Talking Heads, “Psycho Killer.”
What better time than Halloween Night for True Crime Report to make a list of truly terrifying mo-fos from the darkest pits of your worst nightmares?
The following maniacs and psychos were not chosen at random. They were chosen because: they are or were real killers, not some Hollywood creation cobbled together from the real details of these folks’ crimes; I think their crimes make them immensely scary examples of the psychopath in action, in the real world; in some instances, they were chosen because they were already famous for being evil; in other cases, I don’t think enough people have heard of the assholes. These people were also chosen because they are all most likely psychopaths. That is, they weren’t insane when they did their dirty deeds. They knew exactly what they were doing, and they liked it.
The actual numbers below are meaningless. Ranking just how horrible these people are is a purely subjective thing. That’s the really scary thing about psycho killers like the people below — ask another crime writer or blogger who they’d put in a Top Ten Most Terrifying list , and you might get an entirely different set of monsters. This is, then, just my own personal list — you’re welcome to add yours in the comments.
1. Big Ed Kemper — Almost all you need to know about Eddie Kemper: he was 6’9″ and weighed 300 lbs. He was a serial killer. A serial killer of Shaq-like proportions. Isn’t that enough? Think about it. If he wanted to kill you, you were pretty much done, son, unless you happened to be armed with a sawed-off loaded with 12 gauge slugs. Still, the deeper details of Ed’s crimes are so astoundingly gruesome and depraved, you wonder how anyone who has ever had to deal with the guy can sleep at night, to this very day. Big Ed started early. He killed his grandparents when he was just 15. Ed explained this by saying he just wanted to know what it was like to kill them. That got him shipped off to a state mental hospital for 5 years. Then they had to let him go — as is noted in the video above, he was returned to his ever-lovin’ momma. Whom he hated with a rage-filled passion few of us can fathom. Ed didn’t kill mom right away, though. First he practiced on co-eds in Santa Cruz, CA, where he lived at the time. Eddie generally tended to stab his high school and college-age female victims before taking them to the house he shared with his mom, where he might remove the girls’ heads and take a few pics to commemorate the moment. Necrophilia and cannibalism were also part of the package. Ed killed at least six girls this way before he worked his way up to mom. Ed killed his own mother with a claw hammer, removed the head from her corpse, had sex with the headless body, then he tried to shove his mom’s voice box down the garbage disposal. His final act was to take out his mother’s best friend, who pretty much received the same treatment. Fortunately for the hitchhiking college girls of Santa Cruz, Ed Kemper eventually turned himself in. Tidbits: Ed Kemper is a very smart man. The video above proves that; he’s well-spoken, even eloquent. He is also unusually forthcoming for a serial killer. Kemper’s not above messing with people still, though — he once told profiler John Douglas that he could twist Douglas’s head off and leave it on an interview room table before the guards even made it to the door. Apparently, that was Ed’s way of joshing around with the lawman. [Link]
2. Joseph Edward Duncan III — That hippy-trippy video above was made by and features the monster himself. Prior to May, 2005, Joseph Edward Duncan III was an unassuming computer engineering student at North Dakota State in Fargo. Sure, he was a level III registered sex offender, but to hear Jet tell it, in his blog, the crime that put him away for 20 years (give or take) was more a misunderstanding than anything. But Duncan finally took off the mask that May. He killed three people inside a home in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, in the dead of night, after stalking the family with night-vision goggles for a few days. Duncan bludgeoned Mark McKenzie, Brenda Groene and Brenda’s oldest son Slade Groene to death before kidnapping the youngest members of the household, Dylan and Shasta Groene. Duncan took the children deep into the woods, where he brutally molested and tortured them both before finally killing Dylan. Duncan was finally arrested on July 2, 2005. Shasta Groene was by his side, still alive. After his arrest it became apparent that Jet Duncan was every inch a monster in human skin. During a brief period of parole in the late 90s, he killed at least 3 other children — all of them abducted and molested before they were murdered. Duncan is still collecting life sentences as we speak. He has also been nearly as forthcoming as Ed Kemper since his arrest, though Duncan is much less direct, referring in a blog he kept by proxy after incarceration to a serial killer he knew, even though it was clear that he was the killer in question. Yeah… Jet Duncan is the ultimate boogeyman, the weird stranger who looks a little too long at your children. And I didn’t even go into the rumors of necrophilia. To learn more about this charming fella, just check the link on the right. [Link]
