20 Most EVIL Couples in History
VOICE OVER: Rebecca Brayton
WRITTEN BY: Nathan Sharp
These couples are straight up evil. For this list, we'll be looking at notorious couples throughout history that participated in violence and spread fear. Our countdown includes David & Catherine Birnie, Gwendolyn Graham & Cathy Wood, Henry Lee Lucas & Ottis Toole, Ian Brady & Myra Hindley, and more!
20 Most Evil Couples in History
Welcome to WatchMojo, and today we’re looking at the 20 Most Evil Couples in History.
For this list, we’ll be looking at notorious couples throughout history that participated in violence and spread fear.
Which of these stories do you find the most disturbing? Let us know in the comments below!
David & Catherine Birnie
This couple from Perth, Australia participated in what are known locally as the Moorhouse murders. Throughout October and November of 1986, David and Catherine Birnie kidnapped five women and took them to their namesake home on Moorhouse Street. Of the five women, four were killed. Their final victim, Kate Moir, managed to escape and contacted the authorities, who finally brought the Birnies’ heinous spree to an end. Both were given life sentences, and David Birnie passed away in prison in October of 2005.
David Parker Ray & Cindy Hendy
David Parker Ray is more famously known as the Toy-Box Killer. The “toy-box” was the name given to Ray’s soundproofed semi-trailer, which is where he would take his kidnapped victims. Ray would hold them there for several months and do unspeakable things. It was never proven that Ray committed homicide, but he is suspected of killing up to sixty women. Ray was aided by a girlfriend named Cindy Hendy, whom he met at a state park. Hendy helped Ray pick and kidnap his victims and would occasionally participate further. Hendy was eventually sentenced to over thirty years in prison but was released early in 2019. Ray died of a heart attack in 2002.
Nathan Leopold & Richard Loeb
These two University of Chicago students wished to prove their incredible intelligence and commit the perfect crime. So they decided to kidnap and kill one Bobby Franks. Franks was actually related to Loeb, being his second cousin. They enacted their plan on May 21, 1924, grabbing Franks and killing him. Despite planning for seven months, their supposedly perfect crime fell apart almost instantly, and they confessed just a week later. While the nature of their relationship is somewhat ambiguous, it is strongly suggested that Leopold and Loeb shared at least a brief sexual relationship.
Alton Coleman & Debra Brown
In 1983, Debra Brown was engaged to be married when she met a criminal named Alton Coleman. They quickly developed a relationship, and Brown left her fiancé to be with Coleman. Coleman was facing a criminal trial relating to a previous crime when he and Brown fled Illinois to Wisconsin. There they killed the young Vernita Wheat. This began a killing spree that spread throughout the American Midwest. They were eventually caught and arrested on July 20, 1984, having killed a total of eight people. Both were sentenced to death, but Brown was later spared and given life in prison. Coleman was executed by lethal injection on April 26, 2002.
Cameron & Janice Hooker
Twenty-year-old Colleen Stan was hitchhiking in Northern California when she was picked up by a friendly-looking family consisting of Cameron and Janice Hooker and their young baby. But shortly after, Stan was violently kidnapped and taken to the couple’s home. She was imprisoned by the Hookers for the next seven years. When she wasn’t being subjected to Cameron’s violent demands, Stan was kept locked inside a small wooden box. Janice eventually grew disillusioned with the whole ordeal and betrayed her husband by going to the police. She was given full immunity in exchange for testifying against Cameron, and he was given life in prison.
Gwendolyn Graham & Cathy Wood
This couple worked as nurse’s aides in Michigan’s Alpine Manor nursing home. Beginning in January of 1987, the two conspired to kill elderly patients suffering from Alzheimer’s. For the next few months, both Graham and Wood took the lives of five nursing home residents. Graham later began dating another nurse at the facility and moved with her to Texas, effectively ending the crime spree. However, Wood told her ex-husband about the crimes, and he in turn informed the authorities. Wood portrayed herself as a victim during the resulting trial, but it’s now believed that she masterminded the whole enterprise to exact revenge against Graham, who had begun dating another woman. It worked, and Graham was given life in prison.
