7 Famous Serial Killers From Ohio

Some very famous serial killers, like Jeffrey Dahmer, hail from Ohio, but they are connected to murders committed elsewhere, like Wisconsin. Though most of the following offenders listed below committed murder all over the country, they were born in Ohio.

Ohio Serial Killers 

1. Robert Berdella (Cuyahoga Falls; 1984-1987; Kansas City, Missouri; 6)

The former owner of Bob’s Bizarre Bazaar moved to Kansas City, and is likely to have started killing during the summer of 1984. Berdella drugged and kidnapped men that he met in bars or on the streets. After torturing and raping them, usually for weeks at a time, he suffocated them. Thanks to the escape of his last victim, Berdella was arrested and charged with multiple counts of kidnapping, rape, torture, and murder.

Though the bodies of his victims were never found, police did find journals and volumes of pictures that chronicled his crimes. His victims were subjected to electric shock, bleach in their eyes, injection of drain cleaner in to their vocal cords, and repeated rape. They were then dismembered, stuffed in trash bags, and dumped in a landfill.

2. Thomas Lee Dillon (Canton; 1989-92; Indiana, Michigan, Ohio; 5)

Dillon was a serial sniper found guilty of killing five men. Directed by voices in his head, Dillon killed people randomly. According to attending psychiatrists, Dillon’s delusions of grandeur spilled over into the reality of his life, and the lives of his victims. His victims were killed by a high-powered rifle while they participated in outdoor activities, sometimes hundreds of miles from Dillon’s home.

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Authorities did not link them until Dillon sent a letter to a local paper. After the FBI put together a criminal profile of the killer, a friend of Dillon’s brought him to the attention of authorities. 

3. Edward Edwards (Akron; 1976, 1980, 1996; Ohio, Wisconsin; 5)

Edwards spoke about prison reform and promoted his book about the subject after his release from prison in 1969, when he served time for robbery and unlawful interstate flight. Three years later he would commit his first convicted murder.

In 2010, in his late 70s, Edwards confessed to killing two couples. One couple were shot in the neck in 1977, and another was killed in Silver Creek Park in 1980. The woman had been raped and strangled, and the man had been stabbed. Edwards shot his foster son in 1996. He is considered a viable suspect by authorities in the Zodiac, The West Memphis Three, Jon Benet Ramsey, and other lesser known murders.

4. Donald Harvey (Butler County; 1970-87; Kentucky, Ohio; 37)

Harvey belongs to that group of killers known as “angels of mercy,” who claim to kill for the benefit of the victim. Harvey was convicted of 37 of his more than 57 suspected murders. He has confessed to as many as 87.

Harvey used different methods to kill his victims; suffocation with a pillow, turning off an oxygen tank, and a variety of drug overdoses. He once stuck a coat hanger in a patient’s catheter, and the man died days later from an infection.

When Harvey was hired at the Cincinnati V.A. Medical Hospital, he managed to collect over 30 pounds of cyanide, which he kept in his home. He also kept diaries and detailed notes on each of his victims, including how he murdered them. 

5. Gary Heidnik (Eastlake, 1986-87, Pennsylvania, 2)

Ohio True Crime

Heidnik put fellow serial offender Ariel Castro, also from Ohio, to shame when he abducted, tortured, and imprisoned six women in his basement in one year. The two victims that he murdered were fed to the remaining four, who were routinely exposed to excessive torture, electrocution, and starvation. Using the women against one another, he promised better treatment, food, etc., for information about captives who broke the rules.

One of Heidnik’s captives convinced him that she could be trusted to leave the house, she had already been allowed to roam throughout the house away from the basement, and promised to bring him a new captive when she returned. She brought the authorities instead. Heidnik’s ability to successfully invest his money, he had amassed over half a million dollars, was used as proof of competency at this trial. 

6. Michael Madison (Cleveland, 2012-13, Ohio, 3)

Already a convicted sex offender, for which he completed a program and received treatment, Madison was later charged with aggravated murder. Rape and necrophilia were extenuating circumstances of his capital crimes. His three convicted cases involved young women he assaulted and strangled. Authorities were called to investigate a foul odor coming from property leased in Madison’s name. The decomposed remains of one body were found just inside the door of the garage. Two more bodies were discovered in the backyard of the same property, and the basement of a nearby vacant house the next day.

The remains of all three women were found wrapped in plastic bags. Police later found evidence that Madison kept the bodies in the home for a significant length of time. 

7. Anthony Sowell (Cleveland, 2007-09, Ohio, 11)

At the time of Sowell’s arrest, seven dead bodies were found around his home, two in his living room, and five more throughout the dwelling, one only a head in a basket. During the extended search of the property, four more bodies were recovered, along with a freshly dug shallow grave. A woman who was brought back to the house and drugged and raped, escaped and lodged a complaint with the police.

Sowell’s activities went on for so long that for years he was known as “the smelly guy” by his neighbors. After many complaints from several different neighbors, police finally investigated his residence. They found him living in horrible conditions, his victims scattered about the cluttered and infested house.

Serial Killers From Ohio


Though most serial killers are supposed to be white, male, and 20-35 years of age, the Ohio serial killer seems to enjoy an equal opportunity serial killer state.

The state is the home of the NFL and Rock and Roll Halls of Fame, perhaps they need one for the serial killers from Ohio. Thank you for reading.

Up Next: 11 Best True Crime Serial Killer Books


Steve dyer

I live 2 minutes from dahmers Childhood home… it’s crazy…. I’m from bath and I’m not rich either lol

Heather V

Merriman valley is definitely a weird place to go at night I feelsafer walking down Arlington that going there. I was out doordashing after midnight and someone ordered an anchovie pizza, oddly enough. So I follow the road onto a dirt road, no street lights no houses I pull up to which looks like the end of the road and there is nothing in sight. I didn’t hesitate to leave I trusted my gut and peeled out of there. I believe the only thing that saved me was the fact that I never switched over my car in the app so possibly they didn’t realize it was me? Anyways, it weirded me out to the point where I took screen shots contacted doordash with my concerns and I have not worked late nights since. Be safe yall and trust your instincts.

Donna Vanwinkle

I grew up with glen Rodgers he lived across the street from me on buckeye st… I love my home state of Ohio no matter how psycho it is 🤣🤣🤣


My mom worked with the 23 faces killer back in the at an asylum in OH; we used to sneed into the asylum as kids.

Jazmin Leon

Ohnoohio can you send me a copy of your work. I would love to see it lol I’m from California and I moved to Ohio two years ago and before that I knew nothing from here and now I’ve heard so many creepy crap it’s scary.


Hello Jeffrey dahmer, one of the worst killers from Akron, Ohio. When they say police profiling is not true then look at Dahmer. He was pulled over in the middle of the night acting totally suspicious with a dead body cut up and placed in garbage bags in his trunk (the cop even mentioned that there was a foul smell and his strange affect) and the cop was like “ok a white rich kid from Bathe, nothing wrong here” and let him GO! He went on to murder nearly 20
Men afterwards! If the cops had just used his senses and said , this all feels weird and searched his car. So many innocent men would be alive today. How sad!

Angela Malone

Jeffrey Dahlmers child hood home is down the street from my old place Cuyahoga falls would be such an easy place to kill people because it is all woods. Even North Akron esp in the Merriman valley


I’m from Ohio and collecting a roster of all the nasty people and sketchy things that are from there or invented there. This is well done! Thanks! This is just for me as I am frequently teased about being from The State of Awful Things. I moved away at 19, btw. Decided making a list would be fun. In a dark, surprising way, it is. Appreciate this.

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