"He Was One Of My Closest Friends": People Who Knew Murderers Before They Committed Their Crimes Are Sharing Their Stories

We asked members of the BuzzFeed Community who've known murderers to share their stories. The following responses are both disturbing and devastating.

Warning: Post contains graphic descriptions, violent subject matter, frightening scenarios, and drug abuse.

1."Not me personally, but Ted Bundy worked for my grandfather in the 1970s. My aunt told me a story of playing a work softball game, and being on second base right next to Ted, who was playing for the opposite team. The full list of his known victims includes one that shares the same name as my aunt."


2."When I was younger, we moved to a different part of the country and developed a social circle of people who also came from our home town. Through a friend, my mom met a woman who she got to know a little. Because we were all away from our families, she invited her to have Christmas dinner with us. The woman brought her boyfriend who gave off really bad vibes. He was not nice to her, and we didn't like him at all. Not very long after that, the woman went missing, and the boyfriend was immediately the prime suspect. The cops did what's called the 'Mr. Big's' operation, where they befriend him and pretend to be recruiting him for an organized crime network to draw a confession out of him. Essentially, it worked, and the information he gave them led them to find the woman's body rolled in a carpet at the landfill. He went to prison, but this was almost 30 years ago, so he might be out by now."


Police cars with flashing lights
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3."My ex-best friend murdered his date after a night out and then buried her body in his backyard. I hadn't had any contact with him for over 10 years. Then, one day, my cousin texted me out of the blue an article link accompanied by, 'Isn't this your friend?!' I couldn't believe it, but when I saw it on the news with footage outside the house and helicopter cam footage of the property, reality finally set. He's doing 26 to life now."


4."When I was 15, I worked at a sandwich shop in Minnesota. One night, a very drunk man came in holding a tennis racket bag. He flirted with me, my manager, and the assistant manager. The next day, we saw he had shot a man at a bar about two miles away. He’s serving 20 years."


A tennis bag
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5."I live in a popular college town, so Tinder is obviously a huge thing. When I first moved to the town, I knew no one, so I decided to try my luck on Tinder. One day, I matched with this guy, and I had my Snapchat username in my bio, so along with the match notification from Tinder, I noticed he added me on Snapchat as well. I don't remember if we had any type of conversation on Snapchat, and we never met in person, but I do remember that he would post on his story A LOT. He was in a fraternity, so he posted parties, nights out, drunk Snaps, and the occasional workout pics, too. A couple of months went by, and I noticed he started posting weird things, like saying he believed he was a superhero sent down to save the earth. He also became weirdly obsessed with death. He would draw several detailed superhero masks and capes on himself, while also talking about drugs."

"A week later, I was watching the news and saw that some fraternity guy from my town was visiting home, and while he was believed to be on bath salts, he murdered two people in their garage and ate their faces. It turned out to be the guy I matched with on Tinder. I had watched his mental health decline on Snapchat."



6."A few years ago, I found out that a guy who gave me bad vibes in college ended up murdering his girlfriend outside of a storage unit. He shot her multiple times point-blank in his car, and as she tried to run away (I have no idea how she managed), he continued to shoot her in the back. In school, I would pass by him and get that feeling of 'hackles up, watch out.' He did not have a girlfriend at the time, and I felt like he was eyeing me. He initiated a conversation through a direct message online, and nothing stood out to me in his messages as a warning. Yet, he would only engage online, never in person, despite seeing him almost every day. I was polite and would smile or wave in passing, but he would never do the same."

"He asked to hang out with me once, and I turned it down because I felt like it was too weird that he didn't acknowledge me in person, even with a simple smile. I was in charge of club meetings and a few bonfire parties, so instead, I invited him to join in for some group events (in case he was just socially awkward and looking for friends), but he never came to any. He would only ask me afterwards how they were. In general, the only warning sign was my intuition, and the weird way he exclusively wanted to talk online yet would never engage in-person. It was like his reality only existed online. Physically, he was small in stature and not threatening in appearance. I guess the main takeaway is that no matter how dumb it may seem, always trust that gut feeling."


Someone using a phone
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7."I've known two, and one was when I was in high school. He and I were friends in elementary school, but then, he turned into a bully in junior high. In high school, he ended up shooting a kid in the park a few blocks from my home in a drug deal gone bad. The second was one of my closest friends throughout my junior high and high school years. We were inseparable and spent almost every day together during the summers. His mom and dad were second parents to me. After high school, I joined the Army, and he went down a path of drugs and petty crime. In 2021, he stabbed his girlfriend to death."


