9 of the Most Brutal Serial Killers From Ohio

Serial killers from all over the world are demented and many love to kill. Here we have a look at some of the serial killers from Ohio.

1.Robert Berdella

Pic of Robert -YouTube

Robert was born on the 31st of January 1949, in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio. Brought up in a strict Catholic house he left the religion. Robert was a loner, and because of his nearsightedness, he wore thick glasses that made him vulnerable to bullying.

His father would often call him a failure and physically abuse him with a leather strap because he did not perform well in sports. Surprisingly, Robert excelled at school.

In his teens, he discovered that he was gay and decided to keep it from his parents.

On the 25th of December 1965, his father died of a heart attack at the age of 39, Robert was distraught and sought solace in his religion. After the death of his father, he would read about different religions, but he decided to stay cynical toward any and left all faith in the past.

His mother remarried, and he showed anger and resentment towards both of them.

After graduating high school in 1967, Robert moved to Kansas City Art Institute to become a college professor.

Nineteen at the time and in his second year, he started selling drugs and drinking alcohol. He had a brief run-in with the law for the possession of LSD and marijuana, but the charges were dropped. The college asked him to leave after he murdered a dog in the name of art.

In 1969, he bought a house on 4315 Charlotte Street, which was to become the murder house. Everyone in the neighborhood knew he was gay as there were a lot of male prostitutes in and out of his house. He provided a haven for some male prostitutes and drug addicts too. As he had no outside friends and relied on these young men for companionship, according to reports he engaged in sexual relations with some of the men and controlled them by loaning them money and letting them live rent-free.

His neighbors described him as flamboyant and helpful in the community. In the beginning of 1980, he assisted the community in crime prevention and neighborhood watch. As chairman of South Hyde Park Crime Prevention, he was also part of the fundraising events. In the late 1980’s, he quit as chairman.

For a brief time, he worked as a chef and had a side business that he ran from home. When his company flourished both nationally and internationally in 1981, he decided to open and run his store Bob’s Bazarre Bazaar fulltime. The shop sold novelty items to the occult market.

In 1982, he rented a booth at the Westport flea market, where he sold primitive art, jewelry and antiques. It was a lucrative business, and he made a good profit, but it was not enough to maintain his daily expenses and it resulted in him selling his goods to other merchants at a loss.

At Westport, Robert met Paul Howell another merchant. Paul’s younger son Jerry became friends with Robert. Initially, Jerry and his friends mocked Robert for being gay, but according to Robert; Jerry confided in Robert and said him and his friends occasionally make money as male prostitutes. At times Robert would offer Jerry his legal and financial assistance as Jerry often had minor run-ins with the law.

The first murder victim Jerry Howell – In July of 1984, Robert abducted 19-year-old Jerry with the promise of attending a dance contest in Merriam. He gave Jerry alcohol, Valium, and Acepromazine and he became unconscious.

After he injected Jerry with a tranquilizer, he binds him to the bed for 28 hours, where he repeatedly drugs, rape and violates him with foreign objects.

Jerry asphyxiates on his vomit due to all the medication. Robert hung his body over a cooking pot, made a cut on his jugular vein and left him overnight so the blood could drain from the corpse. The following day he dismembered the corpse, wrapping the sections in newspaper and put it in trash bags.

The Murder of Robert Sheldon – A former lodger Robert Sheldon came to Robert to ask if he could stay for a while. Sheldon was an inconvenience to him and on April 12, 1985, he drugged him.

For three days he tortured Sheldon by swabbing his ear with drain cleaner, inserting needles up the tips of his fingers, binding his hands with piano wire and caulked his ears to reduce his hearing. On the 15th of April, workers arrive to work on the roof, forcing him to suffocate Sheldon with a bag.

The Murder of Mark Wallace – In June, Mark Wallace was hiding in Robert’s tool shed from a thunderstorm. Mark was depressed and tense, so Robert offered him chlorpromazine to calm his nerves. Robert tortured him for a day, clipping alligator clips to his nipples to put electric shocks through his body. Mark went unconsciousness and died from drugs and a lack of oxygen.

