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​Serial Killer Who Killed 22 People Is Dubbed 'Meanest Man Who Ever Lived'

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​Serial Killer Who Killed 22 People Is Dubbed 'Meanest Man Who Ever Lived'

An American serial killer dubbed the 'meanest man who ever lived' claimed to have killed 22 people before he was executed in 1930.

Charles 'Carl' Panzram was born on 28 June 1891 in East Grand Forks, Minnesota - but would later adopt numerous aliases while on his criminal rampage, including 'Carl Baldwin', 'Jack Allen', 'Jefferson Baldwin', 'Jeff Davis' 'Jefferson Davis', 'Jeff Rhodes', 'John King' and 'John O'Leary', depending on where he was in the US.

The son of two immigrants from East Prussia, Panzram was first brought before a judge at the age of eight for intoxication, before returning to court four years later for robbery, having stolen food and a revolver from a neighbour's home.

He was then sent to a juvenile prison called the Minnesota State Training School, where he was reportedly beaten, tortured and raped by staff.

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Panzram eventually set one of the school buildings on fire, but managed to get let off with the crime after lying.

In a 2017 video by YouTuber Rob Gavagan - whose 'Serial Killer Files' series delves into some of the world's most infamous names - Panzram is referred to as 'one of the most destructive serial killers in American history'.

Credit: YouTube/Rob Gavagan
Credit: YouTube/Rob Gavagan

Gavagan explains how Panzram returned home, where he attempted to murder his teacher, but after failing to do so ran away.

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"As time went on, he was arrested for burglary and brought back to another juvenile prison," he says.

"In 1907, he escaped the prison with another inmate named Jimmie Benson and headed out West. During their travels, the two would rob churches, then set them on fire."

Following a stint at Fort Leavenworth's United States Disciplinary Barracks, Panzram soon returned to his career as a thief, ending up 'back in prison many times'.

It was after escaping Oregon State Penitentiary in Salem, Oregon, in 1918, that Panzram headed East to embark on his 'murder spree', which spanned eight years and multiple countries.

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In 1920, he broke into the home of former US President William Howard Taft, stealing jewellery, bonds and a handgun.

Panzram used the money to buy a yacht, luring sailors away from New York City bars to get them drunk before robbing, raping and shooting them, dumping their bodies near Execution Rocks Lighthouse in Long Island Sound.

"He would continue this pattern for the next year, killing 10 men until running his yacht aground near Atlantic City, New Jersey, and sinking it," Gavagan says.

Credit: Photographed by Washington DC Police
Credit: Photographed by Washington DC Police
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Panzram then stowed away on a ship to Africa, landing in Luanda in Angola - where he raped an 11-year-old boy and bludgeoned him to death 'remorselessly'.

"Carl also claimed more lives wherein he hired a canoe of six rowers to take him out to find crocodiles near Lobito Bay," Gavagan explains in the video.

"He then shot each of the rowers, and threw their bodies to the crocodiles."

Panzram returned to America in 1922, raping and killing two small boys in Salem, Massachussetts - beating one to death with a rock and strangling the other.

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Overall, only five of Panzram's victims were could be confirmed by authorities, but he claimed to have committed 22 murders.

However, it is believed he may have killed more than 100 men.

In 1928, Panzram was arrested in Baltimore for a burglary in Washington DC, voluntarily confessing to some of his murders.

After beating Leavenworth Federal Penitentiary's foreman, Robert Warnke, to death with an iron bar, Panzram was eventually sentenced to death and was hanged on 5 September 1930.

Featured Image Credit: Photographed by Washington DC Police

Topics: World News, True Crime, News

Jess Hardiman
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