20 Disturbing Interviews with Serial Killers Before Being Executed
Welcome to WatchMojo, and today we’re looking at 20 Disturbing Interviews with Serial Killers Before Being Executed.
For this list, we’ll be analyzing the most bizarre and harrowing discussions with famous killers before they died or were supposed to be put to death. If they weren’t actually executed, they could still be eligible, as long as they were sentenced to be.
Which of these unnerved you the most? Let us know in the comments below.
Michael Bruce Ross
Over the course of three years in the early 1980s, Michael Bruce Ross claimed the lives of eight girls and women in Connecticut and New York. Ross had endured a troubled childhood and began his vicious crime spree in his senior year of college. After he was captured in 1984, Ross confessed to all eight murders and was sentenced to death in Connecticut. In an interview given while awaiting execution, the Roadside Strangler, as he came to be known, casually recounted his heinous crimes. At one point, he even bragged about the strength with which he strangled his victims. Ross was executed in 2005, the last person to face that penalty in the state of Connecticut.
Edward Wayne Edwards
Right from his childhood, Edward Wayne Edwards lived a life of crime, even once appearing on the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted Fugitives list. Edwards began killing after being granted parole in 1967 and was responsible for at least five deaths. Edwards lived as a free man for decades before being arrested in 2009 and sentenced to life imprisonment for his crimes. Seeking a quick punishment, Edwards sat for an interview with the Associated Press, during which he confessed to killing his foster son Dannie Boy Edwards for a life insurance payout. In 2011, Edwards was handed the death penalty for Dannie’s murder. He however died of natural causes just one month later.
Bobby Joe Long
For more than three decades, Bobby Joe Long sat on death row in Florida before he was executed in 2019. Long was not only a serial killer, with at least ten victims to his name; he was also a serial predator, having assaulted more than fifty women in around three years. He was arrested in November 1984, after one of his victims, Lisa McVey, led the authorities to him. Long claims, in this interview with Miami’s WPLG, that his compulsions were triggered by a motorcycle accident that left him with head injuries. With a piercing stare and a creepy half-smile, he talks about being an average Joe who just happened to go off the edge every once in a while.
One of the most infamous killers in Soviet history, Andrei Chikatilo terrorized the Rostov Oblast in Soviet Russia between 1978 and 1990. Chikatilo claimed to have taken the lives of fifty-six people and was convicted of fifty-two murders. Referred to as the Butcher of Rostov, Chikatilo was known for his erratic behavior in court, but appeared a lot more restrained in this interview he granted before his execution. He rambles on about his troubled childhood and growing up during the Great Famine of the early 1930s in Soviet Ukraine. When asked about the afterlife, Chikatiko brushes it off and expresses his readiness for whatever comes next. Perhaps most disturbing was his past desire to become a dictator, from as early as the ninth grade.
Like some of the other individuals on this list, Danny Rolling was the product of a sadistic upbringing. In his adulthood, Rolling became a serial killer, murdering three people in his hometown of Shreveport, Louisiana and five others in the student community of Gainesville, Florida. In 2004, Rolling appeared in this episode of the Canadian true crime TV show “Forensic Factor.” Rolling seems to express some remorse for his crimes and concedes that he deserves to die, but his demeanor throughout the interview appears to be that of someone needing to be the center of attention. That comes as no surprise, as he previously admitted his desire to be a well-known criminal, like fellow serial killer Ted Bundy.
In the early 20th century, Peter Kürten reigned terror on the German city of Düsseldorf, assaulting and killing at least nine people. He was known as the Vampire of Düsseldorf due to his disturbing fascination with blood. After his arrest in May of 1930, Kürten was analyzed by psychiatrist Dr. Karl Berg over a series of interviews. The infamous killer claimed that although there was a sexual nature to his crimes, he was primarily motivated by the sight of blood. He also stated that the very act of attacking his victims brought him intense relief. Just before his execution by guillotine, Kürten asked his psychiatrist if he would be able to hear the sound of his own blood gushing out after his decapitation.
