True crime has been sweeping the nation since the 1990’s. In fact, it’s at an all time high. True crime podcasts continually top the charts. Some podcasts are even going on tour to deliver some of the most shocking true crime stories from your home state or even hometown. With that in mind, here is the crime that got to the most media attention or maybe even national attention in your home state.

Alabama: The Sixteenth Street Baptist Church Bombing (1963)

On September 15, 1963, the Ku Klux Klan bombed the church in an act of white supremacy violence. Three 14-year-olds were killed and one 11-year-old. 20 others were injured. The first conviction for this crime was not until 1977. 

Alaska: “The Butcher Baker” (1971-1983)

Robert Hansen, known as “The Butcher Baker”, was a notorious serial killer who would abduct women, rape them, and set them out into the wilderness where he would hunt them down by shooting them or stabbing them with a knife. 

Arizona: Travis Alexander Murdered by Jodi Arias (2008)

Jodi Arias was convicted of killing Travis Alexander in his Mesa, Arizona home. She immediately was conveyed as the crazy ex-girlfriend from the media and her actions in the following years seemed to prove them right. She is currently serving her life sentence in Goodyear, Arizona. 

Arkansas: West Memphis Three (1993)

Three boys, aged 8, were reported missing in 1993 in West Memphis and later found dead in a creek where they were hogtied with their own shoelaces. The alleged murders, Damien Echols, Jessie Misskelly, Jr., and Jason Baldwin all suffered different punishments but due to DNA testing, there led to speculation as to whether or not they had committed the crime. The three suspects signed a plea deal and we released for time served. 

California: The Golden State Killer/ East Area Rapist (1974-1986)

The GSK is said to have murdered 13 or more people, raped at least 50 or more, and burglarized 120 or more. The identity of this person was unknown for decades but in 2018, Sacramento County Sheriffs arrested Joseph James DeAngelo after detectives uploaded his DNA profile from a rape kit and found DNA matches on a famous DNA website. They tested DNA found on the alleged killers door handle on his home and it matched.

Colorado: JonBenet Ramsey (1996)

The case of JonBenet Ramsey sparked a decades long mystery of who killed the pageant princess that remains unsolved to this day. With speculations flying around with many conspiracy theories, there has been no solid lead. 

Connecticut: Sandy Hook Elementary School Shooting (2012)

This story shocked the nation when 22 year old Adam Lanza walked into Sandy Hook Elementary School and killed 27 people, many were first-graders. The shooter also took the life of his mother and then himself.

Delaware: The Route 40 Killer (1987-1988)

Known as the only serial killer from Delaware, Steven Brian Pennell, was convicted of two murders and was suspected of committing three more. He was executed by the state of Delaware in 1992 by lethal injection.

Florida: Disappearance of Caylee Anthony (2008)

Though this crime is technically unsolved, the nation watched as Casey Anthony was acquitted on the first degree murder charge of the murder of her daughter, Caylee Marie Anthony. This came after Casey’s daughter missing for a month and she failed to report it, constantly lying to authorities, and many more flaws in her defense. 

Georgia: Centennial Olympic Park Bombing (1996)

This pipe bomb figuratively shook the foundation of the Olympics in Atlanta in 1996. Security Guard Richard Jewell was the one who found the bomb and saved many lives by alerting people so they could escape. Unfortunately he became a person of interest but was later cleared when they discovered Eric Rudoplh was the domestic terrorist. One person died as a direct result of the bombing, 11 were injured, and one person died of a heart attack related to the bombing.

Hawaii: The Honolulu Strangler (1985-1986)

This serial killer still hasn’t been caught but did succeed at creating panic in Hawaii’s state capital. With the modus operandi being that the killer strangled their victims and only attacked women when it was convenient, five women were killed by this person in this way. 

Idaho: Joseph E. Duncan III (2005)

Duncan murdered a mom, Brenda Groene, her boyfriend Mark McKenzie, one of her children, Slade, and then kidnapped Groene’s other two kids, Dylan (9), and Shasta (8). He eventually murdered Dylan but left Shasta alive for her to be found at a Denny’s. Shasta had endured weeks of sexual abuse. 

