Friday 1 August 2014

Child  abductors  who  kill  their  victims  (Part 2)
There are very few human beings that are more contemptible than those fiends who abduct small children and then kill them. On average, 100 children in the United States alone are abducted and murdered by strangers each year. There is approximately one child abduction-murder for every 10,000 reports of missing children. Sexual assault was the primary motivation. The majority of the killers—53 percent were known to have committed prior crimes against children, the most common being sexual assaults. In this article, I will tell you about another one of those sub humans.

Carl Panzram

This evil child killer was born on June 28, 1891. He was the son of Prussian immigrants on a farm in Polk County, Minnesota. Together with his brothers and sisters, five brothers and one sister, he had been working at an early age on the farm and barely got the necessary attention of his parents. Even his brothers beat him often. In 1898, his father suddenly left the family and never returned. Without the ‘breadwinner’ in the family and in spite of hard work, the family soon lived below the poverty line.  

His first crime committed Panzram 1902, when he was just 11 years old. He broke into a neighbor's house and stole a handgun. When his brothers noticed the theft and encountered him with the gun, they beat him almost to death. The act also had legal consequences, as Panzram was arrested and on 11, October 1903 at the Minnesota State Training School near Red Wing was sent to a prison for young offenders, where up to 300 boys were housed between 10 to 20 years. On the day of his arrival at the school if one wants to believe this man’s statement, had been sexually abused by a staff member in his office.

When Panzram or one of his classmates defied orders of the warders, they were beaten with wooden planks and other objects. He secretly plotted revenge. On July 7, 1905 He started a fire in a shed attached to the school. While Panzram laughed in his bed, the fire burned a large part of the school building down. While no one was injured in the fire, it was finally  extinguished.      

In the autumn of 1905, Panzram was discharged from the school and returned home to the farm. From January 1906 Carl attended classes in a school. It was there that he would have almost committed his first murder. When his teacher had beaten him with a wooden slat after an argument, Panzram obtained a gun and walked into his school with the intention to kill his teacher. But the weapon fell out of his pants on the ground class, so his attempt at killing a human being had failed. Panzram was expelled from school. Two weeks after the assassination attempt, beginning in February 1906, the 14-year-old Panzram took leave from home, and began his years of travel around the United States.

As an interesting aside, back in 1954, I had purchased a Smith and Wesson 38 cal. long barrel revolver and was taking it to an RCMP detachment in Victoria, British Columbia and as I reached into my pocket to get the change for the fare in the streetcar, my revolver fell out of my pocket and hit the floor of the streetcar with a loud thump. As I picked it up, I heard loud gasps from the passengers. I exclaimed, “If it was in a holster on my belt, this wouldn’t have happened.” It isn’t likely that they really felt at ease with that statement.

In the summer of 1906, Panzram was in Butte, Montana and was arrested for burglary and sentenced to imprisonment of one year in the Montana State Reform School in Miles City. Since the 14-year-old physically already strongly resembled an adult, he enjoyed the reputation of a criminal among juvenile inmates and the guards alike. It was in that institution that Panzram committed his first murder when he struck down a guard who beat him frequently with a wooden bar. As punishment, he had to spend some time in solitary confinement with another inmate, Jimmie Benson. I am amazed that was his only sentence for the murder of the guard but then, we must not forget that he was only 14 years of age when he killed the guard.  

Panzram and Benson escaped from the reform school the following year. They broke into an arsenal in the small town of Terry in Montana and grabbed some weapons.  In the coming weeks, Panzram and Benson moved along the US-Canadian border leaving a trail of destruction as they broke several times in shops and buildings, most notably churches.

To shake off the police who suspected Panzram was one of the culprits, he returned back to Montana in 1907 and although still a minor, he signed up in Helena, Montana with the United States Army.
The army with their discipline was what Panzram wanted. He was often insubordinate and he disobeyed orders. In April 1908, after only four months in the army, he broke into the quarters of a quartermaster and stole clothing worth about 90 U.S. dollars. He then attempted to desert but was picked up by police and sent to prison. On April 20, 1908, he was brought before a military court for a short process in which Panzram was sentenced to imprisonment for a term of three years. The signature on Panzram’s judgment, was the then Minister of War and later the future U.S. President, William Howard Taft.

Military prisoners, regardless of the state they come from, serve their sentences in the federal prison in Leavenworth, Kansas. Placed in a cattle car and with little water and food, Panzram was sent with a group of other prisoners on a 1000-mile trek to Leavenworth. In May 1908, the train arrived at Leavenworth. It was there that he admitted his true age of 17 years. 