8."My mom's uncle was convicted of murder back in the '20s or '30s. A man had caused the death of one of his younger siblings (a bike accident), and he chased the man to Michigan and shot him dead. He spent about 12 years in a maximum security prison. I had no idea he was a murderer until my grandma told me after he had passed. I saw this man and sat with him at numerous family functions when I was younger and had no idea! He was always soft-spoken and very kind."


Outside of a prison
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9."I worked with a guy who murdered his wife with a hammer and hid it in the tool box on our work truck. We found out when the cops came, removed the hammer, and told us what happened."


10."In undergrad, a class requirement was to select a criminal trial, then go observe the proceedings. I attended the trial of a former classmate who was being charged with robbing and murdering his older neighbor by beating him to death with a wooden dining room table leg. The day I observed was hours upon hours of very detailed, graphic testimony by a blood spatter expert, including demonstrations, crime scene photos, and other illustrations. The number of blows, who was where, the roles of velocity and was both fascinating and disturbing. In the end, my former middle and high school classmate, who I knew to be a late-bloomer, quiet, soft-spoken, shy, and neither a fighter nor a troublemaker, was convicted and sentenced to 80+ years in prison."


Outline of a judge's gavel
Aitor Diago / Getty Images

11."There was a family of four brothers in the smallish Canadian city I grew up in. They were always fighting with each other and anyone else they could. They were quite good at fighting. A couple of them even took up boxing as a sport. A couple of years after graduating, the youngest brother got in some sort of altercation at a party. He hit another guy, who subsequently died. It came out in trial that the guy he hit literally was the 'thin-skulled plaintiff,' as his skull had an abnormality where the bones were very, very thin in certain places. Oftentimes, these abnormalities are only detected during autopsy. This was held as a mitigating factor in favor of the defendant. However, the fact that he was a trained boxer, while his victim was just a run-of-the-mill college kid was also taken into account. There was no question he did it. There were many witnesses. I think he got 12 years. I haven't heard much since."


12."I taught a student for two years who was really bright but had no interest in school. Myself and other school staff tried everything to support and motivate him. I even remember one conversation where I implored him to get his diploma and explained the school to prison pipeline to him, but he was convinced he knew what he was doing. He had a plan to be a barber. He dropped out his junior year, and two years later, was arrested for triple homicide. It was a drug deal gone wrong. Last I heard, he was getting his diploma in prison."


Prison cell
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13."I went on a blind date with a guy who ended up being accused and convicted of the murder of five people. He said he was 'defending helpless victims,' but there was no evidence any of them were abusive in their lives."


14."I grew up in Harrisburg, Illinois in the '70s and '80s before leaving for the military life. One of my classmates always seemed eager to get into a fight. You didn't want to get on his bad side. Several years after graduating high school (still way before the advent of social media), we had a class reunion. This guy was the talk of the class. Now, there's a crime series about him, and he's currently serving a life sentence in North Dakota for kidnapping and murdering a man with an axe. Since he's been in prison, he's also been extremely violent. He even stabbed a corrections officer with a knife. His name still comes up sometimes in discussions and in our online 'classroom.' We all still can't believe how close any of us were to becoming his first victim."


Closeup of a police officer's handcuffs
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15."A guy from my high school murdered an older lady just last year. We had a class together, but he graduated before me. He had been in honors/advanced courses with my older sibling. He was smart, and he was known as a big flirt and ladies man. He didn't have particularly bad vibes or anything like that; he was just a normal guy. When it came out in the news, it was pretty surprising, especially since it's a small town and everyone knows everyone. He apparently started using drugs and got into it pretty bad. He broke in to rob his victim using his own son as the lookout! He assumed the home was empty and was caught off guard when the victim was there, and he killed her."


16."When I was growing up, my second cousin was locally famous and generally well-liked (in some cases beloved) in the city. I’d known him my whole life, but mostly saw him at family funerals and wakes. When I was in middle school, he shot and killed his estranged wife across the street from my school. It was very premeditated. He had a TO-DO list written down of how he was going to get away with it. He was sentenced to life. Even as a kid, I got bad vibes from how he treated his wife and daughter, but I never thought he would actually do something like that. After he was convicted, I had many people come up to me saying they believed he was innocent/wanted me to get letters of support to him in prison. Obviously, I did not, in any way, appreciate that."


