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Quiz about Thats Just Criminal
Quiz about Thats Just Criminal

That's Just Criminal... Trivia Quiz

Death Row, Serial Killers and Executions

This quiz is all about criminals, serial killers, executions and Death Row.

A multiple-choice quiz by heatherlois. Estimated time: 4 mins.
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Author
heatherlois
Time
4 mins
Type
Multiple Choice
Quiz #
412,264
Updated
Apr 06 23
# Qns
15
Difficulty
Average
Avg Score
12 / 15
Plays
389
Awards
Top 5% quiz!
Last 3 plays: Guest 109 (13/15), Guest 136 (10/15), PhNurse (14/15).
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Question 1 of 15
1. Which country has produced the largest documented amount of serial killers, having three times more serial killers per capita than the next country on the list? Hint


Question 2 of 15
2. The record for the shortest time anyone spent on death row in Texas was set by Joe Gonzales in 1996. He died by lethal injection just 252 days after his conviction. Why did he have such a short time on death row? Hint


Question 3 of 15
3. About 13% of inmates on death row in the U.S. are actually executed. True or False?


Question 4 of 15
4. This man, who had the alter-ego of 'Pogo the Clown', had some charming last words when he was executed by lethal injection on May 10, 1994. Who am I referring to? Hint


Question 5 of 15
5. In Singapore, you can be given the death penalty for over 30 offences including murder, terrorism and drug trafficking. What cheap and quick form of execution is normally used? Hint


Question 6 of 15
6. Ted Kaczynski, better known as the 'Unabomber', is on death row. True or False?


Question 7 of 15
7. In which year was the last person executed by guillotine in France?


Question 8 of 15
8. In cases where last meals are granted, what have been the most popular foods requested in the U.S. in the past few decades? Hint


Question 9 of 15
9. Madame Tussaud took a death mask of this famous 37 year-old shortly after she was beheaded in 1793 and while the grave diggers were on a lunch break. Who was the beheaded queen? Hint


Question 10 of 15
10. According to Amnesty International, how many countries were confirmed as carrying out executions as a form of punishment in the year 2021?


Question 11 of 15
11. One form of executing people in the Middle Ages was by boiling them slowly to death. A pot, which was used for this purpose, hangs from a wall in a place called Deventer. In which country, known for its canals, is Deventer? Hint


Question 12 of 15
12. Ted Bundy, one of the most famous serial killers, was executed by electric chair on January 24, 1989. During his college years, where did Bundy work? Hint


Question 13 of 15
13. One of the world's worst execution methods because of its slow, torturous nature, was employed in Imperial China and was called 'lingchi'. Banned in 1905, what do westerners know this as?


Question 14 of 15
14. A particular method of execution was favoured by the Argentine government in the 'Dirty War' of 1976 - 1983. Which highly terrifying method of execution did the regime employ? Hint


Question 15 of 15
15. DNA evidence in the form of 'stains' on a shawl has brought a new focus to which serial killer case which has been unsolved since 1888? Hint



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Quiz Answer Key and Fun Facts
1. Which country has produced the largest documented amount of serial killers, having three times more serial killers per capita than the next country on the list?

Answer: United States of America

The term 'serial murder' was popularized in the 1970s by a name named Robert Ressler who was an investigator with the Behavioural Science Unit of the U.S. FBI (Federal Bureau of Investigation). At that time a serial killer was classified as someone who had committed at least four events that took place at different locations and were separated by a cooling-off period. These days, the number varies. In most countries though, a serial killer is classified as someone who has methodically murdered three or more people, in different places at different times. If it is in the same place and time, this is classified as 'mass murder'.

Figures from 2023 show that the U.S. has apparently produced 67.8% of the world's documented serial killers. With 3,204 of these criminals, this is 19 times more than the next country down on the list - England - which had produced 166 until 2023.

Having said this, it must be pointed out that serial killer figures in some, shall we say 'less forthcoming' countries, are unlikely to have been reported, or have been deliberately reported inaccurately.

The U.S figures are thought to be high because the U.S keeps accurate records and police departments are easily able to communicate with each other. In some continents, serial killers may not even be on the radar, simply because they can cross countries so easily, and therefore are not known as serial killers.

