1688 – Juraj Janosik – He was a Slovak highwayman and has been the main character of many Slovak novels, poems, and films. According to the legend, he robbed nobles and gave the loot to the poor, a deed often attributed to the famous Robin Hood. Jánošík’s parents were Martin Jánošík and Anna Čišníková. He grew up in the village of Terchová in the Habsburg monarchy’s Kingdom of Hungary area (present-day Žilina District in northwestern Slovakia). He fought with the Kuruc insurgents when he was fifteen. After the lost Battle of Trenčín, Jánošík was recruited by the Habsburg army. In the autumn of 1710, as a young prison guard in Bytča, he helped the imprisoned Tomáš Uhorčík escape. They formed a highwayman group and Jánošík became its leader at the age of 23, after Uhorčík left to settle in Klenovec. The group was active mostly in the northwestern Kingdom of Hungary (today’s Slovakia), around the Váh river between Važec and Východná, but the territory of their activity extended also to other parts of today’s Slovakia, as well as to Poland and Moravia. Jánošík was caught in 1712 and was sentenced to death in 1713. He was executed on March 17, 1713, in Liptovský Mikuláš, Slovakia. Despite his criminal activities, Jánošík became a symbol of resistance to oppression and has been immortalized in Slovak and Polish folklore and literature.
1898 – Hymie Weiss – originally named Henryk Wojciechowski, was born on January 25, 1898, in Sieradz, which was part of Congress Poland at the time. He was a Polish-American mobster who rose to prominence as the leader of the North Side Gang during the Prohibition era, and he was known for his rivalry with Al Capone. In fact, he was reputedly the only man whom Al Capone feared. Weiss’ family moved to the United States in 1901 when he was just three years old. They initially settled in Buffalo, New York, before relocating to a predominantly Irish neighborhood in northern Chicago. As a young man, Weiss turned to a life of crime. After a failed burglary attempt during which he knocked over a shelf of perfume, the police gave him the nickname “The Perfume Burglar”. He later became friends with Irish-American Dean O’Banion, and together with Weiss and George “Bugs” Moran, O’Banion formed the North Side Gang. This criminal group eventually took control of illegal activities such as bootlegging in the northern part of Chicago. Weiss is believed to have been the first to use the organized crime tactic known as the “one-way ride”, which involves luring or coercing a victim into a car with their killers and murdering them either en route or upon arrival at a predetermined location. On October 11, 1926, Weiss and three of his associates were gunned down on State Street as they were about to enter their headquarters. Weiss and one of his associates were killed, while the other two were injured. Despite his criminal activities, Weiss left a lasting impact on the history of organized crime in the United States.
1943 – Manuel Delgado Villegas – also known as El Arropiero, was born on January 25, 1943, in Seville, Andalusia, Spain. He was a Spanish serial killer active between 1964 and 1971. Delgado claimed to have carried out 48 murders in Spain, Italy, and France. However, the Spanish police were only able to investigate twenty-two cases in Spain and considered him the definite perpetrator of seven. Delgado was the son of José Delgado Martín. His mother died while giving birth to him. The itinerant nature of his father’s job as a salesman of arrope, a fruit concentrate produced in southern Spain and used to make sweets, resulted in Delgado and his sister Joaquina being sent to live with their maternal grandmother in Mataró. He attended school but never learned to read and write. In 1961, at the age of 18, Delgado enlisted in the Spanish Legion. There he learned hand-to-hand combat techniques, and one in particular, the golpe legionario or golpe mortal (literally “deadly blow”), a blow to the larynx with the edge of the hand that became one of his preferred methods of killing. Delgado killed his first confirmed victim in 1964, at the age of 21, and remained active until his arrest at 28 in 1971. He never killed with premeditation. Sometimes a simple trivial comment by the victim would be taken as an insult and unleash Delgado’s rage, who would kill them with great violence using a blunt object, strangling them, or with his bare hands. He was never brought to trial, as he was diagnosed with a severe mental disorder. In 1978 the Audiencia Nacional ordered that he be preventively detained at Carabanchel Penitentiary Psychiatric Hospital. He was released into the care of a psychiatric hospital in 1996 and died two years later of a smoking-related lung disease on February 2, 1998, in Badalona, Catalonia, Spain.
1950 – Carlos Alberto Topp Collins – was a notorious Chilean serial killer. He was part of a duo known as the Viña del Mar psychopaths, alongside Jorge José Sagredo Pizarro. Both were members of the Carabineros, the local Chilean police forces. Topp Collins and Sagredo Pizarro committed ten murders and four rapes between August 5, 1980, and November 1, 1981, in the city of Viña del Mar. Their crimes were discovered when they were caught on March 8, 1982, just days after they had been discharged from the Carabineros. The case became controversial after more prominent people were implicated, but only Sagredo and Topp Collins were punished. They were the last men to be legally executed in Chile before the practice was outlawed in 2001. Topp Collins was executed on January 29, 1985.
