25 insane, fascinating details about famous criminal cases that shook the world

Several high profile crimes have remained unresolved while many others lead to a logical ending. Here is a look at 25 of the famous criminal cases that shook the world.

John Middleton Clayton

John Middleton Clayton was contesting his defeat for a Congress seat on January 29, 1889, when he was gunned down in public in Pinkerton, Arkansas in front of his home. No one was implicated or charged despite investigations.

Andrew and Abby Borden

The murder of an affluent couple Andrew and Abby Borden in Fall River, Massachusetts on August 4, 1892, had attracted media attention because of the acquittal of a family member who was tried for murder.

The New Orleans Axeman

The Axeman of New Orleans went on a devastating murder spree by butchering a local grocer and his wife in their sleep on May 23, 1918. The Axeman who killed eight people remains a mystery even today.

The Zodiac Killings

For eleven months between December 1968 and October 1969, the Zodiac killer as people called him went on a rampage of killing people around San Francisco. The killer of four men and three women remains at large as on date.


Police sketch of the Zodiac Killer. (Law enforcement handout/Wikipedia)

Jimmy Hoffa

A labor union president and gangster Jimmy Hoffa vanished from the parking lot of a restaurant in Bloomfield Township, Michigan on July 30, 1975. Finally, in 1982 he was declared dead although his body was never found.

Gardner Museum

The biggest heist of the world took place at the Gardner Museum in the neighborhood of Boston in 1990 on St. Patrick’s Day. Two men disguised as police officers hacked $300 million worth of artwork from their frames, and just vanished into the blue.

Tupac Shakur and Biggie Smalls

Tupac Shakur, the gangsta rapper was injured in a drive-by shooting in September 1996 and died within a few days. After six months, his rival, Biggie Smalls was also gunned down in Los Angeles. Both cases remain open.


This was assumed the name of an unknown airplane hijacker who had hijacked a flight of Northwest Orient Airlines from Portland to Seattle on November 24, 1971. He had collected ransom of $200,000 and jumped out of the flying aircraft using a parachute, and was never seen again.

Indiana Army vet

The elusive D.B. Cooper. (FBI)

The Black Dahlia

Elizabeth Short alias the Black Dahlia, a moniker that she had earned as a starlet was gruesomely murdered; her body was sliced meticulously at Los Angeles California on January 15, 1947. No one got convicted for the murder.

Marilyn Sheppard

Dr. Sam Sheppard, the husband of Marilyn Sheppard, was convicted for her murder in July 1954 in their Cleveland home. Subsequently, the US Supreme Court overturned his convictions while he remained in pursuit of the killer until he died in 1970.

Boy in the Box

On February 25, 1957, the naked body of a boy aged 4 to 6 years packed in a cardboard box was found on the roadside in Northeast Philadelphia. The boy’s body had severe bruises, and until today his identity remains a mystery.

Jon Benet Ramsey

The murderers of the 6-year-old girl who was strangled to death and bludgeoned in the basement of their Colorado home in 1996 on Christmas Day are yet to be named. Although the parents of the girl got implicated, they were cleared of the charges in 2008.

famous criminal cases

By Taurusrus (Panoramio) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Amber Hagerman

The 9-year-old girl was biking along with the 5-year-old brother on a January afternoon in 1996 when she was abducted, raped, and murdered. The body was found after four days, but there were no suspects.

Ted Bundy

Ted Bundy is a notorious serial killer of the 20th century who had admitted killing 36 women although the actual numbers could be higher. Finally convicted in 1979, he was executed on the electric chair, ten years later.

The Killer Clown John Wayne Gacy

Gacy who enacted a clown at children’s parties was on a murder spree in 1972 for six years. He turned into a serial killer and killed 33 young men, mostly teenagers. He was given the death penalty and killed with lethal injection in 1994.

The Manson family

In the late sixties, Manson had formed a family of his own by coercing youngsters and formed a gang of killers. His killings made him famous when the gang killed the pregnant wife film director Roman Polanski. He passed away while in prison in 2017.

Charles Manson

Charles Manson always had a cult following. (Flicker/California Department of Corrections)

The Son of Sam

David Berkowitz aka the son of Sam aka .44 Caliber Killer started his serial killings on Christmas Eve in 1975 and killed several men and women until arrested in 1977. He got a life sentence of 25 years for each of the six killings he confessed.

The BTK Strangler

For 27 years between 1974 to 1991 Dennis Lynn Rader or The BTK Strangler admitted having killed at least ten people. He is serving life imprisonment for ten consecutive life sentences as he had confessed to the killings.

The Plainfield Ghoul

Ed Gein was a Wisconsin farmer who became infatuated with death, collected corpses, engaged in sexual fantasies, and was inclined to cannibalism. The Plainfield Ghoul had killed 15 women and spent his life in a state hospital before dying of cancer in 1984.

The Hillside Strangler

In 1977, Angelo Anthony Buono Jr. together with his cousin Kenneth Bianchi started their killing expedition that involved raping, torturing, and murdering ten girls. Bianchi confessed the crime and Buono died in prison in 2002 while serving a life sentence.

The Dating Game Killer

Rodney Alcala had a creepy nature and turned a serial killer by killing an 8-year-old girl in 1968. On his release from prison for the crime, he killed four more women and was finally given the death sentence in California.

Alexander Litvinenko

Alexander Litvinenko, A Russian Security Officer, working for KGB and FSB, died in mysterious circumstances of Plutonium poisoning, the first of its kind, in the UK where he had sought asylum. The speculations about his death continue.

Colin Ferguson

Colin Ferguson got sentenced to more than 300 years in prison for going on a gun-toting spree and killing six people on the Long Island Railroad, in 1993. The conviction became famous as it led to vociferous campaigns for gun control.

Lyle and Erik Menendez

The trial that continued from March 1990 to January 1994 saw the brothers admitting to the murder of their parents for parental abuse. The trial received extensive media coverage, and the brothers are now in prison serving the life sentence.

Timothy McVeigh

Timothy McVeigh was the mastermind with some others behind the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995 that killed 168 people. He was convicted on 15 counts of conspiracy and murder and was sentenced to die by lethal injection.

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