Over 80 African American males have been prosecuted and listed as serial killers. Because the serial killers I have written about in this article had many news stories written about them, I had to abbreviate their profiles. I choose to write about several killers as opposed to one. In the future I will write about more African American serial killers, focusing on one at a time, allowing for more details and fuller profiles.
Anthony Edward Sowell
“Frazier said that she noticed the foul smell of decaying bodies in the home, but the alleged serial killer told her the odor was from the sausage shop next door and his stepmother downstairs. The stench around the home returned stronger than ever Wednesday as police searched the house next door for more bodies and carried out bags of evidence.” (CBS News)
Carol "Coral" Eugene Watts
Carl "Coral" Eugene Watts aka Carl Eugene Watts, murdered women in Houston, Texas and in Michigan. Unlike other serial
“It was the perfect hunting ground for a serial killer. Houston was the murder capital of the United States that year, with more than 700 homicides. Police were underpaid, understaffed and overwhelmed. So when Watts began killing young women, no one suspected that it might be the work of one man.” (CBS News)
When his trial started Williams’ whereabouts at specific times was knocked out the window by witnesses. “Gino Jordon, who ran the San Souci club, was asked if Wayne Williams had been at his club before the bridge incident, as Williams had told authorities he had been. Jordon said it was not that night of the bridge incident, but the following night that Williams came by the club to pick up his tape recorder. The club cashier confirmed Jordon's statement.
“When the man in charge of the Ben Hill Recreation Center was asked if Wayne Williams was playing basketball the evening of the bridge incident as Williams had claimed, the answer again was no. These two testimonies reflected that Wayne Williams was lying about what he did before the incident on the bridge. This lack of an alibi played right into the prosecution's theory that Williams was with Cater that evening and dropped his body off the bridge.” (The Atlanta Youth Murders and the Politics of Race by Bernard Headley)
Chester DeWayne Turner
Had it not been for the rape and murder of Paula Vance, additional murders committed by Turner might have gone unsolved. A security guard found Vance’s partially nude body behind a business in downtown L. A. The crime was caught on a surveillance camera, but it was too grainy to identify the killer. Detectives searched the video for clues to no avail. It shows Turner (then unidentified) throwing Vance to the ground, raping and choking her to death. Detectives described the assailant as a “husky, muscular man.” Turner was 6’1, weighing 200 pounds.
Ten of the murders took place in a four block wide corridor spanning either side of Figueroa between Gage Avenue and 108th Street. Two murders were committed close to downtown Los Angeles.
“He joins the roster of Los Angeles' most prolific serial killers, including Charles Manson, "Night Stalker" Richard Ramirez and "Freeway Killer" William Bonin. Since the early 1980s, at least five serial killers, and possibly more, were active in the South Los Angeles area. These killers targeted mostly young African American women, dumping their bodies in alleys, vacant buildings or parks.” (Los Angeles Times)
“Turner was found guilty of sexually assaulting a 47 year-old woman on March 16, 2002, on a Los Angeles Street between 6th Street and 7th Street at 11:30 p.m. Turner assaulted the victim for approximately two hours. Afterward, Turner threatened to kill the victim if she told the police. The victim did report the crime and Turner was arrested and convicted. As a result, Turner was required to provide a DNA reference sample for inclusion in CODIS. It was this reference sample that ultimately led to the identification of Turner as Paula Vance’s killer.” (about.com Crime/Punishment) Turner, 44, was sentenced to death by lethal injection July 10, 2007.
John Allen Muhammad and Lee Boyd Malvo
John Allen Muhammad, 38 and Lee Boyd Malvo, 17, could have been father and son. Instead they had a kinship of mass murder and terrorism. Together, the snipers killed 10 people, seriously injuring three. Muhammad modified the rear his blue 1990 Chevrolet Caprice to accommodate their killings by cutting a hole above the license plate. The pair used a high powered rifle to erase individuals at random.
Taking the teenager under his wings, John Allen Muhammad, a former military man and mechanic, taught Malvo how to be a sharp shooter. “He and Malvo worked as a team in the shootings with one man firing the rifle, while the other watched the victims. They often targeted people doing simple, everyday tasks such as pumping gas or leaving a store.” (biography.com)
John Allen, born December 31, 1960 in Louisiana, changed his last name in 1985 after he separated from his first wife. He also joined the Nation of Islam, the reason for his last name change.
