Show cover of What Makes a Killer

What Makes a Killer

A look into the life and crimes of the world’s most infamous serial killers. Featuring interviews with family members, forensic experts, law enforcement, and witnesses. From John Wayne Gacy and Jeffrey Dahmer to the “Night Stalker” Richard Ramirez and the Butcher of Plainfield, Ed Gein–What Makes a Killer explores how they became killers.

Tracks

Introducing Killers, Cults and Queens
From Audioboom Studios, Nikki Druce and Cheryl Hole (RuPaul's Drag Race UK) will be traveling to the strangest corners of the world, stopping to learn about the craziest true crime cases in history, spooky paranormal activities, truly bonkers internet mythology, very convincing cults, and much, much more... It’s going to be a wild ride! Killers, Cults and Queens is out NOW with new episodes every Thursday. Follow on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you listen to podcasts!
10:46 09/08/2022
S4 Ep13: Ted Bundy
Florida State University, Tallahassee. January 15th, 1978. Around 2:45 am, a man broke into the Chi Omega Sorority House and attacked four women. He was a known serial killer, and was on the run after breaking out of prison for the second time. Within four years, one of America’s most prolific killers– Ted Bundy– kidnapped, raped, and sadistically murdered at least thirty young women during the mid 1970’s. Initially convicted of only kidnap and assault, it is suspected that he may have actually raped and slaughtered up to a hundred young women. This episode is sponsored by: Stamps.com - promo code: WHAT Magic Mind - promo code: WHAT20 Cerebral Original music by Ben Krejci, Lee Rosevere, Kai Engel, and Daniel Birch. Additional music provided by Epidemic Sound. Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 4.0 License.
48:13 08/04/2022
S4 Ep12: Aileen Wuornos
1990s Central Florida–a woman posing as a sex worker has made a name for herself by targeting middle-aged, wealthy men with expensive cars, killing them, and pawning off their belongings. In what would turn out to be a year long murder spree with no clear killer, Aileen Wuornos would shoot, rob, and murder seven men... just because she felt like it. Original music by Ben Krejci, Lee Rosevere, Kai Engel, and Daniel Birch. Additional music provided by Epidemic Sound. Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 4.0 License.
38:35 07/28/2022
S4 Ep11: Angus Sinclair
In October, 1977 in Edinburgh, Scotland, the body of a 17-year-old girl was found on a deserted beach. Then, just a few hours later, the body of a second teenage girl was found in a field, just a few miles away. Later, the girls were identified as friends, and had last been seen alive the previous evening at the World’s End Pub in Edinburgh. Their murders prompted one of the biggest manhunts in Scotland’s history. But it would take nearly 40 years for investigators to discover who was behind the crime.  This episode is sponsored by: Cerebral Original music by Ben Krejci, Sergey Cheremisinov, Kai Engel, Kevin MacLeod, and Daniel Birch. Additional music provided by Epidemic Sound. Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 4.0 License.
44:54 07/21/2022
S4 Ep10: Colin Ireland
March 10th, 1993 in London, England. A man called a national newspaper to declare that he had just killed somebody. The victim had been suffocated to death with a plastic bag during a sadomasochistic sex session. His was the first death of many. The killer was 38-year-old Colin Ireland; a man with a singular obsession–becoming a serial killer of gay men. Original music by Ben Krejci, Lee Rosevere, Kai Engel, and Daniel Birch. Additional music provided by Epidemic Sound. Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 4.0 License.
42:08 07/14/2022
S4 Ep9: Danny Rolling
In late August 1990, freshman roommates Christina Powell and Sonja Larson were excitedly preparing for their first semester at the University of Florida in Gainesville. But they would never make it to the start of the school year. Hidden in the shadows, outside of their apartment, was a man fixated on feeding his sexual desires and twisted need to succeed at something in his life. Their murders would be the first in a string of violent killings that would turn the bustling college town completely upside down. Original music by Ben Krejci, Kai Engel, Sergey Cheremisinov, Daniel Birch, and Kevin MacLeod. Additional music provided by: Epidemic Sound Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 4.0 License.
