A Collection of America’s Deadliest Criminals
In The Serial Killer Whisperer, Tony Ciaglia corresponds with many notorious murderers, but establishes strong connections with only a handful — some of them among the most violent killers in history. Below are the men who made the biggest impact on Tony’s life and in the pages of the book.
Joseph Roy Metheny
Joe Metheny is known as the “cannibal killer” because he would dismember his victims and serve them to unsuspecting customers at a roadside barbecue stand in Maryland. He often saw his victims as “meat.”
Aliases: The Cannibal Killer
Location: Baltimore, Maryland
Crimes: Murder, Rape, Cannibalism
No. of Victims: 12
Sentence: Life in prison. His original sentence for the death penalty was overturned in 2001.
He is one of the most ruthless serial killers Tony corresponds with and shows no remorse for his crimes. He fingerprints every letter in blood, draws cartoons on the envelopes, and once gifted Tony his tooth.
In his own words: “I have never shed a tear for those I have killed, nor will I down the road. Those sweet young drug addicted prostitutes that I killed back in my past were pretty much dead to the world long before I killed them.”
David Alan Gore
Florida native and high school football star David Gore teamed up with his cousin, Fred Waterfield, to combine two favorite past-times of his: women and hunting. As a team, Gore and Waterfield would hunt down women with a pistol and often rape them before shooting them cold-blooded.
Aliases: The Hill Street Killer
Location: South Florida
Crimes: Hunting Women, Rape, Murder
No. of Victims: 10
Sentence: Death penalty — awaiting execution.
In his own words: “I honestly believe one woman got off on what I was doing but even if she’d told me, I still would have taken her life away. You’d be surprised at what they used to say to me thinking if they would go along with everything, it would be okay and I’d let them live… Of course, I never did.”
Robert Christian Hansen
In snowy Alaska, Hansen murdered between 17 and 21 women — though he was only formally charged with 4 murders. He was known to sexually abuse and torture his victims before ending their lives in a “meat shack” near the Knik River.
Location: Anchorage, Alaska
Crimes: Murder, Rape, Assault, Kidnapping
No. of Victims: 17 – 21
Sentence: 461 years in prison.
While Tony had difficulty writing Hansen himself, he did become pen pals with Hansen’s cell mate who identified himself as “Bryan Tompkins.”
In Tompkins’ words: “Hansen did try to cut me once. I had dumped water on him as a joke. He got mad and grabbed me around the neck and he had a pen in his other hand and he tried to stick it in my ear, but I broke away from him. He had this odd look on his face and then he said, ‘I was just fooling’ but I could see that he wasn’t. After that, I never joked with him.”
Arthur John Shawcross
Shawcross has committed 14 murders overall, but between multiple prison sentences. After confessing to two murders — a 10-year-old boy and an 8-year-old girl — Shawcross served almost 15 years in prison before being released on parole.
Aliases: The Genesee River Killer
Location: Rochester, New York
Crimes: Murder, Rape, Strangling
No. of Victims: 14
Sentence: Life in prison without parole. He died while incarcerated in 2008.
Once out, he went on another rampage, killing 11 people (possibly more) and targeting prostitutes. He often beat the women he murdered and even sent Tony prints of his hands in red ink in a letter.
In his own words: “Why did I use my bare hands? To feel life slipping away and then release your grip and bring them back. Ah, that is a feeling. Anthony, that is a feeling. So powerful, so real.”