9 Serial Killers, And The Specific Way They Selected Their Victims

Erik Kliemt
Erik Kliemt

Adam Lane

Adam Lane was convicted of murdering Monica Mossaro. How did he pick Monica? It’s simple. One night he drove into a town near the rest area “intent on taking a life.” He stopped at and went from house to house jiggling the door knobs. If the door was locked, he left. Monica’s door was unlocked.

Lane entered her home and found Monica in her bed. He murdered her, mutilating her body with his knife.

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Ashley Mervyn Coulston

Coulston picked his victims by choosing an ad from the paper. Kerryn Henstridge and Anne Smerdon, both 22, put out an ad for a roommate and Coulston answered. One of the girl’s brother-in-law, Peter Dempsey, was also at the house when Coulston came over to meet with the women about the house. He showed up with a gun and plastic cable ties. He overpowered all three, forcing them into separate rooms and hog-tying them before shooting them.

Colin Ireland

A straight man, Ireland went to gay clubs and found men who were interested in BDSM — specifically those who wanted to be tied up. He thought this was the easiest way to overpower his victims.

The Green River Killer

Gary Ridgway, the Green River Killer, once said, β€œI killed so many women I have a hard time keeping them straight.” Because his goal was killing as much as possible, he selected his victims because they were prostitutes, saying “He did not want to pay them for sex. He chose them as victims because their disappearances might not be noticed at first, if at all, and he assumed police would not look as hard for them as for other women.”

Anthony Sowell

Known for his “house of horrors” in Cleveland where the bodies of 11 women were found in the backyard Sowell picked his victims based on women he thought “no one would miss.” The convicted sex offender found drug addicted women, prostitutes, and runaways to fill his sadistic needs.

Anders Breivik

Anders Breivik, the Norwegian who bombed a government building before opening fire at a summer camp, killing 77 people in 2011, targeted victims who had a “leftist” look. His motive was political, but even within the location (a liberal political party’s children’s camp) he selected the most liberal looking people. A youth present as his mass killing, Adrian Pracon, recalls how Breivik selected not to kill him because of his look, “I remember him pointing the gun at me for quite a long time before he took it down, turned and walked away.”


Dennis Rader, The BTK (Bind, Torture, Kill) Killer who terrorized Wichita for three decades, selected his victims carefully, stalking them for a period of time before killing them. He once sent a near-victim a note when he had stalked her home, intent on killing her when she came home from work — but she randomly choose not to that night, it read “Be glad you weren’t here. Because I was.” He chose victims based on his sexual fantasies — basically wandering around his everyday life until he “locked” in on someone (usually a few girls at a time) at which point they inevitably became his victims.

Robert Hansen

An experienced hunter, Robert Hansen would abduct women and then fly them to the Alaskan wilderness and release them so that he could “hunt” them. All his life Hansen had been rejected by women, he picked young, attractive women to be his victims because it was his opportunity for revenge. Sometimes after abducting and raping a woman, he would let her go if he was certain she wouldn’t turn him in to the police.

Richard Chase

Richard Chase was a serial killer who was convicted of killing six people. Afterwards he would drink their blood and eat parts of their body. A schizophrenic, Chase would try to enter homes at random, but would always leave if the door was locked. To him, a locked door meant the person inside did not want him there but an unlocked door was “an invitation.” TC mark

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