Nevertheless, in terms of documented serial killers per capita, up until 2023, the U.S had .99 per 100,000 people, Australia had .33, England .30, Canada .29, Scotland .28, and Austria .27.

The average age of a serial killer in the U.S. is 33.44 years old.

Interestingly, England's worst and most shocking serial killer was a woman. Named Angel Maker, she is thought to have been responsible for the deaths of nearly 400 babies in the 19th century. She apparently killed these under the guise of a running foster care program for children born to unwed mothers.
2. The record for the shortest time anyone spent on death row in Texas was set by Joe Gonzales in 1996. He died by lethal injection just 252 days after his conviction. Why did he have such a short time on death row?

Answer: He waived all rights to an appeal

Joe Gonzales, an Hispanic roofer, was 31 years old when he shot his boss, 50-year old William J. Veader, and then robbed him. After the shooting/robbery Gonzales spent time trying to make the shooting look like a suicide, since he had executed a headshot. Initially police thought the victim's gunshot wound was self-inflicted. However, after investigating the circumstances, they soon determined it was actually murder.

When he was caught, Gonzales decided to both act as his own lawyer and refuse all appeals. (These appeal processes in Texas take on average eight years to undertake.) In court, Gonzales clearly wasn't in any way delusional about his behaviour. He stated 'I am a man who has no regard for the law. I am a man who has no regard for humanity. I ask for no sympathy, no empathy - but I do ask for you to follow the law.' It took the jury just 12 minutes to recommend the death penalty.

Gonzales was executed by lethal injection in Texas on September 18, 1996.
3. About 13% of inmates on death row in the U.S. are actually executed. True or False?

Answer: True

Most prisoners are on death row for an average of 15 years. This is because officials in the U.S. follow a strict protocol in regard to death penalty cases, to ensure people who are innocent are not wrongfully executed.

Executions actually form the lowest percentage of 'cause of death' statistics on death row. Inmates generally either die of natural causes, suicide or illness. Some of course, also get their convictions overturned and are subsequently released.
4. This man, who had the alter-ego of 'Pogo the Clown', had some charming last words when he was executed by lethal injection on May 10, 1994. Who am I referring to?

Answer: John Wayne Gacy

According to his sister, John Wayne Gacy had an extremely traumatic childhood. He was beaten regularly by his father and sexually abused by a contractor in the neighbourhood. He ran away at age 18 and worked at a mortuary for several months.

Gacy, who had been arrested several times but released because the witnesses went missing or because of technicalities, was finally captured in December 1978. After gaining a search warrant, police found 26 bodies buried beneath his home and three in the grounds of his home. He subsequently admitted to the murder of four more.

He was convicted of murdering at least 33 teenage boys and young men in the six years between 1972 and 1978. All of them had apparently been killed in his suburban ranch house, with most of them being strangled/asphyxiated.

Gacy, who had the alter ego of Pogo the Clown or The Killer Clown, was hired (or volunteered) for hundreds of children's parties and charity events in and around Chicago in the 1970s.

Gacy was sentenced to death on March 13, 1980. He was on death row at Menard Correctional Center for fourteen years, and apparently spent much of this time painting. Executed by lethal injection on May 10, 1994, his last words were as disgusting as his actions were. They were: 'Kiss my ass.'
5. In Singapore, you can be given the death penalty for over 30 offences including murder, terrorism and drug trafficking. What cheap and quick form of execution is normally used?

Answer: Long-drop hanging

Anyone entering Singapore is made aware that smuggling drugs into their country is extremely inadvisable. Quite apart from it being against the law, the penalty for doing so can be significantly harsher than a mere fine or a prison sentence.

Other than trafficking drugs, there are a wealth of other criminal acts that can have Singaporeans or visitors sitting on death row. These include those listed in the question, plus kidnapping, use of firearms, piracy, treason, abetting the suicide of an under-age person or an insane person, and waging a war, or abetting in waging a war, against the government.

