From all my studies in forensics and criminology, my primary interest is in serial crime – specifically serial murder. One of the most interesting aspects in what we know today about serial killers is that there have been many killing partners.
Typically, whenever we see a serial killer portrayed, we see this lone wolf, solitary, psychopath with sick, twisted fantasies that is driven to search for his victims by his overwhelming compulsion. It has been estimated that approximately 10 to 25 percent of these killers hunt in pairs. That’s actually a very frightening phenomenon.
Another interesting aspect about these types of “pair” killers to ponder is when will the inevitable happen. There is always a power struggle with any kind of partnership in crime. One partner is generally the “so-called” leader of the group, in this case, partnership.
How long will it take for one serial killer to kill the other?
In my novel Compulsion, I’ve created a serial killer that works with another killer. In this case, one is actually training the other; however, the identity of the second killer isn’t revealed until near the end of the story. In my second novel Dead Game, this particular serial killer has two of his accomplices do the killing for him and they tape the entire incident of death, so he is allowed to savor the last gasps of life over and over again.
Here’s an extremely disturbing short list of serial killer partners, some you may have heard of and some you may have not.
Leonard Lake & Charles Ng
They stalked California in the 1980s. Lake’s fantasy was to abduct women and make them into sex salves along with the help of his sadistic partner Ng. When Lake realized the law was closing in, he took the easy way out by taking two cyanide tables, went into a coma, and died four days later. It took law enforcement longer to find Ng who had disappeared to Canada, but he was finally captured, tried, and sentenced to death by 1998.
A chilling insight into the mind of Leonard Lake:
“God meant women for cooking, cleaning house, and sex. When they are not in use, they should be locked up.”
Angelo Buono & Kenneth Bianchi
These two cousins, also referred to as the Hillside Strangers, terrorized the Los Angeles area during the late 1970s. Bianchi wanted to become a police officer, but was rejected from the local sheriff’s office. Buono was a sadistic pimp, known for extreme brutality, and had a long history of violence toward women. Bianchi pled guilty and agreed to testify against his cousin to avoid the death penalty. Buono died in prison in 2002, apparent heart attack.
Paul Bernardo & Karla Homolka
This young Canadian couple still staggers authorities in disbelief. They were perfect for one another in every way – especially killing. During the 1990s, this couple worked together to snatch teenage girls, and both would take turns having sex with them before murdering them.
The Chicago Rippers
During the 1980s in Chicago, there was a group of young deviants known as the “Chicago Rippers”. The leader was Robin Gecht, his background included working for John Wayne Gacy and molesting his own sister. His accomplices were his brothers: Tomas & Edward Kikoraleis and Edward Spreitzer. They raped, tortured, and murdered victims that included prostitutes and middle class singles and housewives. They would eat parts of the bodies and put it into a “relic” chest.
Ian Brady & Myra Hindley
This infamous couple was known for the “Moors Murders” in the UK. Between 1963 and 1964, this couple abducted, raped, and murdered four children and then buried their remains on the moors.
Here’s an insight into Hindley’s mind when writing about Brady in her diary.
“He is cruel and selfish, and I love him.”
Lawrence Bittaker & Roy Norris
These two men bonded in prison and later used California as their hunting grounds during the late 1970s. Bittaker christened his GMC cargo van “Murder Mack” when the killing pair dreamed up plans to kidnap, torture, and kill teenage girls while recording it on tape. They murder a total of six girls between the ages 13-18 years old and taped their hideous torture and death. Norris testified against his partner and received a sentence of 45 years to life and will be eligible for parole this year. Bittaker received the death penalty.
Douglas Clark & Carol Bundy
After a long history of sexually exploiting desperate women, Clark met Bundy. She became his eager slave when she wasn’t at her nursing job. She helped him with his depraved sexual fantasies and it soon turned to murder by the late 1970s and early 1980s. They were referred to as the “Sunset Strip Murders” in Los Angeles, California.
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Fascinating study. I have always pictured serial killers as being loners. You have opened my eyes. Again.
This is such a fascinating area for me and I think we will be hearing about more of these partners in the future. Thanks Caleb for your support!
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