3 Serial Killers Who Totally Got Away With It
3 Serial Killers Who Totally Got Away With It
By Dr. Logan
You know, the criminal justice system isn't perfect. If it were, a good few of us wouldn't be reading this, because TCS is blocked in federal penitentiaries (we make our mothers proud). Sometimes murderers just keep on a-murderin' and straight-up get away with it. They laugh in the face of danger and break all the rules. And kill people. Here are three funky murderous villains who totally got away with that shit.
John Bodkin Adams
Although he was never convicted of killing anyone, today Dr. John Bodkin Adams is considered one of the most prolific serial killers in British history, with a suspected body count of over 160 of his own patients. Born in 1899 to a devout, well to do family in Northern Ireland, Adams worked his way up the social ladder to become one of the wealthiest and most successful general practitioners in post World War II England.
And all this in spite of looking like the bastard love child of Winston Churchill and a bemused turnip.
But while Adams’ career may have been successful, that didn’t stop sinister rumours circulating about him, specifically the ones about the suspiciously high amount of patients that died around him, notably ones who tended to mention him in their wills. Also, his habit of giving his patients what he enigmatically referred to as his “Special Injections”, the nature of which he refused to discuss with his staff (and which he always insisted on administering to patients after his nurses left the room), in retrospect probably should have raised a red flag or seven.
“We always want cremations to go off smoothly for the dear relatives. If I said I knew I was getting money under the Will, they might get suspicious, and I like cremations and burials to go smoothly.”
Adams explaining why he illegally neglected to inform crematoriums he was mentioned in the deceased’s wills. So, nothing suspicious here.
It all came to a head in 1956 when, after a complaint, he was finally charged with murdering one of his patients. However a conviction, it appears, was not meant to be.
The So-Called “Trial”
Adams’ trial made world news at the time, as at this point no doctor in Britain had ever been convicted of killing his patients. Fortunately for him, however, the trial couldn't have gone worse than if it was organised by a drunken octopus with a personal grudge against justice.
After a series of what is legally known as “Major Judicial pooch Screwing”, Adams was found innocent. But, that was less about the evidence, and more about shady goings on at the courtroom.
Constant instances of misconduct ran rampant. For instance, a major piece of the prosecution's evidence went missing, only to be mysteriously handed in BY THE DEFENCE (twist!), after the trial had begun and it was too late to be of use to the prosecution, who neglected to ask for an adjournment to acquaint themselves.
Plus, out of all the possible victims for Adams to be charged with killing, the prosecution chose a woman who’s remains had been cremated, and as such no longer had any physical evidence, in spite of the fact that there were plenty of other victims who had received standard burials and still had drugs in their systems.
Acquitted of murder, Adams was instead convicted of various fraud and drug charges, and received a ... fine, and had his medical licence revoked. Following his acquittal, the Attorney General refrained from charging the good doctor with any of the other suspected murders, presumably on a “Meh, not like convicting the killer will bring the victims back. Let’s all just move on”, basis.
More competent judges.
There are many theories as to why such rampant misconduct at the trial were allowed to take place. First of all, there were obviously fears from the National Health Service that if Adams was found guilty and hanged, there would be mass defections from doctors afraid of being charged with murder if their patients died.
Plus, on a more sinister note, Harold Macmillan, the prime minister at the time, was the brother-in-law of 10th Duke of Devonshire, for whom Adams had signed the death certificate, following his passing, putting it down to natural causes. Had Adams been convicted, this certainly would have been brought into public scrutiny. Oh, and did I mention that Macmillan was friends with the Attorney General at Adams trial, with the two regularly holding meetings? Not that there’s any implications there...
Plus, there’s the simple fact that back in the 1950’s, the general public as well as the authorities didn't really understand the psychology behind serial killers, and couldn't really get their heads around a doctor killing the very people he was supposed to help. In fact, it wouldn't be until the year 2000 with the arrest of Harold Shipman that any British doctor would be convicted of killing his patients. And with a score of over 250 patient-murders, Harry showed that Adams’ alleged crimes weren't as far-fetched as they would have seemed at the time. In fact, next to Shipman, Adams seemed down right lackluster in his amount of killings.
“Pffft, only 160? I could do that with half my beard tied behind my back!”
Back In The Habit
Although stripped of his title and with his reputation in ruins, Adams, being the cheeky bugger he was, continually appealed to get his licence reinstated, amazingly succeeding and reopening a practice in 1961.
