Carl Panzram is the worst criminal you’ve never heard of — his name didn’t register with me! Panzram was born in Minnesota and sent away to Red Wing reform school after committing several burglaries.
He knocked around Idaho, California and other states along the Columbia River robbing, burning buildings, and raping people. He was sentenced to seven years for burglary at the Oregon State Penitentiary.
He escaped in 1918 and headed to New York.
In 1920, the six-foot tall, tattooed bully with steel gray eyes boarded a ship headed to Angola. Panzram’s horrific crime spree included killing 22 people and raping over 1,000 young men and boys.
He also set a church on fire and stole from countless people. He made it in and out of prisons only to continue his rampage of death and assault each time he was released. Here’s what he wrote about it:
“For all of these things, I am not the least bit sorry,” he seethed in his autobiography, penned from his prison cell. “I hate the whole damned human race including myself.”
Possibly his most revolting crime was at sea. He set sail to go crocodile hunting, but instead drugged and killed all 10 of his shipmates and then fed them to the crocs. He never expressed any regret for the pain he inflicted.
Henry Lesser, a prison guard, gave the inmate a dollar to buy cigarettes. and eventually pen and paper so Panzram could detail his shocking life story. Panzram claimed he was continually abused in reform school and shown no kindness whatsoever to those he tried to befriend.
They finally hung Panzram in 1930. His final words as he was facing death were:
“Hurry it up, you Hoosier bastard! I could kill 10 men while you’re fooling around!”
You can learn more shocking details about Panzram and the torture he inflicted and claims he faced in this video:
His autobiography “Panzram: A Journal of Murder” serves as a learning tool to help better understand serial criminals. Conservative actor James Woods played Panzram in the movie based on the autobiography.
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