When it comes to serial killers and mass murderers, the refrain of “I’m innocent” is a familiar one.
Not many killers go out of their way to fess up to their crimes. Even fewer go on to take perverse pride in their heinous acts.
Carl Panzram, however, is not most killers. Throughout his criminal career, Panzram made no secret of his contempt for humanity and his love of killing. Because of this, it’s no wonder that many consider him to be the most sadistic killer in history.
Like most killers, Panzram had a rough childhood.
As the son of German immigrants, Panzram began acting out at a young age. Trying to intervene on their son’s behalf, his parents enrolled the boy at a school for troubled youth. The staff there routinely beat and tortured students. After returning from the school, Panzram ran away from home at the age of 14.
What followed were several years of escalating crimes.
In 1907, a drunk Panzram decided to enlist in the army. Not long after,
he rebelled against his commanding officer and served a two-year prison
sentence. Future president William Howard Taft, then Secretary of War,
was the one who signed off on Panzram’s sentence. After being released
from prison in 1910, Panzram burgled Taft’s home in Connecticut and made
off with a substantial sum of money.