Here's How Many Victims The Gainesville Ripper Really Had

Danny Rolling, known as the Gainesville Ripper, was put to death in 2006 for the murders of five college students over the course of four gruesome nights in the Florida college town. According to the Miami Herald, Rolling broke into the home of freshmen Sonja Larson and Christina Powell on August 24, 1990, where he raped and stabbed them to death. On August 25, Rolling mutilated and decapitated 18-year-old Crista Hoyt in her apartment, leaving her head on a shelf, per an outline of Rolling's life and crimes by Radford University Department of Psychology. 

Rolling killed his last two known victims, 23-year-olds Tracy Paules and Manny Taboada, on August 27 after breaking into their apartment in the middle of the night. Both were stabbed to death, per the Orlando Sentinel. The paper reported Alachua State Attorney, Rod Smith, told the court that Taboada was stabbed 31-times because he was an "obstacle" to Paules, who was Rolling's intended victim. 

It was unknown then, but the Gainesville Ripper had killed a man before, and even a child to get to his intended female victim. Investigators in Shreveport, Louisiana were still trying to find the person who stabbed to death three members of the Grissom family, whose bodies were found on November 6, 1989, per the Shreveport Times

On September 7, 1990, Rolling was arrested for armed robbery, accused of holding up a Winn-Dixie supermarket south of Gainesville. By January 1991, Gainesville and Shreveport investigators were working together to solve the Grissom and the student murders, per the Shreveport Times.

Danny Rolling confessed to killing eight people in total

Investigators confirmed their suspicions about Rolling after DNA proved his guilt as the Gainesville Ripper, and Danny Rolling ultimately plead guilty in 1994, telling the judge, "There are some things that you just can't run from," according the New York Times

Back in Shreveport, detectives had warrants for Rolling's arrest for the Grissom murders, but after he pleaded guilty to killing the five Gainesville students, he was never extradited back to Louisiana to face the first-degree murder charges of 24-year-old Julie Grissom, her 55-year-old father, Tom Grissom, and her 8-year-old nephew, Sean, who were all stabbed to death. The Shreveport Times reported the Grissom case was closed in March 1994.

NBC News published Rolling's written confession to the Grissom murders. He said in part, "In order to fulfill all things that no stone be unturned. Hereby I make a formal written statement concerning the murders of Julie, Tom and Sean Grissom in my hometown of Shreveport, Louisiana ... I, and I alone am guilty. It was my hand that took those precious lights out of this ol' dark world. With all my heart and soul would I could bring them back. Being a native son of Shreveport, I can only offer this confession of deep felt remorse over the loss of such fine, outstanding souls.

"Have wept an ocean of tears ... By which mournful doth float 'pon a sea of regret."