The arrest of the alleged Golden State Killer, Joseph James DeAngelo, was notable not just for the capture of an elusive monster after decades of futile searches, but also for DeAngelo’s occupation. The killer—also known as the East Area Rapist, the Original Night Stalker, the Diamond Knot Killer and Visalia Ransacker—managed to avoid getting caught for years while being likely responsible for 12 murders and almost 50 rapes in the 1970s and ’80s. How did he not get caught for such a long time? By living and working in plain sight as a police officer.
As writes professor Michael Arntfield, who teaches Criminology & English Literature at Western University, there have been other famous killers who had very reputable professions.
Canadian “Colonel” Russell Williams, who got two life sentences for multiple murders, sexual assaults and burglaries, was a commander of a major Air Force Base.
Jeffrey Dahmer raped, killed, and dismembered 17 men and boys. Already a murderer, he worked for a while at a chocolate factory in Milwaukee.
Tom Steeples, who killed several people, was a computer store owner and prominent businessman in Nashville.
Ted Bundy, convicted of ruthlessly killing 30 people while being probably responsible for many more, had a job while already a murderer at Seattle’s Suicide Hotline Crisis Center. He followed that up by working on the re-election campaign of the Republican governor of Washington Daniel J. Evans.