Panzrams wore a 50 pound heavy iron ball on his leg 24 hours a day. He and his fellow prisoners had to perform hard physical labor in a quarry.  The work the inmates had to do was 10 hours a day every day of the week and in absolute silence. If a prisoner spoke to anyone other than a guard, he was beaten and then placed in solitary confinement. This also happened to Panzram more than once. As in the juvenile detention center in Minnesota, he on one night, set a fire in a workshop and caused damages of $100,000. He was never discovered as the arsonist.  Even if Panzram had thought of flight, this was impossible in Leavenworth since the walls were 40 feet high and had a base of 20 feet underground.

For good behavior Panzram was released from Leavenworth in 1910. He never guessed that he would enter a prison again, 20 years later as a prisoner on death row.
After Panzram’s release from Leavenworth, he acted more or less as a lawful citizen of an on for a period of almost one year. What is certain is that he traveled by train as a ‘stowaway (like millions of others) through all the southwestern States. To be able to keep financially afloat, he broke into houses and stole all he could lay hands on. He also continued, especially in the summer, setting fires in fields which destroyed the livelihoods of many farmers. To confuse the police, he took on other identities. He was arrested as Jeff Baldwin for burglary in Rusk, Texas. He escaped from the only moderately secure District Court after being in it for a few days.  In 1911,  he escaped from prison in FresnoCalifornia, where he had been in custody under the pseudonym of Jefferson Davis. He had been given a prison sentence of six months for the theft of a bicycle. After 30 days, he was able to escape and fled to the north. He met a group of fellow stowaways in a freight car.  He forced them at gunpoint to hand over their valuables, and then he raped one of the women after forcing the others at gunpoint to jump out of the moving train to a certain death.

Panzram escaped custody with success, such as local jails in Dalles, Oregon and Harrison, Idaho. He was either very adept at escaping or the guards were careless or the jails had faulty security systems.

As an interesting aside, I was in a local jail in Toronto in 1962 for six weeks and I confounded the guards and their supervisors on me being able to open my cell door at any time I chose despite the fact that the warning light referring to my cell door was still showing green in the control room which meant that the door was closed and locked even though it was unlocked and open. To this day, they never discovered how I could open any of the cell doors in that jail. On the guard’s Notice Board was a note stating that I was a locksmith and might escape. I wasn’t a locksmith and wasn’t going to escape. It was just that I found a failure in the jail’s electrical system that made it possible for me to make use of that flaw which thereby let me open my cell door undetected at any time I wanted.  Each time they found my door open, they would re-lock it again and try opening it on their own. They failed each time with the comment, “You won’t be able to open it this time.” But I always did.      Of course, it was always when they weren’t around.

In the spring of 1913 Panzram was for aggravated robbery in Chinook in the U.S. state of Montana and arrested on 27 April 1913 a one-year prison sentence in prison in Deer Lodge convicted. It was then that Panzram also met Jimmie Benson again, that young man with whom he escaped with seven years earlier from the detention center of Miles City. This time, Panzram was sentenced to a term of imprisonment of 10 years for bank robbery.  After he was released he committed more thefts and  escaped only this time he was sent to the Oregon State Penitentiary  under the false name as Jefferson Baldwin. That penitentiary was considered one of the toughest and most feared prison in the northwest part of the United States.                  

The director, a former sheriff named Harry Minto, treated the prisoners with unmerciful harshness. If one of them said a wrong word, he was beaten, often whipped, put in solitary confinement. Sometimes they could be hung by their hands for days from a bar. Also Panzram had experienced this form of punishment on January 1, 1916 for insubordination two days running 10 hours each day. When the guards on February 27th, 1916 discovered that Panzram was in possession of a weapon, he was sentenced to solitary confinement and a diet of bread and water for three weeks.  As Panzram stuck in revenge three buildings in the prison complex on fire, his incommunicado detention was extended to 61 days. In the spring of 1917, he helped his fellow prisoner Otto Hooker to escape from prison. Because the warden Harry Minto was murdered in Albany, Oregon in September 1917,   prison conditions were tightened.                                          

After several failed attempts to escape, Panzram succeeded in escaping on September 18, 1917.  After a few days of freedom, he was in Linn County and recognized by one of the prison guards on the open road and was arrested after a brief firefight. Panzram was returned to the prison and after they had beaten him almost to death, he was put in solitary confinement.  Panzram succeeded in escaping the prison again a few months later, on 1 May 12, 1918.  again to escape.

