Where Are They Now? America’s 10 Most Notorious (Alleged) Murder Suspects

Convicted or not, murder suspects grab America’s attention from the second investigators first point the finger at someone. The world gathers ’round as the crimes are reported in garish detail. We watch the cops getting involved, evidence getting collected and suspects getting detained. When an arrest is finally made, the name of the accused immediately becomes a household word. They’re everywhere and talked about by everyone. Sometimes we even watch the televised trial in cold, HD detail. Once the verdict comes down, the public sighs deeply… either in relief or exasperation. Then, as soon as these brand new convicts get carted off to jail or released, we tend to wash our hands of them. But have you ever wondered what happened to some of those notorious murder suspects?

Over the years, many of these alleged murderers have died, either from natural causes or state executions. People like Ted Bundy, Aileen Wuornos, John Wayne Gacy and Timothy McVeigh have all been put to death by the order of the court, while others like Charlie Manson, Richard Ramirez, Jeffrey Dahmer and Henry Lee Lucas passed on either from old age, disease or at the end of another inmate’s shank. But there are others who are still alive… and may not be living where you think. What are they now?

PopHorror has done the research to answer that very question for you. In no particular order, here are 10 of America’s most notorious murder suspects and where they currently reside.

 Scott Peterson

When Scott Peterson first reported his pregnant wife, Laci, missing on Christmas Eve in 2002, the entire country poured their collective hearts out to him. When the remains of a late term fetus and Laci’s decapitated torso washed up in San Francisco Bay, we all mourned. Then, when Scott’s woman-on-the-side, Amber Frey, came forward and told investigators that her boyfriend talked about Laci being dead two weeks before she went missing, the investigation turned toward him. When he was finally arrested for her murder, he had $15,000, a map to Frey’s work, rope, 200 sleeping pills, a double-handed knife and a shovel. Looks like Laci wasn’t the only one on his hit list. On March 16, 2005, Peterson was sentenced to death by lethal injection. He’s currently on death row at San Quentin State Prison while his case is on appeal with the Supreme Court of California.

Jody Arias

In a trial viewed by millions, Jody Arias was convicted on May 8, 2013 of first-degree murder in the 2008 death of her ex-boyfriend, Travis Alexander. She tried to plead self-defense, a tactic lost on the jury. Not only did she rent a car to drive the 16-hour trip from her home in California to Alexander’s in Arizona, but when she got there, took lurid photos of the two of them with his digital camera. The last shot on the memory card was a bleeding body on the bathroom floor, where Alexander had sustained 27-29 stab wounds, his throat had been slit, and he had suffered a gunshot wound to the head. A bloody handprint on the wall with Jody’s DNA clinched the case. After several mistrials, Arias was sentenced to life in prison at the Arizona State Prison Complex – Perryville, where this murder suspect spends her time purchasing sex toys, zit cream and Beano from commissary.

Ronnie DeFeo

In a case that would eventually go on to inspire the book and film versions of Amityville Horror, 23-year-old Ronnie “Butch” DeFeo was convicted of the 1974 murders of his entire family – dad Ronald, Sr., mom, Louise, brothers, Marc (12) and John Matthew (9), and sisters, Dawn (18) and Alison (13) – blown away by shotgun blasts as they slept peacefully in their beds with no signs of struggle. Initially, he told investigators that he had come home after a night out and found them all brutally slaughtered, and then used the defense that he heard the voices of his family plotting to kill him, so he went after them first. Of course, he wasted no time asking the police about collecting his father’s life insurance policy. On December 4, 1975, DeFeo was sentenced to 6 concurrent sentences of 25 years to life. All appeals to the Sullivan Correctional Facility’s parole board have all been denied.