The Murder of Walter Ferris – September 26, he drugged an acquaintance Walter Ferris and tortured him for 27 hours. He shocked him with 7,700 volts through the shoulders and testicles and punctured his neck and genitals with hypodermic needles. Walter became delirious, and a few hours later he stopped breathing. Three more victims died the same way.

The final victim Christopher Bryson – On 29 March 1988 he abducted his last victim Christopher Bryson, a male prostitute. Christopher endured the same torture as the previous victims. During three days of torture and sexual abuse, Robert tied his hands in front of him and left the television remote between his legs so he can watch television.

On the 2nd of April 1988, Christopher burned through the restrains with matches Robert left in the room; he escaped through the second-floor bedroom window breaking a bone in his foot. Managing to run to a neighbor explaining he was held captive and endured days of torture and sexual abuse the neighbor phoned the police.

The police began a search of Robert’s property and found photographs of his victims and a diary which describes in detail the torture and murders. With overwhelming evidence, he was charged on the 4th of April.

On the 19th of December, 1988, he pleaded guilty to one count of first-degree murder, and 4 counts of second-degree murder and received life in prison.

Robert wrote a letter to the minister where he claimed that the prison officials refused to give him his heart medication; he died soon after from a heart attack in 1992.

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2. Thomas Lee Dillon

Thomas was born on the 9 July 1950 in Canton, Ohio. Little is known of his childhood. He had a wife and son, and according to records a college education. For twelve years he worked for the Canton Waterworks as a draftsman and was a good sniper and hunter.

Why he committed the murders is unknown, he just drove around with his pick up and chose random people enjoying the outdoors.

The first victims Donald Wellington, Jamie Paxton and Kevin Loring – The killings started on the 1st of April 1989, when he shot Donald Wellington jogging in the park. Two other victims Jamie Paxton and Kevin Loring were shot while they were hunting.

The 4th Victim Claude Hawkins – In 1992, Claude Hawkins was fishing when Thomas killed him. After Claude’s murder, the FBI joined the ongoing investigation with three other counties.

Fifth and final victim Gary Bradley – Ten days after the FBI joined the operation he killed his last victim Gary Bradley while fishing. One of his friends recognized Lee from a profile the FBI released and identified him as a possible suspect and Gary was put under surveillance.

November 27, 1992, he was arrested on a weapons charge for illegally owning a silencer. The police found the gun dealer who sold the rifle to him and the bullets were a match to the murders.

On the 12th of July, 1993, he pleaded guilty to five murders.

During the trail Thomas claimed he had a difficult childhood and voices in his head told him to kill, the psychologist who examined him found him to be sane and intelligent.

He was sentenced to five consecutive thirty-year sentences for aggravated murder with no possibility of parole.

Thomas’s wife tried to sell the story to Hollywood, but was stopped by the Ohio State Senator Bob Ney who passed the Paxton Bill. It barred killers and their relatives from profiting off crimes.

Thomas 61 died of natural causes on the 21st of October 2011, at the Corrections Medical Centre in Columbus, Ohio, after being ill for three weeks.

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3. Edward Edwards

Edward was born on 13th of June, 1933 in Akron, Ohio. He grew up as an orphan after witnessing his mother’s suicide. According to his autobiography, he was physically and mentally abused in the orphanage. Edward joined the army but, got a dishonorable discharge after he went AWOL.

Through most of his life he was busy with criminal activities, and when not in jail, he worked as a ship worker, vacuum cleaner salesman, and handyman. Edward escaped from jail in Akron in 1995, and when he needed money he robbed gas stations.

In 1961, he was on the FBI’s ten most wanted list. He was never ashamed of his crimes as he wanted to be famous. The FBI caught him and put him in Leavenworth.

In 1967, he was paroled and reformed; he got married and became a motivational speaker.

In 1972, he was on two television shows “To Tell the Truth” and “What’s My Line”. His autobiography was called The Metamorphosis of a Criminal, The True Life Story of Ed Edwards.

His first murders was in Ohio in 1977. He killed Billy Lavaco and Judy Straub and in 2010, he received two life sentences for these crimes.

In 1980, he murdered Tim Hack and Kelly Drew in Wisconsin. Edward’s son tipped the police off but, they had no evidence to hold him. 29 Years later the police found DNA evidence linking him to the victims.