He would go on to live the rest of his life in relative obscurity, dying of natural causes in 1983 at the ripe old age of 84. But still, one has to wonder about the patients who came to see him after all the notoriety attached to his trial. I mean, sure he was technically found innocent, but would you let him stick a needle in your arm?
Kind of on par with hiring O.J. Simpson as a marriage guidance counselor.
One would expect a name like that would have probably sounded more fitting to a porn star who specialized in erotic versions of Twilight Fan-fiction, Béla Kiss earned his way into the history books through far less savory means.
He was also the owner of the world’s moustache-iest moustache, until Tom Selleck stole his title.
Born in Hungary in 1877, Kiss was, for all intents and purposes, a normal (if slightly romantically named) dude. Working as a tinsmith, he earned himself a reputation as something of a ladies man due to all his correspondence with various women he’d meet over lonely hearts columns.
He also had a slightly odd hobby of collecting large metal drums, which he claimed he used to store gasoline. One has to remember that this was long before the internet, and as such, people had to come up with ways to pass the time before Youtube (and porntube) was invented.
His idyllic little life was only interrupted when the first World War broke out (you may have heard of it). He was soon conscripted into the armed forces and sent off to fight the... Nazis or Al-Qaeda, or whomever it was people were fighting back then.
Inside The Drums...
While he was away doing his bit for his country, some soldiers arrived at the town in need of gasoline. The town constable, at this point, remembered that his old pal Béla had a whole bunch of the stuff back at his place. And so, figuring a little bit of burglary was cool, (what with a war going on and all) he elected to take the soldiers to Kiss’ place and let them "borrow" some fuel.
However, when the first drum was opened, the pungent smell that greeted them was not of the fossil fuel variety. Apparently, when Kiss had been wooing those ladies through mail correspondence, it wasn't romance he had in mind. Luring them back to his house, he stole their money, murdered them, and sealed them up in the drums that he explained away to nosy neighbours as gasoline stockpiling.
To be fair, it could have ended up much worse.
Twenty-four women in total were discovered in Kiss’ home, and Detective Chief Charles Nagy immediately sent word to the military demanding Kiss’ arrest. Surprisingly though, this proved difficult, as at the time Béla Kiss was an extremely popular name in the country (beaten out only by Buffy Makeout-Session), so tracking down the right Kiss was not as easy as it sounded.
Word eventually reached Nagy that the particular Kiss he was after was recuperating in a Serbian hospital, but by the time the intrepid detective got there to arrest him, in such an event that if it happened in a movie we would all cry out “Bullshit!”, Kiss had already made his escape, having placed a dead soldier’s body in his bed to fool hospital staff.
Rumours of him leaving a note saying “Béla Kiss my ass Nagy!” remain unconfirmed.
Killer On The Run
So what happened to him? Well at the risk of sounding dramatic, nobody knows! It was assumed that after escaping the hospital, he stole the identity of a soldier who died in the war and took off to parts unknown.
While there were several sightings of him, nothing concrete was ever confirmed, and no arrests were ever made. Rumors abound, there were suspected sightings in Romania and Turkey. There was even suspicion that he had joined the French Foreign Legion, but when authorities showed up to question the suspect, he’d already fled.
The sightings continued all the way up to the thirties in the US, when an American detective claimed he had seen Kiss in New York, where he was supposedly living under an assumed name and working as a janitor. But once again, when the police went to interview him, he’d had already gone.
Whatever really happened to the lady-killing Hungarian remains unknown…
Go ahead and check the Wikipedia article. His date of death is "?". Look behind you, ladies.
Some sources claim that after his body died, his mustache merely took on a new host.
It’s not easy being the leader of a Doomsday Cult. Since most folk are unwilling to hand over their life savings to you without a good reason, you first have to convince them that the world is going to end, and therefore they ain't gonna need any of that materialistic stuff anyway. But, that itself brings problems.
If the End Of The World you've predicted is too far away, it won’t have that sense of urgency you need for folks to hand over their belongings. But if you predict it happening too soon, and the world isn't kind enough to end itself for you, you’re then met with those pesky followers asking for their money back.
Cult? What cult?
This was a problem the leaders of Ugandan cult "The Movement for the Restoration of the Ten Commandments of God," (the name “Manson Family” was already taken) faced the day after the turn of the millennium when the apocalypse they’d assured it’s followers was coming got performance anxiety and didn't happen.
