Last Updated on March 18, 2023 by Aiden Frank
While serial killers are often subjects of fascination in popular culture, their actions affect multiple lives. With that said, New York has been the backdrop for several notorious serial killers throughout history. Here are 12 serial killers from New York, along with some background info about their crimes.
Also known as the “Son of Sam”, David Berkowitz terrorized New York City throughout the late 1970s. He killed six people and wounded seven others during a year-long crime spree. Berkowitz claimed that a demon in the form of a neighbour’s dog had commanded him to commit the murders.
A prolific serial killer, active in the late 1980s and early 1990s. He was convicted of murdering nine women but is suspected of having killed up to 17. Rifkin’s crimes were discovered after he was pulled over for a traffic violation, and police discovered the body of a victim in the back of his truck.
Shawcross was responsible for killing 14 people in upstate New York in the late 1980s. He had previously served time for the murder of two children in the 1970s and was known for mutilating and eating some of his victims. He died in 2008 aged 63.
A notorious serial killer who preyed on children in the early 20th century. Fish was convicted of killing three children and is suspected of having killed several others. He was known for his cannibalistic tendencies and once claimed to have eaten a child’s raw liver. He remains one of the most infamous serial killers of the early 20th.
Killed at least five women in the early 1990s. Shulman was a necrophiliac who would have sex with the corpses of his victims after killing them. He was caught after police found one of his victims in a garbage bag on the side of the road. Died in April 2006, aged 52.
Also known as the ‘Torso Killer’ or ‘The New York Ripper’, Cottingham was responsible for at least six murders in New York and New Jersey in the late 1970s. He was called the Torso Killer because he dismembered some of his victims and left only their torsos behind.
Francois killed eight women in Poughkeepsie, New York, in the 1990s. He was able to hide the bodies of his victims in the house he shared with his family for several years before being caught. Neighbours often complained of the smell coming from the house.
Eddie Lee Mosley
Mosley killed six women in Buffalo, New York, throughout the early 1980s. He was a drug addict who often targeted sex workers. He was convicted of the murders in 2003.
Also known as the “Cropsey Killer,” Rand was convicted of the murder of Jennifer Schweiger, a young girl with Down syndrome, in 1987. He was also a suspect in the disappearance of several other children, and many suspect he was responsible for their deaths. He was sentenced to 25 years-to-life in prison.
Although she was mostly active in Florida, Wuornos committed two murders in New York in 1989. She was a sex worker who targeted her clients, claiming self-defence in all the murders. She was eventually caught, convicted of six murders, and sentenced to death. She was executed by lethal injection in 2002.
White was convicted of killing six women in upstate New York in the early 1990s. He was known for targeting sex workers and leaving their bodies in isolated areas. White was caught after a woman escaped from his clutches and went to the police. He was sentenced to life in prison without parole.
Matthew John White
Also known as the “Genesee River Killer,” White was convicted of killing five women in the Rochester area between 1991 and 1992. He also targeted sex workers and dumped their bodies in and around the Genesee River. He was caught after police found DNA evidence linking him to the crimes. He was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
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