Category: Serial Killing
Location: Austria and the U.S.
Date: 1976 - 1992
Crime: This Austrian serial killer is known for committing his crimes in several countries around the world. He was charged with the deaths of fifteen prostitutes and was given several monikers, including: The Vienna Strangler, The Poet of Death, The Pug Dumper and The Jesus Christ Jumper.
Biography: Unterweger grew up in poverty, the son of a Viennese mother and an unknown American soldier. He spent his youth committing petty crimes and assaulting prostitutes, for which he served jail time. Then at the age of eighteen, he murdered a German woman by strangling her with her own brassiere. He was captured, convicted and sentenced to life in prison. While incarcerated, Unterweger became something of a celebrity and a darling to the social-elite by writing plays, poetry and his autobiography. After fifteen years of his life sentence, the intellectual community petitioned for his release by claiming his successful rehabilitation. After his release, he hosted television programs and made the best of his celebrity. Within the first year after his release, he had killed six more prostitutes. Then in 1991, he was hired to write about crime in Los Angeles. He came to America and began his research into prostitution, even accompanying the Los Angeles police department on patrols through known 'red-light' districts. During this time, three more prostitutes were beaten, assaulted and strangled with their brassieres. Law enforcement finally figured out what was happening and in February 1992, Unterweger was arrested. Back in Austria, they had also pieced together his crimes and he was charged with eleven murders back there. After his trial, on June 29, 1994, he was sentenced to life in prison with no chance for parole. That night, Unterweger hung himself in his cell.