Joel Rifkin

As of now Joel Rifkin stands as New York states most prolific serial killers.

He was adopted at 3 weeks old and was what you would call a “nerd.” He looked gawky, was horrible at sports, had a stutter along with other learning disabilities and was just socially awkward. During his school years he was bullied and teased. Instead of turning to comic books or Star Wars, Rifkin found other forms of escape.  His escapes included fantasies involving sex slaves and torture.  His favorite movie was the Hitchcock film “Frenzy.” The movie is about a sex killer who can only perform while he’s killing his victims.

He turned to hookers just before his 20th birthday. He would spend whatever little money he had on nights with prostitutes. Rifkin has said by his 1st murder, he had engaged in over 300 such encounters.

During the March of 1989, the then 30 year old Rifkin, was still living at home with his mother. While she was away on vacation, Joel cruised the East Village in search of a hooker. He picked her up and took her back to the Long Island home that he shared with his mother. After he had sex with her, he bludgeoned her to death. After the violent act he cleaned up the room and then took a nap.

Waking up a few hours later, he took the body down to the basement where he dismembered her body. He even went as far as cutting off her finger tips and removing the teeth to help foil any ID that could be made if anything was found. He placed the head in an empty paint can and put the rest of her body parts in a garbage bag. He then went for a drive and dropped parts in various locations.

During the time when most people who be nervous and worried, Rifkin remained calm. After all these years of failing at various things in life like sports and school, he finally found something he was good at. It was as if he’d been doing it for ages.

It would be 18 months before he would take his next victim. He followed the same routine. He waited until his mother was out of town on vacation, then went in search of a prostitute. Just like before he brought her home, had sex and then beat her to death.

Over the span of 4 years, 17 women would die at his hands.

He was finally stopped in 1993 all because of a missing license plate on his truck. A pair of New York State Troopers saw the truck was missing a rear plate and tried to pull Rifkin over. Instead he fled and lead the police on a high speed chase. The chase finally ended when he wrecked into a pole. In the back of the truck police found the decompossing body of Rifkins last victim.

He was sentenced to 203 years in prision.

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~ by B on October 30, 2006.

55 Responses to “Joel Rifkin”

  1. imagine if he had just pulled over. They may not have even checked the back at all. Good thing he was dumb, otherwise he may not have been caught. Scary!

  2. who was his real mother or father

  3. Joel’s real mother was a jewish college student.He never knew his real father. And Joel isn’t dumb, he was actually attempting suicide when he fled from the police that night.

  4. I have read that he planned the first murder around his mothers “one month out of state trip”,do you have any knowledge of where she went?

  5. I was kind of thinking where his mother ran off to all those times and he must have cleaned his ass off for her not to notice if anything was out of place. I know if it was my house, I’d notice the smallest thing!

  6. I escaped him when I was 15 years old. He should rot in hell.

  7. ur a liar

  8. Im actually the son of one of Joel Rifkin’s victims. How can I obtain more in depth information on him? I also hear he’s suing the prisons.

    • I’m the sister of one of his victims. Find the book ‘From the mouth of a monster. It was written by a detective who interviewed him. They also went to community college together and worked at the school’s newspaper together. I hope that helps.

  9. I should also point out Im not the anonymous person who claims to have escaped him.

  10. I have just watched TV programme regarding Rifkin, had never heard of him before, as dont live in USA. What makes me sad is that these women may never have been murdered in this way if he had been adopted by different parents, and not been subjected to such bullying in his early life. Makes you wonder if society creates these killers sometimes …..

  11. joel was not dumb at all, he has an iq of 128. he was planning to drive the car into a lake and not kill himself, but swim under a bridge and wait off.

  12. i agree that the bullying and abuse he had to put up with is a major factor in the way he turned out,he wanted to fit in with the other kids at school…they saw him as the misfit/nerd. bet those guys feel real proud of the way they acted.

  13. I was one of his victims (believed to be one of the very first before he started Killing his victims.) I believe My 18 yearold son may be his offspring . they have an uncaany resembelence. I havn’t even looked at any photos of him till recently when someone made a comment how different my oldest son looked from the rest of the family.

  14. anonymous if i may ask, which one of his victims were your mother?

  15. also f.d i do agree with you. hence instead of mass serial killers we are now plagued with school shootings, stemming from bullies and the typical jockish behaviors.

  16. i have a pic of him, he is in prison w/a friend of mine, he looks to comfortable. makes me uncomfortable

  17. Joel Rifkin is far from being dumb. Even as a child, he would do very bad at school in classes he didn’t have interests in, but would have straight A’s in classes he liked (history for example), just as he did in a year at college.

