The Most Famous Death Row Inmate: A Ranking of Notorious Cases

Choose the inmate you think is the most famous!

Author: Gregor Krambs
Updated on Apr 18, 2024 08:07
Welcome to StrawPoll, where your opinion matters! Today, we invite you to join thousands of others in casting your vote to determine the most famous Death Row inmate of all time. From infamous serial killers to high-profile convicts, our interactive ranking features a diverse range of notorious individuals, each with their own chilling stories. But who will take the top spot? That's up to you! Dive into the dark and fascinating world of these infamous inmates, discover their captivating tales, and decide who you believe deserves the title. And if you think we've missed someone who should be on the list, don't hesitate to suggest a new option. Unleash your inner detective and join the thrilling debate now!

Who Is the Most Famous Death Row Inmate?

  1. 1
    Ted Bundy
    Unknown photographer · Public domain

    Ted Bundy

    Ted Bundy
    Bundy was a notorious serial killer who was executed in Florida in 1989 for the murder of at least 30 young women. He gained widespread notoriety for his charm and charisma, which he used to lure his victims.
    Ted Bundy was an American serial killer who terrorized the country during the 1970s. He was known for his charm and good looks, which he used to gain the trust of his victims before committing heinous acts of violence. Bundy's crimes were characterized by abduction, rape, and murder of young women. His case captured national attention due to the scale and brutality of his crimes, as well as his ability to evade capture for an extended period of time.
    • Number of Victims: Confirmed 30+, suspected over 100
    • Method of Killing: Strangulation, bludgeoning, and blunt force trauma
    • Victim Profile: Young women, usually college students
    • Crime Spree Timeline: 1974-1978
    • Modus Operandi: Attraction and deception to gain trust before abducting victims, often impersonating authority figures
    Ted Bundy in other rankings
  2. 2
    Timothy McVeigh
    FBI Lab forensic artist · Public domain
    McVeigh was responsible for the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing, which killed 168 people and injured over 600 others. He was executed in 2001.
    Timothy McVeigh in other rankings
  3. 3
    John Wayne Gacy
    Des Plaines Police Department · Public domain

    John Wayne Gacy

    John Wayne Gacy
    Gacy was a serial killer who was convicted of murdering 33 young men and boys in the 1970s. He was executed in 1994.
    John Wayne Gacy was an American serial killer who was active between 1972 and 1978. He sexually assaulted, tortured, and murdered at least 33 young boys and young men in Chicago, Illinois. Gacy was able to lure his victims to his home under the pretext of offering them employment or money. He would then capture and restrain them before subjecting them to prolonged periods of sexual abuse and eventually strangling them to death. Gacy's case gained significant media attention due to the high number of victims and the gruesome nature of his crimes. He was convicted in 1980 and sentenced to death. Gacy was executed by lethal injection in 1994.
    • Conviction: 1980
    • Sentence: Death
    • Target Victims: Young boys and young men
    • Notoriety: High media attention
    • Active Years: 1972 - 1978
    John Wayne Gacy in other rankings
  4. 4
    Scott Peterson
    California Department of Corrections · Public domain
    Peterson was convicted of murdering his pregnant wife, Laci, in 2002. He is currently on death row in California.
  5. 5
    Arias was convicted of murdering her ex-boyfriend, Travis Alexander, in 2008. She is currently on death row in Arizona.
  6. 6
    Tsarnaev was one of the two brothers responsible for the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing, which killed three people and injured over 260 others. He is currently on death row in Indiana.
    Dzhokhar Tsarnaev in other rankings
  7. 7

    Richard Ramirez

    Richard Ramirez
    Ramirez, also known as the "Night Stalker," was a serial killer who terrorized the Los Angeles area in the mid-1980s. He was convicted of 13 murders and several other crimes, and died in prison in 2013.
    Richard Ramirez, also known as the Night Stalker, was an American serial killer and rapist who terrorized the residents of Los Angeles and San Francisco from 1984 to 1985. He was a highly disturbing and brutal criminal who gained worldwide notoriety for his heinous acts.
    • Nickname: Night Stalker
    • Years Active: 1984-1985
    • Location: Los Angeles and San Francisco
    • Crimes: Murder, rape, burglary, and assault
    • Victims: 13 known murders, several rape cases, and numerous other crimes
    Richard Ramirez in other rankings
  8. 8
    Gary Ridgway
    King County Sheriff's Office. · Public domain

    Gary Ridgway

    Gary Ridgway (active)
    Ridgway, also known as the "Green River Killer," was responsible for the deaths of at least 49 women in the Seattle area in the 1980s and 1990s. He is currently serving life in prison without the possibility of parole.
    Gary Ridgway, also known as the Green River Killer, is one of the most intriguing and notorious serial killers in American history. Active during the 1980s and 1990s, Ridgway would later be convicted of murdering at least 49 women, primarily sex workers and vulnerable young girls in the Seattle area. He is known for his ability to blend into society, leading a seemingly normal life while carrying out his heinous crimes.
    • Number of Victims: Confirmed 49, potentially more
    • Active Period: 1982-1998
    • Targeted Victims: Primarily sex workers and young girls
    • Modus Operandi: Strangulation, often leaving victims in wooded areas or the Green River
    • Capture Date: November 30, 2001
    Gary Ridgway in other rankings
  9. 9
    Mumia Abu-Jamal
    Unknown authorUnknown author · Public domain
    Abu-Jamal is a former Black Panther and journalist who was convicted of killing a police officer in 1981. His case has been controversial, and he has become a symbol of the death penalty abolition movement.
  10. 10
    Leonard Peltier
    FBI · Public domain
    Peltier is a Native American activist who was convicted of killing two FBI agents in 1975. His case has also been controversial, and he has become a symbol of the struggle for Native American rights.
    Leonard Peltier in other rankings

Missing your favorite inmate?


Ranking factors for famous inmate

  1. The nature of the crime
    Heinous and high-profile crimes tend to attract greater media attention and public interest.
  2. Length of time on Death Row
    The longer an inmate spends on Death Row, the higher the chances of attracting media attention and public curiosity.
  3. Public interest in the case
    High-profile cases involving celebrities, politicians, or controversial issues tend to generate more public interest and media coverage.
  4. Appeals and legal battles
    Cases where multiple appeals or legal battles have taken place tend to attract more attention.
  5. Impact on society
    Inmates who have committed crimes that have had a significant impact on society, such as terrorist attacks or mass shootings, are often more well-known.

About this ranking

This is a community-based ranking of the most famous Death Row inmate. We do our best to provide fair voting, but it is not intended to be exhaustive. So if you notice something or Prisoner is missing, feel free to help improve the ranking!


  • 173 votes
  • 10 ranked items

Voting Rules

A participant may cast an up or down vote for each Prisoner once every 24 hours. The rank of each Prisoner is then calculated from the weighted sum of all up and down votes.

More information on most famous death row inmate

The topic of Death Row and its inmates has always been a controversial one. With the number of executions carried out over the years, it's no surprise that some inmates have gained a level of notoriety and fame. But who is the most famous Death Row inmate? It's a difficult question to answer definitively, as opinions will vary depending on who you ask. Some might point to Ted Bundy, while others might mention Charles Manson. There are also those who would argue that Richard Ramirez or Timothy McVeigh deserve the title. Regardless, the fact remains that these individuals have left a lasting impact on society and continue to fascinate people around the world.

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