When one thinks about serial killers, one may conjure up images of a devious-looking white male or a lonely and reclusive lady.
The majority of documented serial murderers in the United States are white men. In the United States of America, however, there are at least a number of confirmed Black serial killers. Some of the renowned criminals on this list of murder cases involving Black or African American serial killers employed guns, while others preferred knives and other sharp objects. Many of the most well-known Black serial killers are now serving life terms.
While white people represent about 58 percent of serial killers, black people also contribute a significant amount to the list of American serial killer populations at about 30 percent. Who is the most famous Black serial killer? how did they commit their murders? Here are some of the most notable black serial killers in American history.
1. Samuel Little: Samuel Little was a Black serial killer who confessed to murdering 93 people, mostly women, and was convicted in 2012 for the murders of Carol Ilene Elford, Guadalupe Duarte Apodaca, and Audrey Nelson Everett. In 2018, he was convicted for the murder of the Denise Christie Brothers.
Samuel Little, arguably the most well-known person on the list, is regarded as the most prolific and deadly serial killer in American history. Little is also known as the “Choke and Stroke Killer” and the “Green River Killer.”
Little, the black serial killer and serial rapist eluded the legal system for over four decades despite being apprehended numerous times. Little claimed to have killed 93 people across 19 states between 1970 and 2005, despite only being convicted of 50 murders. The bulk of the victims were women.
The serial killer, Little was apprehended in 2012 after the Los Angeles Police Department linked him to two unsolved murders. In 2014, he was condemned to three consecutive life terms without the possibility of parole.
Samuel Little died in December 2020 at the age of 80.
2. Henry Louis Wallace: Also known as “The Taco Bell Strangler”, is an American serial killer who killed ten women in Charlotte, North Carolina, and is awaiting execution at Central Prison in Raleigh.
This black serial killer was tied to 10 murders by stabbing and/or strangulation. When Wallace was arrested in 1994, he made a full confession to police officers.
He was found guilty of nine of the murders, and he is suspected of having killed more. He’s serving his time on death row. Born November 4, 1965, in Barnwell, South Carolina, United States. Henry Louis is 56 years old as of 2021.
3. Wayne Williams: Wayne Bertram Williams is an American serial killer now serving a life sentence for the 1981 killings of two men in Atlanta, Georgia. Police think he is responsible for at least 24 of the 30 Atlanta child murders that occurred between 1979 and 1981.
This claim is supported by the theory that the unsolved murders seemed to stop once Williams was arrested. However, Williams has never been charged for these murders and continues to claims to be innocent.
For the murders of victims Nathaniel Cater and Jimmy Rayne, Williams was sentenced to two life sentences. Now 61 years old, he is currently serving his sentence in Georgia.
4. Chester Turner: Chester is one of the convicted Black serial killers. On April 30, 2007, he was convicted of the murders of ten women in Los Angeles and was also found guilty of the death of the unborn child of one of his victims. He was convicted of four additional murders on June 19, 2014. He was imprisoned on rape charges after attacking but not killing a woman in 2002. In 2014, he was sentenced to four more murders and given another death sentence. He is linked to other murders and is currently on death row.
He was November 5, 1966, in Warren, Arkansas, United States. Chester is 54 years old.
5. Paul Durousseau: Is a black serial killer who murdered seven young women in the southeastern United States between 1997 and 2003. German authorities suspect he may have killed several local women when he was stationed there with the U.S. Army during the early 1990s.
Paul Durousseau, sometimes known as the “Cabbie Killer,” unlike the other black serial killers on this list, was only convicted of one murder but was suspected of murdering others. Durousseau was a taxi driver in Jacksonville, Florida, who befriended his victims before murdering them. He reportedly raped and strangled his victims in Georgia and Florida over the period of six years.
Durousseau was caught in 2003 and condemned to death by lethal injection in Jacksonville, Florida, for the 1999 murder of Tyresa Mack. Durousseau’s trial prosecutors declined to charge him with any further killings.
In 2017, his death sentence was thrown out by the Florida Supreme Court and ordered him to face a new hearing. Durousseau is currently sitting on death row in Jacksonville.
