We rarely know everything about another person. While they may seem perfectly normal on the surface, there could be something more sinister lingering inside. One of the more frightening aspects of life is the fact that anyone around us could be a monster who commits horrible acts against others completely unnoticed. No matter how much you think you know someone, there’s always the chance that they could be pure evil just waiting for an opportunity to strike.
Arthur Schirmer, a former Methodist clergyman, should have been a man who could be trusted. Instead, he brutally murdered not one of his wives, but two. He also managed to have the foresight to stage the scenes so he could get away with the murders. In 2013, the 64-year-old Schirmer was
found guilty of tampering with evidence and murdering his second wife, Betty, in 2008. It was found that the manner in which Betty was killed was quite similar to the death of Arthur’s first wife, Jewel, in 1999.
According to Schirmer, Jewel, his wife of 31 years, had fallen down the stairs while vacuuming. He claimed that he found her in a pool of blood at the bottom of the stairs with the vacuum cord around her leg, suggesting that she had tripped over the cord. With further investigation, it became clear that the 1999 “accident” was staged much like Betty’s “accident” in 2008. Schirmer bludgeoned Betty with a crowbar and then put her into their PT Cruiser so he could “crash” the car. It probably didn’t help Schirmer’s case that his attorney admitted that Schirmer had been having an affair before Betty’s death.
Investigators uncovered enough evidence to prove that the former minister was in fact a cold-blooded killer, and in 2014, he was convicted of the
murder of his first wife and given an additional 20–40 years on top of his life sentence for his previous conviction.
2. John Feit
John Feit was another former clergyman, in this case, a Catholic priest. He managed to evade prosecution for his crimes for 56 years. In 1960, a Texas beauty pageant winner and second grade teacher named Irene Garza was found dead in an irrigation canal in McAllen, Texas. She had been missing for five days, and the last person who saw her was the priest with whom she had performed confession—John Feit. Feit’s case only went downhill from there: In the irrigation canal where Garza’s body was found, a candelabra from the church and a Kodak slide photograph viewer belonging to Feit were also discovered.
Even more shocking was an attack on another woman a month earlier at another Catholic church nearby. Maria Guerra claimed that while kneeling on a communion rail to pray, a man grabbed her and tried to stuff a rag into her mouth. She got free after biting her attacker’s fingers and fled. Her description of her attacker was very similar to John Feit. After being picked out of a lineup by an eyewitness, failing a polygraph test, and having injuries that matched those that would have been made by Guerra, Feit went to court for assaulting her. Against all the odds, the jury deadlocked, and rather than face a second trial, Feit pleaded no contest and paid a fine. He was then transferred to Arizona by the church.
The case went cold in 1960, and Feit wasn’t charged with Garza’s murder. He went on with his life, eventually quitting the cloth. In 2002, two clergymen from the same church where Feit had once taught claimed that he had confessed to sexually assaulting and murdering Garza. A grand jury refused to indict Feit after neither he nor the other clergymen were subpoenaed. After a new district attorney was appointed in Hidalgo County in 2014, Feit was finally indicted in 2016 for the murder of Irene Garza.
3. Salvatore Perrone
To most of Salvatore Perrone’s neighbors, he was nothing more than an eccentric living in an enormous, decrepit house. In 1985, Perrone bought a three-story home in Staten Island that he planned to share with his wife, Maria Salerno. Perrone was ambitious; he wanted to design his own fashion line, but he knew that he needed to work to attain his dreams. For many years, Perrone worked as a door-to-door salesman selling clothing, but as his career began to fall apart, so did his mental state.
It is unknown when Perrone divorced his wife, but according to his legal record, he’d begun to indulge in reckless behavior by 2001, racking up charges for public drunkenness, harassment, stalking, and theft. Despite the warning signs, no one thought that Perrone was dangerous. He continued with many schemes, and at one time, he had hundreds of thousands of dollars in his bank account.
By 2007, Perrone had trademarked his own name because he wanted to become a fashion mogul. These plans never went anywhere, and that set him off. Neighbors said that Perrone had severe mood swings , ranging from extremely kind to incredibly hostile. While he once had a sizable fortune, Perrone had just $1.84 in his account when he was placed under arrest. Apparently, he was dating a Brooklyn woman and sleeping in his home’s basement when he started his killing spree. In rapid succession, Perrone murdered three store owners in a short period, Mohamed Gebeli, Isaac Kadare, and Rahmatollah Vahidipour, without any provocation by his victims. Perrone faces life in prison if convicted.
4. Donald Harvey
In 1987, Donald Harvey, a 35-year-old nurse, shocked the media by confessing to dozens of murders, many of which involved elderly patients in his care. No one suspected him because he seemed to be a perfectly reasonable man and a good employee, but as more evidence came to light, it became clear that Harvey was pure evil. The vast majority of his killings took place at the Daniel Drake Memorial Hospital; it is estimated that 21 of his victims were killed there. The media began to speculate about why Harvey would do such a thing, with theories ranging from mercy killings to insanity, but the real explanation was far more terrifying.
Much of Harvey’s early life was hard, as was apparent from a report written by researchers from Radford University. He suffered sexual abuse from both relatives and neighbors, although he claimed he didn’t mind it from one of the neighbors because the neighbor paid him . Most of his relationships were homosexual, of which one would be very significant—an affair with a married undertaker who taught him how the body reacted to various situations. This knowledge would greatly benefit Harvey when he started killing on a larger scale, even though he had already started to kill his patients before this.
From 1970 to 1987, Harvey killed an inestimable number of people. By the time he was caught, investigators connected him to 24 killings, although there were certainly more. His motive for the killings? He wanted to kill . During the court proceedings, Harvey would often laugh to himself when his murders would be recounted. While prosecutors wanted the death penalty, Harvey made a plea bargain for life in prison after pleading guilty to all charges.