By definition a serial killer is someone who murders three or more people in two or more separate events and is largely motivated by psychological reasons. Everyone has heard of John Wayne Gacy and Jeffrey Dahmer—even if we might never know the full extent of their crimes.
While the U.S. might seem to breed the sickest serial killers, murder sprees are not unique to North America. These five international serial killers might be foreign to us, but their demented behavior rivals our creepiest American killers.
1. Luis Garavito: Colombia’s Nightmare
Garavito earned the nicknames “La Bestia” and “Tribilin,” which is, oddly enough, the American Spanish translation for Disney’s Goofy. With 138 confirmed murders and a possible 300 victims, Colombian media rightfully deemed him the world’s worst serial killer.
In 1999,Garavito admitted to the rape, torture, and murder of 147 young boys. To lure his young victims, Garavito would offer poor children small gifts and cash before slitting their throats and dismembering them.
Given the gruesome nature of his crimes, Garavito earned 1,853 years and 9 days in prison, but lucky for him Colombian law has a maximum sentence of 30 years. Shockingly he could be released before his meager prison sentence as part of plea deal in exchange for confirmation of the location of several bodies. In a 2006 TV interview, Garavito voiced an interest in starting a political career after his release. We’re not even joking.
2. Pedro Rodrigues Filho: Brazil’s Most Prolific Serial Killer
Filho’s killing spree lasted from 1967 to 1973, although he was not convicted until 2003. Seventy-one of his victims have been confirmed, but many suspect he took more than 100 lives. Out of those 71 victims, 47 of those were fellow inmates.
Given his extensive list of murders, it’s no wonder he earned the nickname “Pedrinho Matador,” which translates to “Killer Petey.” Although it’s hard to feel bad for Filho, he was born with an injured skull—the result of his father beating his mother while he was in her womb. By 14, Filho had taken his first victim, a vice-Mayor in his town. At 18 years old, he had murdered 10 people. That’s quite a resume.
Any shred of sympathy you might have had for Filho fades away when you learn that he murdered his father, cut out his heart and ate it. Adding to his reputation for extreme violence, Filho has promised to murder other serial killers that rival his body count—a terrifying prospect any way you slice it (no pun intended).
3. Yang Xinhai: China’s Monster Killer
Yang’s monstrous nickname makes perfect sense given that the killer had a penchant for breaking into homes and murdering entire families. Yang’s weapons of choice range from axes and meat cleavers to hammers and shovels.
Unlike the above criminals Yang was only active for 3 years from 2000-2003. Don’t let his short murder spree fool you–many believe he killed over 300 people. After his 2003 arrest, Yang was given the death penalty.
Some speculate that he was motivated by a bad breakup and subsequently raged against society. Not sure if we buy that one. His own chilling words give insight into his complete disregard for life: “I have no desire to be part of society. Society is not my concern.”
4. Alexander Pichushkin: A Killer With Twisted Goals
Perhaps the most chilling on our list is Russia’s Alexander Pichushkin. This cold-blooded killer had a very bizarre and strategic plan when he set out to be infamous. Pichushkin wanted to kill enough people—68 in total—to fill all the squares on a chessboard.
Russian media speculated that Pichushkin specifically set out to surpass the Rostov Ripper who killed 53 children and young women.
Pichushkin targeted society’s nameless, luring elderly homeless men with the promise of vodka. After having several drinks with his victims, he would bludgeon them to death with a hammer. His signature move was to plunge a bottle of vodka into his victims’ gaping skulls. Experts also consider his killings sexually motivated, as Pichushkin called his crimes a “perpetual orgasm”. Doesn’t get much more twisted than that.
He was finally arrested in 2006 and kept in a glass cage during his trial for fear that someone would attack him. The verdict was life in prison with the first 15 years in solitary confinement. Despite his grotesque crimes, a Siberian woman was reported to have married the killer in 2014. The Siberian dating scene clearly is bleak.
5. Anatoly Onoprienko: Ukraine’s Beast
Onoprienko admitted to killing 52 people in a 7 year span. This appropriately earned him the nicknames “Beast of Ukraine,” “The Terminator” and “Citizen O.” Many believe the total death toll could be higher as Onoprienko illegally traveled across Europe from 1990 to 1995. Given his long list of murders in the Ukraine, it’s highly likely he killed more across the continent.
The serial killer’s childhood was marred by sadness when his mother passed away and he was left with his father, a decorated WWII veteran. As a young child, Onoprienko was passed to his grandparents and aunt, who ultimately opted to give him up to an orphanage. Despite giving up on Anatoly, his father continued to care for his brother.
After his 1995 arrest, Onoprienko admitted to killing 52 people and told authorities he was directed to kill by voices in his head. Onoprienko indiscriminately killed men, women, and children, but followed a routine, selecting an isolated house and gaining entry by distracting the occupants with a series of loud noises. Then Onoprienko would kill all of the residents starting with the adult male, then moving on to the spouse and finally killing the children. After committing murder, he would usually light the house on fire in an attempt to destroy evidence, in addition to killing any bystanders.
Onoprienko died from heart failure while serving his life sentence in prison. We don’t think anyone was sad to see him go.
This article was first published on Crime Feed.
Photos (in order): Maxim Marmur / Getty; Crime Feed; Crime Feed; Murderpedia; Maxim Marmur / Getty; Crime Feed