Joel Rifkin: 
New York Serial Killer

In 1993, Joel Rifkin was pulled over for missing a license plate on his truck.  He attempted to evade the police, but ended up crashing his vehicle.  He gave himself up without resistance.  Arresting officers became alerted when they approached the vehicle and detected the smell of decomposition. 

By Bubby1124 (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

The secret of Rifkin's fantasy life came to light.  In the back of his pickup, a decomposing body of a female was found wrapped in a tarp.  This was the first knowledge of a string of murders that Rifkin admitted to.  Over a period of four years, he claims to have murdered seventeen women. 

Trial of Joel Rifkin

When the trial came around for the murder of his last victim Rifkin plead not guilty.  His attorneys tried to get his confession suppressed questioning whether Rifkin was read his rights.  They also challenged his admission to killing the victim that he was carrying in his truck at the time of his arrest on the grounds that the officers didn't have reasonable cause to search the vehicle. 

When that failed, they sought the outcome of not guilty by reason of insanity.   The defense claimed that Rifkin was a paranoid schizophrenic while the prosecution presented psychological tests that revealed pathological tendencies.  The determination was made that Rifkin was sick, but not insane.  He was found guilty of the first murder that he was charged with.

Over time, Rifkin was convicted of a total of nine murders, although he originally confessed to seventeen.  His sentence is two-hundred and three years to life in prison.  He is currently serving his sentence in a correctional facility in the state of New York.

Murder Method of Joel Rifkin

Rifkin sought acceptance in the presence of prostitutes.  He was a bright person, but had repeatedly disappointed his father by failing to live up to his expectations.  He had problems fitting in with peers in childhood and adulthood.  He was often bullied. 

He felt comfortable and accepted with street girls; however, he had a fantasy of killing them.  After his father's death, Rifkin lived in the home with his mother and sister.  In their absence, he decided to take a prostitute back to his home.  The result was his first kill.  

Some of his victims were bludgeoned, smothered or strangled.  Some were dismembered with parts of their bodies disposed of in various areas.  He admittedly saw these women as objects rather than humans.  Many had drug addictions. 

Due to lives that they lived, some of the victims were not reported as missing and the presence of a serial killer was never suspected in the deaths when bodies were found. Although prostitutes were the choice target of Joel Rifkin, the families of some of the victims dispute the matter that their loved ones led that type of life. 

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