49:14 07/07/2022
S4 Ep8: Gary Ridgway, The Green River Killer
1980s Washington. One of the most prolific serial killers of all time, Gary Ridgway, preyed on vulnerable young women, runaways and sex workers. With his un-assuming persona and habit of dumping bodies in the nearby Green River, Ridgway was able to commit mass murder for nearly twenty years, and get way with it. The fear that swept across the Pacific Northwest was palpable. This episode is sponsored by: Stamps.com - promo code: WHAT Cerebral Original music by Ben Krejci, Lee Rosevere, Kai Engel, and Daniel Birch. Additional music provided by Epidemic Sound. Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 4.0 License.
45:15 06/30/2022
S4 Ep7: Mark Hobson
On July 25th, 1994, a suspected murderer entered a small gas station in North Yorkshire, England. As he browsed the store, the owner of the station recognized him. This man was wanted for the murder of four people, and had been on the run for a week. Two weeks prior, this self-proclaimed murderer had brutally killed his girlfriend  and, a week later, her twin sister. He was fueled by drugs, alcohol, and sexual gratification.  Original music by Ben Krejci, Kai Engel, Sergey Cheremisinov, and Kevin MacLeod. Additional music provided by: Epidemic Sound Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 4.0 License.
41:17 06/23/2022
S4 Ep6: Diane Downs
May 1984, at the Lane County Courthouse in Eugene, Oregon. A mother of three stands accused of murdering her seven year old daughter, and of the attempted murder of her other two children. When her daughter testifies against her mother, it becomes all too clear. This woman wanted her children gone, just so she would be free of the responsibilities of motherhood, and so she could pursue a man she'd been interested in. Original music by Ben Krejci, Lee Rosevere, Kai Engel, and Daniel Birch. Additional music provided by Epidemic Sound. Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 4.0 License.
41:25 06/16/2022
S4 Ep5: Robert Black
On July 14th, 1990, in Stow, Scotland, a 6-year-old girl was walking to her friend’s house when she was suddenly pulled into a car off the side of the road. A local man who had been working in his garden saw the girl disappear into the van and quickly called the police.  By chance, they were able to locate the vehicle, forcing the driver to pull over. When they opened the back of the van, they found the girl, just minutes away from suffocating. Unaware to the police, the driver was a 43-year-old pedophile. And he was responsible for the abduction and murder of several other young girls. Police had been trying to track him down for years. Original music by Ben Krejci, Kai Engel, Sergey Cheremisinov, Kevin MacLeod, and Daniel Birch. Additional music provided by: Epidemic Sound Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 4.0 License.
42:44 06/09/2022
S4 Ep4: Robert Berdella, The Kansas City Butcher
It's 1988 in Kansas City, Missouri. Young, vulnerable men are going missing without a trace, and no one can seem to figure out why. A local man named Robert Berdella–known as an upstanding member of the community–has been secretly holding these men in his house, torturing them to their limits, and taking extensive notes. No one has a clue, not even police. After murdering them, he dissects his victims with such precision, that he would become known as the "Kansas City Butcher." Due to recent events, the order of this season has been changed. The previous episode's teaser may no longer be accurate. This episode is sponsored by: Cerebral Original music by Ben Krejci, Lee Rosevere, Kai Engel, and Daniel Birch. Additional music provided by Epidemic Sound. Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 4.0 License.
41:53 06/02/2022
S4 Ep3: Robert Lee Yates Jr.
In August of 1998, a woman by the name of Christine Smith was picked up from her usual spot on the notorious downtown strip known as "the track" in Spokane, Washington. After providing her services to the man, he shot her in the head. She survived the attack, and thinking that the man had stabbed her, fled the car.     She would later learn that she would be the only person to ever survive one of this man’s brutal attacks. For over twenty years, Washington State was plagued by an elusive killer targeting female sex-workers. Investigators would have never guessed that the man they were looking for was acting as an upstanding member of the community and model citizen. Original music by Ben Krejci, Kai Engel, Sergey Cheremisinov, Kevin MacLeod, Chris Zabriskie, and Daniel Birch. Additional music provided by: Epidemic Sound Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 4.0 License.