1953 – Bruce Allan Burrell – was a notorious Australian criminal. He was convicted of kidnapping and double murder in 2006 and was sentenced to life imprisonment plus an additional 44 years. His victims were 74-year-old Dorothy Davis, who disappeared in 1995, and 39-year-old Kerry Whelan, who vanished in 1997. Despite extensive searches, neither of their bodies was ever recovered. Burrell worked as an advertising executive. His criminal activities came to light when he was charged with the murder of Dorothy Davis, a wealthy widow from Lurline Bay, Sydney. Davis vanished after visiting Burrell’s wife and was never seen again. The jury found Burrell guilty, citing financial gain as the motive for the crime. In addition to Davis’s murder, Burrell was also convicted for the murder of Kerry Whelan. Whelan was last seen getting into a Mitsubishi Pajero four-wheel drive with Burrell. The day after Whelan’s disappearance, her husband received a ransom note demanding $1 million. Whelan’s body has never been found. Burrell, who had been a friend and former employee of the Whelan family, was charged in 1999. The charges were dropped but reinstated in 2002 after a formal inquest. The first trial in 2005 ended with a hung jury, but Burrell was convicted in a second trial in 2006. Burrell passed away on August 4, 2016, at the age of 63, from lung and liver cancer while still in prison custody at the Prince of Wales Hospital at Randwick.
1957 – Luis Garavito – also known as La Bestia or Tribilín, is one of the most notorious serial killers in history, known for the rape, torture, mutilation, and murder of 147 young boys in western Colombia. Garavito was the eldest of seven children and had a troubled childhood. He claimed that his father was unfaithful, alcoholic, and abusive, while his mother was violent and provided him with little affection or care. His criminal activities took place between 1992 and 1999. He is believed to have raped and tortured at least 200 minors before murdering an additional 189 minors in Colombia, along with four more in Ecuador during the summer of 1998. He was arrested on April 22, 1999, for attempting to rape a 12-year-old boy. The court sentenced Garavito to a total of 1,853 years and 9 days in prison. With confirmed murders of at least 193 minors in total, he is considered the most prolific serial killer and child molester in modern history. Garavito passed away on October 12, 2023, in Valledupar, Colombia
1962 – Gary Ray Bowles – was an American serial killer who was raised in Rupert, West Virginia. His father, Frank, who worked as a coal miner, had died from black lung disease six months before his birth. His mother, Frances, remarried several times. Bowles was abused by his second stepfather, a violent alcoholic who also abused Bowles’ mother and older brother. The abuse continued until, at the age of 13, Bowles fought back and severely injured his stepfather. He left home soon thereafter, angered by his mother’s decision to remain in the marriage. Bowles was homeless for the next few years, earning money as a prostitute to men. In 1982, he was arrested for beating and sexually assaulting his girlfriend and was sentenced to six years in prison. In 1991, after his release from prison, he was convicted of unarmed robbery in the theft of an elderly woman’s purse, a crime for which he was sentenced to four more years in prison; he was released in two. On March 15, 1994, in Daytona Beach, Florida, Bowles killed his first known victim, John Hardy Roberts, age 59, who had offered him a temporary place to live. Bowles beat and strangled him to death, and then stole his credit card which he later used in Kingsland, Georgia, and Nashville, Tennessee. Over the next six months, Bowles murdered four other men: 39-year-old David Jarman in Wheaton, Maryland; 72-year-old Milton Bradley in Savannah, Georgia; 47-year-old Alverson Carter Jr. in Atlanta, Georgia; and 38-year-old Albert Morris in Hilliard, Florida. His typical modus operandi was to prostitute himself to his victims before beating and strangling them, and stealing their credit cards. While on the run, Bowles was put on the FBI’s list of the country’s 10 Most Wanted Fugitives for his four known victims. On November 22, 1994, Bowles was arrested for the murder of Walter Jamelle “Jay” Hinton in Jacksonville Beach, Florida, and confessed to all six murders. Following his arrest for the murders, Bowles told police that following his 1991 release from prison he had moved to Daytona Beach, moved in with a girlfriend, and resumed working as a prostitute. Bowles was executed on August 22, 2019, for the murders of six men in 1994. He is sometimes referred to as The I-95 Killer since most of his victims lived close to the Interstate 95 highway
1963 – Juan Segundo – is an American serial killer and rapist. Around the time of his first birthday, Segundo moved with his mother and two brothers to El Paso, Texas, to get away from Segundo’s abusive father. The family lived in a small apartment with no running water. Segundo’s mother sometimes left the children alone for several days at a time, and Segundo’s eight-year-old brother had to look for food in trash bins. The brothers were once placed in an orphanage before being returned to their mother. Segundo’s mother later married an alcoholic who was abusive toward Segundo and his brothers. Segundo was convicted of the 1986 murder of Vanessa Villa, 11, in Fort Worth, Texas. Segundo was arrested in 2005 after his DNA profile was found to match semen collected from Villa’s crime scene. He received the death penalty in 2006. Between 2005 and 2010, Segundo was also linked by DNA to three unsolved murders that occurred in the Fort Worth area in the mid-1990s. Segundo received an execution date in 2018, but the execution was stayed because of questions over how Texas courts make determinations of intellectual disability. In May 2022, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals resentenced him to life in prison with the possibility of parole because he is considered to be intellectually disabled under the criteria in place today.
