• Karla Homolka, Pedro Lopez and the Zodiac killer. (YouTube, biography.com)Source: YouTube, biography.com
Luckily, none of these hark from Australia, so no need to worry.
Jeremy Cassar

23 Jun 2016 - 1:59 PM  UPDATED 23 Jun 2016 - 3:48 PM

Damn you, Modus, you Swedish head-tangle of a crime drama. Damn your compelling protagonists and villains. Damn the binge-worthy web you weave. Most of all, damn you for reigniting my borderline-sick fascination with killers of the serial persuasion. And I’m not talking revisiting Manhunter or Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer or The Silence of the Lambs.

I’m talking real, bona fide, still-out-there-in-the-world-for-whatever-reason serial murderers...


The Zodiac Killer, USA

Let’s get the best known case of an elusive psychopath out of the way. During the late '60s, the unknown perpetrator murdered at least five people in either brisk or torturous way, though he claimed to have killed more. Zodiac taunted police through the media, tearing complicated ciphers into separate pieces and mailing each individual bit to a prominent news outlet.

Why is he still free?

Simple. Zodiac outsmarted the journalists, cops, professional code breakers and even that cartoonist with a rare talent for puzzles.


Pedro Lopez, Colombia

South America is a beautiful place plagued with dangerous hot spots - warring drug empires and poverty-stricken no-go zones. Lopez’s story is enough to make you want to grab a pair of scissors and hack Colombia out of your papier mâché globe.

In 1979, when arrested under suspicion of various deaths, Lopez shared so many details of his crimes that the hard-ass Colombian authorities refused to believe it could be anything other than a hoax.

No hoax here. A flash flood uncovered a mass grave of 300 dead girls, murders he justified in a variety of ways, including saving the youngsters from a life of poverty.

Why is he still free?

Many of Lopez’s killings were carried out in Ecuador (where the body count approximated three young girls per week), a nation that opposes the death penalty. So, this soulless shell of a mass-murderer spent 20 years in a locked cell before covertly gaining legitimate freedom in 1999.

Investigators believe Lopez is a creature of habit, and will always end up back in Ecuador, so the country is still being scoured for the lunatic’s whereabouts. 


He's not technically a serial killer, but... Issei Sagawa, Japan

Anyone who dreams of studying avant-garde literature at Paris Sorbonne Academy could end up as an adult who enjoys the finer foods in life, but not many would include cannibalism in that lifestyle. Basically, like any rich and connected (and demented) daddy’s boy, Issei Sagawa feasted on Dutch student Renee Hartevelt’s corpse then called Pops to limit his punishment to 15 months in a French asylum.

Why is he still free? 

One word: Daddy. Secondly, the sick aftermath has lead to Sagawa milking his reputation as potential future murderer to gain celebrity status. He has appeared on various talk shows and specials, written two books (including one which is basically a second-to-second retelling of his first meal), and has publicly joked that he hopes to eat someone again one day. 

Everyone knows where he is - the same country in which he ate Renee. Nobody can do a thing about it.


Karla Homolka, Canada

When Paul Bernardo and Karla Homolka were arrested for the kidnapping, rape and murders of four young girls, as well as 16 other official rapes plus attempted rapes and murders, naturally Bernardo seemed like the ringleader.

Kenneth Bernardo, Paul's father, sexually abused Paul's sister while he grew up, after which his mother told him he was illegitimate and to get lost. Not that everyone from a broken home turns into a serial killer, but the man obviously had uncontrollable issues, as did his female accomplice. 

Why is she still free?

Karla Homolka, his partner in love and crime, was initially deemed an innocent bystander. But it was eventually revealed through video footage that she'd gleefully been involved in various aspects of the rampage. Homolka received 12 years in prison as opposed to Bernardo’s life-without-parole sentence.

Maintaining she was under Bernardo’s orders and feared for her own life, Homolka sat in prison and wrote a 600-page novel on the recent practices of the Illuminati. Released in 2005, the book actually sold a few copies.


Watch Modus on SBS On Demand. Start with the first episode right here:

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