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Here Are 21 Awful Couples Who Committed Atrocious Crimes Against Humanity

Merriam-Webster defines folie à deux (translation: double madness) as "the sharing of delusional ideas by two people who are closely associated."

🚨WARNING: This post contains disturbing content — viewer and reader discretion is advised.🚨

True crime is one of my many passions in life — learning about serial killers and their pathologies is truly fascinating, if not terrifying at times.


One of my favorite ways to learn about true crime is via podcast — specifically Morbid: A True Crime Podcast. One of their most recent episodes was about The Sunset Killers, who were a COUPLE! And after further investigation, I found out that couples who kill aren't one-off, but quasi-common!

Playlist cover for Morbid: A True Crime Pocast
@morbidpodcast / Via Instagram: @morbidpodcast

So here's a list of the most dangerous couples in history — and if you're so inclined to learn more, a podcast episode:

1. Karla Homolka and Paul Bernardo, aka The Ken and Barbie Killers:

Karla Homolka in a car on the way to her trial
Peter Power / Toronto Star via Getty Images

In 1987, 17-year-old veterinary technician Karla Homolka met 23-year-old cigarette smuggler Paul Bernardo. Before their relationship, Paul raped 10-plus girls and earned the moniker "The Scarborough Rapist." Between 1990–92, Homolka and Bernardo raped and killed three women, including Homolka's younger sister. While Bernardo is serving life in prison, Homolka inked the deal of the century and only served 12 years for her involvement in the crimes. Homolka is currently free, married, and has three children of her own.  

If you want to learn more, you can listen to Morbid's episode on Karla and Paul. 

2. Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow:

Clyde Barrow posing for a photo with Bonnie Parker in front of their car
Hulton Archive / Getty Images

In 1930, 19-year-old Bonnie Parker met 21-year-old Clyde Barrow. The next couple of years Barrow spent in and out of prison, but once he was released in 1932, their crime spree began. Even though they're known for their numerous robberies of banks and small stores, they also killed upward of nine cops and four civilians. On May 13, 1934, police officers and Texas rangers opened fire on Parker and Barrow as they were leaving their hideout — they died instantly. 

If you want to learn more, you can listen to Last Podcast on the Left's episode on Bonnie and Clyde

3. Myra Hindley and Ian Brady, aka the "Moors Murders":

Mugshots of Ian Brady and Myra Hindley
Bettmann / Bettmann Archive / Getty Images

In 1961, a young Myra Hindley met Ian Brady, and the pair soon discovered their perverse inclinations and desire to rape, torture, and kill young children. Throughout the '60s, Hindley and Brady abducted five children between the ages of 10 and 17 — the most infamous being 10-year-old Leslie Ann Downey — and left their bodies in the Saddleworth Moors of England. The body of their second youngest victim, Keith Bennett, was never found. Both Hindley and Brady were found guily and sentenced to life in prison — Hindley died in 2002, and Brady died in 2017. 

If you want to learn more, you can listen to Morbid's episode on Myra and Ian

4. Christine Paolilla and Chris Snyder, aka the "Clear Lake Massacre":

Christine Paolilla and Chris Snyder posing for a photo together
ABC News

In 2003, 17-year-old Christine Paolilla met 21-year-old Christopher Lee Snider the same year that Paolilla was voted "Miss Irresistible" by her classmates. The two began dating and fell into a life of drugs. On July 18 of that year, Paolilla and Snider went to Paolilla's friend's house in order to steal drugs, but after an argument ensued, the couple shot and killed the four people in the house — two of Paolilla's best friends and their boyfriends — and went on the run. It would be almost three years until police apprehended Paolilla for the crime. Paolilla was sentenced to life in prison — with the chance for parole in 2046 — and Snider overdosed on heroin before he was able to be charged. 