    The reason why he didn’t grow up as a happy kid is because of the bullying situation, indeed. He was a boy full of talents, but not where the kids wanted the talents to be. He liked arts and music, and wanted to play the violon instead of drums or guitar. He tried to fit in wherever he could. But unfortunately, wherever he would go or whatever he would try, the other boys would just kill him slowly by bullying him.

    His relationship with his adopted father wasn’t the greatest either. His father would always blame him for many things, such as not fitting him and being a poor athlete. His mother, on the other hand, was present for him.

    Since he did not have many girlfriends (the ones he had were there for the wrong reasons), he turned to prostitutes at age 18 (and not 20). He slept with them for 17 years and it became an addiction.

    Now behind bars, he had a project to help prostitutes for many years.

    As far as the law suit against the prison, that was a while ago and although another prisonner won this case for the same situation, against another prison, Rifkin didn’t win this one.

    If you want to know more about his motives regarding why he killed, as well as what his next project is to help society, get UMM (urban male magazine : http://www.umm.ca ), an English-Canadian publication with an interview with him. I don’t know exactly when it comes out but I believe it’s at the end of January.

  18. Pardon my English, I’m French-Canadian!

  19. Actually.. sorry… I am working on something relating to him right now so I am learning all the time. I am not sure if the Law suit of both guys were against the same prison. That said, the other guy won $126,000 from it, where Rifkin didn’t win any money. He didn’t care because all he wanted was to be tranfered to another prison and it worked; he was transfered to where he is now, Clinton Correctional Facility.

  20. Joel lived right around the block from me. His stepmother still lives their.

    On the night of his arrest, there were at least 300 detectives questioning the area

  21. How about blaming the person who did all these things instead of blaming everyone else. A lot of people have grown up in less-than-ideal family situations. A lot of people were bullied and mocked in school. A lot of people had the misfortune to experience both of these. Most people are NOT serial killers.

  22. I agree 150% w/ “PLEASE’s” comment. That piece of scum murdered my best friend. You cannot blame anyone else but Joel Rifkin for his actions. I too grew up in less-than-ideal family situations where not only bullying was involved. I was beaten and abused physically and emotionally as well. I am NOT out there killing people for my own personal gain or satisfaction for all the wrongs that I endured. Granted, I was no angel growing up and have my share of regrets. We ALL know the difference between right and wrong, Joel Rifkin included. There is NO excuse for him for killing 17 New York women, my best friend inluded. He is not, or then, God. What gave him the right to decide the faith of these women. How dare any of you lay blame on anyone else but Joel Rifkin. He DOES NOT deserve pity of any kind what-so-ever!! If it were an immediate family member, relative or friend of any one of you would you all still feel the same way about the situation. YOU GUYS REALLY NEED TO THINK ABOUT THAT AND BE HONEST WITH YOURSELVES!!! He’s lower than a piece of scum!!!!!

  23. I also grew up with an abusive father – physically, emotionally and (if my parents hadn’t finally divorced), I believe it would have been sexually – because he did try a few times. I also got picked on a lot at school. And, I have not committed any murders. I know the difference between right and wrong. I think that’s what’s wrong with our society. Everybody wants to blame everybody else instead of taking responsibility for their own actions.

  24. life’s what you make it..so let’s make it ROCK! ❤

  25. One of my favorites.

  26. @treble521

    Joel.. as is the case with everyone.. is nothing more than a pawn in God’s plan.. no? I therefore blame God.

    In all seriousness.. I have an somewhat unique perspective of the situation (of which I’ll NOT say).. but both sides of the fence can make some valid points.

  27. for treble 21.. I agree most abused people dont become serial killers, but that doesnt make torturing and bullying alright just because some people are mentally stronger to get on with their lives. However I submit to you that most people with little or no family, friends, sex etc… who endure bullying for a long period of time do committ suicide, abuse or kill others, end up in prison for other crimes, in a mental ward, or turn to drugs and alcohol. Im just saying he definitely did wrong but the reason is because he couldnt withstand his tortued filled life. Do you think people who have sex with dead bodies are mentally ill ? He already had sex with them ,and killed them so he had his fun/revenge on society already. Mental Illness is what provokes somebody to have sex with a dead body. The human mind isnt kryptonite, it gets twisted and distorted due to excess stress. I definitely dont condone what he did, he could have just committed suicide if his life was so bad. His actions were extremely evil but not joel the person. If you have money and you shoplift just for kicks its very different then if you are starving and you shoplift. Shoplifting is wrong so is murder but the reason behind the actions shoulde be held into consideration when judging someone. He deserved some enjoyment in life just like the rest of us. I personally dont believe in a just god why do some people have or were born into such good lives and other people suffer miserablely. And yes I would feel the same way if a family member of friend were a victim of his. I have a question for people in general if you lived next to the people who tortured joel in high school and somebody killed or beat them and you knew the people who did it would you turn them in?I think bullies are more evil then serial killers !! To have a nice life and get off on inflicting physical or emotional pain to other people who are weak, not well adjusted or different is simply evil. Do you guys agree with me ? Im not saying we should set him free because he is a danger to innocent society but if they put him in a mental institution I definitely wouldnt be opposed. I live in New York I plan on visiting him, and/or helping him out financially if i could. I would ask him why he didnt just commit suicide but I would tell him I dont think he is evil and if he could have some happiness behind bars I would be happy. We live in a society where girls go home with the bullies not the nice guys. Nice guys finish last or sometimes dont finish at all. If you keep a dog in a cage and beat him all his life dont blame the dog for eating a child when he gets out, and dont call the dog evil just because some dogs are mentally touger than that dog. I hope all bullies rot in hell and there victims get to live in eternity torturing them. I think if there is a just god and im not sure if there is joel deserves to spend time in heaven, god would tell him its alright man I know why you did what you did. Killers like robert chambers the “preppy killer” deserve different. He killed the girl in NYC in the Late 80s because she didnt want to have sex with him and he had all the sex in the world he was just greedy and wanted everything. Most serial killers just wanted a slice of happiness.