A stack of letters
Catherine Mcqueen / Getty Images

17."I used to work for a music retailer with a brilliant guitar player from a local band. He was 21 years old. He and his girlfriend, on a cocaine-fueled episode, picked someone up at a strip club, brought him home, and killed him. They then dumped his body under a mattress and attempted to clean their truck and apartment. However, brain matter was found in the bed of the truck. They admitted everything. He's in prison for life."


18."During my second year of teaching, there was a long-term sub across the hallway from me that I had a good relationship with. He always came to me for help when he needed it. He was a former college football star at our local university and was a volunteer coach for the football program at a nearby high school. On the last day of school, the day after students left and we were all wrapping things up before leaving for summer, we walked past each other in the hallway, and I greeted him by simply asking, 'What's up?' Not a word back from him; he didn't even look at me. He just had a thousand-yard stare down the hallway. Two days later, I turn on the news, and the headlining story was, 'Local substitute teacher arrested for triple murder.' He had killed his own son, niece, and brother later that day."


An empty high school highway
Tony Anderson / Getty Images

19."I didn't know him personally, but there was a guy in the year above me in school who murdered his girlfriend. I guarantee that if I could travel back in time and tell folks at school that he'd commit a murder, nobody would be surprised. Guy was rotten to the core."


20."One of my close friend’s older brother killed his ex-wife in a particularly gruesome manner. He is still incarcerated decades later."


A prisoner grasping his cell bars
Steven Puetzer / Getty Images

21."One of my friend's ex-boyfriends stabbed a guy to death. This was a few years after they broke up. A mutual friend told us he got in with the wrong crowd and started doing cocaine. He got life (25 years in the UK). It was so bizarre to hear because when they were together, he was the nicest guy and treated us all with so much kindness and respect."


22."There was this guy, 'M,' who was the neighborhood playboy. He was rarely told no, was super good-looking, and very nice, but also secretly super addicted to crack. When M's addiction got out of control, he robbed and killed a man with the man's family nearby. M went on the run and ended up on America's Most Wanted. His capture was truly remarkable because of how absurd it was. This man got caught at the US/Mexico border trying to smuggle marijuana INTO Mexico! While locked up, M asked the jailer if he ever watched America's Most Wanted. When the jailer replied, 'No, why?', M said, 'Because I was on it!' He was quickly extradited, did his time, and was released a few years ago."


A wanted poster
Sean Gladwell / Getty Images

23."My youngest brother. This kid used to sneak into bed with me at night when he was scared. We grew up in a chaotic, abusive household. He joined the Army, and that really messed him up even more. Drugs were involved. The Army used him, destroyed him, then kicked him to the curb. He murdered his girlfriend’s uncle over drugs and will be in prison for 40 years. He’s doing drugs inside, and I have frequent nightmares he will die inside."


24."My good friend, let's call him Jake. He was the editor of our high school paper. The story is that Jake’s boyfriend was cheating on him, and he killed the boyfriend in anger. Jake was a very gentle soul. I wouldn't have seen him killing his boyfriend, but what do I know? Several decades later, he’s still behind bars. The boyfriend’s family comes to every parole hearing, pleading for him to stay in prison. I can’t say I blame them; I would likely do the same if it was my beloved family member. Such a waste of two lives — one who had no say in the matter!"


An inmate speaking to a judge
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25.Lastly: "Two guys that I've known since the beginning of high school. We actually were very close for many years after high school. One of the them was best man at my wedding, and they were both at the hospital when I gave birth to my son. A few years after we stopped talking (because they were both using drugs), I randomly heard rumors that they had killed this girl. Turns out that one night, the two guys were hanging with their girlfriends and the victim. A disagreement took place, and guy #1 pulled out a gun and shot the victim in the head. Guy #2 and their girlfriends were naturally in shock and scared that he could easily kill them, too, so they helped him get rid of the body, which consisted of setting her on fire in a field somewhere."

"Guy #2 confessed to the crime immediately, and both were put away. I think one of the girlfriends got out, but guy #1 was sentenced to 50 years, and guy #2 was sentenced to 20 years. My best friend has corresponded with guy #1 in prison; he's still out of control. I have written guy #2 a couple of times over the years. He is really trying to prepare for life when he gets out, which should be in the next eight years or so."


If you or someone you know is in immediate danger as a result of domestic violence, call 911. For anonymous, confidential help, you can call the 24/7 National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 (SAFE) or chat with an advocate via the website.

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