Montie Rissell

Montie Ralph Rissell (born 1959),[1] also known as Monte,[2] is an American serial killer and rapist who raped and murdered five women between 1976 and 1977 in Alexandria, Virginia, where he lived.

Montie Rissell
Montie Ralph Rissell

1959 (age 60–61)
Other namesMonte
Criminal penaltyLife imprisonment
Victims5 murder victims, 12 rape victims
Span of crimes
August 4, 1976 – May 1977
CountryUnited States
Date apprehended
May 18, 1977
Imprisoned atPocahontas State Correctional Center

Early lifeEdit

Rissell lived his first seven years of his life in his hometown of Wellington, Kansas. Rissell lived with his mother, who was married and divorced twice by the time Rissell was 12. Rissell's biological father left the home when Rissell was seven years old. Rissell had two older siblings: a brother, Harold, and a sister.[3]

By the age of 14, Rissell had committed his first rape.[3] He was charged with a series of petty crimes and was institutionalized in 1973. Shortly after his release in 1975, he was arrested for attempted robbery after he attempted to rob a woman with a knife in an elevator near his home.[4] He received a five-year suspended sentence and dropped out of T. C. Williams High School at the age of 17.[3][5]


Rissell was reportedly angry with his ex-girlfriend after he saw her with another man. On August 4, 1976, Rissell saw 26-year-old Aura Marina Gabor, a sex worker living in the same apartment complex as Rissell on the 400 block of North Armistead Street in Alexandria. Rissell claimed he grew angry with her after she "allowed" him to have sex with her and she made it seem like she enjoyed it, so he drowned her in a nearby ravine.

The second murder occurred in March 1977, when Rissell raped and stabbed 22-year-old McDonald's manager trainee, Ursula Miltenberger, near the Hamlet Apartments. Her body was found March 6 in a Fairfax wood.[6]

An unspecified time later, Rissell attempted to murder an unknown woman; however, the would-be victim was let go after she told him her father had cancer, from which Rissell's brother also suffered.

The third murder victim was 27-year-old Gladys Ross Bradley, a post office clerk and resident of Hamlet Apartments. Sometime in April 1977, Rissell waited outside her house with a steak knife from his mother's kitchen. He raped her twice, then dragged her by her feet to a nearby creek, where he then drowned her.[7] Her body was found April 29, 1977.[8]

The fourth murder victim was 34-year-old Aletha Byrd, a personnel counselor at the Woodward & Lothrop department store at Tysons Corner Center.[8] Aletha had been missing from her home since April 10, 1977.[9] She was found dead with multiple stab wounds on May 17 in a wooded area.

The fifth and final victim was 24-year-old Jeanette McClelland, a graphics design proofreader at Bru-El Graphics and also a resident of Hamlet Apartments.[8] She was found raped and stabbed 100 times in a culvert near Shirley Highway on May 5, 1977. On May 18, police (who had Rissell under surveillance due to his being a suspect) searched Rissell's car and found Byrd's wallet, keys, and comb.[4][10] Police later confirmed that Rissell's fingerprints were found on Miltenberger's car. Rissell confessed to killing all five women.

Rissell was charged with abducting, raping and murdering the five women. However, because he pleaded guilty to the murder charges, the abduction and rape charges were dropped. Rissell was sentenced to five consecutive life sentences[4] on October 11, 1977. He was 18 years old at the time of his sentencing.


While in prison, Rissell wrote a 461-page handwritten manuscript detailing his murders.[11]

Rissell became eligible for parole in 1995, which was heavily protested by the victims' family members and the community.[7] Since then, Rissell has been granted an annual parole hearing each November; he has been denied parole each time.[1]

Rissell was previously incarcerated at Augusta Correctional Center, and is currently incarcerated at Pocahontas State Correctional Center in Virginia.[12]

Popular cultureEdit

Rissell was featured in season 1, episode 4 of the 2017 Netflix crime drama, Mindhunter; actor Sam Strike portrayed him.[13]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b "Parole Decisions August, 2012 with Reasons" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on December 29, 2016. Retrieved January 31, 2018.
  2. ^ Newton, Michael (2006). The Encyclopedia of Serial Killers. New York: Infobase Publishing. ISBN 978-0-8160-6987-3.
  3. ^ a b c Seaberry, Jane; Camp, Patricia (May 20, 1977). "Murder Case Suspect Had History of Disturbed Behavior". The Washington Post. Washington DC: Nash Holdings LLC. Archived from the original on October 20, 2018. Retrieved October 19, 2018.
  4. ^ a b c Seaberry, Jane (October 12, 1977). "Rissell Gets 4 Life Terms In Murders". The Washington Post. Washington DC: Nash Holdings LLC. Archived from the original on March 15, 2018. Retrieved January 31, 2018.
  5. ^ Tallerico, Brian (October 19, 2017). "The Real FBI Agents and Serial Killers Who Inspired Netflix's Mindhunter". New York City: New York Media. Archived from the original on October 23, 2017. Retrieved January 31, 2018.
  6. ^ Seaberry, Jane (September 24, 1977). "Rissell Admist Murders". The Washington Post.
  7. ^ a b Saulny, Susan (July 7, 1997). "FOR FAMILIES, PAROLE BID KEEPS CRIMES ALIVE". The Washington Post. Washington DC: Nash Holdings LLC.
  8. ^ a b c Meyers, Robert; Locke, Maggie (May 7, 1977). "Police Seek Links In Lives of Women Found Murdered". The Washington Post. Washington DC: Nash Holdings LLC. Archived from the original on October 20, 2018. Retrieved October 19, 2018.
  9. ^ Epstein, Daniel (May 19, 1977). "Police identify body of former area woman". The Free Lance-Star. Fredericksburg, Virginia: BH Media. Retrieved January 31, 2018.
  10. ^ Rossmo, D. Kim (1999). Geographic Profiling. Boca Raton, Florida: CRC Press. pp. 180–. ISBN 978-1-4200-4878-0.
  11. ^ Seaberry, Jane (February 5, 1978). "Rissell Writes a Book Describing His Murders". The Washington Post. Washington DC: Nash Holdings LLC. Archived from the original on March 15, 2018. Retrieved January 31, 2018.
  12. ^ Kappatos, Nicole (February 22, 2018). "Virginia serial killer once imprisoned in Richmond is focus of 'Mind Hunter' episode on Netflix". Richmond Times-Dispatch. Richmond, Virginia: Berkshire Hathaway. Archived from the original on February 23, 2018. Retrieved October 19, 2018.
  13. ^ Reiher, Andrea (October 17, 2017). "Mindhunter: the Traumatizing Backstory You Need to Hear About This Killer". PopSugar. San Francisco, California: PopSugar Inc. Archived from the original on October 20, 2018. Retrieved October 19, 2018.