Often when people try to discover what makes an unrepentant serial offender tick, they look at the convicted's childhood. Were there any indications that they could turn into monsters? One of the biggest indications that a person is destined to be disturbed is seeing whether or not they have harmed animals, especially during childhood. Psychologists point to harming animals as proof of a lack of empathy. Such behavior also indicates a propensity towards aggression. While there isn't any hard data claiming the percentage of infamous offenders who began their career of pain by hurting animals, many believe that this is a serious warning sign.
Many of these offenders have admitted that harming animals was the first time they realized that they liked to cause suffering and, in fact, wanted to hurt people. Often neighborhood cats, dogs, and even crabs were the earliest victims of these menacing childhood "games," which often led to painful demises. One notorious offender even began targeting animals after seeing his father do the same.
This list features serial killers who have openly admitted to victimizing animals - leading them down the path to eventually claiming human lives.
During his childhood, Edmund Kemper was known to have harmed animals. Reportedly, Kemper even buried a cat alive. He later unearthed the feline and removed its head, postmortem. Terminating animals proved to be a sign of things to come. Between 1964 and 1973, Kemper ended 10 people, including his mother and grandparents.
Reportedly, Kemper had relations with his victims after ending their lives - again, including his mother.
Andrew Cunanan ended several people in 1997, including the famous designer Gianni Versace. As a kid, Cunanan reportedly used to take delight in harming animals he found near his home. In fact, Cunanan would gather up nearby crabs and hold fire to the crustaceans' eyes.
Growing up, Dennis Rader first discovered he enjoyed binding, harming, and ending lives when he experimented his method on animals. Although Rader presented himself as a regular person, behind the scenes he strung up small animals and terminated them.
Later, between 1974 and 1991, Rader infamously used the same methods on his human victims.
Carroll Edward Cole
In 1980, authorities apprehended serial offender Carroll Cole, who was suspected of terminating 35 people. Cole reportedly told officials that the first time he was ever aggressive was during his childhood - when he strangled a puppy.
Cole later used the same technique on the women whose lives he claimed between 1948 and 1980. The state of Nevada executed him in 1985.