Now I think you will agree with me that this man had physically suffered a great deal at the hands of people, beginning when he was a child. This kind  of brutality has an emotional effect on a person’s mind. That emotion is hatred for fellow human beings. He had become indifferent to the suffering of others.

He traveled east and committed more crimes including breaking into the home of William Taft, the former president of the United States and the same man that approved his sentence to Leavenworth. While he was burglarizing the home, he stole Taft’s pistol.

While he was homeless on the east side of Manhattan, he hung around other homeless people and murdered an unemployed sailor and the sailor’s girlfriend after he raped her. He secured a large stone around each of their necks and tossed them into the river.

During the summer of 1920 he murdered three more men. In the autumn of 1920, Panzram committed a burglary in Bridgeport , Connecticut and was arrested and sentenced to a term of imprisonment of six months.  After a few months in the spring of 1921, he escaped from the jail. Were these prisons and jails made of cardboard?

Panzram in the early summer of 1921, he boarded a ship heading to Africa.  Shortly after his arrival in the city of Luanda, a coastal city of Angola, he raped and killed an eleven year old African boy. 

Panzram settled thereafter in a fishing village in the Angolan province of Benguela  Although the authorities accused him of having committed the murder of several boys, they could not prove him it. Having money, he persuaded six local six men to accompany him on a crocodile hunt. They did not suspect that Panzram would kill in cold blood in the seclusion of the jungle and throw their bodies to the crocodiles to feed on. He allso raped and he killed more men and boys; some of them were barely eleven years old, along the Congo River.   After a few months in Africa, he had acquired   much money by robberies so he returned in the summer of 1922 to the United States. Panzram now knew how easy it was to kill people.  

In Salem, Massachusetts, on the afternoon of July 18, 1922, he met one of the few victims whose names we know today. He was 12-year-old George Henry McMahon. This had been sent by one of his friends to a store to get milk. Panzram grabbed the defenseless child by the arm and raped him repeatedly over a period of three hours. Then he smashed his skull with a rock. Shortly thereafter, after two residents of Salem passed the crime scene and noticed a stranger nearby. Panzram escaped unmolested. Three days later, on July 21st 1922, the boy’s body was discovered.  The murder, however, could not be determined for six years.

Using the name, John O'Leary, Panzram rented in the spring of 1923 an apartment in Westchester County (New York). He took a job as a night watchman at a company on Yonkers Avenue , where he met the 15-year-old George Walosin, who worked as a laborer in the factory. He earned the trust of the boy and convinced the 15-year-old that  anal intercourse was good. So it was that on June 25, 1923 Panzram sexually abused the boy but left him alive. The plan of Panzram was that Walosin should also kill men. A lesson for the boy, Panzram murdered a young man in Walosin’s presence. The next day, June 28, 1923, he said that Walosin should kill a man single-handedly, but the boy did not feel that it was right that he should do it.  So he went to the police and Panzram was accused of having sexually abused him. Walosin also revealed to the investigators that Panzram murdered an unknown man.  After an intensive and short investigation, on the morning of June 29, 1923 in Nyack, New York, Panzram was placed in handcuffs. 

Panzram had acquired the services of a criminal defense lawyer named Cashin to have him released on bail. Panzram pleaded with him and got him released on bail. He also offered Cashin as a reward of a yacht he claimed was his which he claimed was worth was worth $ 10,000. As hoped, Panzram was discharged after a few days and immediately disappeared. When Mr. Cashin wanted to register the yacht in his own name, he learned to his dismay that it had been stolen stolen, after which it was then confiscated. Panzram had cheated his own lawyer.

A few weeks later, on 26 August 1923, Panzram broke into a train depot in the town of Larchmont and stole cases of Zugfahrgästen valuables and money.  He was captured by a night guard named Richard Pit in the act and arrested immediately. The next day, Panzram, couldn’t pay a security deposit of $ 5000 for bail so he was admitted to the county jail of Westchester County. On the way to that jail, Panzram stated that he was an escaped prisoner from Oregon and that he also had a 17-year sentence to be served for the murder of a police officer. He also boasted of his other deeds. The authorities of New York made ​​contact with their colleagues from Oregon, which confirmed the information Panzram so on August 29, 1923 Panzram was sentenced to a term of imprisonment of five years and was released after serving the full five years.  I can’t imagine what his purpose was in admitting to the Oregon sentences.

October 1923 in the prison in Dannemora, New York which is located approximately 10 miles from the Canadian border, Panzram continued to put his destruction intentions into action.  In a building in the prison complex he set it on fire and attempted to murder a law enforcement officer. In a failed attempt to escape, Panzram injured himself so severely that his broken hip had to be fixed in an operation. After he had sexually abused a fellow prisoner, Panzram spent the last two years and four months of his sentence in solitary confinement. In July 1928, after five long years in the prison, Panzram was discharged.

