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10 Crimes of Men on Death Row

by FlameHorse
fact checked by Alex Hanton

WARNING: disturbing content. This list talks about ten men who are on death row for crimes that truly are unimaginable and evil. This is a rather sombre list, but we will be sure to follow it up with something a little happier. It should be noted that this is not a TOP 10 list but rather a selection of 10 – so these should not be considered the worst of the worst.


Scott Peterson


His is a crime still well remembered in the American public mind. Laci Peterson’s date and cause of death have not been determined, and unless Scott confesses to what he did, which is unlikely as he maintains his innocence on appeal, the facts will never come to light. What is known is that she went missing on Christmas Eve, 2002, eight months pregnant with their first child, whom they intended to name Conner. The fetus washed ashore in San Francisco Bay on April 14, 2003, and Laci’s headless, handless and footless body washed ashore, in the same area, the next day. Laci’s 5th, 6th and 9th ribs were broken before death.

It is now believed that Scott suffocated her in their home, probably after a fight, dismembered her, and dumped her in the bay. His motives are generally thought, now, to consist of depression at a lack of money, and a desire to be single and childless again, as well as an affair with Amber Frey.

Richard M. Rossi was found guilty of capital murder and sentenced to death. Read his sensational book about life on the inside – Buy Waiting to Die: Life on Death Row at!


Michael Morales


Morales brutally raped and murdered 17-year-old Terri Winchell on 8 January, 1981. Winchell was involved in a love triangle with one of Morales’s cousins and another man. Morales’s cousin, Richard Ortega, asked Morales to murder Winchell in order that Ortega could have exclusive sexual relations with the third man. Morales is reported to have responded, “Sure, I’ll do it. Can I rape her, too?”

He did just that. He stalked Winchell, attacked her from behind on the side of a deserted highway, punching and kicking her all over, then attempting to strangle her with his belt. She managed to put up sufficient resistance until he produced a claw hammer from his pants and smashed her over the head until she collapsed. He then dragged her across the pavement into a vineyard, raped her while she was unconscious, and stabbed her four times in the chest with a steak knife. She died on the spot.

Morales’s execution date is currently postponed indefinitely, because a California judge ruled that death penalties must be carried out by a medical professional. The State Supreme Court ruled that this was impossible because medical professionals are prohibited, via the Hippocratic Oath, from performing executions. This is why executions are, for the most part, currently on hold in California, regardless of the savagery of the crimes.


Eddie James

Edward James Mugshot

By 20 September, 1993, James had been taken in by a sympathetic family named Dick. He rented a room in their house, and returned home from a party that evening to see Betty Dick’s four grandchildren sleeping in the living room. This infuriated him, because he believed that Betty’s daughter, Lisa Neuner, the mother of the children, was mooching off Betty for some nights on the town. He decided to punish Lisa by killing her eight-year-old daughter, Toni. He picked her up by her throat, took her to his room, raped her, and strangled her to death.

He then went to Betty’s bedroom, bashed her head in with a brass candlestick, kicked her several times in the groin, then stabbed her 11 times in the chest and abdomen with a knife, attempting to sever her breasts. Betty screamed and woke one of her grandchildren, Wendi, who came into the room, and was bound and gagged by James, who locked her in the bathroom, returning from the kitchen with a butcher knife, with which he stabbed Betty in the back, killing her. Then he robbed the house, and left in her car. The TV show America’s Most Wanted aided in capturing him. He pled guilty or nolo contendere to all counts.

Get inside the heads of history’s most depraved humans with Serial Killers: The Method and Madness of Monsters at!


Oba Chandler

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Chandler killed three women, Joan Rogers, 36, and her two daughters, Michelle, 17, and Christe, 14, sometime during the night of the 1st and the morning of the 2nd June, 1989, in the vicinity of the Courtney Campbell Causeway on Road 60, on Tampa Bay, Florida. His motive was simply sadism. He bound them, stripped them from the waist down, raped all three, then tied four cinder blocks to each woman’s ankles, duct taped their mouths, and threw them alive from his boat into Tampa Bay.

The water in their lungs proves that they were alive, and drowned. Michelle managed to free one arm before dying. It is believed that Chandler chose them because they, like he, were on vacation from Ohio, and thus would not be missed by anyone in the area. They were only discovered because a decomposing body is too buoyant for 4 cinder blocks. Chandler, like many other serial killers, was self-righteous and very proud, and served as his own attorney, which is never a good idea. His defense was shattered in court by a real lawyer, who revealed all of Chandler’s lies to the jury. Two weeks before these murders, he raped another tourist, Judy Blair via the same m.o.

He has stated numerous times that his last words will be, “Kiss my rosy red ass.”


Lemaricus Devall Davidson

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Christopher Newsom, Jr., and Channon Christian, a couple of 23 and 21, respectively, were carjacked at gunpoint on 7 January, 2007, by three black men, the leader of whom was Davidson. They were tied up and taken to Davidson’s house, where the three men tortured both victims. Newsom, first, was beaten savagely, suffering multiple fractures to his arms, ribs, face, as well as one testicular rupture. He was then dragged out of the house to a nearby railway, where he was shot in the back, the neck and the back of the head, then set on fire. The coroner recorded “death was a blessing.”

His girlfriend, Christian, was also beaten viciously for several hours, tortured sexually with a broken chair leg, then raped by all three men, and subjected to caustic chemicals poured down her throat and scrubbed over her bloody and battered genitals. Then she was gagged with a trash bag, stuffed into several more trash bags, and crammed into a trash can, where she slowly suffocated. Racial motivation is implausible, as the culprits had several white friends. It is generally believed, now, that they simply wanted to enjoy themselves. Davidson was the one most responsible, being first to rape and administer beatings, and the most brutal of the three. The other two, and one woman involved as an accessory, were given various prison terms. Davidson was sentenced to death.