Danny Law Gloeckner from Ohio was an adopted child who lived with Edward and his wife for years. He killed Danny for insurance money and got the death penalty in March 2011; while on death row he died from natural causes on the 7th April 2011.

Detective Chad Garcia, of Jefferson County, believed that Edward might have killed seven more victims.

In November 2016, Spike TV ordered a documentary to investigate his connections in more unsolved murders. In 2017 A&E broadcasts a documentary on the murders of Tim Hack and Kelly Drew.

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4. Donald Harvey

Donald was born in 1952 in Butler County, Ohio. In school, he was a loner and interacted better with adults than children his age. From age 4, he was sexually abused by one of his uncles for several years. He found school boring and dropped out. He received a diploma from the Correspondence school in Chicago at age 16.

From the age of 18 he worked in the medical profession and while unemployed in 1970, he decided to go to Marymount Hospital in London, Kentucky to care for his sick grandpa. He spent so much time in the hospital they offer him a position as an orderly, and he accepted.

His job description includes patient medication and taking care of their personal needs. Donald felt he had so much power and control over his patients and killed because of empathy and sometimes anger.

Only two weeks into his employment on the 30th May 1970, he took his first victim. Logan Evans smeared feces on his face, and it angered him, so he smothered him with a pillow. Donald’s killings progressively got more brutal, and 15 more patients died in various ways from faulty oxygen tanks to wire hangers inserted in their catheters.

Donald did not have a happy personal life and would often think about committing suicide. He was in a 15-year relationship with James Peluso but later killed him as he was too ill to look after himself.

After the death of James, he became involved with Vernon Midden, a married man with children. Vernon worked as an undertaker would often tell Donald how a body would react to different traumas. This information was valuable to Donald, and he would often fantasize about embalming Vernon while he was still alive.

On March 31, 1971, Donald was arrested for burglary, and it was also his last day at Marymount Hospital. He enlists in the US Army but, it did not last, after two failed suicide attempts he was honorably discharged for medical reasons. Donald checked himself into a hospital for treatment and received 21 electroshock treatments and was released after 90 days.

He got a part-time clerical job at Cardinal Hill Convalescent Hospital in Lexington, Kentucky. In September 1975 after two and a half years in Lexington, he moved to Cincinnati. He received a position at the Veterans Administration Medical Centre where he killed 18 more people. His killings escalated, and he used rat poison, cyanide injections, and put arsenic in the patients hospital food.

Not only did he murder hospital patients but also loved ones and neighbors. Between 1984 and 1985, he killed four people who were not in the hospital.

In 1980, Carl Hoeweler was his lover, and Donald suspects him of cheating. Donald poisons his food with arsenic so he would be too ill to leave the apartment.

Diane Alexander was a neighbor, and for some unknown reason, he murdered her by putting hepatitis serum in her drink. Another neighbor, Helen Metzger was killed by putting arsenic in her pie.

The killing did not affect his work performance, and in March 1985, he was promoted to Morgue Supervisor, but in July he was asked to resign, this incident was not recorded in his employment records.

In February 1986, he found another job at Cincinnati Drake Memorial Hospital. Happy to be around the living again he killed 26 patients until March 1987. At the autopsy of his last victim John Powell the smell of cyanide was detected. And after a few tests, it was confirmed the patient died of cyanide poisoning.

He became the primary suspect in the investigation after the police learned his colleagues called him the Angel of Death and patients death doubled since Harvey worked in the hospital. After a search of his apartment, the police had enough evidence to arrest him for the first-degree murder of John Powell.

Donald knew that the police had enough evidence to have him sentenced to death and decides to plead guilty. He would then be allowed to serve a life sentence. He confessed to killing over 70 people. Harvey was convicted of 28 consecutive life sentences and was incarcerated at Southern Ohio Correctional Facility.

When asked why he killed he said that he likes killing but also blamed the hospitals for allowing him to keep on working with patients.

On 28 March 2017, Donald was found in his cell severely beaten, and on March 30th 2017, he died. No one knows who his murderer is.

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5. Gary Heidnik

Photo – Wikipedia

Our next serial killer from Ohio is Gary Heidnik born on the 22nd of November 1943, in Eastlake. In 1946, his parents divorced because of his mother’s alcoholism, and he went to live with his father. He claimed that his father abused him for years and when he wet his bed his father told him to hang his soiled sheets out of the window in full view of the neighbors.

