When we hear the term Hitman, most of us picture a person on a rooftop somewhere with a sniper rifle ready to take a hit. This is understandable, as Hitmen, also known as assassins or contract killers, have long gained popularity as fictional characters in movies or games. However, our real life history has seen its fair share of assassins, whether professionally hired as hit-men, working for secret agencies or killing as a sport. Here are 10 of the most deadly assassins in history:
1. Richard “The Iceman” Kuklinski
Richard Leonard Kuklinski was an American contact killer who earned his nickname “The Iceman” due to his habit of killing his victims and then freezing them to hide their time of death. Kuklinski was popularly known among his mobster associates as “the devil himself” thanks to his reputation and intimidating physique. He began killing as an adolescent, then later entered into contract killing. He was known to beat, stab or shoot to death, anyone who rubbed him the wrong way for whatever reason. He’s claimed to have killed over 100 to 250 men. Kuklinski died in 2006 of an incurable illness, while in prison.
2. Abe “Kid Twist” Reles
Murder Inc or Murder Incorporated, has often being thought of as the Mafia, but unlike the Mafia, Murder Inc. was more business-oriented. The organization is believed to have been involved in over 1000 assassinations with Abe Reles being at the center of it all. Abe “Kid Twist” Reles was one of the most feared members of the organization because of his unpredictable and violent sociopathic nature. The killer brought death to his victims, using an ice pick to cause them brain hemorrhage.
After being implicated in a number of killings, in order to avoid an execution, Reles acted as a government witness and eventually brought down organization.
3. Roy Demeo
Demeo led a gang of contracted killers infamously dubbed the Demeo crew’. He and his crew killed between 150 and 200 people, between 1973 and 1983, using the “Gemini Method”. Victims would be lured into the Gemini Lounge, where they’d be shot in the head with a silenced pistol, and immediately covered with a towel to stop the bleeding. Afterwards Demeo would stop the head blood flow, by stabbing them in the heart. Victims would then be allowed to bleed out in the bathroom, before their bodies were disposed. This was a tactful way of cleaning up the bodies.
4. Alexander Viktorovich Solonik
Alexander Solonik was a Russian contract killer, who earned the nicknames “Superkiller” and “The Macedonian”. Before being an assassin, he participated in Russian Mob activities and was formerly being a Soviet soldier. Solonik became infamous for his assassinations of powerful Russian crime bosses such as Otari Kvantrishvili. The hit-man however, seemed to always escape any attempts of imprisonment, with one particular incident causing him to open fire in a police station shooting five officers but also getting hit in the crossfire. He was eventually arrested but later escaped prison, managing to disappear to Greece, where he set up his own global contract killing organization of about 50 men. In 1997, a mobster’s body was found dead in Athens and was identified as Alexander’s, although it had no identification papers.
5. Giuseppe Greco
Giuseppe “Pino” Greco was an assassin in the 1970s and early 1980s, and is today considered one of the most creative killers in criminal history. With roots in the Greco Mafia clan, Greco soon became a high-ranking member of the Sicilian Mafia and part of a group of killers, known as “death squad”. He is known to have carried out dozens of hits, using an AK-47, particularly during the second mafia war. Among his many murders was magistrate Rocco Chinnici. Although he is believed to have taken part in as many as 80 to 300 murders, he was only convicted of 58.
6. Filippo Marchese
Filippo Marchese was leading figure in the Silician Mafia, and a hitman who worked closely with Giuseppe Greco. He was one of the most feared killers, a Mafia boss and also a mastermind of multiple murders. Marchese ran the “Room of Death”, a shack where with the help of Greco, victims/ mafiosi would be lured to be tortured through garroting, where a rope would be looped around the victim’s neck, then the two would pull from each side. Murdered victims would then be dismembered or thrown into acid before being dumped in the sea. Marchese was once said to masturbate while watching victims being tortured. In 1983, Filippo Marchese was killed by Giuseppe Greco in a similar way to his victims.
7. Giovanni “The Pig” Brusca
Nicknamed “The Pig” due to his unkempt appearance and wild personality, Giovanni Brusca was a ruthless Italian mafia. He claimed to have killed over 200 men, and is also known for killing Giovanni Falcone, an anti-mafia prosecutor. Brusca also once kidnapped, tortured and murdered a police informant’s son, who was just 11 years old. Brusca is currently serving a life imprisonment.
8. Harry “Pittsburgh Phil” Strauss
Murder Inc. was infamous for their horrific killings, and with 30 or so hired killers, there is always an argument about which member of its squad was the most deadly. Harry Strauss is one such blood lustful member, said to garrote and ice pick his hits to death and then joke about his kills while enjoying dinner.
When the law finally caught up with him, he unsuccessfully tried to take an insanity plea but like his associates, he was executed by electric chair.
9. The Nokmim
Although most of the assassins on the list were part of secret contract killing agencies such as the Murder Inc.. The Nokmim, also referred to as the Jewish assassins or The Avengers, is also a similarly deadly assassin agency to ever exist in history. The assassins targeted unpunished Nazi war criminals with the intention to avenge the holocaust. The group conspired to kill over 6 million Germans, equivalent to the number of Jews murdered in the Holocaust.
They were so secretive that little is known about how their killings were conducted. Some stories range from single hit-and-run incidents, kerosene injections in blood streams of former officers, to massive operations, including failed plans to poison huge cities’ water supplies.
10. Bernard “Barry the Bear” Hunwick
Bernard Hunwick was a leader of a six-man assassination squad responsible for over 300 homicides across America. He had a mean, tough guy reputation, beating up guys to the brink of death and then going on as if nothing had happened; once placing pieces of glass in a guy’s mouth before punching him in the face. Despite killing so many people, he was only convicted for slitting the throat of bails bondsman Diego Messina. He pleaded guilty to murder-for-hire conspiracy charges and was serving life imprisonment before falling to his demise in 2013.