Kevin Cooper

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Cooper had escaped from asylums and prisons 12 times before 4 June, 1983, on the night of which he broke into a random house in Chino Hills, California, where the Ryen family lived. The father, Bill, went there the next day and found the entire family hacked to death all over the house. There was blood on the ceiling. His ex-wife, Peggy, and her husband Franklin, were dead, with as many as 30 stab wounds each, as were their 10-year-old daughter, Jessica, and Bill’s 11-year-old son, Christopher. The youngest, 8-year-old Joshua Ryen, was still alive, and miraculously survived with a slashed throat and hatchet wound through his skull.

Cooper has sworn his innocence ever since, but DNA evidence says otherwise. The fact that he is attempting to save himself by lying seems to indicate his sanity.


Vincent Brothers

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Brothers is a college-educated teacher, who, on 6 July, 2003, murdered his entire family because his wife, Joanie, discovered that he was having multiple affairs, and was going to divorce him for the second time. He shot his wife’s mother, Earnestine, twice in the head, point-blank, with a .22 caliber pistol, stabbed his wife several times in the back, and shot several times in the head and chest. He shot their 2-year-old daughter, Lyndsey, to death in the back, and their other daughter, 4-year-old Marques, once in the right temple.

Officers searched the home for the last member of the family, and found him, 6-week-old Marshall, shot in the back under a pillow. Police searched Brothers’s truck at Los Angeles International Airport and found a note that read, “I guess my time is up. The game. Life is finally over. I can hear the screams from the trauma team as my body grows colder. Got the monkey off my back. Weight of the world off my shoulders. Angels whisper don’t worry.”


Richard Ramirez


“The Night Stalker” killed at least 13 men and women from 28 June, 1984 to 24 August, 1985, most of these victims over 60 years old. His m.o. was to break into a home after dark, rape and kill the old woman living there, then rob the home and flee before police arrived. He evidently cased these victims’ homes, since he usually succeeded in choosing homes of individual old women, who would not be able to fight him off. He would shoot, stab and strangle his victims, always after raping the women. Some of them he raped postmortem. He never raped the men, who were always unexpected husbands, whom he had to kill in order to commit the crimes he intended.

It was probably he who raped and killed 9-year-old Mei Leung in 1984, as linked by DNA, but this has not been proven. He repeatedly shouted, “Hail Satan!” in court, drew pentagrams on his forehead, and has expressed a clear lack of remorse for what he has done. When Sean Penn was famously incarcerated for 33 days in 1987 for punching a paparazzo, he was placed in a cell adjacent to Ramirez’s, who demanded an autograph. Penn passed him a written response, stating that Penn had not thought it possible to hate anyone, until now, without a signature.


Charles Ng

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Ng was dishonorably discharged from the Marine Corps in 1980, for theft of heavy weaponry, and served only 2 years of a 14-year sentence, after which release, he met Leonard Lake, and the two began kidnapping, raping, barbarically torturing and murdering anywhere from 11 to 25 men, women and children. Every single body found on Lake’s property in 1985 showed signs of rape and torture, even infants. The two men filmed home videos of themselves committing these crimes, and the videos still exist as private property of the State of California, which will not release them to the public.

Among the reports from the courtroom, Ng and Lake filmed each other clubbing victims, male and female, adults and children, with homemade spiked bats, chaining them to tables and sawing their limbs off, raping them before and after, and forcing them to watch their family members receive such tortures. Lake took cyanide when captured. Ng fled to Calgary, Canada, where he was arrested and fought extradition back to the U. S. for 6 years, before losing, being tried and convicted of 12 counts of murder and multiple other charges, and being sentenced to death in 1998. The trial cost $4 million. Ng and his lawyers are still appealing all verdicts, regardless of the home videos he and Lake made, which were shown as evidence against him. The total cost for his legal proceedings has reached $20 million.


Joseph Edward Duncan, III


Duncan is one of the most vicious sociopaths in the history of the term. Before the crimes which landed him his death sentence, he had already raped and murdered at least four children, most of them boys, in various places in California and Seattle. He claims to have raped at least 13 boys by his 16th birthday, most at gunpoint. He has been diagnosed with what is now referred to as “malignant narcissism,” “antisocial personality disorder,” and a violent hatred for society in general. His final crimes were the brutal bludgeoning murders of the Groene family in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho in May, 2005.

He broke into the home of Brenda Groene and Mark Mackenzie, clubbed them and Brenda’s teenage son, Slade, to death with a hammer, then kidnapped her other children, Shasta, 8, and Dylan, 9, taking them into the Idaho and Montana wilderness. For the next 7 weeks or so, he filmed himself torturing Dylan by hanging him by his wrists to trees, stripping him naked, punching and kicking him all over, especially his genitals, burning him with cigarettes, all while shouting at him that, “God is nowhere listening, Dylan! I am the Devil!”

He finally shot Dylan dead, after raping him multiple times over the course of those 7 weeks, during which time he raped and beat Shasta, also. He was apprehended in a Denny’s Restaurant in Coeur d’Alene, when a waitress recognized Shasta. Duncan was eventually given three death sentences and nine life sentences. He frequently smiled when facts of his crimes were read in court. After his sentencing was read aloud, he was asked if he had anything to say. He smirked and recited Ezekiel 21:31, “And I shall deliver thee into the hands of brutish men.” He defined himself as the brutish man, indicating a lack of remorse. He confided to his lawyer that “he only regretted being caught, and that he would try his best to escape prison and kill as many people as he could get his hands on before going back to prison.”

For this reason, he is held at ADX Florence in Colorado, south of Denver, one of the most secure facilities in the United States.

fact checked by Alex Hanton