It’s difficult for a normal person to imagine what it would be like to be a murderer. And if there was even just one person in your family who had killed someone, there would be a sense of shame that would haunt you forever. But in some rare cases, an entire family is willing to kill together on a regular basis.
10. The Tarverdiyeva Family
In the 1990s and early 2000s, a Russian housewife named Inessa Tarverdiyeva and her husband, a dentist named Roman Podkopaev, looked like a perfectly normal middle class family. Little did their neighbors know that they were regularly robbing and killing people. They raised their daughters, 25-year-old Viktoria and 13-year-old Anastasiya, to do the same.
They were finally caught in 2009 after having a run-in with a rival gang, who stabbed Viktoria to death. The police searched the Tarverdiyeva’s family home, and they found that they had their own armory filled with grenades, guns, silencers, and ammo. Later, Inessa Tarverdiyeva would proudly admit to the crimes, saying, “I have always been a gangster.”
9. The Chijon Family
Back in the 1990s, the movie Silence of the Lambs had everyone thinking about cannibalism. So imagine what would happen if a group of cannibals came together to form a gang–or, as they liked to call themselves, a family.
In South Korea, the Chijon Family was a group of former convicts who were released from prison, but they were far from being reformed. They would kidnap rich people and demand ransom for their return. If they did not get the money they asked for, they would use an axe to chop up the bodies of their victims, and dispose of the evidence by eating their flesh. The gang was eventually caught by police in 1994, and all six members were given the death penalty.
8. The De Jesus Gonzalez Sisters
This next sibling duo are the Mexican sisters Delfina and Maria Gonzalez. They won a Guinness World Record for “Most Prolific Murder Partnership” and… well, there probably shouldn’t be an award for that. But unfortunately, there is.
The De Jesus Gonzalez sisters were raised by a strict Catholic mother and an abusive father who was also a corrupt police officer. Their father told them that if they ever tried to leave him to try and start a normal life, they would end up as sex workers. He once locked one of his daughters in jail for 18 months simply because she had a boyfriend.
When the sisters grew up, they opened a bar. They turned this bar into an underground prostitution ring, almost as if to spite their parents. They would kidnap young women, and use them as sex slaves. They bribed the local police force by allowing them to sleep with the most beautiful girls for free. These women would become addicted to drugs, and die from poor health conditions. Many of them were forced to have abortions, and would not survive the back-alley surgeries. Sometimes, they killed women simply because they grew tired of them. Bodies began to pile up, and it was only when police from out of town caught wind of their operation that they were finally brought to justice. They are responsible for the deaths of at least 80 women.
7. The Bloody Benders
In the 1800s, the state of Kansas was a new frontier. Immigrants from other parts of the United States were offered free land by the US government if they agreed to settle down there. This made for a perfect opportunity for small business owners to open up an inn to help weary travelers along the way. It was also the perfect front for the serial killing Bender family.
To their neighbors, the Benders were known as being quite eccentric. They were Spiritualists, and the daughter, Kate, would perform seances and do psychic readings.
When a guest would stay at the Bender Inn, they would always sit at the head of the table. They were smashed over the head, murdered, and then a trap door would open up underneath their seat to slide the body down to the basement. The bodies of at least 11 people were buried around their cabin. After a while, the relatives of one of the missing people came looking with a search party, and the Benders went on the run. They were never seen again.
Some historians believe that the Benders were not actually related at all, and that they were posing as a family in order to lure in their victims. Since they were never found, the mystery will remain unsolved.
6. The Sawney Bean Clan
On the southwest coast of Scotland, the Sawney Bean Clan was an urban legend about an inbred cannibal family that lived in a hidden cave. At night, they would attack travelers and eat their bodies. Most agree that this was just a legend that was made up by the English to make the Scottish look bad. It went on to inspire horror movies like The Hills Have Eyes and Texas Chainsaw Massacre.
Even though most agree that this was just a legend, over 1,000 murders were attributed to the Sawney Bean Clan. There is a good chance that they were just used as a scapegoat whenever someone disappeared on the road.
5. The Manson Family
In the 1960s, a 32-year-old man named Charles Manson was released from prison after spending nearly his entire life behind bars. He moved to San Francisco to meet the hippies who were seeking free love and a cultural revolution. Manson would lure in young middle-class women and men in their teens and 20s who had run away from home to join the hippies. He sang and played guitar, and these women became like his groupies. He moved the group to Los Angeles, where he tried and failed to start a music career (no joke: he actually wrote a song that the Beach Boys recorded). Manson never really had much of a family of his own, so he called his groupies his “family,” and convinced them that he was a sort of Messiah.
Manson gave his followers mind-altering drugs, and manipulated them to break down their sense of identity. After brainwashing them for a very long time, he convinced them to kill people. Their most notable victim was actress Sharon Tate, who was pregnant at the time. They also killed her friends who were visiting that same night (among those who narrowly avoided being murdered by skipping the party: music mogul Quincy Jones and actor Steve McQueen). Even after they were arrested and appeared in court, the young women were still brainwashed into believing in Manson’s teachings. Apparently, this was all part of his master plan called “Helter Skelter.” He hoped that the murders would be pinned on African-Americans, and that it would cause a race war between white and black people. He wanted to rise up as a new leader of the human race.
Like most insane cult leaders, their grand master plans never came to fruition. The Manson Family were given life sentences. While they were in jail, all of the women were de-programmed and realized just how much he had brainwashed their young minds. While they live with regret, Charles Manson never showed any sign of remorse.