  28. “Hey I grew up under same conditions, but i m not a killer” kind of comment, is, sorry but very shallow. Be panoramic.

  29. Joel has an abnormal frontal lobe. This is one area of your brain that controls violent and agressive impulses. It appears he was not subject to abuse as a child. in fact he seems to have had a “normal” childhood.

  30. HE KILLED MY COUSIN ANNA ALONSO…HE FREAKING STRANGLED HER IN HIS CAR, AFTER BECOMING A FRIEND TO HER. SHE WAS IN THE STREETS LOST TO US, SHE WOULD STOP BY EVERY NOW AND THEN, WE TRIED TO GET HER HELP, BUT SHE WOULD SIGN HERSELF OUT..APPARENTLY SHE MET RIFKIN, WHO OFFERED HER FOOD AND CLOTHES AND FRIENDSHIP, AND SEX..FOR MONEY. UNFORTUNATELY, FOR ANNA SHE MADE FRIENDS WITH THE DEVIL, AND ONE DAY AFTER HAVING SEX WITH HER IN THE CAR, HE DECIDED TO STRANGLE HER TO DEATH. HE DUMPED HER BODY NEAR UPSTATE NY, AND SHE WAS FOUND BY JOGGERS SEVERAL DAYS LATER. MY AUNT NOT HAVING HEARD FROM ANNA IN OVER A WEEK STARTED SEARCHING FOR HER. TWO MONTHS AFTER VISITING DIFFERENT POLICE PRECINCTS AND HOMICIDE DEPARTMENTS IN NEW YORK, AND AFTER VIEWING THOUSANDS OF PHOTOGRAPHS OF JANE DOES, MY AUNT FOUND ANNA’S PICTURE ON THE WALL OF THE POLICE DEPARTMENT IN UPSTATE NY. SHE HAD TO THEN IDENTIFY HER BODY AT THE MORGUE, AND IT WAS THE HARDEST THING SHE HAD TO ENDURE. I DON’T CARE WHAT HE WENT THROUGH, AS A KID, OR ALL OF THE OTHER BULL CRAPP, I DON’T CARE IF HE WAS SMART A NERD, OR A FREAKING GENIUS. WHAT I CARE THE MOST ABOUT IS THAT HE KILLED MY COUSIN ANNA. HE PUT OUR FAMILY THROUGH MORE PAIN AND SUFFERING. WE KNEW THAT SHE HAD PROBLEMS, AND WE DID TRY TO GET HER HELP, AND YES PEOPLE WILL SAY THAT SHE GOT WHAT SHE DESERVED FOR BEING A PROSTITUTE, BUT SHE WAS STILL MY COUSIN, AND ABOVE ALL ELSE SHE WAS STILL A HUMAN BEING. I WOULD OF PREFERRED IF SHE OVERDOSED THAN BEING STRANGLED TO DEATH, NOT BEING ABLE TO FIGHT HIM OFF, KNOWING THAT SHE WAS GOING TO DIE, AND THE FEAR OF IT WHILE IT WAS HAPPENING. IT TAKES 2-4 MINUTES TO STRANGLE A PERSON TO DEATH. ALL WE COULD THINK ABOUT, ALL I CAN THINK ABOUT IS THE FEAR, AND THE HELPLESSNESS THAT ANNA WENT THROUGH WHILE HE WAS KILLING HER.YET EVEN AS HE WAS KILLING HER SHE FOUGHT, AND SHE MANAGED TO SCRATCH HIM EVERYWHERE, THE MEDICAL EXAMINER WAS ABLE TO GET DNA SAMPLES FROM HER FINGERNAILS. I AM GLAD THAT HE IS AWAY FOR LIFE, PERSONALLY I WOULD OF PREFERRED THAT HE GOT THE CHAIR, HOWEVER AT LEAST ANNA CAN REST IN PEACE NOW, AND MY AUNT CAN REST IN PEACE AS WELL KNOWING THAT HER DAUGHTERS’ KILLER IS BEHIND BARS, LIKE THE ANIMAL THAT HE IS. ANNA IS SURVIVED BY HER THREE DAUGHTERS, WHO HAVE HAD TO ADJUST TO A LIFE WITHOUT THEIR MOTHER OR GRANDMOTHER.

