Reputed to be one of the deadliest men in the whole of the West, John Wesley Hardin claimed to have killed 42 men between 1868 and 1878, when he was sent to prison for his crimes.
He was pardoned in 1894, but killed by the father of an off-duty policeman in El Paso, Texas. The policeman had argued with Hardin earlier regarding a friend of Hardin’s, and then the policeman’s father also argued with Hardin on the night of August 19, 1895. Apparently a firm believer in Hardin’s fearsome reputation, this man, John Selman, Sr, shot Hardin in the back of the head, killing him.
Selman himself was killed a year later after a dispute over a card game led to an exchange of gun fire.
In the annals of really stupid criminals, Daniel Rakowitz holds a special place. A native of Texas, he moved to New York in 1985 when he was 25, and regularly prowled around the East Village area with a chicken, asking to be called ‘the God of Marijuana’.
When his roommate, Monica Beerle, disappeared in August of 1989, he boasted that had boiled her head and made soup from her brain. Rakowitz was also alleged to have boasted of killing her, although at his trial, he denied this. Other accusations included Rakowitz referring to himself as a cannibal, and serving homeless men a soup containing Beerle’s finger.
Certainly, he hid her skull in a locker at the Port Authority Terminal, where it was later found by police. On February 22, 1991, after deliberating for nine days, a jury found Rakowitz to be not guilty by reason of insanity, and he was sent to an asylum for the criminally insane, where he remains today.