• King Edward Bell
  • Burger Chef Murders
  • John Dillinger
  • Belle Gunness
  • Jim Jones
  • Tony Kiritsis
  • Sylvia Likens
  • Charles Manson
  • D.C. Stephenson




Infamous Indiana

A perp walk of notorious Hoosiers,
and mysterious crimes still unsolved

By Michael Jesse

The state of Indiana has produced its share of murderers, madmen and gangsters -- but some infamous Hoosier connections may surprise you. Depression-era bank robber John Dillinger's Hoosier roots are well known, but you may not know that Charles Manson spent his formative juvenile delinquent years getting arrested in Indianapolis. And long before the mass suicides at Jonestown in Guyana in 1978, the Rev. Jim Jones founded his People's Temple sect in Indianapolis.

Most people who grew up in or near Indianapolis have heard of the 1965 murder of Sylvia Likens, a teenage girl who was tortured over a period of weeks by other neighborhood children as babysitter Gertrude Baniszewski watched and offered suggestions.

In 1977, TV viewers in the Indianapolis market watched live as disgruntled mortgage customer Tony Kiritsis wired a shotgun to the back of a banker's neck and marched him through the streets of downtown. When Kiritsis was later found not guilty by reason of insanity, state lawmakers changed the law to allow for a guilty-but-mentally-ill verdict, which was then used in 1981 after King Edward Bell (yes, "King" was his legal first name) took the lives of his four small children and scrawled "Jesus take these children" on the wall above their bodies.

In the 1920s, Ku Klux Klan leader D.C. Stephenson was the most powerful man in Indiana -- until a girl he raped brought him down from beyond the grave.

Serial killer Belle Gunness buried a dozen or more prosepctive husbands on her northern Indiana farm, and may have faked her own death to disappear.

Some infamous Indiana crimes have never been solved, among them the LaSalle Street murders and the disappearance of Shannon Sherrill.