heady. Kidnapper Bonnie Heady said that from the moment she showed up at his school claiming to be a relative taking him to his sick mother, that he just took her hand and went along with anything he was told to do.
On November 2, 2007, Italian police discovered Meredith Kercher, 21, dead on her bedroom floor, drenched in blood and half-dressed but wrapped in a duvet, a condition which caused police to suspect that the killer or killers included someone who knew the victim or was otherwise sensitive to sexual violence. Kercher, a student from the University of Leeds, had been fatally stabbed in the throat the night before in the cottage she shared with an American student, Amanda Knox, and two Italian women their age, Filomena Romanelli and Laura Mezzetti. Knox and Kercher were students at the Università per Stranieri—University for Foreigners—in the picturesque Umbrian city of Perugia in central Italy.
Investigation of Kercher’s murder, though, brought to light accounts of a wild student life at the university far exceeding simple youthful indiscretion making study abroad here look less like cultural and educational enrichment and more like an ongoing carnival of self-indulgence. Lurid British, Italian and American tabloid coverage and unsolicited grassroots efforts to prove Amanda’s innocence by alleging police misconduct casting doubt on the Italian judicial system have transformed the case into a media circus, its sensational headlines eclipsing the sad fate of young Meredith Kercher.
Founded in 1921, the Università per Stranieri at which Kercher and Knox were enrolled today draws some 8,000 international students a year. The town’s Università degli Studi di Perugia enrolls another 34,000. With its youthful population, artistic tradition, and the beauty of both its medieval architecture and its hilltop location in the green heart of the province of Umbria, the ancient city of Perugia seems an idyllic place for a junior year abroad. But now the city’s reputation has been tainted by the startling murder. Long best known abroad for its chocolate; Perugia now has become famous as the site of this disturbing murder.
The youngest person ever to be convicted of multiple murders in Canada, Jasmine Richardson was twelve when she brutally murdered her parents and younger brother in Medicine Hat, Alberta. After the bodies were discovered on April 23rd, 2006, police feared Jasmine could also be a victim. However, she was later found alive with her 23-year-old boyfriend Jeremy Allen Steinke, whom her parents did not approve of. Steinke, who, like Jasmine, had an interest in goth culture, monsters and vampires, was also charged with the murders. On July 9, 2007, Jasmine was convicted on three counts of first-degree murder. She was sentenced to ten years in prison, the maximum penalty for a child under fourteen under the Canadian Youth Criminal Justice Act.
“To me killing people is like ripping open a duvet. Men, women, old people, children, they are all the same. I have never felt sorry for those I killed. No love, no hatred, just blind indifference. I don’t see them as individuals, but just as masses.”
Anatoly Yuriyovych Onoprienko is a Ukrainian serial killer. He is also known by the nicknames “The Beast of Ukraine”, “The Terminator” and “Citizen O”. After police arrested the 37-year-old former forestry student on April 16, 1996, Onoprienko confessed to killing 52 people.
When Anatoly was 4 years old, his mother died. He was cared for by his grandparents and aunt before being handed over to an orphanage in the village of Privitnoe. In one interview, Onoprienko later said that this predetermined his destiny - and remarked that 70% of those who are brought up in orphanages end up going to prison in later life.
Onoprienko’s first murder was a couple he encountered standing next to their car on a motorway. On an urge, he stopped his car, reversed to where they were parked and shot them in cold blood. He later claimed that from that moment onwards, killing seemed merely like a game from outer space, he gained no pleasure from it and found corpses ugly.
His general formula for crime would be to select an isolated house, to break in and steal what valuables he could and then to murder the entire family, as well as any witnesses he encountered. His methods were violent; he blew doors off homes, gunned down adults, using a 12-gauge shotgun at point-blank range, raped women and battered children with metal objects.
Some sources say he killed 43 people in 6 months, whilst others put the figure at more than 50 in 3 months. Whatever the actual total, it was certain that Onoprienko was a serial killer who was out of control.
In March 1996 the Ukrainian police launched nationwide manhunt for the killer, involving 2,000 police and more than 3,000 troops. In an unfortunate turn of events during the police investigation, an innocent man, Yury Mozola, 26, was taken in for questioning as a suspect in several of the murders. Over a period of three days, he was held in custody, burned, beaten and given electric shocks in order to force a confession.
Refusing to confess to something he did not do, Mozola died during the torture. The six members of the Ukrainian Secret Service, along with the representative of the Public Prosecutors Office, who tortured Mazola and were responsible for his death, were later sentenced to short prison terms.
When the police finally arrested Anatoly Onoprienko on 16 April, 1996, the mentally disturbed former forestry student denied he was ‘The Terminator’, slayer of over 52 people and the Ukraine’s most prolific killer, although he did admit to eight deaths between 1989 and 1995.
Sleep paralysis is a feeling of being conscious but unable to move. It occurs when a person passes between stages of wakefulness and sleep. During these transitions, you may be unable to move or speak for a few seconds up to a few minutes. Some people may also feel pressure or a sense of choking. Sleep paralysis may accompany other sleep disorders such as narcolepsy. Narcolepsy is an overpowering need to sleep caused by a problem with the brain’s ability to regulate sleep.
In folklore, sleep paralysis has been widely considered to be the work of demons and more specifically incubi, which were thought to sit on the chests of sleepers. Folk belief in Newfoundland, describe the negative figure of the Hag who leaves her physical body at night, and sits on the chest of her victim. The victim usually wakes with a feeling of terror, and has difficulty breathing. In Fiji the experience is interpreted as “kana tevoro” being ‘eaten’ or possessed by a demon. In many cases the ‘demon’ can be the spirit of a recently dead relative who has come back for some unfinished business, or has come to communicate some important news to the living.