    AND IN CLOSING…I DON’T GIVE A CRAP HOW MANY PROGRAMS HE HAS OUT THERE TO HELP SOCIETY OR PROSTITUTES, HE’S STILL A SICK F’D UP MONSTER, AND I’M GLAD UR PAYING FOR IT BITCH.

    • Alonso Family: We are so sorry for your loss, our loss, and those of the other families! As friends/family in NYC of Julie Blackbird, second victim of Joel Rifkin, all I can say is we have a similar story and agree with you.

  31. I was incarsarated with joel rifkin for 16 months he is a nasty piece of crap.I have a picture of him and i and i have a drawing that he did for me of a puppy laying on a chair it looks as if the puppy is looking right at you,joel even put his thumb print on the back of it.I want to sell it,if your interested in it you can contact me @ salvatore.serio@yahoo.com

  32. yer a jerk.

  33. What Joel did is unexcusable. There is no argument on that point. But, he stepped up, admitted his crimes, and helped solve the crimes he committed, the families would never have gotten closure in some cases without his statements. He didn’t HAVE to admit EVERYTHING. He could have sat back and let those families worry forever, and he didn’t. He said at his sentencing he was glad it was over, and advised them never to let him out, he simply knew he would never be able to stop. At least, in the end, he did the right thing.

  34. He lived in my town, his house is a couple blocks away from me, and he even went to my highschool, now thats scary..

  35. Joel Rifkin is sexy. I love him.

  36. I’m one of Joel Rifkins survival victim we cross path 3x’s I’m grareful God spared me my life I’m glad I have a good intuition on things and people . He didn’t hurt me physical or mentally its just a blessing to know I’m here today to talk about it

  37. you can find him on Facebook but he doesn’t reply

  38. Anyone know how I can get more information on his first victim? Did he keep any jewelry or did he say anything that might help identify her? I am wading through every known missing female for her identity.
    I don’t care what anyone says about the lifestyle of these women. Everyone deserves a name in death.

  39. To Brice: I totally agree with you.

    People live with anger and it’s understandable in these murder circumstances, when they’ve faced a Serial Killer, directly or indirectly. But many don’t seem to realize that no one goes through the same bullying, the same extend, the same family life, and that no one reacts the same way or is hurt the same way. Many people don’t know that violence is often a cry for help, taken seriously way too late.

    What Rifkin did in unforgivable, but if we want to live in a better world some day, we have to concentrate our thoughts in understanding the root of the problem instead of just blaming the killer. There is a reason for everything.

  40. P.S.: I don’t mean that the killer has no responsibility in all of this. That’s not what I am saying at all; just that there is a first problem that caused the other problems (murders).

  41. There are a lotta assholes in the world today

  42. i think we can agree on that

  43. Violet O’Neill.

  44. Does anybody know if Joel Rifkin went through the common three attributes” bed wetting, arson, and animal cruelty?

    • I don’t remember if bed wetting and arson were in his profile. I don’t think so, but I am not 100% sure. That said, this theory has long gone; too many serial killer do not fit this triangle profile.

  45. i know somebody that had bullies picked on him in school,call him dorky and ugly..he don’t kill people,and no rape..he very nice man likes help people..joel rifkin,he is a crazy psycho…

  46. i was abused by man for 12 years.and he try kill me.i got away..my life fine now…i help people.i never hurt anybody..have do is live a life with less stress.

  47. i don’t care what joel rifkins went through..give him no right kill people..something wrong his head.girls shouldn’t had pay for his problems..call pick up phone get help..i know few people been abused,other family member try pimp out daughter,i know somebody been raped..they do not go out and kill people..joel rifkins.needs medicine,his brain is way off..sickoooooooo

  48. joel rifkins shouldn’t take his anger out by killing people..it is his problem.he should got help..

  49. My husband was Joel’s college roommate. We visited him in Attica and since his transfer we haven’t been able to speak with him. We are planning a visit but joel wants notice before visits, as they do a pretty intense search before visits. Do you have access to his prison ID so we can write him and let him know we are coming?

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