4. The Briley Brothers
Three brothers named Ray, James, and Linwood Briley lived in Richmond, Virginia. The boys were born in the 1960s and raised by their mother and father, who had good jobs and were well respected in the community. The parents were actually very loving and caring, and there has never been any sign that they ever abused the children.
When the oldest boy, Linwood, went to middle school he began showing signs of sociopathic behavior. He started bullying the other children. His younger brothers Ray and James looked to him as their hero, so they began to copy Linwood and became bullies, as well. Their father attempted to discipline them and stop their behavior, but the three of them became so violent and out of control, their own parents became afraid of them. The mother left for fear of her own life. Their father stayed in the house to raise his sons, but he locked himself in his bedroom every night.
When he was 16, Linwood got his hands on a loaded gun and used his neighbor for target practice. He shot and killed 57-year-old Orline Christian while she was hanging laundry in her backyard. The police figured out the trajectory of the bullet, and it led back to Linwood’s bedroom window. Sure enough, the bullets matched, and he was convicted of murder. But since he was a minor, he spent just one year in a reform school before he was released.
In 1979, Linwood convinced his younger brothers to start robbing people on a regular basis. One of them would knock on the front door, claiming to have car trouble. Then, he would pull a knife on the homeowners, and his two younger brothers would tie them up while they stole all of the valuables from their home. Then, they would douse the house in kerosine and light it on fire, leaving the people inside to burn to death. Many times, they were gaining little for their killings. They went on to viciously rape, murder, and torture men, women, and children for just a few dollars. They murdered 11 people in total, and were eventually caught. After the story went public, no one wanted to purchase the boys’ old family home, because they believed it was haunted, and that some kind of demonic possession took over the brothers that turned them into monsters.
3. The Harpe Brothers
During the American Revolution, Micajah and Wiley Harpe were loyal to the British crown, and fought to maintain America as an English colony. When the United States gained their independence in 1776, the Harpe brothers and the rest of the loyalists were pushed into Appalachian mountain territory, which became Tennessee. They still had a deep hatred for the American revolutionaries, and for them, their loyalist cause never ended. They decided to target and kill anyone who was traveling through the west. At that time, the western territories were truly wild, and there was a total lack of law enforcement that could catch them.
They joined up with a gang of pirates who would steal from people traveling on boats through rivers. Even the pirates were disgusted by their lack of morals, and the brothers earned a reputation for themselves. “Big and Little Harpe” were completely devoid of empathy, and would kill people just for fun. While their true kill count is unknown, they were thought to have murdered at least 50 people, and there is no telling just how many American patriots they killed as soldiers during the war. In 1799, a bounty was finally put on their heads. They were captured once, but managed to escape. Eventually they were caught again and, in 1804, were finally hanged for their crimes.
2. The Papin Sisters
In 1933, sisters Christine and Léa Papin were working as maids for the Lancelin family in Le Mans, France. One day, Madame Lancelin raised her hand to slap Christine Papin for breaking the iron. She retaliated by grabbing a nearby pewter pot, smashing her mistress in the side of the head. Christine ordered Lea to gouge out her mistress’s eyes with her fingers. Lancelin’s daughter was nearby, and the sisters killed her, as well. Killing the mother and daughter was apparently not enough to satiate their bloodlust, because they proceeded to cut deep wounds into their legs with a knife and used a hammer to smash their skulls into tiny pieces.
When Monsieur Lancelin returned to his house that evening, the door was locked from the inside. All of the lights were turned off, except for a single candle that was burning. He knocked and shouted, but no one answered. He reported it to the police, and they found the gruesome scene of his wife and daughter’s bodies when they entered the house. The police assumed that a man broke into the house and killed all four women. When they saw that the maids’ bedroom was locked from the inside, they called a locksmith to open the door. Christine and Lea were in the same bed together, naked except for their bathrobes. They had already taken a bath to wash off the blood, and the bloody hammer was on their bedside table. Christine showed no emotion, simply saying, “We were expecting you.”
The two women claimed that they were being threatened by their masters, and that it was their only choice. French philosophers were inspired by this story, and they believed it was a sign of the lower class lashing out against the bourgeoisie. The story has inspired several books and theatrical adaptations. People now believe that the sisters were experiencing a shared psychosis known as “Folie à deux.” Christine admitted to being the mastermind of the murder plot, so she was sentenced to death, and Lea was given 30 years of hard labor.
1. The West-Kimbrell Clan, AKA “The Night Riders”
In the 1800s, the United States and Spanish territories in Texas and Mexico were split by a 5,000 mile stretch of land known as “the neutral zone.” Neither country had any jurisdiction over that area, so it became a perfect hideout for convicts to run from the law. This was where a convict named John West decided to settle. During the Civil War, a man named Laws Kimbrell fought for the Confederacy, and kept as a prisoner. When the war was over, he held onto a deep hatred for members of the Union, and he wasn’t happy to be on the losing side. Kimbrell returned to his family home and became an outlaw in the neutral zone. He then met West, and they decided to join forces with both of their extended families in what became known as the West-Kimbrell Clan.
They stole from travelers making their way through Texas. From the 1852 to 1870, the clan became known as “the Night Riders.” They would wait for a carriage to come along the highway at night, and ambush the travelers, steal their belongings, and then dump their bodies in a mass grave.
A man named Napoleon Bonaparte McLaughlin served in the Union army, and he was passionate about trying to take down the Night Riders. He tried to bring vigilante justice to the gang, but he was outnumbered and barely escaped with his life. Eventually, the local townspeople grew tired of living in fear of the clan, so they all came together to capture the gang members and hang them.