If there's anything scarier than a serial killer, it's a remorseless serial killer that feels no guilt for their actions. While some murderers have attempted to seek redemption for their crimes, there are some truly cold-hearted monsters who lack empathy entirely. These are the killers who never apologized for their crimes. Merciless killers like this would probably have never stopped if they weren't apprehended by law enforcement, given they horrifying ways they acted at trial.
Killers without remorse, entirely devoid of empathy. That's what we're dealing with here. The pure evil fiends who never felt bad for what they did. This list explores the most sinister, inhuman serial killers. They not only didn't apologize to the families of their victims, but often reveled in their crimes. It's almost as if they received sick, twisted gratification from their amoral stance on unthinkable crimes.
Dennis Rader, better known as "BTK" (an abbreviation for his modus operandi: "bind, torture, kill"), was sentenced to 10 consecutive life terms in 2005 for committing a string of murders dating back to 1974 in Wichita, KS. During his trial, Rader - who was also a Boy Scout leader and church deacon - stunned the courtroom as he gleefully recounted the grisly details of his crimes, exhibiting a smug, almost sexual gratification in the retelling of his murder spree.
In describing the strangulation murder of 24-year-old Shirley Vian, he explained that he had first tied her children up in another room in an effort to keep them quiet. When this didn't work, he forced them to witness their mother's execution:
We moved them to the bathroom. She helped me. Then I tied the door shut. We put some toys and blankets and odds and ends in there for the kids to make them as comfortable as we could. Tied one of the bathroom doors shut so they couldn't open it then we shoved, she went back and helped me shove the bed against the other bathroom door. Then I proceeded to tie her up. She got sick, threw up. I got her a glass of water, comforted her a little, then I went ahead and tied her up and put a bag over her head and strangled her.
- Photo: San Quentin State Prison, California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain
Richard Ramirez terrified southern California with a rampage of violence during the summer of 1985. The murderous drifter from Texas - who would come to be known as the "Night Stalker" - beat, raped, strangled, shot, and cut the throats of his victims in a spree of violence which he claimed was a tribute to Satan.
Upon being convicted of 13 murders and 30 other felonies - a body of work that sentenced him to the gas chamber - Ramirez delivered a remorseless, chilling monologue: "You don't understand me. You are not expected to. You are not capable of it. I am beyond your experience. I am beyond good and evil. I will be avenged. Lucifer dwells in us all. That's it."
A PhD student in criminology at England's Bradford University, Stephen Griffiths desired fame beyond what was attainable in academia. Griffiths had sinister ambitions, modeled after his idol Peter Sutcliffe - a man better known as "The Yorkshire Ripper." Craving a brand of infamy that would put him in the annals of history's great mass murderers, Griffiths began carrying out the first of three homicides in 2009, a series of crimes that would rock Bradford and earn him the self-explanatory nickname of "The Crossbow Cannibal."
Shortly after his apprehension, CCTV video emerged in the English press showing a brazen Griffiths celebrating the murder of his final victim, 36-year-old Suzanne Blamires, by holding up his crossbow and giving the finger directly at a camera in the hallway of his apartment building. As disturbing as the video was, it was never shown in court, as the fame-hungry Griffiths was eager to confess to his crimes, graphically describing how he dismembered his victims in his bathtub before consuming pieces of their flesh.
Joseph Paul Franklin was a neo-Nazi serial killer, perhaps best known for having shot pornography magnate Larry Flynt. Though Flynt survived the attack, Franklin who killed at least fifteen people on a spree that began in 1977. While authorities suspect him to be responsible for as many as 22 racially-motivated murders, it was his killing of Gerald Gordon outside a synagogue in St. Louis that netted him the death penalty.
Never showing an inch of remorse in the courtroom, Franklin would later attempt to justify his crusade to CNN: "I felt like I was at war. The survival of the white race was at stake. I consider it my mission, my three-year mission. Same length of time Jesus was on his mission, from the time he was 30 to 33."
Serial killer, rapist, and perhaps the root of clowns being derided as creepy, John Wayne Gacy carried out 33 murders between 1972-1978 in suburban Chicago, IL. The contractor and part-time children's birthday clown would lure teenage boys back to his home, enticing them with the promise of partying or construction job opportunities, before raping, strangling, and burying them in his crawlspace.
The law finally caught up to Gacy in 1978 when a concerned mother alerted authorities that her son had disappeared with the man. Gacy would confess to detectives the entirety of his crimes, though he would later recant and joke at his trial that the only thing he was guilty of was "running a cemetery without a license." The jury found him guilty of dozens of murders and sentenced him to death. Gacy was executed in 1994, and he offered some very succinct last words as a retrospective of his life and crimes: "Kiss my a**."
Carl Panzram is considered by some to be the most sadistic serial killer in history. Committing a total of 21 murders and an unknown number of rapes - all of young boys and men - the Minnesota native carried out his crimes across not just the United States, but also the African country of Angola, where he claimed to have killed six local guides before feeding them to crocodiles.
Panzram was ultimately sent to the gallows at Leavenworth Penitentiary in 1930 after he smashed a fellow inmate's skull in with an iron bar (he was doing a 25 year bid at the time for the murder and rape of two boys). He greeted his execution with anger and defiance, his final words being “Hurry it up, you Hoosier bastard!”
In an autobiography he left behind, penned by a cellmate with Panzram dictating, he got in his true last words. These nihilistic screeds showed no humanity, not even for his most chilling crimes, including this infamous passage:
In my lifetime I have murdered 21 human beings, I have committed thousands of burglaries, robberies, larcenies, arsons and, last but not least, I have committed sodomy on more than 1,000 male human beings. For all these things I am not in the least bit sorry.