Starting in October 2002 the deadly duo's sniping was nonstop. Muhammad had a plan to kidnap his three children again, then move to Canada, taking Malvo with him. The shootings were supposed to be a distraction to take suspicions off Muhammad, leaving him clear to kidnap his children. This is what Malvo testified to during their separate trials.
After several killings Muhammad and Malvo commenced taunting the police. They left a note on a tarot card that read: "Mister policeman, I am God" after one shooting. The police were stumped as there seemed to be no motive or pattern to the attacks. Then the snipers demanded $10 million to stop the shootings. A break in the case came from phone calls to a tip line, and to two priests from someone claiming to be the sniper. The stranger pointed them in the direction of an earlier Alabama shooting. At the scene of that crime, Malvo dropped a brochure that had a fingerprint on it. It matched the one on file with the immigration records. It led authorities to Malvo.
October 24, 2002 Muhammad and Malvo were apprehended as they slept in their car. The two killers rolled on each other, each accusing the other of being the actual triggerman in the first six shootings. The first trial took place Maryland. On December 2003 Malvo was found guilty in the shooting death of Linda Franklin, an FBI analyst. Trials in other states got Malvo several life sentences for his participation in the self-indulgent killing spree. Being a teenager saved him from the death penalty. He currently in a maximum security prison in Virginia.
“Though police once came to his apartment when his ex-girlfriend reported Graham had a corpse on the adjoining rooftop, his corpse collection went undetected--despite the overpowering death stench--until he killed two women within four days last August.” (philly.com)
Graham strangler. He was described as six feet tall, medium brown complexion, average build, large shoulders and big hands. Neighbors knew him because he worked as a handyman around the community. He was quiet and friendly. He allowed drug addicts to use his apartment as a shooting gallery. One day his landlord asked him to move due to the stifling stench coming from the apartment he had rented for four years. Neighbors were complaining about the smell.
“The day he moved out he put a lock on one of the bedroom doors and stated that he would be back to retrieve the rest of his items in a few days. Upon inspecting the apartment, one of the men peeked into the keyhole of the locked door at which time, he saw a woman lying there. He immediately called the police who would come in and break down the door to the room.
“The whole apartment was nasty. There were maggots, moldy dog feces, nasty left over food, and stacks of newspaper. Upon opening the door they found the body of a woman who had been dead for a few days. In this 10x 12 room, they would by the end of the day discover 5 more bodies, one more in the closet, and another one on the roof on the outside of the bedroom window. The police went on a manhunt but Marty continually eluded the police. However, his mother urged him to turn himself in and on August 17, 1987, he did just that.” (Serial Killer Series: Article 6)
“The fifth body was found around 5:30, pulled out of another area of debris, but the peculiar detail about this one was that he or she (they couldn't tell) had been sandwiched between two mattresses and clearly had been there a long time. The searchers wondered if the evicted tenant had actually slept on the top mattress with the victim underneath.” (crimelibrary.com)
At the police station detectives vigorously interrogated Graham. He confessed to the murders, saying he was high off drugs. He wrote a long confession, telling how he killed the women while having sex. “During breaks, Graham would sketch the faces of women. The detectives were surprised to find that Graham was articulate, was a talented artist, and was not, as they'd assumed, illiterate. He apparently read the Bible avidly.
“In the end, the detectives had Graham's 10-page statement, which included details about each murder, and his feelings about what he'd done. He insisted many times that he hadn't meant to kill anyone, and to him, the deaths were accidental. They were due to his sexual technique: He'd held them around the neck and had probably pressed too hard.” (Crime Libray)
At his trial December 2003, Graham’s court appointed attorney said he was too incompetent to be executed for his crimes. As reported in local papers, Graham pleaded not guilty to the charges against him. "Judge Charles Durham asked him if he understood the proceedings, and Graham just said, 'Nope.' He banged his fingers on the bar, mumbled to himself and swayed on his feet. He also claimed he didn't know where he was. His attorney reiterated that Graham was not competent to continue. Graham just said he wanted to go home.
"Do you know why you're here?" Durham asked.
"I have no idea."
"Can you understand?"
The district attorney did not fall for the “I’m crazy as a loon” bit, and neither did the judge who sentenced the 29-year- old killer to life in prison with no possibility of parole.