I decided to explore the dark side of the name Ken as a part of my ongoing series of lists of Kens. Like many other common names, we have had our share of infamous criminals (some white collar, some worse), here are ten that come to mind quickly for me:
- Ken B. Beverly – Ken Beverly was the CEO of Archbold Medical Center. Some CEOs are known for turning things around for their company, but not quite like this. Beverly was convicted of six felony counts of Medicaid Fraud. This included a conspiracy to falsify records, witness tampering and misleading statements. He was sentenced to 24 months in prison and was fined $50,000.
- Kenneth McGriff – In 1985, McGriff was convicted of narcotics possession. In later years, he was convicted of drug trafficking, racketeering and murder. McGriff was also known as “The Supreme” and his drug ring was known as “The Supreme Team.” He was often in and out of prison, and is now serving a life sentence at the ADX Florence prison in Florence, Colorado.
- Kenneth Bianchi – This serial killer, along with his cousin, raped and murdered 15 women between October 1977 and January 1978. He became known as “The Hillside Strangler” because he usually left the bodies of his victims on the hillsides of Glendale Highland Park. He is currently serving out his term of a life of imprisonment.
- Kenneth Lay – This white-collar criminal is known for his hand in the Enron fiasco. Lay was convicted and found guilty of six counts of conspiracy and fraud. As a result of his actions, 20,000 Enron employees lost their jobs. He died on July 5, 2006, just a few months before his sentencing was scheduled to take place.
- Kenneth Allen McDuff – This man, known as “The Poster Boy of Capital Punishment,” was sentenced to death, released from death row and then resentenced to death and finally executed. From early on, he was a bully to say the least. Teachers were unable to discipline him and his peers feared him. He was arrested multiple times and let off on parole more than once. The last time he was arrested, the Texas prison system made a major overhaul of their policies to ensure that criminals like McDuff could not be released on parole.
- Ken McElroy – “The Town Bully,” as Ken McElroy was known, committed several crimes throughout his life, including child molestation, rape, arson, burglary and more. At least one of his children seemed to be following in his footsteps. His son tried stealing candy from a local grocery store. The child was caught by the owner and an argument broke out. McElroy eventually shot the owner after stalking him and his family for a time after the incident. He did not end up killing the owner of the store, but was arrested and then let go on bail. The residents of the town were afraid for their safety, and one night, the town took a stand. Several citizens went to the local tavern where McElroy was and an unknown gunman shot him to death.
- Kenneth I. Starr – Starr was convicted of what’s called a “Ponzi scheme.” He had a total of 23 counts of fraud and money laundering, among others. He was sentenced in 2011 and is set to be released in 2016.
- Kenneth Wayne Beck – In January of 2013, Kenneth Beck admitted to killing his girlfriend Stacie Hough. Beck has since been sentenced to life in prison without parole. He said he never intended to kill his girlfriend; it happened while they were having an argument in their trailer. He strangled her with a hair dryer cord.
- Kenneth Roberts – While this is a fictional criminal, he’s still an interesting character. Kenneth Roberts was a bomber on the show “Criminal Minds.” It’s thought that this character was based on the Unabomber. His bombs killed few in the episode. At the end, he was arrested.
- Ken Sigala – In 2011, Ken Sigala and Barbie Alvarado – yes, Ken and Barbie – were accused of stealing iPads via Craigslist. They would respond to an ad showing interest in the iPad, meet to look at it and then drive off with the unpurchased iPad in hand. Several of the devices were reported stolen before Alvarado allegedly tried pawning one off, resulting in their arrest.
I’m sure most of us Kens would like any of these guys that are still alive to change their name, but alas we are stuck with most of them in our fraternity (I think of this every time I pass the Ken Lay YMCA close to my house that has since been renamed). If you can think of any criminals that should have made the list, don’t hesitate to leave a comment below.