Illinois: The Killer Clown (1972-1978)

John Wayne Gacy, the infamous killer clown, killed at least 33 teenage boys or young men, after he raped and tortured them. Most of the boys were killed by asphyxiation or strangulation. Twenty-six of the victims were found in the crawl space of his Cook County home. His infamous last words to those spectating his execution in 1994 were “Kiss my ass.” 

Indiana: The Murder of Sylvia Likens

Sylvia Likens was tortured by her caregiver, Gertrude Baniszewski, Gertrude’s children, Paula and John, and young neighborhood residents Richard Hobbs and Coy Hubbard. Gertrude was meant to be looking after Sylvia and her sister while their parents were away working but due to money that the parents promised to sent not coming in on time, Gertrude began to abuse the girls and it only got worse for Sylvia. Sylvia was found dead in the basement.

Iowa: Villisca Axe Murders (1912)

Still unsolved are the murders of six members of the Moore Family and two female visitors who were found bludgeoned by an axe. All of the victims sustained blows to the head. Six of the victims were children. Though people were suspected, charged, and eventually went to trial, there was a hung jury and eventually an acquittal. 

Kansas: BTK Killer (1974-1991)

Dennis Rader, aka the “Bind, Torture, Kill” Killer, haunted the state of Kansas for over a decade with a specific modis operandi of the acronym nickname that the killer called himself. He was caught due to his own missteps as he taunted police for so long that he eventually slipped up and led the police to his workplace.

Kentucky: Donald Harvey (1970-1987)

This self-described “Angel of Death”, a nurse who kills, Donald Harvey would kill his victims by cyanide or other kinds of poison while they were in the hospital. He claims to have killed 87 people but was only charged with 24 aggravated murder charges and 4 attempted murder charges. He is currently serving 4 consecutive life terms. 

Louisiana: Axeman of New Orleans (1918-1919)

The crime is still unsolved, the Axeman of New Orleans gives this haunting city a whole bloody history. Six dead, six injured; the axeman struck over the span of a year and a few months. The creepy part though is that this man didn’t carry an axe, he normally just used the victim’s own axe to kill them and the suspect never took anything from the homes of his victims.

Maine: Christian Charles Nielsen (2006)

A cook at a popular ski resort, Christina Nielsen killed an innkeeper, the innkeeper’s daughter, the daughter’s friend, and a guest at the inn. Nielsen then called his parents to the inn and that is where his parents discovered the dead bodies. The only motive he gave was that he had always wanted to kill. He is serving a life sentence.

Maryland: Murder of Hae Min Lee (1999)

A case made famous by the podcast Serial, the murder of Hae Min Lee remains a mystery even though her boyfriend at the time, Adnan Masud Syed, is currently serving time for her murder. Hae Min Lee was found dead in the woods four weeks after she was initially reported missing and the cause of death was said to be manual strangulation. Questions about DNA were brought forward and eventually Adnan got a new trial. That is, he was given a new trial under the Maryland Court of Appeals denied it and he is still serving time. 

Massachusetts: Boston Marathon bombing (2013)

On April 15, 2013 at 2:49 pm, two bombs went off with a 14 second separation and a distance of 210 yards between them near the finish line of the Boston Marathon. Three people died, several hundred were injured, and sixteen people lost limbs. Three days later, the FBI released images of the Tsarneav brothers, Dzhokhar and Tamerlan, and the hunt for the two began. The two went on the run where they killed an MIT police officer, kidnapped a man, and eventually got into a shootout with police. Tamerlan eventually died from injuries he sustained in this shootout and Dzhokhar continued to run. On April 19 at about 6 pm, a Watertown citizen found Dzhokhar in their boat in the backyard and reported it to police. It turned into a standoff where Dzhokhar was eventually shot and apprehended. He was sentenced to death in 2015 and remains on death row in Colorado. 

Michigan: Robert Bashara aka “Big Bob” (2012)

Robert Bashara got national attention when he was arrested for hiring a hitman to kill his wife, Jane. The reason this grabbed the attention of the nation was because the reason he wanted to kill his wife was so he could live as a sadomasochistic master and rule his girlfriend and other women. He is currently serving a life term in prison.