In school, he was a loner and would often be bullied about his oddly shaped head which he said is because he fell out of a tree. Gary was intelligent with an IQ of 148 and in 1961; he enrolled in the US Army.

In August 1962, he was diagnosed with a mental illness, and in October 1962, Gary was transferred to a military hospital in Philadelphia and was dishonorably discharged.

In 1965, he received an internship at Philadelphia General Hospital and frequently visit the house of developmentally disabled. His mother used medication and alcohol to commit suicide in 1970, and it was the first of his 13 failed suicide attempts.

Finding his faith he opened the United Church of Ministries of God in October 1971. As the ordained minister, the church made a half million dollars, and he bought a three-story house where he rents out the first two floors and moved in with his mentally ill girlfriend, Anjeanette Davidson. His first child was born in 1978 and was called Maxine.

For reasons not known in 1978, he signed Anjeanette’s sister Alberta out of the mental hospital for a day visit and kept her locked in a storage room in his basement. A medical examination revealed that she was raped, sodomized and contracted gonorrhea. He was arrested and charged with rape, and kidnapping. The charges were dropped but, he spent three years in mental institutions and was released in April 1983.

Living the high life he bought his third house in 1984, and the following year married a mail order bride from the Philippines, Betty Ditso. Betty found out that he had affairs with three other women and divorced him. Without telling him she had a son and one day after the divorce asked him for child support.

Not having enough excitement in his life he abducted five women in 1978, he held the women captive in one of the basements. They were all black women and were tortured, raped and beaten.

One of the women died of starvation and fever, so he dismembered her corpse and fed the dog her arms and legs. He cooked her ribs and boiled her head, and the police were called because of the stench, he told the police he made a roast, and it burned because he fell asleep.

Gary would use electric shock as a form of torture. He ordered one of the women in a hole with water, and she was fatally shocked. Her body was dumped in the New Jersey Pine Barrens.

March 23, 1978, he abducted Agnes Adams and the next day one of the other girls persuaded him to let Agnes go to her family. He agreed and drove her to a gas station, and he said he would wait for her; she walked a few blocks and called 911.

First, the police did not believe her, but when they saw her ankles was raw from the chains, they went to the gas station and arrested him. Shortly after the police arrested him, he tried to hang himself in his cell. He made the outrageous claim that the women were already in the house at the time he moved in; it was obvious to say that nobody believed that.

On the 1st of July 1988, he was convicted of two counts of first-degree murder and was sentenced to death. His execution was on the 6th July 1999, by lethal injection.

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6. Michael Madison

Michael was born on 15th October 1977, in Cleveland, Ohio. His birth was an accidental pregnancy, and his father was not part of his life.

In 2001, he was convicted for the possession of drugs. In 2002 he was registered as a sex offender and was sentenced to four years in prison for attempted rape. Not much is known of his childhood.

Between October 2012 and July 2013, he met three women in bars and lured them to his house. Shirrellda Terry 18, Shetisha Sheeley 28 and Angela Deskins were all killed by strangulation; he then put the bodies in garbage bags and buried them in the bushes near his house, in his garage and the other body in a vacant house.

With the decomposing bodies in and near his house, the police responded to a report of a foul odor coming from the property. On the 19 July 2013, the police discovered the bodies and arrested him. Michael was charged with three counts of murder on 22nd July 2013.

Before his trial started, he underwent several psychological examinations. According to reports he was beaten by his mother’s boyfriends and thrown out of high school and his home. Unpersuaded by the tests the judge recommended the death sentence.

His trial started on 4th April 2016, and the jury took only one day to deliver a guilty verdict with 13 counts. May 20th, 2016, he was sentenced to death; it was the first death sentence Judge Nancy R McDonnell gave in her 20 years on the bench. The victim’s parents had to wait three years before justice was served and during the sentencing, Shirellda’s and Terry’s fathers tried to attack Michael.

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7. Anthony Sowell

On the 19th of August 1959, Anthony was born in Cleveland, Ohio. He was one of seven children and his mother Claudia Garrison, was a single parent. According to the niece of Anthony, who lived with them, Claudia would sexually abuse her children and made his niece strip naked in front of everyone in the house and beat her with an electric cord until she bled. From the age of eleven, Anthony raped his niece on a daily basis for years.