3. Ted Bundy — Yeah, sorry to be so conventional here, but Teddy-boy owns a default position on any list like this. Why? Come on. There’s a reason Ted Bundy became so famous. It wasn’t just the fact that he was handsome and engaging, even charming. It wasn’t because he was wily, eluded police several times, made daring escapes. Those things have added to Ted’s infamy, but what he actually did was bad enough. Bundy may have killed upwards of 50 women. He didn’t just rape and murder — he would return to bloated corpses in the woods and do things to them. Bundy would take heads back to his apartment and put them on a shelf, do things in front of them. Under that urbane veneer, that smooth voice, there lurked a remorseless animal who completely enjoyed what he did. Ted Bundy didn’t feel an ounce of remorse. He was fully aware of what he was doing, and he just wanted to get away with it as long as he could. Because he loved it. There are a ton of good links for Ted Bundy online, but I’ll default to Wikipedia, this time — it’s as good an overview as any. [Link]
4. Robert Charles Browne — There’s a new book about Browne on the shelves, and if half of what Browne says he did is true, he easily belongs on this list. Between 1970 and 1995, Browne may have killed as many as 50 people, all across the United States. “The Devil’s Right Hand Man” was a wandering sexual predator, and he claims he killed people in Arkansas, California, Colorado, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas and Washington. He’s been convicted of two murders already — Heather Dawn Church, who was killed in 1991, and Rocio Delpilar Sperry, who was murdered in Colorado in 1987. Brown says he killed others, and he did it in a variety of ways — with guns, with leather shoelaces, with a screwdriver. Browne did whatever was expedient, according to him. Here is what Browne said about his approach to murder in 2006: “None ever got away; never gave the opportunity […] If you’re going to do it, just do it.” Browne’s description of what he did to Rocio Sperry is the stuff of nightmares. He says he dismembered the woman’s body in a tub, popping her joints as he pulled her apart. Investigators are still trying to prove Browne’s claims, but so far, he’s been pretty plausible. [Link]
5. Carl Panzram — I don’t care how hardcore you think these guys were — freaking Carl Panzram would have called the whole bunch of them pussies. Then he probably would have tried to rape them — even giant Ed Kemper. For few psychopaths in the history of modern crime (and he just qualifies as modern — just) have been quite as overtly remorseless and unapologetically criminal as Carl Panzram. Panzram was a thief, an arsonist, a buggerer, and a killer. He wasn’t a gay killer, though — Panzram seemed to understand this about himself — for him, raping a male victim was an expression of rage and domination. It was pure sadism on his part — he just liked the fact that he was degrading and humiliating the person under his control. Here is what Panzram had to say about his crimes: “In my lifetime I have murdered 21 human beings, I have committed thousands of burglaries, robberies, larcenies, arsons and last but not least I have committed sodomy on more than 1,000 male human beings.” Panzram was clear on his feelings about his history. “I am not in the least bit sorry.” Being executed didn’t bother Panzram at all. History records that he said, “[Hurry] it up, you Hoosier bastard! I could hang 10 men while you’re fooling around!” Panzram may not have been as prolific as Bundy or Browne. He wasn’t exactly a committed mysoped like Duncan, but he was a grade-A textbook example of a psychopath who, at the end, stopped even bothering to wear that “mask of sanity.” All these guys are scary as hell, but in a lot of ways, he’s the scariest of the lot. [Link]
If you want to read up on a few other guys who could have just as easily been on this list, check out the following links:
* Ivan Milat
* William Bonin
* Doug Clark and Carol Bundy
Unfortunately, the list could go on, and on.
Happy Halloween. Sleep tight. Don’t let the looming shadows bite.