The 10 Most Nefarious Criminals Who Have Served Time in San Quentin Prison, California

The 10 Most Nefarious Criminals Who Have Served Time in San Quentin Prison, California

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San Quentin Prison, nestled on the shores of California’s San Francisco Bay, is a name synonymous with some of America’s most nefarious figures. Over its long history, this institution has been the backdrop to tales of horror, tragedy, redemption, and justice. From cold-blooded killers to cult leaders, the inmates of San Quentin have been the subjects of countless headlines and sleepless nights for many. In the following lines, we go deep into the dark pasts of ten of the most notorious criminals that have passed through its gates. Whether serving time or meeting their end within its walls, these individuals have etched their names into the annals of criminal lore.

Sirhan Sirhan (born in 1944) became infamous after killing Senator Robert F. Kennedy in 1968. Following his arrest shortly after the assassination, Sirhan was sentenced to death in 1969, but this was later commuted to life imprisonment after the California Supreme Court invalidated all pending death sentences imposed in the state prior to 1972.

Richard Ramirez (born in 1960 ) was known as the “Night Stalker”. He terrified California residents during the mid-1980s with his string of burglaries and violent killings. After his capture in 1985, Ramirez faced trial and was sentenced to death in 1989 for 13 counts of murder, among other charges. He remained on death row until his death in 2013.

Stanley Williams (born in 1953) was the co-founder of the notorious street gang the Crips. Williams was convicted in 1981 for multiple murders and robberies. Despite his efforts in prison to curb gang violence, including writing children’s books and being nominated multiple times for the Nobel Peace Prize, he was executed in 2005.

Efren Saldivar (born 1969) was dubbed the “Angel of Death”. A respiratory therapist, Saldivar was responsible for the deaths of several patients under his care throughout the late 1980s and early 1990s. After confessing in 1998, he was sentenced to life imprisonment without the possibility of parole.

Herbert Mullin (born in 1947) carried out a series of murders in California during the early 1970s. Believing that his actions were preventing earthquakes, Mullin killed 13 people. After his arrest in 1973, he was found guilty of first-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison.

Charles Manson (born in 1934) was perhaps one of the most infamous criminals of the 20th century. Leader of the Manson Family cult, he and his followers committed a series of brutal murders in 1969, the most famous victim being actress Sharon Tate. Manson was captured later that year and, in 1971, was sentenced to death. However, his sentence was later commuted to life imprisonment after California briefly outlawed capital punishment. Manson remained a figure of dark fascination until his death in prison in 2017.

Scott Peterson (born in 1972) was convicted of the murder of his wife, Laci Peterson, and their unborn son in 2002. After a highly publicized trial, Peterson was found guilty in 2004 and subsequently sentenced to death the following year.

Cary Stayner, born in 1961, is known for the Yosemite Park Murders of 1999, where he killed four women in separate incidents. Captured and tried in 2002, Stayner was found guilty and sentenced to death. He remains on death row to this day.

Randy Steven Kraft (born in 1945) often referred to as the “Scorecard Killer”, is believed to have killed as many as 67 victims between 1972 and 1983. He earned his moniker due to a cryptic “scorecard” found in his car, listing entries that investigators suspect referenced the murders. In 1989, Kraft was found guilty of 16 counts of murder, among other charges, and was sentenced to death. He continues to reside on death row at San Quentin.

Chester Dewayne Turner (born in 1966) is a convicted serial killer who operated in Los Angeles between 1987 and 1998. He was arrested in 2002 after DNA evidence linked him to the deaths of ten women. By 2007, he was convicted of these murders and received a death sentence. Later, in 2014, he was convicted of four more murders and received an additional death sentence. Turner is one of the most prolific killers in Los Angeles history. He is currently on death row at San Quentin.



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