6. Derrick Todd Lee: Also known as The Baton Rouge Serial Killer, was an American serial killer. Between 1992 and 2003, Lee murdered seven women in the Baton Rouge area. Prior to his murder charges, Lee had been arrested for stalking women and watching them in their homes.
Derrick Todd Lee was only convicted of murdering two women, one of whom he bludgeoned and stabbed more than 80 times. He is thought to have been responsible for seven additional murders that took place between 1998 and 2003.
Todd Lee was sentenced to death for his horrific crimes, but he died in the hospital, where he was taken for emergency treatment in 2016.
7. Carl Eugene Watts: Carl Eugene Watts, also known by his nickname Coral, was an American Black serial killer dubbed “The Sunday Morning Slasher”. Between 1974 and 1982, Carl Eugene Watts murdered over a dozen women across the nation. Watts either stab, strangle or drown his victims. It was not until August of 1982 that Watts’ reign of terror ended.
In 2007, Watts was sentenced to two life sentences for the murders of Gloria Steele in 1974 and Helen Dutcher in 1979. Watts confessed to 12 additional murders in Texas but was given immunity by the court.
In the same year he received his sentencing, Watts died due to prostate cancer at age 53 in a Michigan hospital.
8. Lorenzo Gilyard: Also known as The Kansas City Strangler, is an American black serial killer. A former trash company supervisor, Gilyard is believed to have raped and murdered at least 13 women and girls from 1977 to 1993. He was convicted of six counts of murder on March 16, 2007
9. Roberta Elder: Among the black serial killers is also a woman. By the time Roberta Elder was arrested in the late summer of 1952, she’d already murdered at least 14 people, perhaps more. Her motive, money. Elder had life insurance policies on each victim with herself as the sole beneficiary. Her weapon of choice, arsenic. Like most female serial killers, Elder preferred to administer poison to her victims while seeming to care for them.
Mrs. Bluebeard was Elder’s moniker, which refers to ladies who murder their own family members. Elder’s activities were nearly never discovered until her husband, Reverend William M. Elder, died mysteriously.
When the coroner discovered arsenic in Reverend Elder’s body, just as he had in his daughter’s, Roberta’s suspicions increased. When police began looking into Elder, they uncovered ten more killings that she may have been involved in. Her alleged victims were her own family members, whom she snatched up their life insurance policies as soon as they passed.
Elder was caught and sentenced to life in prison on the grounds that she poisoned her husband, despite the fact that all evidence was circumstantial.
10. Craig Price: Craig Chandler Price is also another black serial killer. He operated between the ages of 13 and 15 in Warwick, Rhode Island. He was arrested in 1989 for the killings of a mother and her two kids in his neighborhood, as well as the death of another woman two years prior. Originally tried as a minor, Price was scheduled to be released when he turned 21, but he was held in prison on other charges.
In 2017, he was given a 25-year sentence for the attempted murder of an inmate.
11. Anthony Edward Sowell: Is a serial killer and rapist known as the Cleveland Strangler. He was arrested in October 2009 after the bodies of 11 women were discovered by police at his home in the Mount Pleasant neighborhood of Cleveland, Ohio.
His victims fit the profile of women who engaged in sex work and drugs.
Sowell led women to his house with the promise of alcohol or drugs and then killed them. Sowell operated between 2007 and 2009 when the police eventually caught him.
Police were tipped off by a woman who managed to escape Sowell and reported him for rape. Sowell was arrested in 2009 after police discovered 10 decomposing bodies in his house.
Sowell died in February 2021 from a terminal illness at Ohio’s Franklin Medical Center at age 61.
13. Mark Goudeau: was a black serial killer, kidnapper, thief, and rapist. Goudeau was involved in one of the two simultaneously occurring serial killer cases which terrorized the Phoenix metro area, between August 2005 and June 2006.
Between 2005 and 2006, also known as the Baseline Killer, Goudeau was accused of nine murders, 15 sexual assaults, and a variety of other offenses in the Phoenix region. Through DNA evidence, he was tied to a decades-old rape in 2017.
He was condemned to a total of 438 years in jail for several life sentences.