1901 – Martin Stickles – also known as “The Kelso Killer”, was an American serial killer who was born on February 7, 1870, in Adams County, Iowa. He moved to Washington when he was 18 months old with his family. According to his mother, Martin was a sickly child who would often get angry without any discernible reason and was considered “unnatural”. Before the murders, Stickles lived as a recluse on a scow, sailing along the Columbia, Cowlitz, and Coweeman Rivers, earning a living as a fisherman. Stickles murdered three people in Cowlitz County, Washington, between 1899 and 1900. His first victim was a bachelor farmer named William B. Shanklin, a former neighbor of Stickles whom he had known since an early age. On November 22, 1899, while Shanklin was eating supper at the dinner table of his cabin in Kelso, Martin shot him with a rifle through the window, killing him on the spot. He then broke into the house and stole any valuable items he could find, setting it ablaze to cover up his tracks. Nearly a year later, on November 28, 1900, Stickles traveled to Castle Rock, where an aged couple, Cornelius Knapp and his wife, were living. While they were having supper at their table, both were fatally shot with a rifle through a window. Like the previous case, Stickles burgled the house and stole all the valuables. Stickles was brought in for interrogation about the killings, protesting his innocence until the investigators revealed that they had identified a watch and some keys as belonging to Shanklin. At that point, Martin confessed to all three murders but also tried to implicate a neighbor, Edward Pierce, as the shooter and portrayed himself as a simple accomplice. Convicted of these murders and sentenced to death, he was executed for the killings a year later, on January 25, 1901, despite concerns over a possible mental illness.
1947 – Al Capone – sometimes known by the nickname “Scarface”, was an American gangster and businessman who rose to notoriety during the Prohibition era. He was born in Brooklyn, New York, on January 17, 1899, to Italian immigrants Gabriele Capone and Teresa Raiola. His father was a barber and his mother was a seamstress, both born in Angri, a small comune outside of Naples in the Province of Salerno. In his early twenties, Capone moved to Chicago and became a bodyguard and trusted factotum for Johnny Torrio, head of a criminal syndicate that illegally supplied alcohol—the forerunner of the Outfit—and was politically protected through the Unione Siciliana. Capone expanded the bootlegging business through increasingly violent means, but his mutually profitable relationships with Mayor William Hale Thompson and the Chicago Police Department meant he seemed safe from law enforcement. Capone apparently reveled in attention, such as the cheers from spectators when he appeared at baseball games. He made donations to various charities and was viewed by many as a “modern-day Robin Hood”. However, the Saint Valentine’s Day Massacre, in which seven gang rivals were murdered in broad daylight, damaged the public image of Chicago and Capone, leading influential citizens to demand government action and newspapers to dub Capone “Public Enemy No. 1”. Federal authorities became intent on jailing Capone and charged him with twenty-two counts of tax evasion. He was convicted of five counts in 1931. During a highly publicized case, the judge admitted as evidence Capone’s admissions of his income and unpaid taxes, made during prior (and ultimately abortive) negotiations to pay the government taxes he owed. He was convicted and sentenced to eleven years in federal prison. Capone showed signs of neurosyphilis early in his sentence and became increasingly debilitated before being released after almost eight years of incarceration. He died of cardiac arrest after a stroke on January 25, 1947.
1957 – The FBI arrests Jack & Myra Soble, charged with spying for the USSR
1971 – Charles Manson & 3 women followers were convicted of the Tate-LaBianca murders
1979 – The first documented case of a robot killing a human in the United States
1990 – Former Panamanian leader Manuel Noriega is transferred to a Miami jail
1993 – Five people were shot outside the CIA Headquarters in Langley, Virginia resulting in 2 murders
1996 – Billy Bailey becomes the last person to be hung in the USA
2006 – Mexican professional wrestler Juana Barraza is arrested in connection with the serial killing of at least 10 elderly women
2013 – At least 50 people are killed & 120 people are injured in a prison riot in Barquisimeto, Venezuela