Death Row’s most dangerous inmates and vile crimes – including Scorecard Killer

There are around 2,500 dangerous criminals on death row in the United States, each of them condemned for a range of disturbing and horrifying crimes.

Many of the prisoners have been on death row for years as they await their fate by lethal injection, electric chair, firing squad, lethal gas or hanging.

Here are seven of the most dangerous men currently waiting execution and the heinous crimes that put them behind bars in the first place.

Some of these monsters have been on for as along as 30 years, nearly all of them in solitary confinement, their tiny cell doors only opening when they are given their meals.

David Carpenter

Now aged 90, David Carpenter is a serial killer and serial rapist who has been on San Quentin’s death row since 1988 and sentenced to die in the gas chamber.

Known as ‘The Trailside Killer’, he stalked and murdered at least 10 people on hiking trails in state parks near San Francisco, using a handgun in all murders.

Carpenter’s first attempt at murder in 1960 was committed against Lois Rinna, mother of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills star Lisa Rinna.

She knew him through work and accepted a ride in his car, but things soon turned sinister.

In 2019, she said: "That was a really bad thing. I knew him.

“I thought that was it. He’s straddling me. He had a hammer in one hand and a knife in another."

Lois was stabbed in the hand and hit in the head with the hammer several times, but survived after a military policeman spotted the vehicle and, suspecting something was amiss, decided to follow it.

Carpenter was jailed for the attack on Lois and was even suspected of being the Zodiac Killer for a time.

He served seven-and-a-half years before being released. He went on to murder several women.

Lois said: “I was the first one he went to jail for. They gave him seven and a half years.”

He is also still a suspect in the murders of two other women near Mount Tamalpais in Marin County.

Kevin Cooper

Kevin Cooper was convicted of four murders that took place in the Chino Hills area of California in 1983.

Currently on death row at San Quentin Prison, the now 63-year-old murdered Douglas and Peggy Ryen, their 10-year-old daughter Jessica and family friend Christopher Hughes, aged 11.

They had been mutilated with a hatchet, sliced with a knife, and stabbed with an ice-pick. Eight-year-old Josh Ryen, the son of Douglas and Peggy, had survived but his throat had been cut.

Cooper was also accused of the kidnap and rape of an underage female in Pennsylvania and accused of rape by a second woman in California.

Randy Kraft

Known as the Scorecard Killer, the Southern California Strangler and the Freeway Killer, Randy Kraft murdered at least 16 young men between 1972 and 1983, the majority of whom he killed in California.

He is also believed to have committed the rape and murder of up to 51 other boys and young men. Kraft was convicted in May 1989 and is on death row at San Quentin state prison.

The ‘Scorecard Killer’ nickname came about because upon his arrest investigators discovered a coded list containing cryptic references to his victims.

The ‘Freeway Killer’ tag was because many of his victims' bodies were discovered beside or near freeways.

Gerald Parker

Gerald Parker was labelled the ‘Bedroom Basher’ for a string of brutal sex murders in Orange County in the 1970s. He raped and murdered five women and killed the unborn baby of a sixth woman.

The husband of one victim was wrongfully convicted of the crimes and spent 16 years in prison until DNA evidence showed Parker was the actual assailant.

Parker had also received a six-year prison term for the 1980 rape of a 14-year-old girl.

Parker, now 66, was sentenced to death by lethal injection in 1999 plus life without possibility of parole as well as 64 years in prison. He remains on death row.

Cary Stayner

The Yosemite Park Killer, Cary Stayner, was sentenced to death for the murders of four women in 1999.

Stayner was a handyman at a motel in California and murdered two women and two teenagers.

Two of the victims had been burned beyond recognition and only identified through dental records. The third woman had her throat slit and the fourth victim had been decapitated.

Stayner pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity but he was found to be sane convicted of four counts of first-degree murder in August 2002.

Stayner claimed after his arrest that he had fantasised about murdering women since he was seven years old.

Rory Enrique Conde

Colombian serial killer Rory Enrique Conde – dubbed ‘The Tamiami Trail Strangler’ – killed six prostitutes in Florida and was sentenced to death in 2000.

His first victim was a cross-dressing male prostitute who he killed when he discovered it was really a man when they were having sex.

He then killed five female prostitutes over the next three months. Conde strangled his victims to death and then anally raped the corpses afterwards.

He was arrested when his final victim, who he had bound from head to toe, made enough noise to attract neighbours while Conde was in court for a shoplifting charge.

Paul Durousseau

Between 1997 and 2003, Texan-born serial killer Paul Durousseau murdered seven young African-American women, including two who were pregnant.

At the time, Durousseau – nicknamed the ‘Jacksonville Strangler’ – was living in Jackson, Florida, with his wife and two daughters and held down a number of jobs including work as a school bus driver.

Durousseau raped and strangled most of his victims whose hands were tied and dumped their bodies in ditches. He was sentenced to death by lethal injection in December 2007.

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