Pearl Fernandez & Isauro Aguirre
Pearl Fernandez had a son with Arnold Contreras, whom they named Gabriel. She eventually met security guard Isauro Aguirre, and the two gained custody of young Gabriel. However, Fernandez’s family expressed hesitation and worry about this agreement. Over the next eight months, Gabriel was subjected to some horrific forms of physical and mental abuse. On May 22, 2013, Gabriel was brutally beaten. When he stopped breathing, Fernandez called 9-1-1 and her son was rushed to the hospital. Tragically, Gabriel never recovered from his injuries, and he died two days later. Fernandez was given life in prison, and Aguirre was sentenced to death.
Carol M. Bundy & Doug Clark
These two met at a bar in 1980 and quickly developed a relationship. It wasn’t long before Clark moved in with Bundy and embarked on his now-infamous killing spree that would leave multiple people dead. While the two would later be known as the Sunset Strip Killers, the killings themselves were mostly committed by Clark. The homicides troubled Bundy, but she nevertheless remained an accomplice, refusing to give up Clark. Bundy eventually told her ex-lover Jack Murray about the crimes, but she killed him to ensure his silence. However, the crime spree troubled Bundy so much that she eventually confessed to the authorities and she and Clark were both arrested.
Henry Lee Lucas & Ottis Toole
The names Henry Lee Lucas and Ottis Toole are well-known. For a time, it was believed that Lucas had killed over 600 people, making him the most prolific killer in American history. However, it was later found that these confessions were fabricated so that Lucas could enjoy rewards in prison. Lucas and Toole likely developed a sexual relationship after meeting in 1976, and the extent of their crimes remains ambiguous. Lucas was confirmed to have killed two people in 1983, and eight other victims remain disputed. Toole is widely suspected of having killed the young Adam Walsh in 1981. The nature of their crimes may forever remain uncertain, but they nevertheless conspired to fool the authorities and wasted precious time and resources in the process.
Ray & Faye Copeland
From 1986 to 1989, Ray and Faye Copeland conspired to kill five men, although their victim count may be as high as twelve. The Copelands ran a farm in Mooresville, Missouri, but Ray was a proven fraud, so local providers refused to sell him cattle. To get around this, Copeland devised a scam. He would pick up drifters, write them fraudulent checks, and have them buy the cattle for him. He would then sell the cattle for a profit before the checks bounced and kill the drifter who bought it to ensure their silence. Despite the efforts of her defense team, Faye was found to be a knowing accomplice to her husband, and both were sentenced to death.
Charles Starkweather & Caril Ann Fugate
These two met in 1956, when Starkweather was eighteen and Fugate thirteen. Starkweather quickly grew attached to Fugate and dropped out of high school to be closer to her. The two eventually began a relationship, and Starkweather killed Fugate’s mother, stepfather and sister on January 21, 1958. They were Starkweather’s second, third and fourth victims, as he had killed a gas station attendant the previous November. Starkweather and Fugate then embarked on a crime spree throughout Nebraska and Wyoming that left a further seven people. Fugate claimed that she never personally took a life, but Starkweather said otherwise. Regardless, Starkweather was executed for his crimes, and Fugate was released from prison in 1976 after spending seventeen years behind bars.
Fred & Rose West
The horrific crime spree of Fred and Rose West lasted throughout much of the ‘70s and ‘80s. By the time they were finally arrested in the ‘90s, the couple had killed at least ten people. The Wests would kill their victims inside their Gloucester house and bury their remains in the basement and yard. Fred was the more prolific killer of the two, having killed at least two people without the involvement of his wife; his personal body count may exceed thirteen. Rose helped kill nine women with her husband, in addition to her stepdaughter, whom Fred had from a prior marriage. Their Gloucester home later became known as the “House of Horrors.”
Phillip & Nancy Garrido
On the morning of June 10, 1991, Jaycee Dugard was kidnapped - she remained missing for the next eighteen years. It was later proven that Dugard was abducted by Phillip and Nancy Garrido and held captive on the property of their Antioch, California home. Dugard was routinely mistreated by Phillip and eventually gave birth to two daughters. On August 24, 2009, Phillip visited the campus of the University of California, Berkeley with his and Dugard’s daughters. An employee took notice of the girls’ suspicious behavior, so she notified Officer Ally Jacobs. Jacobs helped uncover the truth of the girls’ identities, and Dugard was finally found after nearly two decades.
