5 Horrifying Murderers (You Never Knew Got Away With It)

Throughout the span of history, there have been criminals and madmen lurking in the shadows, wreaking death and destruction. And that'd be fine in a just universe, or at least a universe full of dashing vigilantes who dress up like vermin that infest your garage.

But we don't live in that universe. We live in the crapsack regular universe where some of history's greatest monsters have completely gotten away with it. We're talking about assholes like ...

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5
Joseph Kony, Child-Snatching Warlord And Viral Star

Joseph Kony is the guy who starred in that video you shared on Facebook all those years ago, an act which -- and wouldn't you just know it -- didn't in any way hold him accountable for the several lifetimes-worth of murder, rape, and anguish he's responsible for.

Kony is the warlord in charge of the Lord's Resistance Army, a pseudo-Christian guerrilla army operating in Central Africa responsible for atrocities including civilian massacres, rapes, bombings, and assassinations. But their main claim to fame is children: they attack villages, scoop up the orphans they just created, and "recruit" them as child soldiers. Or servants. Or sex slaves. Between 1987 and 2006 they abducted 20,000 children from families all over Central Africa.

AP
Like the Wilt Chamberlain of war crimes.

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Which is about 20,000 more reasons than you'd need to stop him, and indeed, the international community has been trying to put an end to Kony for the last thirty years. The countries he's operating in all contribute to a mutual strike force targeting the LRA, and President Obama deployed troops to the region to join the hunt. Kony's army also suffers from a high number of defections, as you might expect from an army composed of hostages. They've shored that up with more abducted children to be sure, but his fighting force isn't what it was.

But despite all that, no one's caught him yet. There's an excellent chance he's hiding out in South Sudan, a nation which has refused point-blank to allow outside troops to enter their borders to look for him; it's rumored that he's intentionally being sheltered by the Sudanese government. Which means that the international community really needs to stay on this and refuse to let him slip away and oh, we've given up entirely? Cool.

Well, maybe the next social network will get him. LinkedIn, are you good for anything yet? Can you pick this up?

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4
Jamal Ahmad Mohammad Al Badawi, USS Cole Mastermind

2000 can sometimes seem like a long-lost utopia of the space-time continuum, forever ensconced in that misty era before 9/11, the Iraq War, the financial crash of 2008, and President Citrus Screamer. It was perfect, right? The Willennium! Nothing went wrong in 2000 ...

AP
Dammit, Will.

Oh, right. That.

Prior to 9/11, Al Qaeda was notable for two attacks: the 1998 U.S. Embassy bombings, and the 2000 attack on the USS Cole. Their man on the ground coordinating the USS Cole attack was Jamal Ahmad Mohammad Al Badawi, a middle manager-type who rented the safe houses, gathered equipment, and surveilled the port for information on everything from shipping traffic to average refueling time to, crucially, how close small vessels were able to get to the warships. He might not have planted the bombs personally, but he handed the blueprint for the attack to the guys who did.

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We know all this because he was caught. We did it! Big Willie Style, baby! He was actually sentenced to 15 years by the Yemeni government. Sadly, that sentence was reduced somewhat when a prison breakout freed him and dozens of other Al Qaeda operatives.

And that's when he disappeared? Actually, ha ha, no. A short while after escaping he handed himself in and apologized for any inconvenience that he might have caused blowing up our sailors. He even went so far as to pledge loyalty to the Yemeni president. This shameless, shallow gesture totally worked because the Yemeni justice system doesn't have any laws against Jihad, or blowing up ships, or any of the usual things laws are good for.

3
William Morales, Extremist Puerto Rican Independence Bomber

As much as we worry about the threat posed by extremist groups today, we tend to forget the bad old days of the 1970s. The Weather Underground, Black September, the JDL, the Black Liberation Army: all of those groups were bombing the country at one point. But none of them could hold a candle (fuse?) to the FALN, an extremist group fighting for Puerto Rican independence. The FALN carried out over 120 terrorist attacks in their time, killing five and injuring dozens more:

The New York Daily News

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William Morales was one of the guys responsible for building their bombs. A radicalized student, he diligently built bombs until 1978, at which point his career was curtailed a smidge by him blowing himself up, a whoopsie which robbed him of his fingers and also got him arrested.

Life Magazine
Hot policing tip: The bomber is usually the one missing fingers.

But with the help of his attorney, he escaped from prison and rejoined FALN as their MVP. Unfortunately for Morales, it turns out that while being one of the country's most wanted men might draw some eyeballs, being one of the country's most wanted men and having no fingers draws even more. He was forced to flee to Mexico where he kept a low profile long enough to kill a police officer and get sent to prison for five years. After his release, he absconded to Cuba and claimed political asylum, at which point the trail runs cold. There were rumors that he married and started a family, but it's hard to be sure.