Minnesota: Murder of Jacob Wetterling (1989)

The murder of 11-year-old Jacob Wetterling is one of the most famous crimes against children in America. Jacob’s body was not discovered until September 1, 2016 about 30 miles from the scene of his disappearance where it was discovered that he died from a gunshot wound. The body of Jacob was found because a long-time person of interest for another kidnapping and murder case, Danny Heinrich, who confessed to both crimes on September 6, 2016. Heinrich is currently in prison.

Mississippi: The Murder of Emmitt Till (1955)

Emmitt Till was a 14-year-old African American boy who was lynched after being accused of offending a white woman’s family in a grocery story. Roy Bryant and John William Milan, who lynched Emmitt Till, were later acquitted. This racially motivated murder is still so shocking and the fact that justice was never served is why Emmitt Till is still talked about today. 

Missouri: Murder of Dee Dee Blanchard (2015)

In 2015, Dee Dee Blanchard was found murdered in her Missouri home after her daughter, Gyspy Rose, and her daughter’s boyfriend, Nicholas Godejohn, had plotted her death, acted on it, and went on the run where they were later caught in Wisconsin. Gypsy has been publicly defending her motives but not the act of murder itself. Gypsy is believed to be a victim of Munchausen by proxy syndrome that her mother is said to have had.

Montana: Missoula Rape Crime Spike (2008-2014)

Missoula was hit with a crime wave that seemed to be overwhelming due to the spike in rape cases. The justice system didn’t seem to protect survivors nor did it seem to be working in survivors favor, regardless of the amount of evidence that was presented. A good book to read about this series of crimes is “Missoula” by John Krakauer. 

Nebraska: Murder of Candice Harms (1992)

Candice “Candi” Harms disappeared after going to see her boyfriend and her body was found sexually assaulted, strangulated, and shot. Her killers, Roger Bjorklund and Scott Barney, were sentenced to life in prison. 

Nevada: Route 91 Harvest Mass Shooting in Las Vegas (2017)

This shooting is the deadliest mass shooting committed by one person in United States history. Stephen Paddock opened fire from the Mandalay Bay Hotel on the Route 91 Harvest music festival where he killed 58 people, wounded 413 people, and the panic it caused injured 869 people. 

New Hampshire: Disappearance of Maura Murray (2004)

One of the most famous unsolved cases is the disappearance of Maura Murray who went missing after she was in a one car accident. Someone stopped and tried to help but Maura denied the help. The motorist then reported the accident to police. Police arrived and could not find Maura. She has been missing ever since and the case has been deemed as “cold.” 

New Jersey: Lindbergh Kidnapping (1932)

This is the first case of a kidnapping that made national headlines because it was the 20-month-old baby of famous aviator Charles Lindbergh and Anne Morrow Lindbergh. A little more than two months later, the body of Charles Lindbergh Jr. was found. It was believed that the baby was meant to just be kidnapped for ransom and eventually given back but the baby was likely killed in the kidnapping. The clues all led to the arrest and eventual execution of Richard “Bruno” Hauptmann. This case led to the famous “Lindbergh Law” which is actually the Federal Kidnapping Law which made kidnapping someone and moving them across state lines a federal crime.

New Mexico: Murder of Linda Lee Daniels (1986)

Linda Lee Daniels was kidnapped outside her fiance’s home and was then taken to a hotel room where she was drugged and then raped. Once her captors were done with the abuse, they took her to the Jemez Mountains and killed her. Police arrested Johnny Zinn, Wallace Randolph Pierce, Sidney Sligar, and James Scartaccini. 

New York: September 11 Terrorist Attacks on World Trade Centers (2001)

Known as the deadliest terrorist attack in American history, the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks were a set of four coordinated attacks by Islamic terrorist organization, al-Qaeda. The attacks were carried out by taking hostage of a plane and flying into important buildings such as the Pentagon and World Trade Centers. The attacks resulted in the deaths of 2,977 people, over 25,000 injuries, and many additional people have died from cancer that is associated with time spent near the attack sites such as the inhaling of the mixtures in the air.

