There are as many 2,000 serial killers at large in the United States alone, according to investigative journalist Thomas Hargrove, the founder of the Murder Accountability Project.
Most murderers are not that prolific, though coming into contact with one can still be an unnerving experience.
Today's burning question from Redditor feeling_impossible was: "Do you personally know a murderer? What were they like? How/why did they kill someone?"
"Met one a while back..."
Met one a while back at a gas station on my way to Gainesville. Was pumping gas and a guy came up and just started chatting about how beautiful a day it was. He apologized and just said he was in such a great mood he had to share it with someone. He told me he had just gotten out of jail that morning, where he spent 8 years for killing the man that assaulted his daughter. He was on his way to go see her. We chatted for a few minutes and he had a poetic like monologue about not taking your life, freedom, and loved ones for granted. He started crying, I gave him a hug and wished him the best of luck. Shout out to Octavius, I won't ever forget you.
"I didn't believe his story..."
I worked with someone that killed someone in self defense. I didn't believe his story which is probably why he served time for the incident.
The story he told was that he was having sex with some girl and her husband came home and found them and immediately attacked him. He said he didn't want to fight him but killed him in self defense.
"My wife recently received a call..."
My wife recently received a call from one of her family members that shocked her. Her uncle was arrested in Michigan for a murder that happened like 20 years ago. Apparently, a drug deal went bad and he had killed this woman and then fled the state. For the next 20 years, he was completely normal, despite being investigated and questioned on two separate occasions—both of which he was able to keep hidden from the family. He recently returned to Michigan and was arrested due to DNA linking him to the murder and is now on a one million dollar bond. The whole family was shocked as they never knew.
"My mother even said..."Giphy
My grandmother had killed her ex-husband (guess he would have been my step-grandfather?). Not entirely sure about the details, but my family has said that he was a drunk. An abusive one at that. My grandma claimed he was possessed by the devil and set him aflame in their bed. She was imprisoned for a number of years.
Normal family. Dad, mum and three children. They lived in front of the house where we moved to when I was around 11. Everything was normal. We weren't the closest neighbors, just an always greet them with a smile kind of relationship.
When I was around 16 he killed his wife with a knife, in his house, in front of his children. They were kids, I think their brains made up a story about a monster when they were in court.
They still love his dad, visited him in jail, and moved back with him after he was released years after.
"Needless to say..."
My girlfriend's old boss killed his wife by spiking her drink with cyanide he took from his lab, then tried to quickly get her cremated to avoid scrutiny over the cause of death. Needless to say that didn't work and he's in prison for life. It was a pretty big story when it happened since they were both relatively prominent doctors.
"He attempted to kill a third guy that witnessed it..."
I went to high school with, and was pretty good friends with a guy that joined the Air Force. After a 4th of July cookout where he tried to kiss some other guy's wife and got rejected, he later showed up at their place on the base and stabbed them both to death. He attempted to kill a third guy that witnessed it, but that person survived. The guy I knew was given the death penalty for the murders and is still on death row. The whole thing really shocked me, as he was always extremely friendly at school. Never would have pictured him doing something like that.
"I didn't go..."
I used to work with a dude that murdered his wife while his kids were in the house (in a different room) because she cheated on him. Turns out, he didn't want everybody to label him a murderer for the rest of his life, so he killed himself too. I didn't go, but from what i was told, everybody at their double-funeral claimed they were there for her, not him.
"It was like 15 years ago."
A friend of mine stabbed his father when he was 16 years old, with kitchen knife. His father was a drug dealer, had many issues with police, and was beating the crap of him and his mother. One day it was simply too much.
It was like 15 years ago. My friend now has a normal family, is a cheerful guy, and you wouldn't ever tell he has done something like this.
"It's really awkward..."
My first cousin killed my ex girlfriend and her brother. Drug/gang related crime. It's really awkward when I occasionally bump into her family members.
"Our neighbor was an amazing family friend."