If you want to learn more, you can listen to Morbid's episode on Christine and Chris

5. Jasmine Richardson and Jeremy Steinke, aka the Richardson Family Murders:

A blurry image of Jasmine Richardson holding a gun
Jasmine Richardson / MySpace

In 2006, 12-year-old Jasmine Richardson met 23-year-old Jeremy Steinke — a self-proclaimed 300-year-old vampire — at a punk-rock concert. The two began dating, much to the outrage and chagrin of Richardson's parents. The two grounded her and forbade her from seeing Steinke ever again, so in retaliation, on the night of April 22, 2006, Richardson and Steinke murdered Richardson's parents and her 8-year-old brother. While Steinke was sentenced to three concurrent life sentences for three counts of first-degree murder, since Richardson was a minor, her maximum sentence was only 10 years — including time served. She was released in 2016. 

If you want to learn more, you can listen to Morbid's episode on Jasmine and Jeremy

6. Kim Edwards and Lucas Markham, aka the "Twilight killers":

The mugshots of Lucas Markham and Kim Edwards
Crime Investigations

Sometime between 2015–16, 14-year-old Kim Edwards and Lucas Markham began a very intense relationship. Edwards' mother — who had a tense relationship with her daughter since a domestic altercation between the two in 2008 — was wary and worried about the intensity of their relationship and tried to break the two up. In retaliation, Edwards and Markham plotted to kill Edwards' mother, and in April 2016, Markham stabbed and smothered both Edwards' mother and younger sister after Edwards was unable to go through with it. After their deaths, the couple took a bath, had sex, and watched Twilight until the police came the next morning. The two were found guilty and sentenced to 17.5 years in prison. 

If you want to learn more, you can listen to Morbid's episode on Kim and Lucas.

7. Bailey Boswell and Aubrey Trail, aka the "Tinder Murder":

Gwyneth Roberts / AP, Chris Machian / AP

In 2017, 23-year-old Bailey Bosewell and 50-year-old Aubrey Trail lured Syndey Loofe to her death. Initially, Loofe thought she was going out on a date with Boswell — whom she met on Tinder — but, in actuality, she was a targeted victim of this couple. Loofe's remains were found throughout 16 garbage bags and, not long after, Boswell and Trail were arrested. Trail was found guilty of first-degree murder, conspiracy to commit murder, and improper disposal of human remains and was sentenced to death. Bailey, who was also found guilty, is currently waiting to hear if she will be sentenced to life in prison or to death.

If you wanna learn more, you can listen to Morbid's episode on Bailey and Aubrey.

8. Catherine and David Birnie, aka the "Moorhouse Murders":

Mugshots of David and Catherine Birnie
Marie Claire

In 1985, Catherine Birnie (neé McLaughlin) left her husband and seven children to reunite with childhood sweetheart David Birnie so that the two of them could live out their depraved sexual fantasies. Over the span of five weeks, the couple abducted, raped, and murdered four women — the fifth escaped before she could become the Birnies' fifth murder victim — between the ages of 15-31. The couple was found guilty and sentenced to four life sentences; however, David Birnie hung himself in his cell nearly 20 years after his sentencing. Catherine Birnie is still in prison. 

If you want to learn more, you can listen to Morbid's episode on Catherine and David

9. Martha Beck and Raymond Fernandez, aka the "Lonely Hearts Killers":

A candid shot of Raymond Fernandez and Martha Beck
Murray Becker / AP

In 1947, conman Raymond Fernandez responded to Martha Beck's "lonely hearts" ad in the paper. After realizing she wasn't as rich as he surmised, he left her; however, Beck still pursued Fernandez into 1948. He finally told her that he was a conman and swindled women out of their money, but instead of running away, Beck asked to become his accomplice. The two went on to swindle and kill between 3 to 17 women over the next year under the guise of being brother and sister. Beck and Fernandez were found guilty of first-degree murder and sentenced to death via electric chair. They died in 1951. 