Casey Anthony

In one of the most heartbreaking cases ever, the remains of 2-year-old Caylee Anthony were found 5 months after her grandmother, Cindy Anthony, reported her missing on July 15, 2008. The baby’s mother, Casey, denied knowing where her daughter was, despite not having seen her in over a month before the report was filed and her car smelling like a dead body, according to Cindy. Police arrested Anthony, and after a 6-week trial and against all odds, she walked away a free woman, using the defense that the little girl drowned in the swimming pool and Casey’s father, George, disposed of her little body.

The murder suspect was convicted in the court of public opinion, however. In the five years since the trial, Anthony became a pariah in her community and moved to West Palm Beach, Florida to start a photography business. She has filed bankruptcy to get out from under the huge legal fees she still owes her lawyer, even after recent reports that she paid him with sex to keep her bills down. Caylee Anthony would have been thirteen years old next month.

Charles Manson’s Family 

We know 81-year-old Charles Manson died late in 2017 and apparently his grandson was granted custody of his remains after a heated court battle, but what about the rest of his family? Leslie Van Houten (66) was up for parole in 2016 and was granted freedom, but that liberty was taken away on July 22 of that same year when Governor Jerry Brown denied her parole. Susan “Sexy Sadie” Atkins (61) died in 2009, the first of Manson’s Girls to pass away behind bars. Getaway driver Linda Kasabian (61) turned state’s evidence against the others and never went to prison. She currently lives in New Hampshire. Charles “Tex” Watson (70) is still behind bars, but has since become an ordained minister and has fathered four children during conjugal visits.

The currently paroled Lynette “Squeaky” Fromme (67) was never charged with the Tate/LaBianca murders, but was arrested in 1975 for attempting to assassinate President Gerald Ford. The mother of one of the Manson’s sons, Mary Brunner (72), was shot and then arrested in 1971 after robbing a gun store in a ridiculous attempt to break Charlie out of jail. She was also paroled in 1977. The only convicted Manson Family killer to be released, Clem “Scramblehead” Grogan (64), was considered too stupid and too hopped up on drugs to be responsible for the planning of any of the murders and was released in 1985.

Pamela Smart

Back in 1992, when Derry, New Hampshire native Pamela Smart came home to find her condominium ransacked and her husband murdered, America wept for the young teacher’s loss. That is, until her student, Billy Flynn, dropped a bombshell – he and three of his friends were hired by his teacher to kill her husband. After an affair with 15-year-old Billy, the murder suspect convinced him to kill her husband, Gregg, so she could be free of him and be able to openly pursue her relationship with the teenager. She was ultimately convicted of being an accomplice to first-degree murder and was sentenced to life in prison without parole at Bedford Hills Correctional Facility for Women in Westchester County, New Hampshire.

In 1996, Smart was severely beaten by two other inmates who accused her of ratting out their relationship. Despite that, she has since gotten two Masters degrees in prison – one in legal studies and one in literature. There were also a few scantily clad photos of her that circulated in 2003, supposedly taken by a prison guard who raped her. Flynn and his friend, Patrick Randall, were both sentenced to 40 years in prison for second-degree murder and were both paroled early on the same day – June 4, 2015.

Gary Ridgeway – The Green River Killer

The Green River Killer ran amuck for over twenty years until 2001 when DNA evidence linked Gary Ridgeway to the murders of 4 local women. A Green River Killer suspect since 1984, Ridgeway initially passed a polygraph test and was released, but after the 2001 arrest, admitted to as many as 71 murders altogether. He not only killed these girls and dumped their bodies in the Green River in Seattle, Washington, and the nearby woods, but would return later to have sex with the corpses.

Ridgeway was convicted of a total of 49 murders, making him the most prolific American serial killer according to confirmed murders. To keep himself off of the lethal injection table, Ridgeway agreed to show investigators where all of the other still missing bodies were. He has been in the Washington State Penitentiary in Walla Walla since 2004, serving 48 life sentences plus another 480 years for tampering with evidence. Strangely enough, the Green River Task Force interviewed serial killer Ted Bundy in 1984 to get insight into the motives behind these unsolved killings. I wonder if he requested some fava beans and a nice Chianti in exchange for his advice?

