Serial Murderers’ Row

The following black men are among the most prolific serial killers in U.S. history.

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  • Anthony Sowell

    Anthony Sowell

    Sowell was arrested in 2009 after a woman claimed that she had been raped at his Cleveland home. Soon after the police went to his house to question him, they discovered 11 bodies buried in his backyard. He reportedly lured his victims to his home with promises of alcohol and drugs, the police said. He then strangled them and left their bodies in the house or buried them in the backyard, reports say.

    A recent CNN report raises questions about why Sowell wasn’t caught sooner and why his victims’ missing-persons cases were given so little police attention. Is it because many of the victims were prostitutes or drug users, and all of them were black?

  • Jake Bird

    Jake Bird

    Jake Bird, a transient, may have been one of the most prolific serial killers in the nation. Bird was caught in Tacoma on Oct. 30, 1947, after breaking in the home of Bertha Kludt and her daughter Beverly June Kludt and hacking them to death with an ax. He confessed to the killings, reportedly saying it was a burglary gone awry. While on death row, he confessed to committing or being involved in 44 murders during his travels across the country.

  • Andre Crawford

    Andre Crawford

    Crawford, 47, a Navy veteran who was accused of raping and killing women during the 1990s, was found guilty in 2009 of committing a series of rapes on Chicago’s South Side. Crawford was accused of stabbing, strangling and bludgeoning 11 drug addicts and prostitutes, and brutally assaulting a 12th victim, who escaped after pretending to be dead. He reportedly killed the victims, smoked crack cocaine and returned to have sex with their corpses.

  • Lorenzo Gilyard

    Lorenzo Gilyard

    Gilyard reportedly murdered more women than Jack the Ripper during his time as a serial killer — about 13. He began strangling prostitutes in his hometown of Kansas City, Mo., in 1977 at the age of 26, according to TruTV. He retired in 1993 at the age of 42, reports say. The only reason he was caught was that DNA evidence fell into the “lap of the city’s homicide detectives.”

  • Cleophus Prince

    Cleophus Prince

    Prince, a sexual predator and serial killer, reportedly terrorized San Diego for much of 1990. Dubbed the Clairemont Killer, he stabbed six women and spurred the largest police manhunt in the city’s history, according to news reports. Each crime fit an eerie pattern: women, often home alone, slain with one of their own knives moments after taking a shower, with no sign of forced entry. Prince was unique because white women were among his victims.

  • Wayne Williams

    Wayne Williams

    Williams was believed to be one of the most prolific serial killers in the 1970s and 1980s. He is suspected of killing 27 black youths in the Atlanta area, mostly boys between the ages of 7 and 14, from October 1979 to May 1981. However, he was convicted only in the murders of two adults.

    Wondering why the D.C. Sniper and Long Island Railroad Massacre shooter aren’t on this list? Read on for the explanation.