44:10 05/26/2022
S4 Ep2: Trevor Hardy, The Beast of Manchester
It’s July, 1975 in Manchester, England. One man, dubbed "The Beast of Manchester" was responsible for sparking immense fear across the city. This "beast" was the unpredictable and violent 30-year-old Trevor Hardy. He seemed to truly enjoy the act of killing. But it didn't stop there. The Beast would return to the scene of the crime to mutilate his victims over and over again. This episode is sponsored by: Manscaped - promo code: Killer20 Original music by Ben Krejci, Lee Rosevere, Kai Engel, and Daniel Birch. Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 4.0 License.
45:18 05/19/2022
S4 Ep1: Dennis Rader, The BTK Killer
From 1974-1991, the city of Wichita, Kansas was gripped with fear as a violent serial killer was on the loose. The killer, known to the public by his alias BTK, was an unassuming family-man named Dennis Rader. He would attack people in their own homes before binding, torturing and ultimately killing them, seemingly for self gratification. BTK came in and out of the shadows for 30 years, taunting investigators with miniscule clues. But in a moment of overconfidence, he was finally thrown into the light. This episode is sponsored by: Cerebral Microdose Gummies - Promo code: WHAT Original music by Ben Krejci, Lee Rosevere, Kai Engel, Sergey Cheremisinov, Kevin MacLeod, Chris Zabriskie, and Daniel Birch. Additional music provided by: Epidemic Sound Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 4.0 License.
45:01 05/12/2022
What Makes a Killer Season 4
What Makes a Killer is a series that chronicles the lives and crimes of the world’s most notorious killers. In every episode, host Jennifer Nittoso will trace a killer’s origins, examine their behavior, and follow their path to bloodshed. As always, this season we’ll hear from family members, survivors, and experts to uncover what led these killers to commit their crimes. In this season, we will cover thirteen new killers, each more sinister than the last. Diane Downs, The Green River Killer, Ted Bundy, BTK... all their stories will be examined. What Makes a Killer returns May 12th. New episodes released every Thursday. Subscribe now on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, or wherever you find your favorite shows.
01:52 05/05/2022
S3 Ep13: Jack Unterweger
It's May 1990, and convicted murderer Jack Unterweger is about to charm his way out of prison. After teaching himself how to read and becoming a well-known children's author, Unterweger had convinced the Austrian public that he was a changed, reformed man. But it was a ruse, and his release would only lead to the death of at least nine more women in both Austria and the United States. He was once again on the loose, on top of the world, and not trying to hide it from anyone. But no one suspected it was him. This episode is sponsored by: Vodacast Best Fiends IPVanish Original music by Ben Krejci, Lee Rosevere, Kai Engel, and Daniel Birch. Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 4.0 License.
46:01 06/24/2021
S3 Ep12: Stephen Griffiths, The Crossbow Cannibal
It’s 2010 in Bradford, West Yorkshire. Local man, Stephen Griffiths has just returned home from a night out with a woman in tow. Seconds later, she's seen on security footage running for her life away from his apartment. Griffiths, seen with a crossbow, chases after her and shoots her, before dragging the woman back inside his apartment. She is never to be seen alive again. But he doesn't try to hide this. In fact, he flaunts it, with the hopes of living up to his idol–the Yorkshire Ripper. This episode is sponsored by: PrettyLitter - promo code: WMAK Warby Parker Vodacast Original music by Ben Krejci, Lee Rosevere, Kai Engel, and Daniel Birch. Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 4.0 License.
44:15 06/17/2021
S3 Ep11: Cary Stayner, the Yosemite Park Killer
Yosemite National Park, located in the picturesque Sierra Nevada mountains, was all but serene for five months in 1999. Fear ran rampant as four women were viciously murdered. The prime suspect was 37-year-old Cary Stayner, a handyman at a local lodge. After being arrested in July of that same year, he astonished everyone with what he did next. This episode is sponsored by: IPVanish PrettyLitter - Promo code: WMAK Vodacast Original music by Daniel Birch, Kai Engel, JOHNWALLY, Ben Krejci, Kevin MacLeod, Magmi.Soundtracks, and Lee Rosevere. Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 4.0 License.
