I love this guy - seriously. My fascination with Carl Panzram began a few years ago when I was doing my usual trawl on the net for morbid stories about serial killers. Hes not the most famous by far, but his story is one of the most interesting. His quotes are memorable, and surprisingly insightful considering the life that he led. He believed that he was a product of his miserable life and the degradations and violence he experienced at the hands of others, I agree with him.
His story is documented through a series of letters he wrote to Henry Lisser, his gaoler while he was held over in Washington D.C. awaiting sentencing for burglary. While in custody he confessed to murders he had committed nationwide and under a number of pseudonyms. He was sentenced to 25 years in Leavenworth penitentiary for his crimes. While still in Washington D.C. he formed a close relationship with Henry Lisser - probably the only close bond he formed with another in his whole life - and continued to write to him once he was in Leavenworth. One year after being incarcerated for the last time, he bludgeoned to death a prison foreman and was sentenced to death. On September 5th, 1930 Carl Panzram was hanged. His final comment was "Yes, hurry it up, you Hoosier bastard! I could kill ten men while you're fooling around!"
Using Carl's letters, Henry Lisser penned an autobiography for him after his death, it took over 40 years to get it published. Killer: A Journal of Murder was also recently made into a documentary. Carl's letters spoke of his appalling life, from childhood through borstal and prison. Henry Lisser went on to advocate for prisoners rights and petitioned to improve prison conditions in the US.
Not satisfied with the information I have found on the Internet, I am currently trying to obtain the "Panzram Papers" which Henry Lisser kindly donated to the San Diego Library in 1980. Failing that I plan to purchase the book "Killer: A Journal of Murder" and also watch the documentary. I want to gain more insight into exactly what went wrong with Carl Panzram He was definitely a psychopath, but was was he a product of nurture, nature or an extreme combination of both. I will definitely be revisiting this subject.