The Unabomber, the BTK Killer, and the Candy Man

An intense love of self, lack of empathy for others or respect for the law, and a tendency toward manipulation and violence are hallmarks of sociopathic behavior.

We looked at three infamous sociopaths in another article: Bundy, Mengele, and Hossencofft. Now we’ll take a look at some of the most severe cases of criminal sociopathy.

Ted Kaczynski - The Unabomber

Ted Kaczynski - Unabomber
Ted Kaczynski, the Unabomber. Stephen J. Dubner/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Better known as the Unabomber, Theodore Kaczynski murdered three individuals and injured 23 more in a bombing spree that lasted 20 years. Intelligent but not outgoing, Kaczynski graduated Harvard as a mathematician and began a career as a professor, but he couldn’t connect with his students and hated giving lectures. He abandoned humanity and went to live in the woods as a recluse in 1971.

The time in isolation didn’t seem to do him much good. By the time he rejoined society in 1978, he had developed his own personal philosophy of anarchism and began sending bombs through the mail to seemingly random targets in Universities and Airlines (resulting in the Unabomber moniker). He was meticulous in the manipulative methods he used in covering his tracks, going so far as to take random bits of hair from the floors of bathrooms stalls to put into his bombs just to try and throw police off with random genetic information.

Upon his capture, his personal journals (some 40,000 pages) were filled with details of his exploits and his desire to be able to kill more people. He was frustrated with his inability to cause more lethal damage and was forever searching for a better, sneakier bomb. Showing no remorse for his victims, he instead expressed joy when he succeeded in murdering others, and refused to allow his defense team to enter any kind of insanity plea.

Other articles in this series:

Dennis Rader - The BTK Killer

Dennis Rader - the BTK Killer
Dennis Rader, the BTK Killer. Getty Images News

Dubbed the BTK Killer, Dennis Rader showed a chilling lack of remorse in confessing his crimes once he was finally captured and tried for the murders of 10 people. In fact, he seemed infuriated when some of the murders weren’t attributed to him and began filling in details of the killings to assuage his own bruised ego.

Before he was captured, he was described as ruthless, overzealous, and arrogant in his jobs, which were frequently positions that allowed some authority over others. Though he feared the law, he did not respect it. The only thing that slowed his killing spree was fear of capture, caring nothing for the pain he was inflicting on others and feeling no guilt.

He reveled in the spotlight, and frequently taunted police (news compilation of articles where he taunted the police with various letters/evidence with letters about his crimes, and even praising the crimes of others. He suggested his own name, BTK (Bind, Torture, Kill), showing that he clearly was taking pride in what he saw as his accomplishments. His need to take credit is what got him caught, sending a floppy disk to police that traced back to his church.

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Dean Corrl - The Candy Man

Dean Corrl - Candy Man
Dean Corrl, the Candy Man.

Dean Corrl – The driving force behind the Houston Mass Murders, Dean Corrl was fondly known in Houston, Texas, as the Candy Man, because he would give out free candy to children from his mother’s sweets shop. Little did residents know that Dean had a darker taste for children, eventually discovered as having raped, tortured, and killed at least 27 young boys.

Incapable of holding any normal relationship with other people, Dean resorted to savagery as his only means of connection with other people. Over time, he accumulated two accomplices who helped him torture his victims, sometimes keeping them captive for days before finally killing them. But Dean had no sympathy even for his fellow killers, and soon his wrath turned upon them when they refused to continue with his mad games.

That mistake cost him his life when his accomplice Elmer Henley put a bullet in Corrl’s head after refusing to rape and torture his own fiancée.

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