40:48 06/10/2021
S3 Ep10: Horst Kroner
On December 2nd 2015, Horst Kroner boarded a plane to Thailand, intending to spend his vacation sleeping with various women. While he was away, neighbors became increasingly concerned about the whereabouts of Kroner's wife. They didn't know it yet, but two days before his trip, the man had viciously murdered his wife, bludgeoning her to death while she slept before hiding her body. This episode is sponsored by: Vodacast StoryWorth Best Fiends Original music by Ben Krejci, Lee Rosevere, Kai Engel,  Scott Holmes, Kevin MacLeod, Chris Zabriskie, and Daniel Birch. Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 4.0 License.
45:20 06/03/2021
S3 Ep9: Michael Ryan
On August 19th 1987, the citizens of Hungerford in Berkshire woke up to a seemingly picturesque summer's day. While a mother sat in a park with her children, she was approached by a young man named Michael Ryan. As she turned to face him, Michael Ryan shot her. What followed was a day of terror, as the town was thrown into chaos and authorities were inundated with conflicting information. As they desperately tried to locate the killer, Michael Ryan continued to claim victims. This episode is sponsored by: Vodacast Daily Harvest - Promo code: WHAT Original music by Ben Krejci, Lee Rosevere, Kai Engel, Kevin MacLeod, Sergey Cheremisinov, Chris Zabriskie, and Daniel Birch.
45:08 05/27/2021
S3 Ep8: Stefano Brizzi
April 7th, 2016, police were called to the Peabody Estate in South London after receiving complaints from tenants about a putrid smell. The two police officers knocked on the door of 49-year-old Stefano Brizzi’s apartment and waiting for them inside was a gruesome sight. The body belonged to 59-year-old police officer Gordon Semple. The officers would soon find out that Semple had met his killer while using a dating app. This episode is sponsored by: Warby Parker Original music by Daniel Birch, Kai Engel, iamdead324, JOHNWALLY, klankbeeld, Ben Krejci, KRISTIANKULTA, Kevin MacLeod, Magmi.Soundtracks, and Lee Rosevere. Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 4.0 License.
36:38 05/20/2021
S3 Ep7: Marc Dutroux
In the summer of 1996, all of Belgium was in shock when two young girls who had been kidnapped, raped, and tortured were rescued from a makeshift dungeon below a house in Marcinelle. As the weeks passed, the bodies of four other young girls were found buried at properties linked to the same man. It was the beginning of a terrible nightmare for the entire nation. With the help of his wife, Michelle Martin, convicted pedophile Marc Dutroux's unhealthy desire for young girls had turned deadly. This episode is sponsored by: Best Fiends HelloFresh - Promo code: 12WHAT PrettyLitter - Promo code: WMAK Original music by Almusic34, Daniel Birch, Kai Engel, iamdead324, JOHNWALLY, klankbeeld, Ben Krejci, KRISTIANKULTA, Kevin MacLeod, cognito perceptu, and Lee Rosevere. Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 4.0 License.
47:15 05/13/2021
S3 Ep6: Roy Whiting
It's July 1st, 2000, and an eight year old schoolgirl is playing in a field outside of her grandparent’s house at Littlehampton in West Sussex. She disappears from sight for only a moment, but that is enough time for her abductor to make his move and steal the child. What follows is an emotional search for the little girl, who would never be found. With little to no evidence tying anyone to the scene, this proved to be a difficult case, and extremely upsetting for everyone involved. This episode is sponsored by: Daily Harvest - promo code: WHAT IPVanish Original music by Ben Krejci, Lee Rosevere, Kai Engel, and Daniel Birch. Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 4.0 License.
42:54 05/06/2021
S3 Ep5: Raoul Moat
In July 2010 in Northumberland England, a jealous ex-boyfriend goes on a violent rampage after deciding that police have taken too much from him, including his relationship. He effectively declares war on the police after killing his ex's new partner, and shooting an officer, both from point blank range. Then he went into hiding, alarming the police, his now #1 target. This episode is sponsored by: IPVanish Daily Harvest - promo code: WHAT Gabi Original music by Ben Krejci, Lee Rosevere, Kai Engel, and Daniel Birch. Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 4.0 License.