For those convicted of a crime such as those listed, a long-drop hanging is the punishment favoured by the government. The Singaporeans seem to be okay with their penalty laws since in a poll conducted in 2021, more than 80% of Singaporeans stated they believed their country should retain the death penalty.

Eleven executions were carried out in in Singapore in 2022. Death by long-hanging, it is believed, is instantaneous. In many countries a last meal is allowed, but not in Singapore. Here, two days before their execution, the prisoner is allowed to wear their own clothes and can then pose for a photoshoot so their families have a photo to remember them by.
6. Ted Kaczynski, better known as the 'Unabomber', is on death row. True or False?

Answer: False

Ted Kaczynski was technically classified as a domestic terrorist rather than a serial killer. Before he became a murderous anarchist, killing three people and injuring 23 more between 1978 and 1995, Kaczynski was a professor of mathematics who was Harvard-trained. His preferred method of causing mayhem was a nationwide mail bombing campaign. He was famous for his 'manifesto' which outlined in detail his dislike of advances in modern technology and the destruction of the environment.

Captured in 1996, he eventually pled guilty in January 1998. He primarily did this because he loathed the idea of being viewed as mentally ill - to the point that he tried to fire his attorneys because they wanted to mount an insanity defense. Because he pled guilty, prosecutors specifically agreed not to pursue the death penalty. He was sentenced on the 22nd January 1998 to multiple life sentences without the possibility of parole. He was also fined more than $15 million. His new home from this point on became an isolated cell in a 'Supermax' prison located in Colorado.
7. In which year was the last person executed by guillotine in France?

Answer: 1977

This surprised me quite a bit to be honest. But guillotines - which began being used in France in 1792, and were famously used during the French Revolution - were still used as a method of execution right up until 1977. Having said that, the last public execution in France was of a German criminal and serial killer in 1939. After that guillotines were only used within a prison's grounds.

From 1965 until 1977 there were only eight executions by guillotine in France. The last man to be executed in this fashion was a Tunisian citizen who was convicted of both torture and murder on French soil. He was put to death in September 1977 in Marseille.

In 1981 France outlawed capital punishment completely.

Before the guillotine, there were several methods of execution in France including hanging (the most common punishment), decapitation by sword (nobles only), burning (witches, sodomy and arson), the 'breaking wheel' (murder) and being boiled to death (counterfeiting).
8. In cases where last meals are granted, what have been the most popular foods requested in the U.S. in the past few decades?

Answer: Ice cream and fried foods

High-calorific foods are reported to be the most popular 'last meal' (or 'special meal' as they are often called). Requests include fried chicken, pies, pizza, French fries, hamburgers and other similar fatty foods. If a dessert is requested, it generally includes ice-cream, though nothing overly fanciful - it is usually vanilla or chocolate, choc-chip etc. The calories in a last meal, according to research, average out at 2756, which is two and a half times the recommended daily intake.
(Understandably, there is no reason to be concerned about calorific intake at this particular point in one's life.)

Psychologists believe the last meal choices are often comfort foods. Some states also have a dollar limit on last meals. For example in Florida it was US$40 in 2023 and in Oklahoma it was US$25. In Texas, last meals were abolished when Lawrence Russell Brewer, a condemned prisoner, ordered a ridiculously large and expensive menu of food and then didn't eat a bite, saying he wasn't hungry. In Louisiana, the warden traditionally eats the last meal with the condemned prisoner.
9. Madame Tussaud took a death mask of this famous 37 year-old shortly after she was beheaded in 1793 and while the grave diggers were on a lunch break. Who was the beheaded queen?

Answer: Marie Antoinette

Marie Antoinette was beheaded by guillotine on October 16, 1793 in Paris, France after being found guilty of treason. She was taken to her execution in an ordinary cart and onlookers noted she looked haggard and prematurely aged by her ordeal. She is said to have met her death bravely. Her body and her severed head were then taken away to be buried in an unmarked grave in the Madeleine Cemetery.

Madame Tussaud, who had known Marie Antoinette in pre-revolutionary times when Tussaud had created models of the (living) royal family, watched the procession and fainted just before Marie was executed. However, later, she took her bag of sculpting tools and hurried along to the cemetery. Under the watchful eyes of the National Assembly, and while the grave diggers had a lunch break, she proceeded to make a mask of the queen's face.