Dennis Rader – The BTK Killer

Sixty-two year old Dennis Rader was the last person anyone suspected was responsible for the BTK murders that had plagued Wichita, Kansas, between 1974 and 1991. The president of his church council, security alarm installer and Boy Scout leader, Rader was considered strict and over-zealous, although he did have several restraining orders against him by women he had stalked. As he installed house alarms for ADT Security Systems, the murder suspect wrote letters to the police and news organizations, taunting them about his crimes, telling them how he liked to bind, torture and kill his victims – everyone from 9-year-old Joseph Otero, Jr. to 62-year-old Delores Davis.

He was arrested on February 25, 2005, when personal information was traced back to a floppy disk he had sent to the police, linking him to the Christ Lutheran Church in Wichita. He was charged with 10 murders and had no problem describing them to investigators in graphic detail. He’s currently serving 10 consecutive life sentences in the El Dorado Correctional Facility and will be eligible for parole in 2180.

David Berkowitz – Son of Sam

The bloody run of the Son of Sam sent the city of New York into a paralyzing panic back in the summer of 1976. All but one of his random shootings were of couples. He always seemed to attack dark-haired women while they sat with their boyfriends in parked cars. Berkowitz eluded police despite a massive manhunt, but was finally captured when investigators followed up on local parking tickets near the area of one of the crime scenes.

Like Dennis Rader, Berkowitz teased police prior to his arrest with letters, creating a suspect that seemed to suffer from paranoid schizophrenia and demonic possession. He blamed the his attacks on Harvey, his neighbor, Sam’s, dog, saying the canine talked to him, telling him to kill and feed the blood to Sam. He’s also said the murders were committed, not by him, but by a Satanic cult. The 65 year old murderer is currently serving 6 consecutive life sentences in Attica Correctional Facility for the six people he shot in cold blood. He has since become a born-again Christian and has denied the offer of parole hearings, choosing to stay in jail instead.

 OJ Simpson

In the most publicized criminal trial in American history, sports star and actor O.J. Simpson was tried on two counts of murder for the June 12, 1994 deaths of his ex-wife, Nicole Brown-Simpson, and her friend, Ronald Goldman. With a defense team that included F. Lee Bailey, Johnny Cochran, Alan Dershowitz and Robert Kardashian, O.J. was found not guilty, mostly due to the accusation that DNA evidence was mishandled by lab workers, the leather glove not fitting and testimonies of corruption and misconduct in the LA police department. However, a civil trial from the Brown and Goldman families did find O.J. responsible for their deaths, and the court awarding the families over $33 million in judgments.

For the most part, O.J. walked out of that courtroom and lived his life normally, even going so far as to start his own hidden camera show called Juiced. That is, until 1999 when the State of California claimed that O.J. owned $1.44 million in back taxes, putting a lien on his estate. In 2001, the murder suspect was also arrested for yanking the sunglasses off of the face of a passing motorist. That same year, his home was searched on suspicion of ecstasy possession and money laundering (although the only illegal items found during the search was the equipment needed to steal satellite TV service), which got him sued in federal court. He was arrested again in 2007 for breaking into a Las Vegas hotel room and stealing sports memorabilia at gunpoint, which he insisted was initially stolen from him. He was found guilty (finally!) and sentenced to 15 years in prison for kidnapping and armed robbery, although was granted parole on July 20, 2017.  

Were you surprised to find out where some of these murder suspects have ended up? Did we miss any of the big ones? Let us know in the comments!

About Tracy Allen

As the co-owner and Editor-in-Chief of PopHorror.com, Tracy has learned a lot about independent horror films and the people who love them. Now an approved critic for Rotten Tomatoes, she hopes the masses will follow her reviews back to PopHorror and learn more about the creativity and uniqueness of indie horror movies.

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