46:02 04/29/2021
S3 Ep4: Beverley Allitt, the Angel of Death
In April 1991, doctors at Grantham and Kesteven hospital in Lincolnshire were perplexed. In just two months, the health of 13 children had mysteriously deteriorated and four of them had died. But this was no unfortunate coincidence. One of the nurses was deliberately attempting to kill her young patients by injecting them with deadly poison. This episode is sponsored by: IPVanish Original music by Almusic34, Daniel Birch, Kai Engel, Ben Krejci, KRISTIANKULTA, JOHNWALLY, and Lee Rosevere. Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 4.0 License.
46:26 04/22/2021
S3 Ep3: Mark Bridger
On October 3rd, 2012, Coral Jones gave an emotional televised appeal for the safe return of her daughter, April. The five-year-old had been missing for 36 hours – she’d vanished while playing outside her home in the rural welsh town of Machynlleth. The entire community came together to help the police search for the missing girl. There was a real hope that April would be found alive. But the search would be in vain… A local 46-year-old man named Mark Bridger, who was known to the family, had abducted and murdered April. This episode is sponsored by: PrettyLitter - Promo code: WMAK StoryWorth Original music by Almusic34, Daniel Birch, Kai Engel, iamdead324, JOHNWALLY, klankbeeld, Ben Krejci, and Lee Rosevere. Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 4.0 License.
50:13 04/15/2021
S3 Ep2: Charles Ng and Leonard Lake
On June 2nd 1985, San Francisco police were called to a lumberyard to apprehend a shoplifter. By the time they arrive the suspect had already fled, but the man's partner is still at the scene. The man in in possession of a gun fitted with an illegal silencer, so they arrest him. But while in custody at the station, the suspect swallows a cyanide pill he had hidden in his clothing. Authorities would soon uncover the truth; this man had been one half of a sick and twisted serial killing duo. And the other half of the pair was still on the loose. This episode is sponsored by: HelloFresh Original music by Ben Krejci, Nctrnm, Lee Rosevere, Kai Engel, Kevin MacLeod, Sergey Cheremisinov, Chris Zabriskie, and Daniel Birch.
45:21 04/08/2021
S3 Ep1: Steve Wright, The Suffolk Strangler
In the winter of 2006, the town of Ipswich, England was left horrified as the bodies of five missing female sex workers were found by police. The discovery launched a massive manhunt that resulted in police questioning over 2,000 men. Police raced against time to find the killer, all while women continued to risk their lives, hoping they would not become another victim of Steve Wright. This episode is sponsored by: Daily Harvest Original music by Ben Krejci, Kai Engel, Nctrnm, Daniel Birch, Kevin MacLeod, and Sergey Cheremisinov. Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 4.0 License.
40:26 04/01/2021
What Makes A Killer Season 3
What Makes a Killer is a series that chronicles the lives and crimes of the world’s most notorious killers. In every episode host Jennifer Nittoso will trace a killer’s origins, examine their behavior, and follow their path to bloodshed. As always, this season we’ll hear from family members, survivors, and experts to uncover what led these killers to commit their crimes. On this season, we will cover thirteen new killers, each more sinister than the last. The identities of The Suffolk Strangler, The Angel of Death, and The Yosemite Park Killer will all be revealed What Makes a Killer returns April 1st. New episodes released every Thursday. Subscribe now on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, or wherever you find your favorite shows.
02:15 03/25/2021
S2 Ep13: Mick Philpott
On May 10, 2012, a blazing fire engulfed a family home in Allentown, Derby. The parents, Mick and Mairead Philpott, were able to get out alive, but there were six children trapped inside. All six perished in the tragedy . . . but it was not an accident. It came as a shock to his neighbors - but not to the authorities - that Mick Philpott was involved in orchestrating the fire in a complicated scheme for power and revenge.  This episode is sponsored by:  Better Help Original music by Ben Krejci,  Kai Engel, Daniel Birch, and Lee Rosevere. SFX by ramston, vedas, kwahmah_02, IESP, miastodzwiekow, Puniho, MAJ061785, and Almusic34.
41:37 09/24/2020