Tommy Lynn Sells
California-born Tommy Lynn Sells claims to have committed over seventy murders. If true, that would make him one of the most prolific serial killers in US history. Despite his claims, Sells was convicted of only one murder and sentenced to die in September of 2000. In a jailhouse interview with Martin Bashir for ABC’s “Nightline,” Sells described himself as an emotionless person. And that comes across quite clearly in the recorded clip. With no remorse whatsoever, he recounted his killings, detailing the rush he got from taking innocent lives. It’s a rare glimpse into the mind of a heartless killer and one capable of sending chills down any spine.
Ángel Maturino Reséndiz
Dubbed the Railroad Killer, Ángel Maturino Reséndiz was known to illegally hop trains as he traveled across the US. He would then invade homes close to the railroads, rob them and murder the occupants. In total, authorities believe Reséndiz killed at least fifteen people in this manner. His calm and reserved behavior throughout this interview with renowned journalist Jackeline Cacho heavily contrasts the vicious nature of his crimes. Given entirely in Spanish, Reséndiz doesn’t necessarily go into explicit detail about the murders in this interview. Instead, he seemingly alludes to the motivation behind them. Although he described himself as an eternal being who was incapable of dying, Reséndiz was executed by lethal injection on June 27th 2006.
Back in December 2002, a drug dispute between longtime friends Earl Forrest and Harriett Smith resulted in the former murdering the latter in her home. Forrest also killed another friend of theirs, Michael Wells, who was visiting Smith at the time, as well as a deputy sheriff during a police shootout afterwards. For his crimes, he was put to death by lethal injection on May 11th 2016. The first season of the A&E docuseries “The Killer Speaks” features an interview with Forrest, who is completely devoid of any remorse. Instead, he puts the responsibility of his actions on Smith for not fulfilling a promise she made him. Watching the clip, you’d think he was the victim of the crime.
Joseph Paul Franklin
Joseph Paul Franklin was a notorious serial killer and white supremacist who is believed to have been responsible for at least twenty murders. Franklin mostly targeted interracial couples, African-Americans and Jewish people in his attacks. He also famously shot adult magazine publisher Larry Flynt in March 1978. Although this interview Franklin granted to CNN before his 2013 execution provides little information about his depraved crimes, it gives some insight into his state of mind. At the time of the murders, he genuinely believed that he was doing the will of God. While his mindset about that may have changed, Franklin still seems to relish in the fact that he is viewed as a hero by certain extremist groups.
Gary Ray Bowles
Also featured on the A&E docuseries “The Killer Speaks” was Gary Ray Bowles. Bowles’s victims were largely gay men who lived along the Interstate 95 highway, earning him the nickname “I-95 Killer.” In this taped interview for the TV show, Bowles seems to revel in the memories of his crimes as he recounts them. Not only is he amused when he recalls stealing a man’s identity to evade capture, he also refers to one of his victims as “crazy and creepy.” Throughout the interview, Bowles tries to justify the murders, claiming that his victims had done specific things that seemingly triggered him to kill. The apparent lack of accountability he shows only makes this much more uncomfortable to watch.
Billie Wayne Coble
Described by one prosecutor as having “a heart full of scorpions,” Billie Wayne Coble killed his estranged wife’s parents and brother. Coble remained on death row in Texas for nearly thirty years before he was executed by lethal injection in February of 2019. In the days leading up to his capital punishment, Coble sat with Susanna Reid for his final interview. Without going into much detail about his crimes, Reid asks Coble if he regrets committing them. Coble cunningly evades the question, and would only admit that he was behind the murders. He repeats this trend, even when he’s asked if he loved his former wife. This evasive behavior is just one more unsettling thing about this seemingly disturbed individual.
Oscar Ray Bolin
In the mid-1980s, Oscar Ray Bolin killed three women throughout the Tampa area. Following his arrest, Bolin’s cousin testified against him and implicated him in a fourth homicide. He received three death sentences and was executed on January 7, 2016, at the age of fifty-three. One day before his death, Bolin was interviewed by Tampa’s Fox 13. Bolin appears calm and courteous throughout the interview, even expressing fear and worry about his upcoming execution. He also professes his innocence - something he continuously maintained throughout his imprisonment. Bolin looks and sounds like a nice enough guy, which only makes the darkness underneath seem that much more sinister.