Inessa Tarverdiyeva & Roman Podkopaev
Hailing from Stavropol, Russia, Inessa Tarverdiyeva and Roman Podkopaev were part of the “Gang of Amazons.” This serial-killing family also consisted of the couple’s two children, Viktoria and Anastasiya. The entire family was supposedly aided by Podkopaev's sister and her husband, a law enforcement officer who fed the family inside information. Between 2007 and 2013, the Gang of Amazons embarked on a massive crime spree that left dozens dead. The victims included a Lieutenant Colonel and his family, and a patrol officer who pulled over Podkopaev and Viktoria. However, it was this confrontation that proved their downfall. Podkopaev was killed by responding officers, and the rest of the family was rounded up and arrested.
Rizwan Farook & Tashfeen Malik
Both Rizwan Farook and Tashfeen Malik had promising careers ahead of them. Farook earned a bachelor's degree in environmental health, and Malik studied pharmacology in Pakistan. The two met each other over the Internet and quickly married, with Malik moving to California to be with Farook. The very next year, the newly-married couple committed an attack on the Inland Regional Center in San Bernardino, which was hosting the Department of Public Health’s Christmas party. Both opened fire just before 11 AM and killed a total of fourteen people; a further twenty-two were badly injured. Both Farook and Malik were later killed in a shootout with the police.
Alvin & Judith Neelley
In 1980, twenty-seven-year-old Alvin Neelley left his first wife and eloped with sixteen-year-old Judith Adams. Two years after their marriage, the Neelleys kidnapped the young Lisa Millican from a mall in Rome, Georgia. Millican was subsequently taken to an Alabama motel and killed. Just a few days later, the Neelleys did the same thing to Janice Chatman after shooting her fiancé, John Hancock. However, Hancock survived and reported the Neelleys to the authorities. They were promptly arrested, and eighteen-year-old Judith Neelley became the youngest American woman ever sentenced to death. However, this was later commuted to life in prison in 1999.
Gerald & Charlene Gallego
Gerald and Charlene Gallego killed ten people from September 1978 to November 1980. Charlene Williams came from a supportive family, but her life fell into disrepair when she started using drugs. Things got even worse when she met and married a career criminal named Gerald Gallego. Their crime spree began on September 11, 1978, when they abducted two teenage girls. The Gallegos were caught abducting an engaged couple in November of 1980, and the police were promptly informed. This led to their arrests, and Gerald was sentenced to death. Charlene was given nearly seventeen years in exchange for testifying against her husband.
Ian Brady & Myra Hindley
Known as “the most evil woman in Britain,” Myra Hindley embarked on a horrific crime spree with her boyfriend, Ian Brady. Between July 1963 and October 1965, Brady and Hindley killed five young persons and dumped at least some of their bodies in the Saddleworth Moor. It’s because of this that their crime spree is now known as the Moors murders. One of their victims buried at the Moor was Lesley Ann Downey. The couple’s dealings with Downey were captured on tape and in various photos, ensuring that Brady and Hindley became infamous public enemies in Britain.
Raymond Fernandez & Martha Beck
In 1947, a single mother of two named Martha Beck placed a personal ad in the newspaper, and it was answered by a man named Raymond Fernandez. Beck developed an intense fascination with Fernandez and even sent her children away so she could devote herself to him. The two quickly fell into a routine of violence and killed at least three people in the late ‘40s. One was a sixty-six-year-old woman named Janet Fay, and the other two were twenty-eight-year-old Delphine Downing and her daughter. Downing’s neighbors alerted the police and the couple were arrested. Both were executed on the same day - March 8, 1951. Fernandez was thirty-six, and Beck was thirty.
Paul Bernardo & Karla Homolka
The most infamous couple in Canadian history, Paul Bernardo and Karla Homolka killed three young women throughout the early ‘90s. Their first victim was Homolka’s younger sister Tammy. Two days before Christmas in 1990, the couple severely mistreated her. Homolka then choked on her vomit and died. The couple then kidnapped Leslie Mahaffy and Kristen French, only this time they intentionally killed the girls. After they were captured, Homolka conned the investigators and received a very favorable plea bargain in exchange for testifying against her husband. While Bernardo was sentenced to life, Homolka was freed on July 4, 2005. She has remained free ever since and even started a family.