Madame Tussaud had also done this with Marie's husband, Louis XVI, nine months earlier and before his body was placed in quicklime. Madame Tussaud went on to open her famous waxworks museum in London in 1835. The death masks of both Marie and Louis were on display when the museum opened.
10. According to Amnesty International, how many countries were confirmed as carrying out executions as a form of punishment in the year 2021?

Answer: 18

According to Amnesty International there were 18 countries that carried out capital punishment (or executions) in 2021. In total there were at least 579 executions in this year. However, this data does not include figures from China, which determines these are a 'state secret'. However, Amnesty International believes there are thousands of executions in China each year - more in fact, than all the other countries in the world combined.

Likewise, figures from North Korea, Oman, Vietnam, and Belarus are unavailable due to their secrecy practices. If you don't include these countries and China, the countries with the highest confirmed execution rates in 2021 were Iran (with at least 314 executions) Egypt (with at least 83) and Saudi Arabia with 65.
11. One form of executing people in the Middle Ages was by boiling them slowly to death. A pot, which was used for this purpose, hangs from a wall in a place called Deventer. In which country, known for its canals, is Deventer?

Answer: The Netherlands

Deventer, one of the oldest cities in the Netherlands, is a city in the Salland region of the province of Overijssel in the Netherlands. The city is believed to have been founded in around 768 AD.

Being executed by being boiled in a pot is thought to have been employed as an execution method for thousands of years. Nero certainly was responsible for this form of execution having boiled hundreds of Christians in oil. Likewise in the middle ages, boiling was used widely in Europe and Japan. In more recent years, there was a claim in a 2010 documentary that Mexican cartels will boil someone in oil if they are found to be working for the police.

Historically, there were two methodologies used. The first called for the victim to be immersed - usually head-first - into something already boiling or molten, such as lead, tallow, wax or pitch. The second - which was apparently worse because you wouldn't die of shock immediately - was that the victim would be put into the pot along with something viscous like oil, and this would gradually be heated up until it was boiling. (From what I have read about this form of death, there really can't be too many worse ways to go.)

For some reason, the acts of counterfeiting, money forging and poisoning often attracted this form of death penalty in countries such as England, France and The Netherlands.

In Deventer, you can still see a copper boiling pot hanging from the wall of the old De Waag weigh house. The mint master was cooked in oil in this pot in 1434 apparently, after being accused of counterfeiting. (If you seek out pictures of this, those bullet holes in the pot, which are believed to be circa 1809, are believed to be courtesy of the Napoleonic army.)
12. Ted Bundy, one of the most famous serial killers, was executed by electric chair on January 24, 1989. During his college years, where did Bundy work?

Answer: On a suicide crisis hotline

Over a four-year time span, Theodore Robert Bundy, better known as Ted Bundy, kidnapped, raped, mutilated and killed dozens of women. Although he confessed to the killing of 30 women, it is believed he killed many more - possibly over 100.

Bundy, who was known for using charming ruses and fake injuries to get girls into his car, may have - according to clinical and forensic psychologist, Darrel Turner - picked up tips from working at a suicide crisis centre. He said of Bundy: 'Psychopaths will very often put themselves in a position to, in a weird way, learn what normal people are like so they can blend in better by faking emotions that they learn from other people.' Turner also believes Bundy's work would have given him a great insight into what people needed to hear, and feel, before they could be persuaded to do something. This is thought to have helped Bundy with many of his abductions.

Fortunately, Bundy, who had an IQ of 136, was caught and in 1979 was sentenced to death - twice. Ten years later, in 1989, Bundy finally met his end in the electric chair. He reportedly spent the whole of the night prior to his execution crying and praying. He refused a last meal and was instead given the standard prison fare of steak, eggs, hash browns, and toast, but was unable to eat anything.
13. One of the world's worst execution methods because of its slow, torturous nature, was employed in Imperial China and was called 'lingchi'. Banned in 1905, what do westerners know this as?

Answer: Death by a thousand cuts

This form of execution, which was finally banned in 1905, is called lingchi in China and translates essentially as 'death by a thousand cuts', 'lingering death' or 'slow slicing'.