North Carolina: Death of Kathleen Peterson (2001)

Michael Peterson was convicted of murdering his wife Kathleen but after eight years, was granted a new trial after a judge found that a prosecution witness gave misleading testimony. In 2017, Michael Peterson entered an Alford Plea that would reduce the charge to manslaughter. He was freed after being granted time served. You may know of this case from the extremely popular Netflix documentary called “The Staircase.”

Noth Dakota: Wolf Family Murders (1920)

The entire Wolf family, which consists of Jacob, his wife, four of their daughters, and a chore boy who were all shot and then the three year old daughter was killed with a hatchet. Only an 8-month-old baby was found alive. This entire massacre happened when Henry Layer came to the family’s home because Layer was upset that Wolf’s dog was biting the neighbors cows. 

Ohio: Ariel Castro Kidnappings (2002-2004)

Ariel Castro kidnapped Michelle Knight, Amanda Berry, and Georgina “Gina” DeJesus between 2002-2004. While he was holding them captive in his Cleveland home, he tied them up to restrain them from freely moving around the house, raped them, living in bad conditions, and even fathered children with the girls although he did force miscarriages by beating Knight with dumbbells, punching her, and slamming her into walls. The women were all rescued in 2014 when Amanda Berry made a brave escape through a screen door with her six year old daughter. Ariel Castro died by suicide after he was sentenced to life plus 1,000 years in prison.

Oklahoma: Oklahoma City Bombing (1995)

The deadliest domestic terrorist attack, Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols bombed the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building where 168 people were killed, injured 680 people, and damaged hundreds of surrounding buildings. Within 90 minutes of the attack, McVeigh was pulled over by a highway patrolman for driving without a license plate and illegal possession of weapons. Forensic evidence quickly associated McVeigh and Nichols with the crime and arrested for it. McVeigh was sentenced to death and executed while Nichols was sentenced to life in prison.

Oregon: Molalla Forest Killer (1983-1987)

Dayton Leroy Rogers targeted “street” women or women who engaged in high-risk work. He would take them to secluded areas where he would tie them up and kill them. He was sentenced to death for the murders of these women. Rogers was convicted of six murders.

Pennsylvania: Charles Cullen or “The Good Nurse” (1984-2003)

Though Charles Cullen has only confessed to killing around 40 of his patients, it is said that he has murdered close to 400 people though that has never been proven. He would contaminate their IV bags with poison. He claims to have overdose his victims because he didn’t want them to continue “suffering” or being “dehumanized” by hospital personnel. 

Rhode Island: The Warwick Slasher (1987-1989)

Craig Price was between the ages of 13 and 15 when he murdered a woman and her two daughters after breaking into their home and stabbing them over 50 times before killing another woman a year later in the same fashion. Price confessed to these murders. Price was convicted as a minor but would often brag in jail that he was going to “make history” when he was released at 21. Because of this, there were changes in state law that would allow minors to be tried as adults for serious crimes. 

South Carolina: Emanuel African Methodist Episocopal Church (2015)

On June 17, 2015, 21-year-old white supremascist Dylann Roof sat down at a bible study at the church before opening fire where he killed nine people. These people had seen him when he came in and thought nothing of it. They welcomed him as a fellow child of God and he turned a gun on them like the monster he is. One three people in the church at the time survived. Roof was sentenced to death for these crimes.

South Dakota: Murder of Larisa Dumansky and Piper Streyle (1994 and 1996 respectively)

Robert Leroy Anderson kidnapped and killed Piper Streyle in 1996 two years after kidnapping and killing Larisa Dumansky. There was even a third potential victim that Anderson was said to be targeting. He was sentenced to death but would later commit suicide in prison. He was believed to have killed more.

RELATED: Here Is The Craziest Law In Each State

Tennessee: Assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. (1968)

Minister and civil rights hero, Martin Luther King Jr., was assassinated by James Earl Ray in Memphis, Tennessee at the Lorraine Motel in a crime that shocked a nation. King died at St. James Hospital at 7:05 PM. The assassination sparked many race riots and his massive legacy lives until this day. 

