The Most Famous Killer in Wisconsin, Ranked

Choose the killer you think is the most famous!

Author: Gregor Krambs
Updated on May 22, 2024 07:11
The state of Wisconsin has been the backdrop for numerous high-profile criminal cases that have captured the attention of the public and media alike. Delving into the history of criminal activities in this state reveals a pattern of infamous figures, each with their own story. It is important to understand these past events, as they shape the society's approach to crime prevention and law enforcement. By ranking these notorious individuals, users gain a more structured view of criminal history that goes beyond sensational headlines. This process not only aids in educational understanding but also engages the community in a discussion about the complexities of justice and historical context. Voting on who you believe should top this list encourages a participatory approach to reflecting on Wisconsin's unsettling past.

Who Is the Most Famous Killer in Wisconsin?

  1. 1

    Ed Gein

    Edward Theodore Gein
    Known as the "Butcher of Plainfield," Gein was a notorious murderer and grave robber who inspired numerous horror films, including "Psycho" and "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre."
    Ed Gein was an infamous American serial killer who gained notoriety for his gruesome crimes and twisted behavior. He was born on August 27, 1906, in Plainfield, Wisconsin, and became one of America's most disturbing murderers. Gein's crimes inspired numerous books, movies, and characters in pop culture, making him a macabre legend in the true crime genre.
    • Birthdate: August 27, 1906
    • Birthplace: Plainfield, Wisconsin, United States
    • Occupation: Handyman, farmer
    • Murder Count: 2 confirmed, suspected in more cases
    • Modus Operandi: Grave robbing, murder, and mutilation
    Ed Gein in other rankings
  2. 2
    Jeffrey Dahmer
    Revere Senior High School · Public domain

    Jeffrey Dahmer

    Jeffrey Dahmer
    Also known as the "Milwaukee Cannibal," Dahmer was a serial killer and sex offender who murdered 17 men and boys between 1978 and 1991.
    Jeffrey Dahmer, also known as the Milwaukee Cannibal or the Milwaukee Monster, was an American serial killer and sex offender. He primarily targeted young men and boys, whom he would lure to his apartment with the promise of money or alcohol before sexually assaulting, killing, and dismembering them. Dahmer operated between 1978 and 1991, during which he committed 17 known murders. His infamous crimes included acts of necrophilia, cannibalism, and preservation of body parts as trophies.
    • Nationality: American
    • Alias: Milwaukee Cannibal, Milwaukee Monster
    • Operating Period: 1978-1991
    • Number of Known Victims: 17
    • Preferred Targets: Young men and boys
    Jeffrey Dahmer in other rankings
  3. 3
    Known as the "Northside Strangler," Ellis was a serial killer who murdered at least seven women in Milwaukee between 1986 and 2007.
    Walter Ellis in other rankings
  4. 4
    A serial killer who confessed to the murders of at least 44 people in the 1940s, Bird was known for his sinister "hex" ritual, in which he would recite a curse over his victims before killing them.
  5. 5
    Also known as the "Freeway Killer," Bonin was a serial killer who committed 21 murders of young men and boys in California and other states in the late 1970s and early 1980s. He was born in Connecticut but raised in Wisconsin.
  6. 6
    Though he was born in Nebraska, Starkweather's killing spree in 1958 also took him through Wisconsin, where he murdered a couple in a robbery. He was eventually captured in Wyoming and executed for his crimes.
  7. 7
    A white supremacist and serial killer who was responsible for at least 20 murders in the 1970s and 1980s, Franklin was born in Mobile, Alabama but spent time in Wisconsin during his killing spree.
  8. 8
    Gary Ridgway
    King County Sheriff's Office. · Public domain

    Gary Ridgway

    Gary Ridgway (active)
    Though he is better known as the "Green River Killer," Ridgway also murdered two women in Wisconsin in the early 1980s while working as a truck painter. He was eventually caught in Washington state and confessed to a total of 71 murders.
    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
    Carl Panzram
    Oregon · Public domain
    A notorious serial killer, rapist, and arsonist who is believed to have killed at least 22 people, Panzram spent time in Wisconsin during his criminal career. He famously wrote an autobiography in which he declared, "In my lifetime I have murdered 21 human beings, I have committed thousands of burglaries, robberies, larcenies, arsons, and, last but not least, I have committed sodomy on more than 1,000 male human beings."
    Carl Panzram in other rankings
  10. 10
    Andrew Cunanan
    Unknown authorUnknown author · Public domain
    The serial killer responsible for the murder of fashion designer Gianni Versace in 1997, Cunanan was born in California but spent time in Wisconsin during his killing spree.
    Andrew Cunanan in other rankings

Missing your favorite killer?


Ranking factors for famous killer

  1. The notoriety of the crime
    The nature and scale of the crime committed by the killer, as well as its impact on the community and the wider society.
  2. The media coverage of the crime
    The amount and intensity of media coverage that the crime received, as well as the extent to which the killer was portrayed in the media.
  3. The public attention given to the crime
    The level of public interest and discussion in the crime, as well as the attention given to the case by law enforcement and other authorities.
  4. The historical and cultural significance of the crime
    The extent to which the crime has become a part of Wisconsin's cultural and historical identity, and its lasting impact on the state and its people.
  5. The convicted killer's profile and background
    The killer's motive, method, and criminal history, as well as any other relevant personal or social factors that may provide insight into their actions.

About this ranking

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


  • 166 votes
  • 10 ranked items

Voting Rules

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

More information on most famous killer in wisconsin

Wisconsin has been home to some of the most infamous killers in history. From serial killers to mass murderers, the state has seen its fair share of violent crimes that have captured the nation's attention. One of the most well-known killers from Wisconsin is none other than Ed Gein. Gein was a notorious serial killer and grave robber who gained national attention in the 1950s for his gruesome crimes. His story and the horrors he inflicted on his victims have inspired countless books, movies, and television shows. Other infamous killers from Wisconsin include Jeffrey Dahmer, who was responsible for the deaths of 17 men and boys, and Walter Ellis, who was convicted of killing seven women over a 21-year period. Despite the horrific nature of these crimes, they continue to fascinate and intrigue people from all over the world.

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