Not much terrifies me more than the thought of running into a murderer.
While there's no telling how many killers are actually out there (or who all of them are), I've always taken comfort in the mistaken belief that those who have been convicted of murder have either been sentenced to death or are spending their lives behind bars without the hope of ever being released. However, I recently found that I couldn't be more wrong.
Though these seven people were found guilty of killing other human beings, they got out of prison long before they were supposed to.
1. Karla Homolka raped and killed at least three young women, including her own sister, with her husband Paul Bernardo in the early 1990s.
The two recorded their crimes on videotapes, which later proved that Homolka was a willing participant. However, during the investigation, she said that Bernardo forced her to help him murder. As a result, she was allowed to plead guilty to manslaughter in exchange for receiving only 12 years in prison. She was released in 2005, and now lives with her new husband and children under the name Leanne Bordelais.
2. In 1988, Juha Valjakkala and his then-girlfriend Marita Routalammi were traveling through Sweden when they stole a bike from a man and his teenage son. After being chased by the rightful owners, Valjakkala killed both of them with a shotgun.
When the man's wife went looking for her husband and son, Valjakkala chased her and slit her throat near the same location. The criminals were caught a little over a week later. Routalammi received two years in prison for complicity in assault and battery while Valjakkala received a life sentence for three counts of murder. However, he was released on parole in February 2008 after only having served 19 years in prison and attempting to escape multiple times. He later changed his name to Nikita Bergenström.
3. In 1983, Arnfinn Nesset was convicted of poisoning 22 patients at the nursing home he managed in Norway, but prosecutors believe he may have killed as many as 138 people.
He was sentenced to 21 years in prison, which is the maximum sentence under Norwegian law. However, he only served 12 years before being released early for good behavior. He now lives under a new identity in an unknown location.
4. Genene Anne Jones was a pediatric nurse who killed anywhere from one to 46 children between 1977 and 1982 in Texas. She injected them with lethal doses of blood thinners and muscle relaxants with the intention of later reviving them and looking like a hero.
Because hospital officials destroyed records of her activities, she was only convicted of the murder of one 15-month-old girl. She received 99 years in prison, and was later given an additional 60 years for almost killing another child. However, because of a Texas law designed to prevent overcrowding in prison, she is scheduled for mandatory release in 2018. She will only have served 33 years.
5. Mary Bell was just 11 years old when she strangled four-year-old Martin Brown and three-year-old Brian Howe in England in 1968.
Because of her age, she was only convicted of manslaughter of the two boys. She spent just 12 years in prison before being released in 1980. She now lives under a different name.
6. Security guard and ex-policeman Louis Van Schoor shot and killed 39 alleged burglars, all of whom were black, between 1986 and 1989 in South Africa.
At the time, it was deemed that he was within his rights to shoot them, but in 1992, he was convicted of seven murders and two attempted murders. He received 20 years in prison, but he was released on parole after 12. One prison official called him a "model prisoner."
7. Pedro López, also known as the "Monster of the Andes," claims to have raped and killed over 300 young girls in Colombia, Peru, and Ecuador between 1969 and 1980.
In 1980, he led police to the graves of 53 girls, and was later found guilty of murdering 110 girls in Ecuador alone. He also confessed to murdering 240 more girls in Columbia and Peru. He was initially sentenced to 16 years in 1981 and was released after serving 13, but he was soon arrested again and charged with another murder. He was declared insane and spent four years in a psychiatric hospital before being released in 1998 for good behavior.
(via Crime Viral)