If you want to learn more, you can listen to Crime Junkie's episode on Martha and Raymond

10. Gwendolyn Graham and Cathy Wood, aka the "Lethal Lovers":

News footage of Catherine Wood at her parole hearing

In 1987, Gwendolyn Graham and Cathy Wood — who was married to a man at the time — were nurses' aids in Michigan who killed five of their elderly patients from their nursing home. According to Wood, Graham would kill the patients and then have sex with her as a way to "relieve her tension." In an exchange for a lesser sentence, Wood testified against Graham, who was found guilty and sentenced to life in prison. Wood received a sentence of 20–40 years and was released in 2020.

If you want to learn more, you can listen to Serial Killers' episode on Gwendolyn and Cathy

11. Faye and Ray Copeland:

Ray Copeland being escorted to jail
Jeffrey Z. Carney / AP

In 1940, Ray Copeland met Faye, and the couple later married and had six children. In the mid-'80s, the couple began killing their farm hands — anywhere between 5 and 12. The couple was apprehended due to a tip to Crime Stoppers, which caused the police to go to their farm, where they found the bodies of several missing men and a quilt made from their clothes. The couple was found guilty and sentenced to death, but Ray died of natural causes in 1993, and Faye was paroled in 2002 before dying of natural causes two months later. 

If you want to learn more about Faye and Ray, you can listen to a Serial Killers' episode on Faye and Ray

12. Monique Olivier and Michel Fourniret, aka the "Virgin Hunters":

Mugshots of Monique Olivier and Michel Fourniret
David Martin / AFP via Getty Images

In 1989, Monique Olivier and Michel Fourniret married after the former began corresponding with the latter while he was in prison. Throughout the next decade and a half, the couple kidnapped, abducted, sexually assaulted, and murdered between 8 and 12 girls and 1 unidentified man. In 2004, Olivier turned in Fourniret, a year after the failed abduction of a 13-year-old girl. In 2008, the couple was found guilty and sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. 

If you want to learn more, you can listen to Serial Napper's episode on Monique and Michel. 

13. Sarah and John Makin, aka the "Baby Farmers":

Creative Commons

In 1871, Sarah Jane and John Makin married and went on to have 10 children together. Sometime in the late 1880s, John lost his job, so he and Sarah became baby farmers — caring for illegitimate children in exchange for money; a precursor to foster care, if you will — to a number of infants. In 1893, the Makins were found guilty of murdering 18-month-old Horace Murray — but after further investigation, police discovered the corpses of at least 12 infant bodies on their property who the police believed the Makins collected payment for after their deaths. John Makin was sentenced to death and hanged in 1893, and Sarah Makin was sentenced to life in prison but was paroled in 1911.

If you wanna learn more, you can listen to Best Served Cold's episode on Sarah and John.

14. Inessa Tarverdiyeva and Roman Podkopaev, aka "The Gang of Amazons":

Inessa Tarverdiyeva sitting in court
Valery Matytsin / TASS / Getty Images

Inessa Tarverdiyeva, her second husband, Roman Podkopaev, and her daughters, Viktoria and Anastasiya, are a family of serial killers. In 2013, the family was apprehended, and it was discovered that they killed at least 30 people and stole thousands of dollars. Upon searching their home, police found over 20 firearms inside. Podkopaev was killed in a police shootout, but Inessa, Viktoria, and Anastasiya were sentenced to 16 to 21 years in prison for their crimes. 

If you want to learn more, you can listen to Brutal Nation's episode on Inessa, Roman, and co.  

15. Henry Lee Lucas and Ottis Toole, aka the "Confession Killers":

Henry Lee Lucas sitting in his prison cell
Per-anders Pettersson / Getty Images

In 1976, Henry Lee Lucas and Ottis Toole — two men who were abused by their mothers and forced to dress up as little girls — started a relationship after bonding over their childhood abuse. Soon after, they discovered their taste for blood and began raping, torturing, and killing innocent victims together. The two later separated and were apprehended separately for other crimes. Both Lucas and Toole confessed to hundreds of murders, but only three and six victims were confirmed respectively. Lucas and Toole were both sentenced to life in prison and died in prison in 2001 and 1996 respectively. 