Texas: Assassination of John F. Kennedy (1963)

The 35th President of the United States, John F. Kennedy, was shot in the head while riding in his motorcade in Dallas on November 22, 1963. The sniper shots came from former Marine, Lee Harvey Oswald, who was shooting from a nearby building. President Kennedy was pronounced dead 30 minutes later and Oswald was arrested 70 minutes after the initial shots were fired. Before Oswald’s eventual arrest, he shot and killed Dallas police officer J.D. Tippet. Oswald was shot dead on live television in the basement of the Dallas Police Department two days after he murdered the president and Dallas police officer by nightclub owner Jack Ruby. 

Utah: Kidnapping of Elizabeth Smart (2002-2003)

At age 14, Elizabeth Smart was taken from her childhood bedroom where her sister was pretending to sleep in the same bed and forced out of her house at knife point by Brian David Mitchell. She was forced to hike a couple of miles to a camp that Mitchell and his wife Wanda Barzee had set up. They lived there for awhile, Elizabeth even hearing people searching for her at one point but was never able to escape. Mitchell eventually moved Smart around Utah and even to California before Elizabeth tricked Mitchell into coming back to Utah where she was eventually discovered about 30 miles from her hometown of Salt Lake City. Wanda Barzee was sentenced to 15 years for her part but was released in 2018 and Brian David Mitchell was sentenced to life in prison without possibility of parole. 

Vermont: Murder of Michelle Gardner-Quinn (2006)

Michelle Gardner-Quinn was walking home in the early morning hours of October 7, 2006, when she asked to borrow the cell phone of Brian Rooney, a passerby, to call a friend. The last known sighting of her was at 2:34 am on a store’s security cameras as she passed by. Her body was found six days later alongside a road in Richmond, VT. An autopsy showed that Gardner-Quinn was beaten, sexually assaulted, and strangled. Though he has maintained his innocence, Brian Rooney was arrested, charged, and later convicted by jury, of murdering Michelle.

Virginia: Virginia Tech Massacre (2007)

Seung-Hui Cho, a student at Virginia Tech, opened fire in West Ambler Johnston Hall and Norris Hall on April 16, 2007. Cho killed 32 people and wounded 17 others while 6 others were injured while trying to escape the building’s through windows. Cho eventually committed suicide when police were entering Norris Hall. It remains the deadliest school shooting in U.S. history. 

Washington: Ted Bundy (1973-1978)

Theodore Robert Bundy is one of the most famous serial killers ever. Bundy committed crimes against young female college students for two years in Washington where he had lived most of his life. In Washington, he killed at least 11 women before he began killing in other states. All in all, Bundy confessed to murdering 30+ people but is believed to have killed more.

West Virginia: Murder of Skyler Neese (2012)

This murder is still a shock to many any time they hear about this case. Skyler Neese, a sixteen-year-old, snuck out of her home to spend time with her two childhood best friends, Shelia Eddy and Rachel Shoaf. Eddy and Shoaf has decided to murder Skyler for months prior to the crime and they came prepared that night with kitchen knives, paper towels, clean clothes, and bleach. Once the girls arrived over state lines in Pennsylvania, they stopped at a place that they used to smoke marijuana. They exited the car and when Neese went to the go grab a lighter from the car, the girls began attacking her with knives. Skyler tried to run but was attacked again. Shoaf pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and was sentenced to 30 years in prison but is up for parole in 2023. Eddy was sentenced to first-degree murder with a sentence of life in prison with the possiblity of parole in 2028.

Wisconsin: Jeffery Dahmer (1978-1991)

Also a notorious serial killer, Jeffery Dahmer is best known for being a cannibal. Dahmer killed 17 men and boys and would dismember the bodies. Most of the latest murders involved cannibalism, necrophilia, and would store the body parts. In 1994, Dahmer was killed in prison by a fellow inmate who beat him to death.

Wyoming: Murder of Matthew Shepard (1998)

Matthew Shepard was a gay student at the University of Wyoming who was offered a ride home by Aaron McKinney and Russell Henderson. They drove Shepard to a remote area where they beat and tortured him and eventually left him to die. A cyclist found him the following morning where he was fighting for his life. He was eventually taken to the hospital where he died six days later. The attack was believed to be homophobic in nature. Both men are spending life in prison with two life sentences each.

Happy nightmares.

Caroline C.
FFL Cabinet Member
Follow Caroline on Twitter!