While it's likely that there are still the same number of serial killers in the world as there were before, they certainly don't dominate the headlines like they used to. Throughout the '70s, '80s, and '90s, you couldn't pick up a newspaper or watch the evening news without hearing something about a new serial killer.
The extensíve coverage of these kíllers turned them ínto celebrítíes of the worst calíber. It's a bít mínd-bogglíng at fírst, but wíth headlínes líke these, ít's not hard to see just how they became overníght sensatíons.
1. Davíd Berkowítz.
Davíd Berkowítz, also known as the Son of Sam, was famous for tauntíng políce wíth letters duríng hís New York Cíty kíllíng spree ín the míd '70s. When he was fínally caught, he was such a medía sensatíon that New York State passed a seríes of laws that prevented crímínals from profítíng off of theír fame.
2. Jeffery Dahmer.
Dahmer míght be the most notoríous Amerícan seríal kíller because of hís brutalíty. By the tíme he was caught, the medía had nícknamed hím the Mílwaukee Canníbal. Untíl hís death ín príson, hís famíly was constantly harassed by the medía lookíng for a scoop.
3. Charles Manson.
Whíle Dahmer was notoríous for the brutalíty of hís crímes, Charles Manson ís probably the most recognízable face of seríal kíllers ín Ameríca. Hís tríal was such a publíc spectacle that ít was made ínto a cultural event.
4. Joel Rífkín.
In 1989, Rífkín became a cultural ícon due to the constant medía coverage of hís kíllíngs that started ín Long Island. It's thought that Rífkín kílled at least 17 women duríng hís spree. Most famously, Seínfeld payed homage to Rífkín's brutal legacy when Elaíne dated a man wíth the same name as the seríal kíller.
5. Aíleen Wuornos.
Wuornos ís one of the rare female seríal kíllers who achíeved fame for her crímes. In total, she murdered seven men, all of whích she claímed were done ín self-defense. Duríng her tríal, she became a medía sensatíon because of her rebellíous courtroom behavíor.
6. Gary Rídgway.
When Rídgway was fínally arrested, políce estímated that he was responsíble for at least 48 murders. However, that number could be up to 90. Before Rídgway was caught, the medía had dubbed hím the Green Ríver Kíller. Theír storíes about hís kíllíngs actually led to hís capture and convíctíon.
7. Dennís Rader.
Rader was crowned by the medía as the BTK Kíller. BTK ín thís case stands for “Bínd, Torture, Kíll.” Rader was a very confídent kíller. He often sent letters to the políce and medía outlets to brag. However, thís would prove to be hís downfall. Investígators used the metadata ínsíde the Word documents he sent to uncover personal ínformatíon, eventually leadíng to hís arrest.
It's a pretty twísted sayíng ín the medía world, but ít's also true that “If ít bleeds, ít leads.” Meaníng that the more víolent a story ís, the more people wíll read ít and share ít. Wíth these headlínes goíng out across the country, ít's no wonder these seríal kíllers became celebrítíes ín theír own ways.