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One thing we do know is that he requested amnesty in the United States in 1997. This wasn't granted, even though Bill Clinton went on to pardon a bunch of FALN members in 1999 -- it turns out take-backsies don't apply when you blow people up for a living. Worse for the poor villain, now that we've re-established diplomatic relations with Cuba, there's a chance both we and our prison system might get to reacquaint ourselves with him.

2
Felicien Kabuga, Financier Of The Rwandan Genocide

There's generally a limit to how much damage one lunatic can do. Whether it's with axes or guns or bombs, they'll eventually reach a point, often police-assisted, where they just can't murder any more.

Unless they get others to do the killing for them. And that's where Felicien Kabuga comes in. Following the assassination of Rwanda's president in 1994, the Hutu -- Rwanda's dominant ethnic group -- embarked on a rampage across the country, with the aim of wiping out the country's minority ethnic group, the Tutsi. A multimillionaire with strong ties to the Hutu government, Kabuga was the money man behind the massacre, and took part in its planning from the outset. He financed the purchase of huge quantities of machetes and other sharp farming implements, and facilitated their distribution to hardliner Hutu thugs. He also bankrolled the operation of Radio Television Libre des Mille Collines, a government-owned radio station that shied away from broadcasting drivetime classics in lieu of racist, dehumanizing propaganda that portrayed the Tutsi as "cockroaches" to be stamped out. It was also instrumental in triggering the genocide by broadcasting the coded phrase "cut down the tall trees" to knowing gangs.

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He also operated a magazine. It's pretty much what you expect.

Kangura
If for some reason you don't read Kinyarwanda, this is an earnest discussion on the best weapons for killing Tutsis.

The genocide went on for three months until a heavily armed Tutsi force was able to retake the country. The Hutu fled into neighboring countries out of fear of reprisals, leaving a final death toll of 800,000 men, women, and children. Among the newfound exiles was Kabuga.

Following the collapse of the regime, he fled to Switzerland ... until they got wind of the war crimes charges that were coming and kicked him out. Since then, his wealth has allowed him to stay one step ahead of his pursuers: he carries multiple passports, bribes border officials, and employs local police to tip him off when a raid is expected. The last time he came close to being caught was when a local informer tipped the authorities about a meeting that Kabuga was due to attend. Kabuga never showed and the informant was later found dead, which we're sure was a complete coincidence, and had nothing to do with his attempt to snitch on the Monopoly Man Of Evil.

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1
Heinrich Mueller, Head Of The Gestapo

Heinrich Mueller was the head of the Gestapo, and responsible for, well, you name the atrocity, he probably did it with a smile on his face and a song in his heart. He hunted down resistance organizations, organized the persecution and deportation of Jews across Europe, collected extensive records on the ever-growing death toll and converted them into administrative reports for high command, and arranged murder upon murder upon murder upon murder.

That not enough for you? Ok, let's judge him by the company he keeps. Here's a picture of him -- on the right -- rubbing shoulders with Heinrich Himmler and Reinhard Heydrich, the latter of whom is referred to as "the architect of the Holocaust."

Bundesarchiv, Bild 183-R98680 / CC-BY-SA 3.0
Like a game of fuck, marry, kill starring the world's dumbest, evilest haircuts.

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And while Himmler committed suicide following his capture by the Allies, and Heydrich was killed by assassins, Mueller spent the final days of the war in the Fuehrerbunker, pledging allegiance to the regime until the very end. "The end" being something the Soviets were more than willing to provide him, but in the chaos of the war's last days he vanished and was never seen again.

It's possible he was killed in the Battle Of Berlin. In the years after the war, a few Germans said they thought they saw his body after the fighting, but no one was ever sure. In 2013, a researcher claimed that he'd been killed during combat and accidentally buried in, of all possible places, a Jewish cemetery, but no 100 percent conclusive proof was ever provided for this claim either.

Still, this was not a dude you could just shrug your shoulders about. The Allies questioned everyone about his whereabouts. This was made a little more complicated by the fact that his name is the German equivalent of "John Smith." Whilst working for the Nazis, for instance, Mueller had to be referred to as "Gestapo Mueller." But the Allied investigators persisted, chasing up a bunch of bad leads, and still found nothing. His mistress denied seeing him again. The Soviets said that they didn't know where he was. Even the CIA had to refute allegations that they'd captured him; this being an era when they were known to be shipping off Nazis to work at Cape Canaveral.

With so little to go on, it was just about safe to assume he was dead when Adolf Eichmann, an escaped SS officer and colleague of Mueller's, was captured in Argentina in the 1960s. He confessed to his Israeli interrogators that he thought Mueller was alive, and although there wasn't much evidence to support it, it left a weird itch in the back of everyone's mind that has never quite gone away.

So, are you Heinrich Mueller? If you are, could you make yourself known to the nearest authority or postman? It'd really settle everyone's nerves.

Adam Wears is on Twitter and Facebook. He also has a newsletter about depressing history, if you're into that sort of thing.

Also check out 12 Guilty-As-Hell People Who Pretty Much Got Away With It and 7 Famous Companies Who Fucked The World And Got Away With It.

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