And so, in the grand tradition of evil megalomaniacs who liked to brainwash innocent people struggling for answers in hard times, the cult’s leaders manipulated their followers into an act of mass-suicide on March 17 2000, killing anyone who had the audacity to resist or try to escape.
When the dust settled, over 700 people were dead, half of them children. As authorities tried to figure out what lead to the tragedy, the person responsible was revealed to be one Credonia Mwerinde, a former prostitute turned spokesperson for the Virgin Mary, who according to Mwerinde had appeared to her so often they were practically BFFs.
Although the cult was officially lead by former politician Joseph Kibweteere, surviving cult members and family members agreed that Mwerinde was the real power behind the group and that she only brought Kibweteere in to give the organisation a masculine figurehead. Apparently, sexist preconceptions can be found even in Death-Cults, who’d have thought it?
As more information started to get dug up, a bigger picture painting the supposed reformed criminal turned holy woman Mwerinde as a money hungry maniac, obsessed with profit and pyromania and willing to kill anyone who stood in her way.
As an ex-prostitute her story is a lot like Pretty Woman, only instead of boning Richard Gere, she slaughtered hundreds of innocent people.
The ‘Holy’ Hooker
Although the mass-murder of the cult members was obviously her most notorious act, Mwerinde was no angel before all this, and was already well versed in the art of serial killing long before organizing her own mini-apocalypses.
Born in 1952, Credonia came from a large, religious family. However, she was apparently a trouble maker from an early age. After burning down the home of a man who spurned her advances, her family sent her away for treatment. This seemingly did little to assuage her temperament.
Going on to become a prostitute, she later opened her own bar where she brewed banana beer (which, quite frankly, sounds a lot nicer than the cabbage-beer we have over here in Ireland). It was at this bar where patrons remembered such suspicious acts as her casually mopping up blood on the floor, which is now believed to have belonged to a passing motorist she lured into her bar and murdered for his money.
Other early profit-motivated killings include poisoning her three brothers one by one, thereby becoming the sole inheritor of their family property, which she would later use as one of the sites for her followers.
It was at some point after this that Mwerinde began claiming to have visions of the Virgin Mary, who apparently was willing to overlook her habit of arson, prostitution, and serial-fratricide, and sent her on a mission to spread the word of the impending apocalypse and how salvation could only be found by joining the movement (and signing your property over the chick in charge). Mwerinde traveled the countryside accumulating followers and setting up her cult, eventually luring Kibweteere into the group, who was said by his relatives to be completely under Mwerinde‘s control.
As well as Kibweteere, Mwerinde also amassed a group of defrocked priests and nuns to act as her inner-circle within the cult, who would all rule over the other followers with an iron fist. She also appointed a group of burly, fanatically devoted henchman to keep the followers in line.
Well If The World Isn’t Going To End Itself...
Conditions in the community were said to be appalling for the followers. The members were expected to work until they were covered with sores, and sometimes go days without food. Conditions were so strict, members were occasionally forbidden from talking and had to communicate through sign language. Floors were used for beds. Sex was out of the question. Even soap was forbidden.
Because Jesus hates personal hygiene, apparently.
Discord eventually started to spread throughout the community, and when the world stubbornly refused to end on January 1st, 2000 as Mwerinde predicted, people started to ask for their money back. And as you can imagine, she couldn't really allow that.
And so like her American equivalent, Jim Jones, Mwerinde decided to get rid of the community she created altogether. Gathering everyone into one compound, the followers were given poisoned drinks and the building was burnt to the ground. The final death toll came to around 778 victims, most of whom perished in the flames. Many bodies found in the compound had been killed by Mwerinde’s goons in the preceding months leading up to the massacre for asking too many questions or trying to leave.
But that’s the end of the story right? Well, that’s the thing. See unlike Jones who had the decency to die with his victims, although Mwerinde and her co-conspirators were initially believed to have died with everyone else, investigators were unable to find her and her inner-circle’s remains.
It’s now been theorized they used the fire as a distraction to escape the compound (with all the money they’d cheated their followers out of, of course) and fled the country. Many believe she and her mass-murdering buddies fled with their ill-gotten gains to the Congo, where due to the turmoil and political instability there, they could disappear, safe from prosecution.
What ever happened to her, and whether she’s alive today, remains unknown...
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