If you want to learn more, you can listen to Last Podcast on the Left's episode on Henry and Ottis

16. Debra Brown and Alton Coleman:

Alton Coleman and Debra Brown standing in a courtroom
Bettmann / Bettmann Archive / Getty Images

In 1983, Alton Coleman, a convicted sex offender, met Debra Brown. In 1984, on the eve of his trial for raping a 14-year-old girl, Coleman and Brown went on the run and, over the course of 53 days, killed 8 victims, committed 7 rapes, kidnapped 3 victims, and carried out 14 armed robberies through 6 states in the Midwest. Coleman was sentenced to death and died by lethal injection in 2002, and Brown was sentenced to life in prison. 

If you want to learn more, you can listen to Serial Killers' episode on Debra and Alton

17. Caril Ann Fugate and Charles Starkweather:

Caril Ann Fugate and Charles Starkweather posing for a photo together
Bettmann / Bettmann Archive / Getty Images

In 1956, 13-year-old Caril Ann Fugate began a relationship with 18-year-old Charles Starkweather. In 1958, Starkweather murdered Fugate's mother, stepfather, and 2-year-old sister. After that, Fugate and Starkweather went on a spree and killed 10 people. Once apprehended, they were both convicted of murder — Starkwater was sentenced to death and died by electric chair in 1959, and Fugate was sentenced to life in prison but was paroled in 1976. 

If you want to learn more, you can listen to Crimes and Passion's episode on Caril and Charles

18. Cindy Hendy and David Parker Ray, aka the "Toy Box Killer":

Betsy Phillips / AP

In the 1950s, David Parker Ray began his killings of and crimes against women, though he didn't meet Cindy Hendy until 1997 in Truth or Consequences, New Mexico. Over the next couple of years, Hendy helped abduct 25 women that Ray brought back to his "toy box" — a soundproof trailer outfitted with sexual torture devices — where he raped, mutilated, drugged, and murdered his victims. In 1999, they were apprehended, and Ray was sentenced to 224 years in prison but died in 2002 of a heart attack, and Hendy was sentenced to 36 years but was paroled in 2019.

If you want to learn more, you can listen to Morbid's episode on Cindy and David.

19. Rosemary and Fred West:

Rosemary and Fred West posing for a photo
Associated Press

In 1969, 15-year-old Rosemary met 27-year-old Fred West, and soon after the couple got married. Not long after, the two began abducting and killing young women looking for lodging — of the at least 13 victims, 3 of them were their own children, and their crimes included rape, torture, kidnapping, and murder. They were apprehended in 1994 — Fred West committed suicide while awaiting trial in 1995, and Rosemary West was sentenced to life in prison. 

If you want to learn more, you can listen to Last Podcast on the Left's episode on Rosemary and Fred

20. Carol Bundy and Doug Clark, aka the "Sunset Strip Killers":

Carol Bundy standing for trial
Wally Fong / AP

In 1980, Doug Clark met Carol Bundy after murdering and defiling the dead bodies of two teenagers. After Clark informed Bundy of his perversions, the two went on a spree and killed a minimum of two people together, but were suspected of more. After the rape and murder of their victims, Clark would decapitate their heads, and Bundy would preserve them for later use. They were apprehended in 1983 and found guilty — Clark was sentenced to death and is still on death row, and Bundy was sentenced to life in prison and died of heart failure in 2003. 

If you want to learn more, you can listen to Morbid's episode on Carol and Doug

21. Lastly, Cynthia Coffman and James Gregory Marlow:

A screengrab of Cynthia Coffman and James Marlow

In 1986, Cynthia Coffman met James Marlow shortly after he was released from prison. After the couple married, they went on to rape and kill for women before their apprehension. Both Coffman and Marlow were found guilty and sentenced to death — Coffman became the first woman to enter death row since California reinstated capital punishment in 1977.  

If you want to learn more, you can listen to a True Love, Truer Crimes' episode on Cynthia and James