14. Debra Brown: Another woman on the list of the black serial killers is Debra Brown.
In 1984, Debra Brown and her accomplice and lover, Alton Coleman, perpetrated a spate of killings. The pair went on a 53-day crime spree that took place in six states.
Tamika Turks was murdered in Gary, Indiana, which led to Brown and Coleman’s arrests. Turks, 7, was strangled to death by the pair after being lured into the woods with her aunt, Annie Hillard, on a trip to the candy store.
Hillard managed to escape the attack in the woods and called the cops right away. The murderous pair had already gone on to other crimes, including murder, robbery, and kidnapping, before Turks’ body was discovered.
Coleman was placed to the FBI’s 10 Most Wanted List, despite the fact that apprehending them would take weeks.
Coleman and Brown were involved in eight murders, seven rapes, three kidnappings, and 14 armed robberies during their 53-day criminal rampage. Brown was condemned to death in 1986, however the sentence was vacated in 2018 owing to Brown’s mental impairment.
Until the change in sentence, Brown was the sole woman on Indiana’s death row.
15. Ray Joseph Dandridge: The 2006 Richmond spree murders took place during a seven-day period in January 2006 in and around Richmond, Virginia, United States; seven people, four members of the Harvey family and three members of the Baskerville-Tucker family, were killed.
Ray Joseph Dandridge was given three consecutive life sentences after pleading guilty to three counts of murder. He also acted as an accomplice to the murder of a family within the same one-week period in Richmond, Virginia.
Dandridge was given life in prison while his partner and Uncle, Ricky Gray, died by lethal injection in 2017.
16. Benjamin Atkins: Benjamin Thomas “Tony” Atkins, also known as The Woodward Corridor Killer, was an American serial killer and rapist who murdered, tortured, and raped 11 women, mostly sex workers and drug addicts, in Highland Park and Detroit, Michigan, during a period of nine months between December 1991 and August 1992.
Despite the fact that just one victim survived the attack, she was nonetheless raped by Atkins.
Atkins was raped when he was ten years old, which may have influenced his decision to become a serial killer. In 1992, Atkins was sentenced to 11 consecutive life terms for 11 charges of first-degree murder and one act of first-degree sexual conduct.
Atkins died in 1997 as a result of an HIV infection.
17. Eugene Victor Britt: Black Serial killer and rapist who killed at least seven girls and women in Gary and Portage, Indiana between May and September 1995. One of whom was an 8-year-old girl. Suspected in a total of ten murders, he was convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment.
He confessed to nine murders and one additional rape, though was only tried for seven murders. He plead guilty but with a stipulation of mental illness.
Britt was sentenced to life in prison plus a consecutive 100 years for the murder of his youngest victim. In 2006, he was given an additional 245 years in prison.
18. Darren Vann: He was arrested on October 18, 2014 for the murder of 19-year-old Afrikka Hardy at a Motel 6 in Hammond, Indiana and has confessed to the murders of six other female victims in Indiana. Vann’s trial lasted for four years, ending in 2018 when he was sentenced to life in prison after pleading guilty to the murders. Vann took a plea deal to avoid the death sentence.
19. Reginald And Jonathan Carr: Between December 7 and 14, 2000, the Wichita Massacre, also known as the Wichita Horror, was a week-long sequence of random violent crimes committed by brothers Reginald and Jonathan Carr in the city of Wichita, Kansas. Five individuals were murdered, as well as a pet dog, and a lady was seriously injured. The Carrs were tried together and sentenced to death for their crimes, but their case has resulted in a lot of back and forth in the courts with appeals.
20. Lonnie Franklin Jr. : Lonnie David Franklin Jr., better known by the nickname Grim Sleeper, was an also another black serial killers who was responsible for at least ten murders and one attempted murder in Los Angeles, California from 1985 to 2007. He was also convicted for rape and sexual violence. Those who knew him deemed him as a “friendly and quiet” man. After preying on helpless and often ignored women for over 20 years, Franklin Jr. was arrested and convicted of murdering nine women and a child in 2016. It is believed that he is responsible for at least 25 murders. He was sentenced to death on 10 counts of first-degree murder and one count of attempted murder.