After dozens of burglaries and at least one murder in Baltimore, Maryland,  Panzram reached Washington, DC . Again, he was arrested for a burglary and locked for the umpteenth time in jail. It was there that Panzram met a 26-year-old Jewish law enforcement officer, Henry Lesser asked Panzram questions of what crimes he had committed. In the following weeks, Panzram told Lesser his whole life story.. Between the two men, a kind of friendship was formed as Lesser supplied Panzram with cigarettes and food in return for Panzram’s life story. Lesser wrote it all down (20,000 words).   Panzram not only confession to in numerous murders, he also openly criticized the U.S. justice system which probably was deserving of criticism.

On October 29, 1928, Panzram murdered 14-year-old Alexander Uszacke in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  to the load, which he also confessed. However. it was the murder of the 12-year-old, George Mahon in 1922 in Oregon and his escape from prison in Oregon that finally caught up with him. In the autumn of 1928 there was a brief process that ended on November 12, 1928 with a guilty verdict. For the murder of the 12-year-old boy, Panzram was sentenced to a term of imprisonment of 15 years and for the burglary, an additional 10 years. With a grin on his face Panzram left the courthouse. Perhaps he was thinking that he will escape so the sentences were academic.

On February 1, 1929 Panzram was sent back to Leavenworth, where he had been almost two decades earlier, already serving a prison sentence. Since he did not want to work with the other prisoners in the quarry, he asked for a job where he could be alone. Panzram’s request was approved and he then was an employee in the prison laundry. Here he was the law enforcement officer Robert Warnke assumed by Panzram but almost daily quarreled because this prisoner, especially Panzram, for minor rule violations and urged the guards reported. Also, Panzram spent on arrangement Warnke several days in solitary confinement. 

Then on June 20, 1929, while reflecting on what Warnke had been doing to him, without saying a word, he struck the guard on the head with an iron bar. Warnke died immediately as a result of fractured skull.
Panzram was then put on trial on the 14th of April 1930. After only 45 minutes deliberation, the jury had found him guilty and on their recommendation, Panzram was sentenced to death by hanging.

During the last months of his life, Panzram tried to communicate in writing with Henry Lesser who was still in Washington, D.C. Lesser later completed his biography of Panzram.

On the morning of September 5, 1930, shortly before 6:00 clock in the morning, Panzram climbed the 12 steps of the gallows to accept his judgment. His last words were addressed to the hangman who was fumbling with the noose.  “Hurry it up, you Hoosier bastard! I could kill ten men while you're fooling around!”

This man should have been hanged much sooner that he was. If he had been hanged for the murder of the guard in 1906, all those other murders he committed later never would have happened. Unfortunately, he was still a minor in 2006 the so they couldn’t hang him.

I studied Abnormal Psychology in 1972/73 at the University of Toronto as part of a four-year-criminology program and have worked with mentally-ill prisoners in a prison in the first decade of this century so I have a bit of knowledge about what makes them tick.

I don’t know if he committed that first murder in this century, and was given psychiatric treatment, he might have reformed. I am inclined to suspect that any psychiatric treatment given to him would have fallen on deaf ears. The mold that was formed during his violent childhood years was probably too hard for anyone to break. However, I would be less than honest if I didn’t mention that there are a great many people who had brutalized childhoods and despite that, they grew up as law-biding citizens.

It is well known that fantasy plays a large role in the life and motivation of the serial killer. And it is also widely accepted that the serial killer uses fantasy as a crutch—as a coping mechanism for day-to-day life. Perhaps he fantasized that he was getting even with his father and brothers who brutalized him when he later killed men and boys alike.

The serial killer, much like the chronic gambler and problem drinker, is addicted to the use of fantasy. So strong is this compulsion that the serial killer murders to preserve the addiction; in essence preserving his only remaining coping mechanism. Much like a security blanket, or favorite stuffed animal, Panzram’s addiction to fantasize killing his father and brothers was used by him to protect and comfort his addled head. By viewing his addiction as a coping device, much of his alluring fantasies becomes evident, as does this addicted individual's continued desire to re-create them.

Of course, like all serial and mass killers, he had no empathy for other human beings. He was a remorseless, vicious killer, a child rapist, a man with no soul.  He often fantasized about committing mass murder.  It would appear however, that the only person he really liked was the Jewish writer, Lesser. His death by hanging finally brought an end to the horror this inhumane monster brought to so many of his victims.


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