Three Infamous Sociopaths - Bundy, Mengele and Hossencofft

Ted Bundy in custody, Florida, July 1978
Ted Bundy in custody, Florida, July 1978. Wikimedia Commons/CC BY-SA 3.0

Being a sociopath does not make a person inherently a criminal, but there are plenty of felons that exemplify the most severe sociopathic behaviors (for more details see What is a Sociopath?). Here are two famous - or rather, infamous - sociopaths and one who is less well-known.

1. Ted Bundy  - Born in 1946 and imprisoned by 1975, the charismatic Ted Bundy eventually confessed to the murder of at least 30 women, though he is suspected of having killed upwards of 100.

His crimes were manipulative power plays that preyed on the innocent, frequently wearing casts to appear weak and helpless, or dressing up in uniforms of authority to help catch his victims unaware before luring them to their deaths. Caring for nothing but his own personal pleasure, Bundy raped and killed whenever the urge struck him, and often returned to the sites of his murders to accost the corpses in remembrance of his crimes.

Intelligent and conniving, he used his political charm and law school degree to represent himself in court while facing multiple trials for kidnapping and murder. With two death sentences under his belt, during a third trial he used a team of lawyers to try and plead insanity, affecting a crazed demeanor in the court rooms that was remarkably different from his earlier charming facade. His last ploy involved manipulating a woman into believing he was innocent, and marrying her on the witness stand.

She gave birth to his child, but later divorced him after realizing he was indeed guilty of the crimes.

2. Josef Mengele – Born in 1911 and drowning ignobly in Brazilian waters in 1979, Josef Mengele earned the nickname “The Angel of Death” for his time as a doctor under the Nazi regime in Auschwitz.

To say he had a lack of empathy would be to sell him short, for he was cruel and heartless in his experiments, torturing men, women, and children by skinning them alive and cutting out their organs to see how long they could survive without them, using no anesthesia.

His power over prisoners made him feel like a god, and he used his position to ruthlessly carry out every macabre fantasy he desired, keeping detailed notes in the process. Survivors say he had little interest in science, and simply enjoyed hurting people. After the war, he went into hiding and spent the rest of his life living under aliases. Despite this, he kept in touch with old Nazi contacts, and to the very end showed no remorse for his actions. He was never caught, but his remains were identified with forensics testing and DNA evidence.

3. Diazien Hossencofft – Born Armand Chavez, Hossencofft was an egotistic, deceptive individual who made his living as a successful con man, until he was charged with murder. He displayed a long pedigree full of impressive doctorates and work history in the CIA, all forged. He managed to make himself a place in prominent society, setting up a successful private medical practice that proclaimed to be on the cutting edge of science, filled with life-saving cancer treatments.

His deceit didn’t stop with his career, but leaked over into his personal life as well. At one time he was married and also engaged to three other women, on top of countless affairs. He even convinced one woman that he was a cancer-ridden, shape-shifting reptile-alien from another planet who had been sent to Earth to kill his evil nemesis, his wife Girly Chew, and that he needed her help to save the mankind.

Eventually charged with using a ninja sword to kidnap and murder Girly Chew, Hossencofft was defiant and without remorse in the face of the law, taunting officials with their lack of evidence, and always smiling and winking for news cameras.

At the very last minute, he dropped his innocent act, took a plea deal, and avoided a death sentence by taking the stand and spilling a laundry list of all his crimes, lies, and scams, taking great pleasure in detailing his exploits.

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