At the age of 19, on the 24th of January 1978, Anthony enlists in the United States Marine Corps.  On July 13, 1978, they assigned him to the 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing Air Station at Cherry Point and in 1980; he was on the 3rd Force Service Support Group overseas for a year. He was ordered on the 20th of January 1984 to Marine Corps Butler in Okinawa, Japan.

In his seven years of service, Anthony Sowell received the following medals:

Two Letters of Appreciation.
Medal of Good Conduct.
Sea Service Deployment Ribbon.
Meritorious Mast.
Certificate of Commendation.

On the 18th of January 1985, he was discharged.

Anthony received a pregnant woman at his house one day in 1989; it is not known why she visited him but when she wanted to leave he tied her up and gagged her. Luckily she escaped, and Anthony was charged with attempted rape and served 15 years in prison and was put on the registered sex offender list.

In 2005, he was released from prison and went to live at his mother’s house on Imperial Avenue. In 2007, he collected unemployment benefits and made a meager living selling scrap metal. Two years after his release he murdered 11 women, strangling them and burying their bodies on the property.

There was an unknown stench in the street because of the decomposing bodies on his property. As the neighbors did not know about this they thought the smell came from the sausage plant next to his house and they complained.

The factory took extra steps to be more hygienic but, the smell did not go away. They even cleaned the sewers in the street but, the smell persisted.

A woman came to visit him, and when she tried to leave he choked and raped her, she escaped and reported the incident to the police on the 29th  October 2009, and the police arrested him for rape, it was then that the police discovered two bodies on his living room floor.

After the police searched his house, they found several bodies inside the home, back garden and in the basement. He was 51 years old when the police arrested him.

Anthony was convicted of 70 counts of rape, kidnapping, abuse, murder, abuse of a corpse and tampering with evidence and was sentenced to death in December 2011.

He is incarcerated at Chillicothe Correctional Intuition. Currently, his execution date is on the 18th of November, 2020. The murder house was demolished by order of the city leaders.

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8. Posteal Laskey Jr

Posteal was born in 1938, Ohio, and there is no information about him until the killings between 1965 and 1966.

The citizens of Cincinnati were, in shock about the crimes and they moved Halloween Trick or Treat to the day as they feared for their lives. According to sources locksmiths and hardware stores could barely keep up with the demands for new locks.

He was a cab driver who terrorized woman and raped and strangled seven women to death. Although the police could never find evidence to charge him with all the murders once he was arrested the killings stopped and thus the police believed that he was responsible for the killings.

He was convicted of murdering Barbara Rose Bowman, her body was found on 14 August, 1966, at a disabled taxicab. Posteal was sentenced to death but, in 1972, his sentence was commuted to life in prison when the Supreme Court banned the death penalty.

Because of the brutality of the crimes and his prior record his parole was denied in 2007. He was incarcerated at Pickaway Correctional Institution and died on May 29, 2007, of natural causes. Nobody came to claim the body, and he was buried in the State of Ohio’s prison cemeteries.

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9. Vickie Dawn Jackson

vicky dawn jackson a serial killer from ohio

Vickie was a nurse at Nocona General Hospital. She looked after the patient’s personal needs and gave them their medication.  According to her colleagues she was professional, and received compliments for being a caring person.

For reasons unknown on the 11th of December 2000, she took a syringe filled with mivacurium chloride and murdered her first patient. The drugs paralyze the respiratory system of the body; she continued killing 10 people until she was arrested on the 18th of February 2001.

The murders went unnoticed as she killed elderly patients and the deaths were not considered suspicious. After a while, the hospital noticed that 20 of the vials of mivacurium is missing. An investigation was launched, and they discovered she was the last person in the room of the people that have died.

In 2006, she pleaded no contest and had never admitted her guilt. On the 5th of October 2006, she was sentenced to life in prison at the Nocona, Montague County, Texas. It is not known why she murdered her patients but, the evidence against her proved that she was guilty.

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Do you know about another serial killer born in Ohio? Let us know and we will add him/her to this list.

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