The 8 Most Famous Serial Killers from Washington

With nearly three hundred serial-related murders in Washington’s history, it is terrifying to think about how many serial killers have called the state home. 

Some of these serial killers were caught early on before they could do severe damage to the community, but others managed to keep their identities under wraps for years, and they tormented the state until the day they were finally locked up. Check out this list of the top eight serial killers from Washington state to learn more about these horrific events. 

Table of Contents

1. Joseph Kondro

According to Kondro, by the age of seven, he was already assaulting other children at school, killing the neighborhood pets, and drinking excessive amounts of alcohol. He even admitted to molesting girls his age throughout his time in school and the increasing urge to kill those girls as time went on. By the time that he reached the end of his teenage years, he already had multiple strikes on his record for things like drunk driving, theft, drugs, and domestic abuse

The murder of Kara Rudd was what ultimately resulted in Kondro’s imprisonment, but it took weeks after her disappearance before the police were able to locate her body. Kondro was the lead suspect at the time, but it wasn’t until Rudd’s body was found in an abandoned car that the police were able to link DNA samples to him.

2. Billy Gohl

Born in Germany back in 1873, there is very little record of what Gohl’s life was like growing up or if he had any tendencies suggesting what he would become. Although there isn’t information about his time in Germany, there is a long string of murders in Washington that provide people with a clear image of his adult life.

Billy Gohl is believed to have killed more than one hundred people, which makes him one of the worst serial killers in American history. He was eventually sentenced to life in prison but was transferred to an asylum for the criminally insane before dying in 1928. 

3. Martin Stickles

The first person Stickles murdered went by the name of William B. Shanklin, and Stickles shot Shanklin dead with a rifle through his dining room window while he was in the middle of eating dinner in 1899. He then went inside to steal all of Shanklin’s valuables. The Sheriffs were unable to solve the case, causing it to be closed without a conviction.

But almost exactly one year later, Stickles killed again using the same method. This time, it was an elderly couple, the Knapps, and they were also shot while they were eating dinner. However, Stickles was much sloppier during the burglary and ultimately left evidence that proved he was the killer. 

4. Charles Rodman Campbell

Campbell was born in October of 1954 in Hawaii, but he eventually moved to Washington where he would be involved in a series of murders that would make him one of Washington’s most famous serial killers. The first documentation of his psychopathic tendencies was in 1974 when he forced Renae Wicklund to perform sexual acts on him at knifepoint, but it wasn’t until 1976 that he was officially convicted of this crime when his victim picked him out of a lineup.

One year after being released, Campbell set his plan for revenge into action and on April 14 of 1982, a neighbor came by to check on his wife who had been visiting Wicklund, and discovered a tragic scene. Wicklund was found completely naked with clear signs that she had been seriously beaten, strangled, and even raped.

5. Westley Allan Dodd

The first time Dodd was arrested was at the age of fifteen, but he was released the next day because of his age. This was not the last time that Dodd evaded the law, and it wasn’t much later that Dodd attempted to abduct two girls. Even though they reported him to the police, he never faced criminal charges. This was just one of the many times that law enforcement failed the local community with multiple sexual offense reports that were left unanswered

Eventually, Dodd decided it was time to take his advances to the next level, so he moved to Vancouver where no one knew of his past, and proceeded to molest more than forty children before finally committing murder in 1989. His first victims were two young boys that he tied to a tree, molested, and then stabbed to death. Once he got a taste for death, he was unable to control himself.

6. Gary Grant

In 1969, Grant murdered his first victim. He noticed that nineteen-year-old Carol Erickson was walking home alone one night on a quiet road and decided to take advantage of the opportunity. He stabbed her to death before dragging her into the woods where he then had sex with her lifeless body.

About one year later, Grant killed a seventeen-year-old girl in broad daylight and a day later, her naked body was found with clear signs of rape and strangulation. Six months later, Grant threatened two young boys playing outside of their house and forced them to get into his car. Neither boy survived.

7. Robert Lee Yates

Yates was able to keep up an appearance as a family man with an appreciation for the law but in reality, he was killing women whenever he had the chance. There are eleven documented murder cases in the state of Washington, and this doesn’t even take into consideration the fact that he spent many years in other countries with the military.

Most of his murders happened before he enlisted but the spree immediately picked back up when he returned home before getting caught. All of his victims were prostitutes. He would pay them to have sex with him and then he would murder them right afterward using the same handgun each time.

8. Gary Ridgway

Ridgway’s first real encounter with violence was when he was sixteen when he stabbed a young boy and got away with it. Things seemed to settle down when he graduated high school, married his high school sweetheart, and enlisted in the army but it was later discovered that Ridgway was frequently taking advantage of sex workers.

In fact, during his first marriage, he contracted an STD but still continued to interact with prostitutes without using protection and according to friends and family, had a very strange relationship with sex workers, often talking about how much he hated them but frequently using their services. According to the police, there are at least seventy confirmed murders by Ridgway in Washington alone, but Ridgway also stated that he lost count of how many girls he killed a long time ago.