We all want wrongdoers to get their just desserts. Occasionally, the quest for justice results in a bizarrely long prison sentence. Sometimes, these punishments are handed down to ensure the criminal can never be considered for parole or early release. But those are obstacles that cannot always be avoided. Moreover, even in that light, you might find the world’s longest prison sentences to be a little extreme. The United States has more people incarcerated than any other country on Earth. That includes China, which has four times the population of the U.S. and its own reputation for being heavy-handed with criminal prosecution. Yet the world’s longest prison sentence was handed down not in the U.S. but in Thailand. In 1989, Chamoy Thipyaso was given a whopping 141,078 years for corporate fraud.
This white-collar criminal defrauded 16,000 people in a pyramid scheme which netted her over $2 million. In Spain, a single murder generally can only carry a 40-year sentence.
However, if you happen to murder 192 people, it adds up rather quickly. In 2007, Otman El-Gnaoui and Jamal Zougam were given almost 43,000 years apiece for participating in the Madrid train bombings in Spain, which killed 192 people and injured 2,000.
Emilio Suarez Trashorras was given a slightly lesser sentence of over 34,000 years. Another 18 suspects were given lesser sentences. Many sources repeatedly described the attacks as an Al-Qaida operation.
However, no direct connection between the bombers and the terrorist organization has ever been established.
Charles Scott Robinson bears the dubious distinction of having received the longest prison sentence in the United States. In 1994, an Oklahoma court tried him for sexually assaulting six children. Life without parole was off the table, so jurors did the next-best thing and recommended 5,000 years for each assault.
The court accepted the recommendation and further concluded the sentences would be served consecutively rather than concurrently. The result is a sentence of 30,000 years. Robinson does not have the possibility for parole, but his first opportunity won’t happen until he’s 108. In 1993 in Oklahoma, Allan Wayne McLaurin and Darron Bennalford Anderson were sentenced to a total of over 6,000 years for rape, sodomy, assault, burglary, robbery and larceny.
They appealed, and the conviction was reversed. A second trial also found them guilty. This time, however, the jury was in an even more punitive mood.
Anderson was sentenced to over 11,000 years, and McLaurin received over 21,000 years, putting him on the top 10 list. Guess they should have kept their mouths shut.
On Halloween in 1976, Dudley Wayne Kyzer murdered his estranged wife, her mother and a college student who had the bad luck of being at home when Kyzer arrived and shot all three.
The jury deliberated less than an hour before sentencing him to death. However, Alabama later ruled death sentences to be unconstitutional and Kyzer was granted a new trial. This time, he was given 10,000 years plus two life sentences. Despite the lengthy sentence, he qualified for parole consideration after serving 10 years. So far, he’s been denied 10 times.
In 1996, Martin Bryant perpetrated the Port Arthur Massacre in Australia, which killed 35 people and wounded another 23.
He was given 35 life sentences plus 1,035 years, all without parole.
His lawyer eventually revealed Bryant had been motivated by the Dunblane School Massacre in the U.K. That shooting killed a teacher, one six-year-old and 14 five-year-olds.
In jail, Bryant eagerly awaited updated death tolls from his own spree.
No motive has been determined in either case.
The Port Arthur Massacre directly led
to the enactment of strict gun control laws in Australia.
Authorities initiated a buy-back program
which netted 643,000 firearms.
Similar events occurred after Dunblane.
In 2012, James Eagan Holmes
walked into a Colorado movie theater and opened fire.
He also booby-trapped his apartment
with improvised explosives.
Unlike most people on this list,
Holmes had almost no record
of criminal activity before the shooting.
His mental state was repeatedly called into question,
and for a time he was ruled incompetent to stand trial.
He pled not guilty by reason of insanity
but was found guilty of 24 counts of murder,
140 counts of attempted murder
and one count of possessing an explosive device.
The prosecution asked for a death sentence,
but Holmes instead received 12 life sentences
plus an additional 3,318 years without parole.
In 2015, Billy Joe Godfrey of Missouri
was found guilty of 35 counts of forcible sodomy.
Despite pleading guilty, he received
a life sentence for each count.
The crimes occurred in the 1990s with a boy and a girl,
one of which was his stepson.
The crimes were not revealed until the victims
came forward as adults.
Bobbie Joe Long began as a serial rapist.
He actively looked for opportunities to get inside homes
such as For Sale signs and classified ads
looking for repairmen.
If he found a woman home alone, he would rape them.
Eventually, he escalated to murder,
and he changed his M.O.
Now, he primarily lured prostitutes and strippers
into his car, where he raped them
and then either slashed their throats,
bludgeoned them or strangled them.
In 1984, he was found guilty for the rape and murder
of nine women and received 26 life sentences,
most to run consecutively, as well as a death sentence.
He continues to sit on death row.
Long is suspected of raping over 50 women,
and Long himself implied
there may be many more murder victims.
Rounding out our top 10 is David Hall.
Found guilty of 55 counts of possession
of child pornography, he was given the maximum sentence,
15 years for each count,
for a total of 825 years.
Hall was discovered after sharing images online
through an account connected to his email address.
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