These nightmarish murderers eluded true justice and are living free as we speak — and all because of reasons that are truly absurd.
It seems like an easy concept: If someone commits a crime like murder, especially when that murder is particularly vicious, they should definitely go to jail for a long time. For the most part, the various justice systems throughout the world work well, and most people who commit crimes like murder do serve a long sentence, and that’s the last we hear of them.
But then there are those killers who slip through the cracks. Sometimes, due to mistakes and loopholes in the system, dangerous criminals are able to walk free among innocent civilians after having served relatively little to no time at all.
Some killers, like in the case of Japanese cannibal Issei Sagawa, managed to elude true justice thanks to international extradition laws. Others, like Lynette “Squeaky” Fromme — who was a member of the Manson Family and once tried to kill a U.S. president — were paroled after serving just a fraction of their prison sentences.
Then there are those like Pedro Lopez — the “Monster of the Andes” who claimed to have murdered some 300 girls — who ended up being released very early for “good behavior.” Even though it seems counterintuitive, vicious murderers are released due to “good behavior” more often than you might think.
Whatever the case, there are now killers walking free all over the world. Some of them are from infamous gangs and cults, like the Manson Family, and were thus released to scores of criticism. But then there are the quiet cases involving murderers who weren’t well known enough to warrant a media storm, but who are just as dangerous, and now just as free.
Here are just a few of these terrifying killers:
Issei Sagawa is perhaps the most frightening killer on this list. As a Japanese exchange student studying in France in 1981, he murdered, dismembered, and cannibalized a friend of his. Due to tensions between Japan and France at the time, the latter refused to hand over the necessary documents to the former and the charges had to be dropped. Sagawa now lives as a free man in Tokyo.Getty Images
Mary Bell was just 11 years old when she strangled two neighborhood boys to death. Though she admitted to doing it, she was only convicted of manslaughter, not murder, and as she was a minor, she only served 12 years. Today, she lives under a new identity, with her daughter and granddaughter. Wikimedia Commons
Also known as the Monster of the Andes, Pedro Lopez was found guilty of 110 murders, and confessed to 240 more. However, despite some 350 murders, he was only given 14 years in a psych ward, and released for "good behavior."YouTube
Karla Homolka was convicted of raping and murdering three girls, one of which was her own sister, in collaboration with her husband in 1992. In exchange for testifying against her husband, Homolka got a lesser sentence and only served 12 years in prison. She was unconditionally released in 2005 and now lives in California with her new husband. Getty Images
Lynette "Squeaky" Fromme was the youngest member of the infamous Manson Family to be sentenced. Despite being a known accomplice to murder, and pointing a gun at President Gerald R. Ford, Fromme was released from prison on parole in 2009 – though she'd been sentenced to life in prison. Getty Images
The Lainz Angels of Death, as they came to be known, were a group of Austrian nurses who murdered at least 49 patients between 1983 and 1989. Though all were convicted of multiple murders, and sentenced to life, by 2008 all four women had been released from prison due to good behavior.Wikimedia Commons
Louis Van Schoor, "South Africa's most prolific mass murderer," shot 101 people, killing 39, over the course of several years in the 1980s while working as a hired gun asked to "protect" white-owned business from non-white people during the Apartheid era. But he was released from jail after just 12 years, thanks in part to a country-wide sentence reduction initiative instigated by former president Nelson Mandela – and claims he will "never apologize" for what he did. Getty Images
Another member of the Manson Family, Steven "Clem" Grogan was originally sentenced to death, after taking part in the Tate/LaBianca murders in 1969. Eventually his death sentence was overturned and commuted to life, only for him to be paroled in 1985.Wikimedia Commons
Though he admitted to the murders of two young girls in Sierra Vista in 1967, and was sentenced to life in prison, William Huff was paroled in 2015. The worst part – he lives in a halfway house near an elementary school.Newsweek
While Genene Jones was working as a nurse, babies began dying under mysterious circumstances. Eventually, authorities realized that Jones was poisoning the babies and that her number of victims was about 60. However, due to a law to prevent prison overcrowding, she's scheduled for mandatory release from prison on March 1, 2018.Getty Images
Next, see how some of history's most famous serial killers finally met their end . Then, read up on the crimes of notorious serial killer Edmund Kemper.