The methodology was that the victim was tied to a pole and then cut with very sharp knives - up to about 3,000 times. Oh, and then the victims were stabbed in the heart, their heads were chopped off and they were basically dismembered in front of a large audience. (If I get a paper cut I feel like I need a medic, so I am going to leave it at that!)

To be fair, lingchi was usually reserved for people who had murdered their own parents, killed their master, committed mass murder, or betrayed the emperor. It was employed as a method of execution from around 450 AD until 1905.

There is a reason why the Chinese went along this particular route for serious offences: Confucianism states that an individuals' body needs to be intact at the time of death in order for it to be whole in the afterlife. Being killed by lingchi meant that the victim suffered a double whammy - a truly excruciating death and no possibility of an afterlife.

Lingchi, incidentally, was also practised in Vietnam and Korea.
14. A particular method of execution was favoured by the Argentine government in the 'Dirty War' of 1976 - 1983. Which highly terrifying method of execution did the regime employ?

Answer: Death flights

Death flights have actually been performed by a number of countries, including South Africa, France, Zaire, Papua New Guinea, Chile and Columbia.

They were particularly favoured though in the 'Dirty War' (a period of state terrorism against dissidents) in Argentina which was fought over a period of seven years. Figures suggest that between 20,000 and 30,000 people disappeared during the war. Many of these are thought to have been the victims of 'death flights'.

The practice was initiated by Admiral Luis María Mendía. Generally, the death flight occurred after a person had been kidnapped, placed in detention and tortured. Records show they were first (luckily) drugged into a stupor before being loaded into an aircraft, stripped, and then dropped into either the Río de la Plata or the Atlantic Ocean.

According to the testimony of a former Argentine naval officer named Adolfo Scilingo, to his knowledge the Argentina Navy conducted the deaths flights every Wednesday right through 1977 and 1978. During these two years alone, an estimated 1,500 to 2,000 people were therefore killed in this manner.

He also testified that the victims thought they were being flown to the south and to freedom. Many celebrated and danced along to lively music that was provided. They were then told they needed a vaccination due to the transfer. What they were injected with however, was Pentothal, a short-acting barbiturate general anaesthetic.

A five-year trial called 'Death Flights trial' heard 830 witnesses give testimony. At the end of the trial in 2017 (and a good 34 years later) 29 defendants were given life imprisonment for these atrocities, while a further 19 were given prison sentences which ranged from eight years to 25 years. I wonder if anyone considered just chucking them from a plane?
15. DNA evidence in the form of 'stains' on a shawl has brought a new focus to which serial killer case which has been unsolved since 1888?

Answer: Jack The Ripper

The case of Jack the Ripper has always caused fascination. At the time, the killings were really the first to cause a media frenzy. Later, the killings became a giant 'whodunnit' - a whodunnit, incidentally, that has lasted for well over a century.

The killings of five prostitutes took place in the Whitechapel area of London. The women in question had incisions to their throats and abdomens, which gave rise to the belief that the perpetrator might have had some medical training, or that he certainly knew how to wield a blade.

In 2019, a shawl that was found by the body of the fourth victim, Catherine Eddowes, which contained 'forensic stains' (blood and semen) was tested for DNA by two UK universities.

The results, which were published in the 'Journal of Forensic Sciences', found that the stains contained the DNA of a man who was actually a suspect in the case at the time. They belonged to a Jewish immigrant named Aaron Kosminski who was a 23-year-old barber at the time of the killings. He immigrated to England from Poland about six years before the killings started. If you are wondering how they matched the DNA, it was from a living relative of Kosminski. He was described at the time as a low-class man with homicidal tendencies and a great hatred for women.

The fate of Kosminski was that he was placed in an insane asylum in 1891 after threatening his sister with a knife. He died of gangrene at the age of 53.

Though this is by no means proof that Kosminski was Jack the Ripper, with new technologies such as DNA, perhaps one day we might be able to solve this very debated, and long-term mystery.
Source: Author heatherlois

This quiz was reviewed by FunTrivia editor stedman before going online.
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