A notorious serial killer known as the Night Stalker, Ramirez terrorized California with his violent burglaries, assaults, and killings. Ramirez took the lives of at least fifteen people and was convicted of thirteen homicides, leading to nineteen separate death sentences. In 1993, “Inside Edition” aired an interview with Ramirez, who was then awaiting execution on death row. Among other discussion points, he explained his theories on the psychological development of serial killers like himself. Even more chilling, when asked why he killed his victims, Ramirez hides a smile and simply says “no comment.” Ramirez was still awaiting execution in 2013 when he died of cancer.
A very prolific serial killer, Carroll Cole claimed at least sixteen victims throughout his life, although he confessed to killing thirty-five. He was originally sentenced to life in prison in Texas but was given the death penalty following his extradition to Nevada. Three days before his execution, Cole granted an interview to Las Vegas’s KLAS-TV. While smoking a cigarette, Cole shows complete indifference for his own life but expresses remorse for his crimes. In the end, he even claims that he deserves to die for what he did. Cole is very quiet and reserved, and aside from some brief flashes, doesn’t show much emotion. It makes the interview all the more disturbing.
Westley Allan Dodd
On January 5, 1993, Westley Allan Dodd was executed by hanging, making him the first American criminal to be legally hanged in nearly thirty years. Between September and November of 1989, Dodd assaulted and killed three. Dodd’s final interview is absolutely bone-chilling. With complete confidence, Dodd states that he would kill again if set free and that he “liked” what he did. He also claims that his execution would make a great example for future criminals. Throughout this interview, Dodd proves that he was fully self-aware, and a self-aware child killer is a very scary thing.
The first woman to be lethally injected, Velma Barfield killed six people between 1969 and 1978. She was convicted for just one homicide - that of her boyfriend, Rowland Stuart Taylor. However, it was enough to ensure a death sentence, and Barfield was executed on November 2, 1984. Her interview with Raleigh’s WBTV shows a woman in pain rather than one who causes it. She seemingly attempts to garner sympathy by speaking about her isolation in prison and her years-long battle with drugs. She also credits God for getting her through the trials and tribulations of prison life. While Barfield apologizes for her crimes, most of the interview is about her, and it may rub many viewers the wrong way.
John Wayne Gacy
Known widely as the Killer Clown, John Wayne Gacy claimed at least thirty-three lives inside his suburban Chicago home. At the time, Gacy set an American record for the most homicide convictions. In 1992, he spoke with Walter Jacobson of CBS 2 Chicago as part of a television event. In a rather shocking and unnerving turn of events, Gacy played innocent. He even claimed that he took a “truth serum,” and that that proved his innocence. Like Barfield, Gacy also plays the sympathy card, portraying himself as a loving family man. Yet sometimes the veneer slips, and Jacobson is quick to notice the scheming man underneath. It’s all quite eerie and probably not at all what viewers were expecting.
On January 23, 1989, Ted Bundy - perhaps the most notorious serial killer in American history - was visited by a psychologist named James Dobson. And it showcases his well-publicized powers of manipulation. Bundy appears clean and well-dressed, offering a friendly “next-door neighbor” vibe. He’s charismatic, charming, and well-spoken - not at all what one would expect from a serial killer. Finally, he latches onto Dobson’s evangelical beliefs, blaming both the adult film industry and violence in the media for his crimes. Biographers and historians argue that this is a prime example of classic Bundy subterfuge. Knowing that, the footage comes across as deeply ominous and foreboding. The term “psychopath” is often bandied around too often, but in this case, many agree that the term fits.
The final interview with Aileen Wuornos is the complete antithesis of Ted Bundy’s. Wuornos shot and killed seven men in a span of one year, and while she claimed self-defense, she was found guilty of six homicides and sentenced to death. Wuornos’s final interview is deeply troubling. She often widens her eyes and yells in a confrontational tone, and even verbally attacks the interviewer, Nick Broomfield. She makes bizarre claims like getting tortured by “sonic pressure.” She states that dying will be like “Star Trek” and that she’ll go on to colonize another planet. Wuornos’s violent past, her abrasive behavior, and her mental state all combine to create some truly uncomfortable viewing.