Our neighbor was an amazing family friend. I thought she was my grandma until I was about 10.
When I was about 3, her brother killed their mom. I don't know how, just that it happened. One of my earliest memories is helping clean out her house.
He was schizophrenic and thought she was going to kill him. He went to a mental institution, got properly medicated, and our friend kept close to him (she has a twin sister who reacted differently than her, so I didn't actually know of the twin sister's existence until I was about 15.)
When our friend passed away, my mom started talking to the brother more often. Our friend asked her to make sure he was taken care of and we were her family as she fell out of touch with her family after the incident. He's actually very sweet. Acts a bit like a child, but in a sweet way. He loves animals. Our friend talked about my sister and I a lot with him because we work with animals, so he loves hearing about that. He's very polite. He sometimes asks for very small things and thanks my mom a million times for whatever it is.
"A tiny percentage..."
I'm a criminal defense attorney so... yes.
A tiny percentage are spousal abusers who escalated in violence over the years.
A tiny percentage have antisocial personality disorder.
A tiny percentage have extreme mental illness.
Most are about drugs or money, or both.
"He was quiet..."
He was quiet, a little odd but polite. He was our 18 year old daughter's boyfriend. He murdered her because she broke up with him. Today would have been her 19th birthday.
I was in shock and couldn't believe he really did that to her. I had to hear him say he was the one who took my precious daughter's life. He had no remorse and was more worried about how traumatized he was over what he witnessed while killing her.
He goes to trial in September and is facing natural life in prison.
"I'm a nurse..."
I'm a nurse and a patient I looked after in the ICU was an elderly gentleman who'd given his terminally ill wife a fatal overdose and then tried to take his own life the same way.
She died, he made a full recovery and was arrested once he was fit for discharge. I've never experienced anything so upsetting in my life.
"He hired a hit man..."
My grandmother on my mom's side was murdered, along with her mother, by her ex husband. He hired a hit man from prison to kill his ex wife, great grandmother somehow knew, and tried to protect her daughter by fighting him off. According to the blood at the crime scene, she beat the shit out of him with a shoe before being strangled by an apron. They both died.
My grandmother on my dad's side beat her husband with a frying pan in his sleep because he was abusive and a cheater. Spent the rest of her life in a mental hospital.
I've never met these people but that's the stories.
"I spent many years in prison..."
I spent many years in prison and have known quite a few murders. Most of them are pretty nice people, then there are the few psychos. I had a cellie once that killed both his parents with a baseball bat. Had to sleep with one eye open with him (you don't always get to pick your cellie).
"I know a couple."
I know a couple. The saddest one is odd. My best friends brother, let's call him john, was friends with a dude who sold drugs. His buddy had fronted someone either drugs or money, not sure. He asked John to come back and help him get it back, kinda just for show. Things went wrong and John's friend actually got killed as well as someone else if I remember correctly. John ran off and didn't call the police and because of that he is in jail for 15 years for manslaughter. AZ law or some shit. He was a good dude and a good older brother to my friend.
"She shot her husband while he was sleeping..."
Yes. She shot her husband while he was sleeping; I can only assume it was for his money. If they got divorced, she wouldn't have gotten all of it. So she killed him and used a battered wife defense (which was absolutely fabricated). I was never a huge fan of her - it was very clear that she thought she was better than everyone and kind of calculating.
Anyway, she went to jail and the kids got the money. When she was released, the son died of an overdose shortly after. She now lives in the Deep South somewhere and I hope she never shows her face up here again.
"A guy I met at the gas station..."
A guy I met at the gas station I worked at (he also worked there at the time).
I was working one morning at said gas station, reading the newspaper, and there I see it. His name as the main suspect in a double homicide on christmas eve. He had gotten drunk with friends and lit a wreath on fire in an apartment building. The fire spread and claimed the lives of two people.
He went to jail, served his time, and got out. Now he lives in another city with his two kids and wife.